“Over the course of a year, I caught the bus from Galway to Dublin each week, staying a few days at a time, capturing what I saw in my sketchbook. I would sit or stand in front of something nice, for anything from twenty minutes to two hours, and sketch in pen and ink, then paint it in watercolour on the spot. Then I would hop on that same bus home, and even though I loved my sketching days in Dublin, there was nothing like the feeling of sitting back in that calm, comfy bus, as it pulled out from Aston Quay and then onto the motorway towards Galway.
“I love to sketch from life, and I do it as often as possible. When you sketch your subject from life, you are immersed on all sides, above, below, all around, in your surroundings. You are in your own sunlit reality show, where people entertain you with stories of their own lives, where you experience the timelessness of the seasons. Pigeons woo their reluctant womenfolk in spring, the sun warms your back in summer, leaves land gently on the pavement beside you in autumn and you freeze almost solid in winter, and it’s all real life. Sketching on location is living in the here and now, slowly, and in its most beautiful, most colourful, most vivid way.
I couldn’t sketch all of Dublin, or even more than a tiny fraction. I left out great swathes of beautiful streets and characterful quarters. So this is just a taste of the city: in winter, I drew places where I could sit indoors, and in finer weather, I was attracted to magnificent façades of architectural tours de force.
Sometimes it was a person’s clothing, a nice pose or a small architectural detail that caught my eye, and every now and then someone would tell me that under no circumstances could I leave out a certain place.
So, this book is like a walk in the footsteps of millions of people over the centuries who have trodden the streets before me, with the addition of pens, paper and paint.”