Thursday, January 31, 2013

Temptation of Red

Red ink has something in common with red dresses and red lipstick. That is just one of the lessons you learn in life, sooner or later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Light in the Tunnel

A thirty second sketch, done with a china marker while standing in the subway.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


This picture comes from a painting completed sometime last year.  Using old material can be a fruitful.  It is painted over a faint winter landscape depicting moonlight shining over a frozen bay covered with fresh snow that fell all day and all night during the 12th day of Christmas.  For some reason the scene of fresh snow and barred passage brought to my mind the story of the young Abe no Nakamaro, poet and timekeeper, who never returned to his homeland.  But that's all gone now.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

There's a famous Jack Chambers landscape in the AGO showing an overpass over the 401, Ontario's biggest and busiest highway. It is an oddly shocking painting. Not because there is anything shocking about highway overpasses, of course - they are banal enough objects. But that banality rendered in gleaming oil paint with Canaletto-like attention to detail is calculated to make you rethink your ideas about landscape.

Well, this picture by Tarragon is neither detailed nor an oil painting. What is interesting about it is that he made it - on an iPad - in those fleeting seconds as the overpass approached at 100 kph. Which is another way to rethink our ideas about landscape paintings.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Off the Piazza

Looking south from Piazza Republica in Florence, Italy. This was drawn quickly with a micron, and coloured with watercolours.

Monday, January 21, 2013

a harmonica player

Drawn from life at the Grad Club at the University of Western Ontario. It's one of those quick, 20-second sketches that one can keep doing all night.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A lull in the wind

In this ink drawing, Tarragon has employed strongly contrasting brush strokes to enliven a naturalist subject with a richly calligraphic texture.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Arno looking east

Years ago, I lived in the extreme east of Florence. It was an unremarkable but unsqualid neighbourhood, for the most part, ornamented with unfriendly-looking modern churches. But just to the south, on the river, you encountered an informal zona rosa of the Nigerian prostitutes - the woods in this picture were a dubious place at night.

In the daylight, however, the river was lovely. Especially, as here, when the sun creeps back after a warm rain.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Asleep and dreaming

James strikes - or reclines into - a pose.

Drawn with a brush pen and a red china marker, in about ten minutes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Young Tess feels the strain of modernism.

There's something about portable computing technology that makes Tarragon think of 19th century literature, apparently. It's probably the stress of altered circumstances, as when a young maiden knifes the wrong man and ends up dead herself.

It was sketched on an iPad using the Procreate app, while waiting for the spaghetti puttanesca to finish.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Flat Lands at Night

The vastness of southern Ontario, as glimpsed through the window of a car at 120 kph. Tarragon had to fix the image in his head and work quickly.

It's a sketch done on an iPad, using the Procreate app.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013