Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another life drawing, done in about 10-15 minutes with a pen and marker.

Our model - who was posing for the Collective drawing group in Toronto - bears a worrying resemblance to the elderly Evelyn Waugh. Only naked. Which is troubling, because I am convinced that Waugh lived his life from birth to death without ever deigning to become naked.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tarragon's engagement with minimalism continues. So too his interest in English weather conditions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An ink drawing of Jenn, done from life in about ten minutes. She's one of my favourite models, sporting not only an iconic haircut but also the knack for taking poses that are simultaneously elegant and monumental.

She posed for the Collective life drawing group in Toronto in the summer of 2010.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Canal of Giudecca

as seen from a window of the Doge's Palace.

It's an etching on zinc, printed on hand-coloured Japanese tissue on a support of rag-cotton European paper.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Egyptian Musician... a long way from home and surrounded by ignorant children. I couldn't tell whether playing relieved his all-too-apparent melancholia or only set it into sharper relief.

Monday, March 14, 2011

An aluminum etching

An early experiment with etching into aluminum with copper sulphate.

To make etchings from aluminum plates is to abandon many of the advantages of the medium; etching in copper or zinc permits incredible precision and lines of such fineness they could never be produced with a pen. Moreover, both metals are of sufficient hardness that large numbers of proofs can be pulled without significant distortion of the design.

But the reaction of copper sulphate with aluminum is far more violent than those that occur with zinc or copper. Lines become blotted and uneven, while open surfaces are pitted and moon-like. These take ink well, but delicacy is impossible. Worse, the softness of aluminum means the proofs will loose quality  quickly.

On the other hand, aluminum is light, easy to manipulate and relatively cheap. And the roughness of the etching process produces a crude and spontaneous effect that I like a lot.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


The ancient graveyard in Pisa in the aftermath of a storm that left the marble shiny and mirror-like.

The storm has pulled away to the west, leaving a typically incandescent Tuscan sun to cut the architecture into high relief. Visible over the southern roof of the graveyard is the duomo and part of the upper register of the leaning tower.

It's an etching on zinc. The textures are aquatint, but the colours are watercolour applied after pulling the proof.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A portrait sketch of Tarragon

Tarragon in a pre-prandial moment at the house in Compton. I did this rapidly - between gin and tonics - with a china marker and watercolour, on an old piece of cardboard backing from a used-up sketchbook.

Tarragon didn't much want to stay still when he could be drinking.

students at La Verna

very much a work in progress sketchbook entry - sometimes when I know I don't have time to make a complete drawing I do a quick sketch sketch plus colour notes, so I know what to work with when I return to it. Which in this case I never did.

It shows a few students sitting in the choir stall at La Verna, listening to their professor lecture on St.Francis.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A castle in Naples

It's a grim and dreary day here right now, and both my work and the rather ugly library in which I'm working have taken on a foreboding aspect. Nor will I get home without getting soaked to the bone.

So here's an apt watercolour, done in Italy a few years past:

It's the Castel Sant'Elmo in Naples. It's about as repressive a structure as can be imagined.