Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Keyhole Session: Bless with both hands

This is from last June. It was done from life with various markers, in about 45 minutes. Which still wasn't long enough to get all the hands finished. The drawing ended up about a foot tall.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


There is a species of perfect representational minimalism, in which the subject is delineated in such a way that the absences are as important as what is present, and each line in the drawing magically performs the work of seven. Such that nothing might be added or subtracted without detracting from the final production, as Vitruvius or Alberti have it.

It's a rare day that I make something to such standards, but I felt good about this drawing:

It was done with a brush marker from life in about five minutes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sur la Route de Serrelles

Several years ago I lived in the French countryside near the dainty town of Montrichard, itself a small burg 30 minutes south of the mid-sized city of Tours. Although the area is afflicted by subdivisions as swiftly and shoddily built as anywhere else, plenty of the local vernacular architecture survives.

The house I lived in dated from the eighteenth century, and had stone walls a full foot thick. Likewise the house in the picture, which was some twenty metres further down the Route de Serrelles. Those walls, incidentally, provided more than adequate protection against German artillery during the Franco-Prussian war.

A cursory glance at the roof of the second building in the picture will demonstrate that this watercolour was never finished. I was summoned, I think, by a gin and tonic. I don't suppose I'll ever return to complete it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A model in the studio

Some old-fashioned figure painting with watercolour.

As a general rule I don't like painting highly foreshortened compositions, but this one turned out alright.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Below Thebes

The Egyptian Thebes, not the Greek one.

I make pictures like this, and in my head they're accompanied by some suitably lyrical poem on the theme of things lost and forgotten. In this case, given a subject matter both Egyptian and maritime, a kind of hybrid of Ozymandias and Ulysses.

Although now that I'm thinking about it, a line from Lord Dunsany's The Idle City also comes to mind: "And for how long he is silent. Only the other day I met a king in Thebes, who had been silent already for four thousand years."

Well, perhaps all that is too heavy for such a slight picture. It's a small drypoint, about 6x6 inches, printed in an equally small edition.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

At the Conference

A student taking notes at the conference of Canadian medieval art historians. Or maybe she's doodling. People do that sometimes.

It was done with a technical pen, brush pen, and china marker: that's everything I had in my pocket at the time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Some lillies I had lying around my apartment.
I rendered them with a brush-pen and used the computer for the colours.

I can't draw things like this without thinking of Hokusai. It's bad for the self-esteem.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Keyhole Sessions: Flower Girl

Drawn with various markers at the Toronto Keyhole Session last June. It took around 15 minutes, I think.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Early one Thursday evening

My friend Frances, sitting on the porch one evening before going to the Gladstone. The book is by Stephen Pinker, I think.

It was done with a micron technical pen, in something like 15 minutes.

Friday, September 2, 2011


An oldish self-portrait, done with acrylics on cardboard. I did it from life, using the narrow vanity mirror built into a dressing cabinet.

I'm wearing in the picture what was my favourite sweater at the time, but I lost it to a thief on the train between Milan and Bologna.