Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas one and All!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Day 1

Our pile is small, but like tomorrows Animation to-do list it will exponentially grow!

Day 1: In work I have encouraged/guilted everyone into getting involved with this years 2FM Toy Appeal in aid of St. Vincent de Paul. Basically individuals and groups around the country donate brand new unwrapped presents to those in need during the holiday season. All the gifts are dropped off to local SuperValu Grocery stores and from there are sorted/distributed to those deserving. I think it's a great cause and donated gifts last year too. This year however I kinda wanted to step up my game a bit and get my colleagues in A Man & Ink Animation company involved too. The more the merrier right? The owners were very supportive of the whole thing and after work even braved the cold night air in their own quest for festive favours to donate... If you'd like to get involved click the button below for more information: Deadline is December 11th 2011

Countdown to Christmas

It's December 1st and the countdown to Christmas 2011 can finally begin! I can't wait, I love the holiday season so so much! I'm going to try a couple of things this year during the build up to Christmas.

Firstly, like last year I plan on doing/reading/watching/drawing something Christmasy everyday and posting it here...and possible on my Twitter also so stay tuned for daily festive fun...

Secondly, and this is the slightly weird one. My plan is to wear red and green cloths every day 'til Christmas. It's a bit of a silly challenge but one I plan on giving a go regardless. Naturally I don't mean ALL red and green, I don't have red/green pants for example, but every day I'll wear, in different combinations red and green shirts, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets socks etc...Oh and in case you're curious, today I wore a green knitted jumper Neen bought me, with a red Liverpool football jersey and a red and white Ferrari F-1 jacket...Oh and I'm also wearing reindeer socks and a knitted red and white reindeer hat! : )

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tree Hollow Designs

I have been browsing eBay and Etsy recently looking for a piece of original Christmas art to buy, I love the holiday season and wanted if possible to find a special piece I could have up in the studio all year 'round that would remind me of my favourite time of year...

After A LOT of searching I happily stumbled across an absolutely charming shop on Esty. The shop is called Tree Hollow Designs and features the beautiful work of American artist Jessica Gardner.

I'm pretty choosy with the art I buy, I actually only have a handful of pieces in my personal collection. As an artist myself a piece has to really stand out for me to buy it. I found an original watercolour illustration entitled 'Christmas Morning' and instantly fell in love with it. The delicate illustration features a Christmas tree, the artists own dog and his festive bounty.

The package arrived last night and it was literally like Christmas had come early. The painting was wrapped in green wrapping paper and ribbon and was embellished with handmade tags. 

(The package arrived late last night so the light wasn't great for taking photos. Instead I snapped a quick shot before unwrapping and took the following photos this morning)

In addition to the painting I bought (pictured above) the artist very generously included 2 hand painted Christmas cards (also tied up in festive green ribbon) and a personalized card featuring a print of an original  watercolour illustration.

I cant tell you how much all the extra effort and the special gifts meant to me. The painting will remain a very cherished possession for years to come. If you are looking for a special present for someone or are hoping to add to your own personal art collection I cannot recommend Tree Hollow Designs and the work of Jessica Gardner enough. Her entire shop is wonderful and everything is extremely extremely good value and of very high quality. If you have a spare few minutes make sure you drop by her Etsy Shop by clicking any of the images above.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Morning Comics

Sunday morning comic books in bed... this morning I was reading Spectacular Spiderman 'Lo this Monster' (1968) by Stan Lee and John Romita. Really fantastic story and Romitta's drawings are the best Spiderman art out there...

(Playing around with this retro photo app Nokia gave much fun!)

Want to see what Saturday Mornings are generally like? Click here!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dinner with Family in Scotty's Steakhouse

Had dinner with Neen, Mom and Dad tonight in Scotty's after visiting the Galway Continental Christmas was wonderful as usual, if you're ever passing through Galway make sure you drop by for a bite!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hallowe'en '89

My lil sister and I around Halloween 1989 I think...San Angelo, Texas, USA

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Congratulations Ireland!

Congratulations to the Irish Football team on their qualification for the Euro 2012 Tournament! Bring on Poland/Ukraine!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

President Michael D, Keith Duffy and Family at Terryland Park

A young fan, Keith Duffy and President Elect Michael D. Higgins

Neen, Tuna, and Ant with President Elect Michael D. Higgins

Cast of Big Maggie  - Druid Theater Galway with President Elect Michael D. Higgins.

President Elect Michael D. Higgins. and dedicated United Supporter.

Neen, Keith Duffy and Tuna

Dad, Neen Ant and Tuna at Terryland Park

  President Elect Michael D. Higgins at Fridays Galway United Match

   President Elect Michael D Higgins and Galway United Terry the Tiger.

Photos from last night special Michael D Higgins Celebration/Premier Division Play-Off match. I was as per usual taking shot before and during the match. The game didnt go our way, and Galway United will be relegated to the Second Division necxt year but we are all staying possitive...

I brought Neen, Ant, Tuna and Dad into meet President Michael D. Higgins during the half time interval. Neen wanted to have a photo taken to send to her grandfather so she was thrilled...

Neen and Shauna also got a shot with Actor/Singer Keith Duffy...they were both thrilled - and Keith was a really sound guy...

I Heart deviantART!

I love deviantART. I've been on it for over 7 years and am always encouraging fellow artists, especially those setting out on their professional careers to set up an account. I have a website, blog, flickr...all of that stuff, but deviant has garnered more business, interest and good will for me than any other online art forum.

I love the sense of community - and love buying bits and bobs from the shop.  All the revenue from the sale of my own deviantART prints goes straight back into the deviantART community...I've been saving up my deviantART dollars for ages to by a new tshirt... (My green deviantArt T is a bit worn from wear at this stage...)

Finally the last day a print sold and I was able to order the high decibal t-shirt I've had my eye on...

Well, I couldn't believe it when my FedEX package arrived, Maria, in the deviantART office had included in the parcel a free tshirt and a buttload of awesome deviant stickers too...

It doesnt matter how old I get free things always makes me happy. The ones that are delivered via snail-mail are even better. I love 'em guys! Thanks devianART!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Presenting Michael D. Higgins a Cake!

Photos courtesy Michael D' Higgins Presidential Campaign

I mentioned in an earlier post I had the opportunity to present Presidential candidate Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina a 'Good Luck cake on behalf of Galway United last week...

Well the Presidential Election was held yesterday and it's official! Michael D. Higgins will be announced President of Ireland shortly! : ) Congrats President Higgins, myself and Neen wish you the best of luck! Hope you make it to Galway United match Friday! : )

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Strange Strange Day

Leaky ceiling, giving cake to the homeless and presents to presidents...

Leaky Ceiling
I woke up this morning to Neen screaming "there's a leak in the attic! Waters dripping through the ceiling.... " We were due to have the ball cock changed in the secondary water tank in the attic today. Landlord had a look at it last night and determined quite rightly the entire unit needed to be changed and urgently. Well up to that point I had managed to implement a make shift fix to prevent the tank overflowing. (Styrofoam wedge holding the floating cock up and the valve closed) With all his messing the delicate balance was disrupted and when we went to bed the valve wasn't working what so ever. As long as the water was able to flow out of the over flow faster than it was coming in we'd be OK until the following day...

By this morning the tank was nearly at over flow point and small drips of water started to seep through the ceiling justifiably freaking Neen out. We called the landlord asap and he arrived up, new part in hand to fix the problem. Generally for a job like this you have to turn off the water for the house at the mains usually located near the road. He didn't have a clue were the valve was so he just jumped in... Needless to say there was water everywhere. He did it as quickly as possible but a lot of water overflowed and was dripping heavily into the sitting room below. We managed to move the TV, Wii, Blue Ray player etc in time as well as a few family photos that lined the mantel but the place was soaked... Alls well now. I soaked up the pool of water in the attic, and turned the heat on full blast to dry out the house.

Cake for Presidential Candidate Michael D. Higgins
I received an email last night from the Galway United Secretary saying the manager would be presenting a cake to Michael D. Higgins the following day and that all support from the Management committee would be appreciated. I was feeling pretty crappy (I've been sick for the past few days) but I decided to go and fill out the crowd a bit and use the opportunity to wish presidential candidate Michael D. well in the rest of his race. Lo' and behold come 3 o'clock no body but myself had turned up. I didn't have the new managers number yet and the rest of the Committee were out of reach or unavailable. As Michael D and his caravan of volunteers and reporters approached we decided I would have to do. So I grabbed the cake, and while posing for photos presented Michael D. with it. There were half a dozen photographers and a crew from RTE the national television station who filmed the presentation and did an interview with Michael D. and myself. I was very briefly on the 6 o'clock main evening news today with Michael D. quite mortifying as I looked really out of place and awkward but it was good exposure for the club.

Giving Cake to the Masses
The cake itself was a token gift more than anything. For photo purpose only really. After the presentation Michael D's caravan walked off leaving the cake behind. I was on my bike so couldn't take it with me and naturally didn't want it to go to waste so I asked the bakery it was made in to slice it with the intention of catching up with the Michael D supporters and passing out the cake. By the time it was sliced and ready to go the crowd were long gone so myself and a friend went around town and offered free cake to the passers buy. We gave cake to buskers, homeless people...everyone! We brought the last dozen slices up to the 'Occupy Protesters' located in Eyre Square. They were delighted with the free treat until they found out the cakes origin - of all things they were eating a cake created in honour of a "Politician" Their disdain was fleeting and they put politics aside and happily polished off the rest of the cake with gusto. Really really nice people, - the Galway Occupy Protesters. I whole heartily applaud their dedication to the cause and wish them the best of luck in their journey for justice. If you are passing through or living in Galway I urge you to drop by for a chat with them or to donate much needed food and supplies.  Better yet if you are so politically inclined and have the free time pitch a tent and join them...

Present for the President (to be) Michael D.
A cake wasn't the only thing I was able to present to presidential candidate Michael D. Higgins today. In a separate presentation I also gave him one of my original watercolours, featuring a quote by W. B. Yeats. Just a small token to wish him good luck and thank him for his dedication to the Arts in Ireland. I hope he liked it!
The watercolour I presented to Michael D.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lazy Days...

Playing...The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Another Game I picked up recently is The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks...My purchase is proof good advertising really works. You might remember recently I posted a couple of Robin Williams/Zelda videos...the one's produced by Nintendo that feature Robin and his daughter (also called) Zelda. Well ya that totally got me in the mood to play a Zelda game, I'm a huge Robin Williams fan so well done Nintendo for a great marketing campaign! I haven't played too much of this game yet, I usually play the DS at night for a bit before I fall asleep so I'll be tackling it with gusto tomorrow night...

Playing...Kirby's Epic Yarn

I traded in a couple of old games the last day and picked this up, 'Kirby's Epic Yarn' on Nintendo Wii. This game rocks. It's truly beautiful looking and the gameplay is wholly unique. Everything about this gem of a game is charming. If you are a crafty person you should definitely check it out. 5 Stars!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Watching...The Big Bang Theory Season 4

Neen and I picked up the fourth season of The Big Bang Theory over the weekend and watched the whole thing, all 24 episodes Monday on our day off...

The fourth season is great easily as good if not better than the previous three... Haven't seen the show, stop what you're doing and go out and buy the 4season box-set! You won't regret it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The High Kings LIve in Salthill

I brought the missus to see one of her all time favourite groups 'The High Kings' when they were playing in Salthill Saturday night. There was minor concern that the inclement weather would hamper crowd numbers (we nearly blew away walking the promenade out to Salthill) But by the time the act went on stage the ol' ballroom was packed. 

We were a motley crew to be honest. Fans from 16 to 60 braved the elements to see the visiting musicians.  I'm a firm believer that its well worth being uncool and turning up as early as possible to get a good seat, so we were the first in the doors and had front row seats...The High Kings were great...very talented musicians, great showman and nice guys to boot. 

They weren't the only musicians performing that night. Before the show we were treated to a number of songs from 4 young fans sitting in the balcony section...One of which was even invited to sing one song on stage with the group later in the night. The official opening act was young Mark Boylan - another under-age talent who has had the opportunity to open for a number of recent HK shows. Even at such a young age Mark had great stage presence as he sang a number of covers and a couple of his own songs too. A definite rising star.

Neen was really hoping to get a photo with the group. After a missed opportunity before the show we assumed a precious chance was missed - but luckily and quite generously the group announced at shows end they would be signing autographs and selling merchandise immediately after the show. So Neen bought their brand new CD, 'The High Kings Live in Ireland' and had it signed by the entire band. Not only that but she also got photographs with each and every member. The guys were wrecked and drenched in sweat but were true gents with their adoring fans, and gave 110% to everyone who waited after.

If you like traditional Irish music, make sure to pick up their new album in stores now... 

Thoughts and Prayers...

Da Tang Noodle House

There is  great Chinese restaurant in Galway called 'Da Tang Noodle house'. Neen and I have often passed by and commented we'd love to try it out. Saturday we finally did and boy were we impressed. I absolutely loved it. Food was fantastic - the nicest Asian cuisine I've ever had. Service was suburb and the ambience idyllic. It was a quiet enough period when we were there and the waiting staff were having their own lunches at the opposite table - always a really good sign. I honestly can't recommend the place enough. If you find yourself in Galway be sure to drop by...

Da Tang Noodle House - Middle Street - Galway, Ireland