I’ve said that I’ve been drawn to the styles of Bill Buchman, with his very loose, brightly coloured figure studies. I have been working on his style, to see what I can take from it. But then when  looked at the ink painting below, which I must have made 15 years ago and now sits on my window ledge, I can see why I like his style. This is entirely acrylic ink, both as washes and as linear overdrawing.


Revisiting some old drawings


This was a sketchbook entry from some years ago. The parish church in Schladming in Steirmark. I was waiting for a train, so at outside and sketched this classic onion doomed Austrian church. The colours were all added later in the day when I got to my next hotel.


This is not a proper sketch, as it is taken from a couple of photographs I took in rajasthan. I like it because they were just a couple of scribbles I did on the back of another drawing when I was bored in a class. It was only after I had finished them that I suddenly realised that they were quite good. The last throwaway scribbles are often the best.

Last life class this year.

I shall miss the class next week so this is the last one of this year. We have just had old men as models this session. I shall be hoping for more females next term.


This sketch is in conte crayon on tinted watercolour paper. I am quite pleased with it as a quick study. I had tried a couple before on a smooth drawing paper and the marks were so dull I just stopped and threw them away. This textured paper is a bit mechanical (it is machine made Bockingford, which is quite good stuff) but gives a much better mark.


This final sketch was entirely in the cheap Pentel oil pastels that I bought last week. I think they are excellent and just £2.99 for a complete set of nearly 30. The texture of the paper works again. I got the head in the wrong position so just drew over it in dark blue, to show where it should be. It gives a nice dynamic to the drawing.

Figure Drawing, Life Drawing, and Abstract Painting – Bill Buchman Figure Drawing

Bill Buchman nude
Bill Buchman nude

Figure Drawing, Life Drawing, and Abstract Painting – Bill Buchman Figure Drawing.

This is the website of Bill Buchman, whose book on Expressive figure drawing I am mining at the moment. I am impressed, especially when I discovered that he is also a skilled jazz pianist. I always admire people who do more than you realised.  Life is multi-track and you need to record on all of them to really enjoy it.

Latest life drawings

I set a new record, seven drawings in one evening class. All of a retired man who looked remarkably fit. I kept thinking that if I looked as good as him at that age, I would be very content. Then I had to admit I probably was that age already.


The three standing sketches are in soluble crayon and oil pastel. I like simple standing poses, they are really hard to get right.

Then four shots at a reclining pose, with the best two here.


The first is in black conte crayon. Done in five minutes at the very most. I like conte, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I think it does here.


This final one was done in the last ten minutes of the class. Just an oil pastel scribble, doing the first sketch with red and blue pastels held together and then worked on in a dark blue line. All drawn on a good, tinted watercolour paper, which helps hugely.

Travel in North East India

Just three more photos from our visit to North East India last April. These are  from Calcutta, or Kolkata, however you want to write it. I do like it as a city, but it can be challenging by its sheer size and contrasts.

Dried clay artist

This was taken in the district where they build the extraordinary dried clay sculptures of goddesses and gods, for submersion in the Hoogly River. This artist was painting exquisite cobras. I assume they were just air dried clay as well, as I could see no kilns. The quality is excellent. Most figures were life sized or larger.

Ready for dressing

These figures are dry and ready for painting and dressing. I thought they were of Durga, but I also thought she always rode on a lion or tiger, so I may be wrong. The small one on the right in the moulded sari is not typical. Most of them are modelled nude and then dressed in real silks after painting.

A finished goddess

They are spectacular when complete, and will eventually end up in the river, and the whole cycle of digging clay from the river and returning the gods runs again. Essentially Hindu.

First responses to Bill Buchman’s book

Out of my head 2: twisted torso

My first picture, after reading just part of the book. I like it (the book). He is exploring very fast, fluid drawing, which is what I always want to do. I have had a box of soluble crayons for ages but could never achieve much with them. But they are starting to make sense now.

Out of my head 1: just an imagined pose in soluble and oil pastel

This second imagined pose is again soluble crayon, but with added oil pastel. I think as a resist, it could work well. The trick seems to be too draw so loosely that the viewer is forced to see what they think is there, rather than what is…

Blast from the past: Beardsley copy

Copy of Beardsley’s Salome

I made this copy of Aubrey Beardsley’s Salome with the head of St John when I was not quite a student, in about 1969. It was done with a Rotring pen and copied from a postage stamp sized illustration in the Encyclopaedia Britannic, so I was, and still am, quite impressed with the result. It hung in my room as a student, and how it has survived until now I don’t know