"Drawing has almost been a reverse evolution from a lifetime of artistic curiosity and experimentation. It’s like working backwards from the traditional path of starting with basic drawing skills and progressing to oil painting. My experience was the opposite in that I ended rediscovering the simplicity (and complexity) of drawing. What drew me to it was a latent desire to have more control over my expression and pencil is the perfect tool to achieve this.
I chose portraiture because of its challenging nature. The quest for a perfect likeness has become an obsession not just because I’m a perfectionist at heart, but because the slightest error in portraying the unique characteristics of an individual renders the work simply ‘un-characteristic’ and therefore disappoints even though the recipient of a commission often cannot identify where the error lies, they know it’s just not ‘them’. It could be said that their soul is missing.
The distinctive technique I’ve perfected is more akin to the art of sculpting rather than drawing. It is precision drawing or mapping as I call it, followed by complete coverage of the surface in a mid-tone. Then I carefully ‘sculpt’ out the highlights and add to the darker areas. I have a unique way of finishing which is similar to varnishing in the way it brings the final drawing to life. I love to share my passion and enthusiasm for my technique by teaching others, many of whom are art college graduates".
Alan's work is in private collections in the UK, USA, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland including Irish Government and Museum collections. He has created several works for donation to charities including portraits of Rory McElroy, Paul & Garry O'Donovan, Keith Wood and Ronan O'Gara.
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