Saturday, 27 December 2014

Hope you had a good one.

Last few days of the year now...

Face to the future, eyes clear, into the winds.

Monday, 22 December 2014

More snug folk

Sounds like characters from Middle Earth or something. No, just people wrapped up against the cold.

On their smart phones of course.

Over the term of running this blog the smart phone has gone from a novelty to remark about when seen to something everyone now spends every waking second staring at. Mankind has evolved these past five years, I have seen it happen.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Swathed in the scarves of winter

It's like we all have these art nouveau swirls permanently wrapped around our necks these winter days.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Laying in red

Not 100% sure about this. Some good things happening, but some less good as well.

The model was laying on a red shawl so I let the colour bleed across the whole drawing.

Pleased with the head, but odd spinal shift happening further down the body. 

But learning for stuff.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Messerschmitt Bf 109

Had to look up it's exact name.

Not brilliant and had several goes at the tail and still not right, but an interesting subject to try.

I like how it's guns are in what look like duck nostrils in the nose. 

This one is in the RAF museum in Hendon.  Went there for a day of sketching with Mark, an engineer and certified airplane nut who filled the day with facts and histories and stuff I didn't know. and now do. 

A good companion for a good day.


...sneeze with a mouth full of porridge !

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Paused Video

Have got somewhat inspired by this watercolour I did at life class last week.

Have been exploring working like this some more. Will post as they make sense.

There is something in the overlaying of colour that reminds me of the colour you sort of see when you pause a DVD. Yellows and greens that flicker at the edge of things. When you see the chance electric spectrum that is being used to make the colours.  Do you know what I mean ?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

2 of the same

Two sketches of the same person.

One fast, the other more considered.

This note book was originally used as a prop in a board room scene, so the writing you can see was left over from that, from what the actor wrote in it during the scene. Ha.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Something in the water.

I swear.

After my encounter with personal space Lady I thought I had been there, done that...

But last night, on the train home...

I was quietly sketching some fellow at the other end of the carriage, minding my own business ( to a degree ) Then this guy sits down next to me, sees what I am doing and leans in to watch. Oh yes I thinks.

He then put out his hand and angles my sketch book to give him a better view !

I take this as a sign, and mutter something about the subject having moved and stop sketching and close the book.

And he grabs it from me and sits, leafing thru the pages.

The woman opposite him gives him a dirty look on my behalf. He grumps and asks " May I ? " Seeing as he already has it open in his hands, it seems the advantage is his. I nod yes. He skims thru it, and then announces he has often wondered what ability he would rather have, to be able to sing or to draw. In retrospect I should have said the ability to have decent manners would have been a good start.

He decided he would like the be able to draw and tosses it back to me.

I am assuming he was a bit drunk, but he may just have been a grade A twat.

I am leaning towards twat.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

new diet sensation.

Hey, look. Somehow I have managed to scan this one all fairground mirror skinny. How did I do that ?

Nope. Can"t seem to alter it either.

Oh well.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

In profile

We all have a good profile. 

Saw the excellent 'Mr Turner' last night.  He wooed Mrs Booth, the Margate widow by praising her profile. Must try it some time.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Excuse me Missus.

Was on the train, minding my own, sketching, going into town, when this Woman literally barrelled down in the seat next to me with a lot of grumping and sighing. As if she thought I should move and leave the seat to her. There were plenty of other empty seats and I had a good view of people where I was, and I was there first !!!!

Then she sees I am drawing and starts laughing and leaning in to see. Now I am pinned against the carriage wall and she is leaning against me trying to see over my shoulder ! I have had sex with less body contact that this. I smile, but don't engage. And it's like she thinks I haven't noticed her, and she leans EVEN MORE. Her head is almost in between me and the book ! I can smell her hair and the fact that she smokes. And she looks at me and then the drawing and then me and it's like she is screaming, TAKE NOTICE OF ME. And it is so weird. 

So I show her the sketch, and she laughs. but doesn't back away. It's like a child watching me, and all I can do is keep shading and wait for the next stop to get off.

This is the sketch.

It is of a woman in a scarf. Can you sense the weirdness in the shading ?

People are freaky.

Monday, 10 November 2014


A few folk from yesterday.

Need to get sketching again. 

Those folks won"t draw themselves....

....... well, the self portraitists among them will, of course.

Like this one. Originally it felt way off and I thought to abandon it and start again, but on later viewing it works alright.

See, never self censor.

While I was away...

... how did you all do ?

Bet you thought I had run away or something. No such luck. Just busy and... well it's been an odd year of blind alleys, but I am sufficiently energised now to face a few more dead ends again.

And, hehe, looking at the stats I had 140 page views on oct 14th ? Whoever you were, thanks. That will remain a record I think.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

No drawing to accompany...

...but overheard yesterday...

Three blokes comparing their tattoos.

"It's too dark. It's supposed to say 'LIFE IS A GAMBLE', but you can"t read GAMBLE.

Splash it abaht

Want to be more, I think the word is 'painterly', in my work.

Was in the National Portrait Gallery introducing a friend to the delights of John Singer Sargent, and how his work is as much about the paint as the person. And in the BP Portrait competition exhibition there is a piece by Simon Wright I liked which was as much paint as portrait. ( And somehow not as good online as it is in front of you )

Was pleased with this piece from the week before last.

Still way off what I want to be able to do, but in the right direction. 

I get too enslaved to wanting to do "a good drawing". I need to loosen up more. not in my paint or my hand, but in my ego. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A happy accident

At Life drawing...

Was playing around a bit, and did a thick dark wash and then started scrubbing the colour back to lighten the wash in preparation for drawing the model, and the holder area just seemed to magically appear on the paper. So I let it develop more and ended up with a drawing ( painting really ) I am very pleased with.

Scanner has picked up paper shadow, so enlarge it too see it better.

But then spent the rest of the session trying to recreate this and ended up with over worked stuff I do not like.

Is this an example of the 1 % that the rest of the drawings were leading to ?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A little back view

A two minute pose done in the sketch book.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Are you following me ?

Or am I following you ?

Drew the same model at two completely unrelated life drawing sessions ! Guess I am reaching the optimum level at which the finite amount of models within the M25 meets the number of hours modelled in a week.

Is there a mathematical equation for that ?

Anyway here she is on the tuesday in Holborn...

And here she is on the friday in Watford*...

I mentioned this coincidence ( is it technically a coincidence ? ) and she laughed and said she was amazed how people got around. 

* not that anyone should really admit to being seen in Watford on a friday.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Reader, I married him

Well, no, I don't think she did. But she was so intent on her copy of Mansfield Park, and I know it is a misquote and all, but it seemed to fit.

Monday, 16 June 2014


More life drawing.

And although I am elevating myself way above breathable air by saying such, I am still kind of channeling Leonardo Da Vinci.

Sunday, 8 June 2014


Been making leaps and bounds in life drawing.

Did this the other week. Very pleased.

And a great model. His name is Adrian, and he was even on the telly the other night, modelling. I have done several drawings I have been pleased with of him.

He has excellent muscle definition. Not 'ripped' or 'chiseled' (words I only know the meaning of in a purely semantic fashion), just natural. How I would look, if I starved myself to death.... and then got reborn to an entirety different genetic line to my current ( much loved but undeniably stodgy ) East Anglian coagulation of chromosomes.

And, interestingly, this was the first time i had ever really engaged with 'the willy'. You usually fudge around it, or describe it in a quick line, a stroke (ahem) of paint.  After all, it is just a part of the whole. we all have one. (yes I know... I'm not that Naive ! But you know what I mean.)

Never posted in May at all - the shame of it. Sorry Blog.

And been visited by Iceland for the first time, which is a surprise as I have several Icelandic friends and would have assumed one of them might have been by by now.

Sunday, 27 April 2014


Lost in thought, he failed to see the person just across the aisle of the slow moving train, sketching him.

All he could think of was "Next time..., next time it would all work out alright."

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Body Brace

A man got on the train the other day and he was bolted into one of those head / body frames. And all the questions start running round your head. " What happened ?" " Does it hurt ?" " How does it fix to you ?"

He rested himself stiffly back into the seat and closed his eyes for the whole journey.

To block out the discomfort ? Or to avoid our sideways looks and unspoken questions ? Do we never grow out of the playground attitude to the different ?

I think he was immensely brave. If that was me I would guess the instinct would be to stay home. Or at least have a companion to travel with.

Swift recovery Sir.

Friday, 25 April 2014

two profiles

From two separate train trips into town.

In both cases I was drawn to emphasis the profile.

A definite theme and style coming through there.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


As the man said, in April folk long to go on pilgrimages.

Am feeling the urge. Have devised a series of walks in growing length. Already done one, now planning the other.

This has nothing to do with sketching at all, but felt like declaring my intentions.

Here is a sketch, to weigh the balance back.

He has a certain, monastic, Chaucerish look to him.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


A Canadian college ice hockey team swept onto the train, a tackle of padded bags and youth, blocking all the seats around me with sticks and limbs and maple clear accents, going to, or just having just been to, a match in Oxford.

Their talk was all of the Oxford rink, and the Oxford girls, and the smoothness of both it seemed. But I couldn't quite tell whether their tales were recent victories or anticipated conquests.

Friday, 28 March 2014

you snooze you lose.

This guy was fast asleep on the train home last night.

Despite the fact that the guy sitting next to him was mildly inebriated ( in a good way ) and insisted the rest of us all talk to each other, because 'that is how friendly they are up in Scotland'.  He said we should all tell each other what we had been up to. I told him about the play I had just been to see. He said he was going to take his flat mate... and then no one said anything more. 

Maybe this guy was just feigning sleep to get out of 'sharing'.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

I will not draw you if you keep on like that.

Sat opposite a woman who kept pestering me to see what I was drawing. Let's see then, let's see. Show me. Go on. Show me. I want to see what you are drawing. Do you do that all the time ?

Her travelling companion just smiled balefully at me, resigned to her determination.

And she so clearly wanted me to draw her.

So I didn't.

I drew this guy instead.


I justified it to myself that she would have been to conscious of me and I don't like that. Plus she would have probably ripped me to pieces if it hadn't been any good.

Does that make me a mean person ?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Another iPad image

Blimey, been busy and not posted much this month. But have quite a few sketches to post.

Took the iPad out for another go yesterday. Still not happy with what I am doing on it but, early days.

I like how, when you type iPad, it automatically capitalises the P. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Got around to taking my i pad out instead of a sketch book.

Got a new stylus pen at the weekend, so seemed a good impetus to give it a go.

Still finding brushes settings I am happy with, but seem to be feeling at home with a few already.

Anyway, here is one of the first foray.

Not quite Hockney. 

Will experiment some more, but liking it so far.

Thursday, 27 February 2014


Just wanted to say THANKS to everyone who comes by here. Either as a regular visitor ( you know who you are ) or the one off, casual wanderer.

Your time here is appreciated.


The Voice of Reassurance

This guy had his phone to his ear whilst working his tablet.

And all he kept saying was...

"Don't worry. It will be fine. I'm on my way to the site now. It will all be fine."

And then he would jab and scroll and look at something.

"It will be fine. I'm going there now, I will be there in an hour."

Point. Scroll.

"There's nothing to worry about."

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Talks and Lectures

From the same lecture as earlier.

This time with speakers.

The two could actually go side by side as they are my view of the room. But the formatting does't allow me to do that.

Picked out the Delegate's lanyard. In red, obviously.

And the number of people who took notes on i pads amazed me. But I will always prefer a book and pen. Again, obviously.

The image being projected on the wall behind the speaker is of a soldier shouting as one of the options on the Youtube next video grid you get after you have watched a clip.  Not someone about to eat his quiff.

I don't remember what the EIS ? in the corner means. Or is it £15 ?

Sunday, 9 February 2014


This young guy was well insulated from both the cold and the world.

He had the obligatory silly wooly hat, complete with cutesy ears, over which he had clamped an impressive pair of noise cancelling headphones. Nothing was going to get to him.

And, when he stood up to get off the train at St. Pancras, it turns out he was carrying an ornate Elven sword which he tucked, Legolas style, diagonally into his backpack. 

Like I said, nothing was going to get to him

Sunday, 2 February 2014

A face in the crowd

The other day someone asked me if anyone had ever recognised themselves on here and got in touch.

I think the chances of that are so phenomenally remote. Given the randomness of both my sketching and people visiting. That has to be a roulette wheel with the worst odds ever.

Anyone care to work them out ?

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Borrow your dog, Sir ?

Had the loan of a friend's dog yesterday afternoon, specifically for the purpose of drawing her.

Her name is Sunny and she was an excellent model.

I like Greyhounds. I like how their muscles and bones are so clearly visible, with just the thinest of skin stretched between the most minimal of points. Ergonomic, efficient, no waste.

There is a very languid Art Deco / Art Nouveau quality about them.

I will have to 'borrow' her again.