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Brooklodge Mural X 3: Hearth and Home

The simple hearth of the small farm is the true center of our universe

Masanobu Fukuoka (Japaneses farmer and philosopher)

I’m reposting this blog from my old site in the vain hope of organizing all of my stuff properly!). A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be asked to do a few Murals (a painting executed directly on a wall) for the residences of brooklodge, Nursing home. The intent was to add some colour and familiarity to the walls for the residents. The themes were generally drawn from old rural Irish life. Such as this one in a communal room which i chose a setting of a typical cottage fireplace/kitchen found in most thatched cottages from before the 1960’s ish.

The Beginning

This was my largest mural yet measuring approximately 8ft X 9ft from floor to ceiling. I completed the it using acrylic and a range of brush sizes. starting as always by laying out my design light in pencil before blocking in the different objects loosely  in the  mid-tone of it’s main colour .

The objects were all Items common to a kitchen of the time, such as the sacred heart painting of Jesus Christ, a wooden crucifix,  A pair of Ceramic staffordshire dogs, a Tilley lamp, a spinning wheel,  and a butter churn to name but a few

It took a few days as i filled it in and tweaked the composition, building it up in washes/glazes to give each object its own blend of subtle colour. The final stage was working on the areas of shadow and highlight to give the image a pleasing sense of depth. I what to give the feeling you could sit in the chair and warm your feet beside the fire while waiting for the kettle to boil.

If your scouting for Ireland’s next top model, that’s me their doing my best model impersonation  to give you an idea of the size.

One of the murals was for the wall of the dinning room and it decided that an Irish dresser would best fit for the location.  Irish dressers were a common sight in many Kitchens of the past with the Irish Museum of country life describing them as “the most valued piece of domestic furniture in the Irish home, as it was the way in which the wealth and status of the household was displayed. The dresser gave the maximum storage space for the area it occupied, with storage for food, pots and butter making utensils. It was made from pine and was painted to give it a rich, attractive appearance”

I outlined the design on the wall to fill a space between two long vertical light and above a radiator. I began by blocking in the items, which included cups, plates, books, a teapot and a vase of flowers, after that it was simply a matter of adding depth by including shadow and highlights in three or four passes.

The second Mural was located in a residents room, I want to paint an image that was built around the interest of the occupant, which was a love of literature, in particular the English romantic classic of high social intrigue by authors like Jane Austen and Emily Bronte. I settled on a window motif overlooking a Landscaped garden, in  the style of the great English manor houses of that time period. I also included a woman enjoying the surrounding as she reads, and a inquisitive Owl looking back at the viewer. Owls were also a personal favourite of the room’s resident.

I kept a strong sense of perspective to give the mural a hint of the trompe l’oeil (which is art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions).

Like the other mural i began by blocking tin the major shapes in a mid tone, then added depth and definition by laying up shadow and highlights.  All the Murals were hand painted using Windsor and Newton Acrylic paints.
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Who sleeps in the Jeep?

As I get closer to the end of my Painting Marathon, that I dubbed “the Animal Alphabet project” twenty six Oil painted Illustrations, each of an animal representing a letter of the Alphabet (I saved, what little originality i had for when conceiving and designing each painting!) This I intent to become the Children’s book Bear with purple hair, more on that in the Future.
Having recorded lots of sessions of myself painting, I decided to edit some down into bite-size painting Journeys for your entertainment. This Video “Who sleep’s in the Jeep” covers the letter S. From the thumbnail you can probably figure out the answer, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson says “It’s the not the Destination, It’s the (3.30 Min) journey

let me know what you think and remember my friend, The World is what you make of it

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How to paint a Post office Mural

To celebrate the combining of my two Artistic Identities David Bog & D.P. O’ Malley under Umbrella of Fun Art I am reblogging this article i would two years about getting the opportunity to paint a Mural, (Above is a five Minute Video I put together about the process). enjoy.

How to paint a Post office

Firstly get the local heritage Committee to ask if you are was interested in doing a mural to spruce up an old Post Office building, Luckily such an opportunity arose for me and I jumped at the chance. Their were a couple of reasons, being from the area I had passed that building every day on my way to National school and remember when it was painted with a bike, postbox and figures before. This gave the derelict building a little sense of freshness and life, a feature noticeably lacking in the crumbling walls of it’s contemporaries. So my hope was to simply try and bring a little of that freshness and a hint of fun to the place. The second reason it appealed was the chance to break out my big brushes and work on a larger scale that i normal do while painting ‘sensibly-sized-scenic-scenarios’ in the studio.

After much deep thought and philosophical pondering on what to put on the Old post office, I pushed my creative brain to the edge and came up with painting a Pillar Postbox, if that wasn’t enough I decided to throw a Cat among the pigeons, by adding a ….Cat. I painted a Sign, you needed a Sign so people knew it was a post Office and you had to have a Bicycle for help in ferrying all of your parcel, you have to remember this was in a time before Amazon prime. Back in the Studio i cut out and painted up a few windows, I found it a lot more enjoyable dirtying up windows that cleaning them!. I had trouble painting up the doorway as this rather nice old fella just would not get out of the way, so I left him in it. He should be still there if he hasn’t sloped off up to Mellotte’s Bar for a cheeky half one. He never did tell me his name only saying he wasn’t fond of it, so hopefully the people of the village will christen him with a new one.

That’s how you paint a Post Office

David Bog (Also Known as D.P. O’ Malley)
P.S (Blatant Self Promotion) I also created a an enameled mug inspired the project available from my store here

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A Gorilla in a Villa, A Killer whale in jail and a Jaguar on a Sports Car

Hello, my friends. I have three more short sub 3 minute time-lapse behind the scenes videos of me creating my oil paintings for my Animal Alphabet project, And up coming children’s’ book.

First up is G is for the Gorilla, who houses his pet chinchilla, in a little Roman Villa, i lost my recording for first section of my painting and had to improvise!

Next up is K with another unusual premise K is for a Killer Whale, that was sent to jail, for pulling the police officer’s ponytail !!!!

The Final Video for this post is brought to you by the letter “J is for the Jaguar, with his Guitar, Playing songs on the roof of his sports car” . let we know which is your favourite. if you enjoyed them why not Subscribe, it FREE, it encourages me to keep putting up this videos as well as really helping out my small channel Thanks a Million-the world is what you make it!

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B,F and C- time-lapses (the Animal Alphabet Project)

F is for Fox -Animal Alphabet Project

Due to the current ‘stay at home’ situation (Future people: i’m writing this in 2020, just google it), i took the opportunity to start working on an Idea I have been mulling over for awhile, Painting twenty-six Fun Art portraits for my own Animal Alphabet. I converted the spare bedroom (they will be nobody visiting for the next few months, hopefully weeks!!) into my makeshift Home studio. Jerry-rigged my camera to the end of an umbrella that is jammed into a light stand, to record my painting process for your viewing pleasure

B is for….. (you have to watch the video to find out what B is for!). Is a time-lapse of my around five hours painting squished into three minutes

B is for Bear

F is for Fox who….. the Answer is revealed at the end of this time-lapse Video. The goal of the Animal Alphabet project is to produce a children’s book. I decided to lean into the more surreal setting and scenarios with each painting is an illustration of a playful rhyming description for that letter.

F is for the Fox

The Third one here”C is the Cow” is actually the first i filmed. It was a bit of a learning curve, figuring out when video edit software to use –Shotcut. Then how to use it to do what i wanted it to do! My three and a half minute video took all day to edit. Thankfully with my last video it only took and hour for each minute. So there is still room for improvement hope you enjoy the goal is always to have fun with Oil paint. Stay safe.
This is a link to my YouTube channel show you wish to subscribe and not miss out on the next batch of videos

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St Patrick and the Holy Mountain


Croagh Patrick meaning Saint Patrick’s Stack or can also be referred to as the ‘Reek’. Is a mountain eight kilometers from Westport in Murrisk, Co Mayo on Ireland’s Atlantic Coast. The distinctively peaked mountain has reputedly been a site of pagan pilgrimage, since 3,000 B.C. It is now a Christian hike associated with Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. The bringer of Christianity to these shores and banisher of Snakes, supposedly! (For that good deed alone he deserves to be celebrated each and every year).

Croagh-Patrick, the holy mountain
Croagh-Patrick, the holy mountain

It is believed that a teenaged Patrick was abducted by Pirates and sold into slavery. Forced to work as a shepherd in the west of Ireland. For six years he toiled before managing to escaping and making his way back his home to the UK. Where he threw himself into the study of Christianity. Traveling to monasteries in England and France, eventually getting himself ordained as a priest. Acting upon a vision he had of receiving a letter

I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

Patrick resolved to return to Ireland and spread the word of god. Which was very decent of him considering they had kidnapped and enslaved him in his youth.

It is said he fasted on the summit of the reek for forty days in the fifth century A.D. No doubt, enjoyed the beautiful view out over clew bay. As a result the last Sunday in July (Reek Sunday) became the traditional day to climb the Mountain. An estimated 40,000 people per year do so. A few brave souls even do it bare foot!.

Croagh Patrick painting progression
painting progression-Croagh Patrick

Over the duration of producing the oil painting I had to change the composition and colour combinations a few time. I discovered that it was over populated and cluttered. As a result I ended up removed one of my figures in order to give the eye’s natural path clearer access to mountain. In order to give the remaining pilgrims more character i decided to contrast there clothes with the surrounding environment.

If St Patrick has taught us anything, it is that on the 17th of March we celebrate not just his legacy but all things Irish. We embrace our shared cultural heritage no matter what corner of the world we find ourselves in. That you don’t have to be born on the Emerald Island to be Irish or to enrich Irish society. Therefore all that you just require is a hard earned appreciation for the outdoors. Allied with a willingness to let bygones be bygones (unless your a snake, then you can feck right off)

Fun Art Activity Book
Fun Art Activity Book
CroaghPatrick Spot the difference
CroaghPatrick Spot the difference

Considering out current situation, If you are look for some related fun. like puzzles, spot the difference, word games, trivia or colouring pages. Download my FREE Activity book by signing up for my newsletter below. It’s totally FREE just download and print of the pages that interest you.

Happy St Patrick’s Day where every you are

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A Galway Girl

Galway Girl's eyes

Rain washed Galway is nestled between Lough Corrib and a stretch of wild Atlantic sea that rolls along Galway bay. It is a medieval city of about 80,000 folks, noted for having a rich cultural tradition. Which finds it’s expression in the many forms. Such as July’s Art festival of street performances, Parades, plays, musical concerts and international Artists. To the annual Horse racing festival in Ballbrit with it’s fashionable ladies and tailored gents.

Throughout the year most Pubs are graced with a variety of talented musicians. Playing music from every strip and stripe of the spectrum. Which is probably among the reasons why Galway is currently the European Capital of Culture for 2020, alongside the Croatian city of Rijeka

Being the principle city in the West of Ireland it has a rich vein of folk and traditional music practitioners. Where guitars, Fiddles, Bodhrans and Accordions are not an uncommon cite or sound upon the cobbles stone of Shop st or the shade of buttermilk lane. That, coupled the odd pint, the harsh fineness of it Men and the ferocious beauty of it’s women makes it’s no wonder that two famous musician both pinned Songs of some acclaim about “the Galway girl”.

Galway Girl- work in progress
painting progression

Steve Earle first wrote about the titular Galway Girl and whirling her about the Salthill promenade around the turn of the millennium. (Caution: if the wind catches you there, you may end up whirling for hours!). The other version called Galway girl , is by the Songwriting scallywag Ed Sheeran. Which at last viewing had over 460 million views on YouTube, that’s more than all the people that live in Galway and it’s Suburbs and hinterlands!

All of these influences blended together and fed into my Painting The Galway Girl, Shawl and all (Feat. Ed Shearing). I pictured a woman with hair of black and eyes of blue. A woman that wouldn’t look out of place on Ladies day at the races, with her eloquent poise and contemporary fashionable Galway shawl (that’s another cracking folk song).

She is sitting in Eyre Square, resting a moment between belting out a few lively tunes on her fiddle. She does this just as much for her own amusement as for the delight of the lucky passers-by. She’d had her ups and down and she’s learn’t you’ve got to look out for number one first.

Galway Girl -Feat Ed shearing
Galway Girl -Feat Ed shearing (Oil on Board)

Over her right hand shoulder is the fountain with Éamonn O’Doherty sculpture of the Hooker sails. Which is a nod to the cities maritime history and traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay. The sculpture was installed to mark the quin-centenary of Galway’s incorporation as a city in year of our lord 1984.

Over her right should is The Browne doorway. Relocated to the Eyre square in 1905 after being taken from Browne family townhouse on lower Abbeygate. Where it was build in 1627, as the Brownes being one of the fourteen Tribes ruling of Galway, i presume were living high on the hog

There are a few sheep roaming about the Square. This is due to Ed kindly volunteering to do a little shearing. The wool I gathered up and sent off, to be converted in to these Cotton T-shirts: Galway Girl (feat Ed Shearing)

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A Hobbiton Hike

A hobbiton Hike, commissioned Portrait

Being a fan of all things middle-earth, I was delighted to get the opportunity to create this unique Fun Art Portrait just before Christmas. It was to be a surprise a birthday gift with the brief of “having Nick sat with a hobbit house in back ground, in walking boots with a glass of red wine, wearing his rugby shirt.” To also include three Jack Russells somewhere in there as well. I set about sketching up the best composition and once we were all happy with the layout i got stuck into the Fun part of the process, Painting it.


My process is always one of building up the Painting in layers, starting with Blocking in the all colour areas. The biggest mistake i used to make was focusing on getting all the detail done in one section say a face only to discover my relational values were out of whack, usually far to bright as i was judging darkness section again the white or ochre stained canvas and not the blue sky or green foliage background that would be there in the finished painting.
Once you have the initial block in you then continually add layer of dark shadow section and bright highlighted sections, twerking where necessary until your happy with the work. You could keep on going, refining and layering for ever but i like to leave some of the brushwork evident, it gives the portrait it own character and texture. With Oil Paints you have to allow time for each layer to dry before working on top of it, i prefer to allow it dry for a week before adding the final Varnish. Once it has fully dried i package it up safely and pop it in the post so it can be send it off to it new home.

A Hobbiton hike -with D.P. O Malley
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Natural Assets

Hi again, after a few false start I remembered to record  the development of this paint, I’ve titled natural Assets, it Oil On Board as usually.  Below is  short Little Video of about 80sec’s displaying my Honest endeavour

The subject of the work is inspired by taking a sideways look at Irish export, with a prominent one being our culture, so i am playing on the romantic idyllic rural countryside The tourism board push in the 1950/60, with our turf, our lakes and other charming young things. Another thing we exported a lot of was people for many reasons, but one was talent, such as our actor. In my fictional little work Saoirse may be admiring Micheal’s Natural Assets – his Ass and cart load of Turf, what more could one wish for on those long winter nights.

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This was a fun commission for me to tackle, as it allowed me more creative freedom to try and include all the elements my client had asked for with the 30cm X 20cm confines of the mounted board. My first step was to come up with a layout that includes all the requested objects in a “workable narrative” as well as being compositional pleasing.  When i was happy I lightly drew the design onto the white primed board. Only to erase it, so as to leave the faintest trace of a line, which would act as guidelines. Then I started blocking in or under-painting, basically getting the foundation colour of each object down.


Once the board is cover with the first layer of paint, I usually leave it while for the oils to dry before repainting the scene again. This time adding shadow, highlights and some detail in order to balance the colour and give them a sense of depth, as can be seen by the addition of darker red areas to the car and highlighted stars of the galaxy


I then repeat this step again and again further refining the detail and depth of the paint until I’m happy with it. I really enjoyed painting the deep blues/blacks of space and the tint of pink in the galxy’s spiral arm, and the variation of skin tone between the two space men. I endeavor to get each painting to a certain representational standard but it is just as important not to obsure the brush work as i feel it gives it’s own character, At the end of the day it is an oil painting. You may notice that towards the end I swapped out my little green alien for a Cat,  the Client wished to have something more personal to him, which is what commissioned Fun Art portraits is all about.


Thank you for reading, please let know what you think by leaving a Comment, liking it or FaceBooking me. If you happen to find yourself outside on a nice clear night, why not look up at the Majesty of the stars and untold wonders of the void, you might even spot out friendly spacemen!

Until next we meet, be well,
D.P O’ Malley – cultural satirist and painter in oils.