Ericeira, Portugal

Solo Exhibition: '5x5 : A Study in Pretty Architecture'

Born from a love of architecture and inspired by the beauty of colour, '5x5: A Study in Pretty Architecture' is my personal study of urban architecture from around the world. It  documents my illustrative journey through five towns, villages and cities from disparate regions across the globe and viewed through the five prisms of Culture, Pattern, Detail, Colour and Aesthetic. I'm utterly captivated by colourful buildings, quaint doorways and pretty windows so this project has passion at it's absolute core. 


In research and planning mode I walked up and down the cobbled village streets of this sunny Portuguese village through Google Maps, all from the comfort of my little studio in Strandhill, on the West Coast of Ireland. I would take screen grabs of interesting tile work, windows, colours, details, doorways and anything that excited me as I perused this gorgeous quiet little surfing village. Using a combination of a huge amount of screen grabs from various angles and directions, sketches of interesting architectural details that jumped out as I scrolled and cross-referencing a multitude of tourist board info, I was able to decide upon my final regions, create their mood boards and define their colour palettes. This research phase  spanned a number of weeks of collating and assimilating as much information as possible, so that when it came to hitting the sketchpad, I already had a strong idea of how they would work on the page – from architectural detail to culturally authentic colour palettes.

Print: 42cm x 59.4cm  /    Framed: 58cm x 75.4cm

Print: 42cm x 59.4cm  /  Framed: 58cm x 75.4cm


Ericeira was the most complicated print with a complex layout forcing consideration of perspective and three dimensional angles. It took a solid 65 hours of drawing demonstrating my obsession with detail and I'd like to think patience! I got to draw passionately, in ridiculous detail which is my ultimate zen, especially with work where I can experiment with pattern, angles and reflection and most importantly, challenge myself. The purpose of this exhibition was to explore not just architecture but also illustration, so I chose to restrict the colour palette of this print to three main colours with a light, medium and dark tone of each to give depth to the piece.  Ericeira fought off stiff competition to be featured in the final regions but Portugal has some of the most exquisite architecture and tile work in the world so you can be sure it won't be the last time I explore it through illustration!