I haven’t made candles for a while and I’d like to make a few soon. As you know, I tend to make them in used tuna tins and I like to paint the tins before I fill them up with candle.

I have a fondness for mackerel. Between the ages of 11 and 14, I was in Dalkey Sea Scouts and during one blissful summer a group of us used to meet at Bullock Harbour, hire a boat with a Seagull engine and head out with our lines, rods and sandwiches, and fish for hours. Often we’d catch nothing but sometimes we’d find a shoal of mackerel and load a bundle onto the boat. Idyllic times and great memories. So mackerel (one of my favourite fish to eat too) have a resonance and I thought I’d like to paint them on the tins.

Turns out they are hard to draw and paint. I had a trial run and the result wan’t too bad but, after I tried painting a batch in my notebook, I thought that, actually, they look more like tuna.

Mackerel-like fish in pencil
They all got a lot fatter when I painted a new batch and look more like tuna.

Well. Tuna fish on a tuna can makes a lot of sense and it means that I won’t have to paint the markings on their backs. i have a few tins prepared, so I’ll paint the fish on them over the next week.

Christine and I went to see the Bauhaus print exhibition in the National Gallery today. There is something about the Bauhaus experiment that is very attractive. ‘Rethinking the world’ was the Bauhaus motto, and the Bauhaus studio was an exciting mix of art, design, politics, social activism, functionalism and the creation of useful and affordable goods. The studio fell foul of the Nazi regime and was short lived but it left a strong legacy. The prints in show were a mix of figurative, abstract and expressionist art and some of the big names, such as Kandinsky, Beckman and Macke were represented.

Greeting by August Macke
Head by Alexei Jawlensky
Walk II by Marc Chagall (self-portrait with wife)

Following his marriage to the writer Bella Rosenfeld in 1915, Chagall wrote, ‘lovers have sought each other, embraced, caressed, floated through the air, met in wreaths of flowers, stretched and swooped like the melodious passage of their vivid day-dreams’. What a beautiful thought.

On the way back to the car, we saw this …

It’s a coal hole, a common sight in Georgian Dublin. Usually found in the pavement in front of big Georgian houses, it’s an access cover to a space underneath where coal was stored. It was designed to be too small for burglars to squeeze through but wide enough for coal to be poured in.

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