Saturday, April 25, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

don't wanna be

Robert is a beast of burden. But Jacki is not really that heavy. It's a one minute sketch, done with a china marker.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"few rap songs are about sexual inadequacy"

Drawing with the Collective in Toronto, fellow sketcher Francis F. made the observation. I wrote it down mid-drawing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Life drawing quick sketches, each done in about a minute. Or maybe two, in the case of the face on the right.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Santa Maria di Salute, Venice

A view across the quay and the loitering gondolas at the vast baroque church of Salute. It's the kind of view that's been done a thousand times but remains irresistible.

It's an etching, about 4" by 6," printed at the Open Studio in Toronto, Ontario. The uniform blue was applied with a technique called chine collé, in which a layer of tissue-thin tinted paper is laid down between the etching plate and the support paper.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Anna in a striped dress

A quick photo of a painting in progress. The dress will be in colour, and the big rectangle will too - it will be a hanging carpet of some sort. The pineapple like object will probably become a bust - but we'll see.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Venice - the gondolas on the Riva degli Schiavoni

It was a cool November evening when I sat down on the embankment to make this picture.

I was in a hurry. The shapes were quickly sketched in with a black crayon, and then rounded out with watercolour. Although I started with lines - as I almost always do - the picture quickly became about mass and pattern. The final touches were added in gouache; you can see its opaque layers where the blue covers of the gondolas are visible above the dock.

In the background, San Giorgio Maggiore was a box of shadows, except for its brilliant marble facade, which here merges with the air.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

strange encounter

Drawn from life at a Keyhole Session in Toronto, using a copic brush pen, a china marker, and several other pens. This drawing took about 45 minutes, which obviously wasn't enough.

There is nothing quite so difficult to draw as the intersection of multiple human bodies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Plan B

"I've always rejected being understood. To be understood is to prostitute oneself." So said Fernando Pessoa, one of the 20th century's most awkward writers. Also one of the most easily quoted.

He used a thousand different voices to say one thing, and that thing is about human loneliness. Many would prefer to be a prostitute than to be alone.

He said it in The Book of Disquiet, chapter 128. He goes on "I've always rejected being understood. To be understood is to prostitute oneself. I prefer to be taken seriously for what I'm not, remaining humanly unknown, with naturalness and all due respect. Nothing would bother me more than if they found me strange at the office. I like to revel in the irony that they don't find me at all strange. I like the hair shirt of being regarded by them as their equal."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Chandos off Trafalgar Square

Tarragon wrote me to say:

“I took a short holiday and went to the National Gallery to see Inventing Impressionism. It was a good show, except one has to like Renoir's portraits to think so. I really like Renoir. He's an acquired taste I reckon, but presents such a lovely parallel universe I find hard to resist. So I don't try.

Except I wasn't planing to see the show at all, it was news to me. I simply stopped in on my way to the the Sargent show at the Portrait Gallery. It was not the greatest Sargent show that you could imagine. But some truly lovely pieces. It is a bit heart wrenching how good he is. So it was a pleasure. 

In between I had lunch at Chandos, off Trafalgar Square, from whence I drew the attached. Such a lovely pub in the middle of the afternoon.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The shadow over the lane

Walking back along the sandy track from the old Tudor manor, I was struck by the deep shadows and the gables of the house at the corner. Beyond the trees, the farmer's field was full of horses, but I didn't put them in the drawing.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

vision of youth

An very old self-portrait, drawn from a mirror with a china marker on textured paper. It was a cold day, and I was bundled up. And as you can see, I took the easy way out when it came to depicting my drawing hand.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Young Beauty Combs Her Hair

I think a problem in making these colour versions is the seemingly endless number of options. Limitations of medium or time or space are useful to many artists because they help in the decision making process. It can be very tiring.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Set of Coffee Bowls

Two thrown and constructed coffee bowls. 9 or 10 cm x 12 cm in diameter.
Made with a black clay/crank mix with porcelain.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Sunday Bridge

"An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any afternoon. Two or three hours' walking will carry me to a as strange a country as I expect ever to see. A single farmhouse which I had not seen before is sometimes as good as the dominions of the king of Dahomey. There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles' radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of human life. It will never becomes quite familiar to you."


Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Girls Are Alright.

With a mind to the difficulty of clearing woodblocks, now and then I draw white on black.
This is a picture of a wedding day between two women in 1880s New York.
Quickly drawn.