Thursday, October 30, 2014

the dark house

I drew this at twilight, in the Tuscan village of Settignano. As the sun went down, the lights in the houses appeared in their windows.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dark Side of the Moon Jar

Since the 17th century, the moon jar has stood out as the most distinctive and beautiful of traditional Korean pottery forms. Lately Tarragon has been working on Dark Side of the Moon Jars. These are fresh from the kiln:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Last call at the old George Orwell

The pub is now called the Hops and Glory. They came to that name after a long process of indecision, due to which I reserved the old name in my head as a standby. I prefer the old name but the man himself never drank there as far as I know. He did drink at a pub five minutes away, The Compton Arms, when its floors were strewn with bales of hay.

By the time I drew this last picture the girls at the bar had definitely decided I wasn't a problem. As my clothes dried out they became more friendly. By the time my ride came we were friends.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

black and red

A figure, or most of one, painted in watercolour. I did this a few years ago, and I don't recall the model's name. I do know that she posed for around an hour. And that she had excellent hair.

My approach with watercolour figures usually involves a pencil drawing, still visible here, followed by the large areas of pigment, in this case the flesh. Details of features or costume follow, and finally I finish up by reemphasizing important details, and adding a few points of texture. I often use markers or crayons in the last stages. For this picture, I worked into the hair with china marker to make the shadows properly dark.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

something delicious in Toronto

The smog dog is Toronto's signature street food, thanks to a series of difficult-to-understand bylaws that forbid most other options.

It is a mysterious meat, but perfect in its way. It's garish in appearance, and the flavour sharp, aggressive, and without subtlety. It's best not to think about the ingredients.

Biting into a smog dog is like swallowing a salad of tumourous rats and cigarette butts garnished with petroleum dregs. In short, it encapsulates a vital part of the urban experience.

In my drawing, a student at the University of Toronto is enjoying what the city has to offer.

The drawing was done with a china marker just off St. George Avenue. And as should be obvious, I love smog dogs.

Monday, September 15, 2014

the professor of classics

One of the foremost experts on Constantine and the Roman Empire of Late Antiquity:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

on via Bonifacio Lupi

I took a few minutes while strolling around Florence to sketch these buildings on Via Bonifacio Lupi. I used a dip pen and india ink, which is an awkward medium to use on a street corner.

Friday, September 5, 2014


In a contemplative mood...

Drawn from life with a Copic brush pen and a blue felt-tip pen.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


A drawing done in around ten minutes. He pretty much fills up the 8.5x11 sketchbook page.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Sometimes you want to sit down and draw. If you're lucky, there's something good in front of you. Other times, you have to draw flowers.

These ones were on the side table, so I drew them.

Friday, August 15, 2014

man about town

Drawn from life with a brush marker at the Arts Project on Dundas St., in London, Ontario.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


An old portrait of Tarragon, painted with acrylics on a spare piece of furniture (hence the peg holes). I made this back in my students days, when I was always looking for inexpensive materials.

It's suffered a lot of scratches and chips over the years: