Tuesday night life class


We had a new model tonight who held a single pose all evening. Two sessions of 50 minutes each and she didn’t move a muscle, not even to stretch a leg. I did just the one drawing, which I am pleased with, in parts. It is a bit over worked, but partly because the paper was more textured than I realised and charcoal just didn’t look right on it. I rubbed everything n, and then worked over it with pastel and conte crayon. Her left leg is a mess, but only on the drawing. It looked perfectly normal in real life,

Tuesday night life class


We had a beautiful model who for reasons that I can never really understand was having huge tattoos engraved on her side, bottom and feet. I suppose we all want our bodies to be works of art. I really struggled with this pose. First I drew it in pencil. Then went over it with water soluble crayon which didn’t work at all. Finally I dragged a stick of charcoal on its side all over it,followed by white chalk for highlights and finally conte crayon for details. It finally started to work. Never give up.

Travelling with paper and pen, three sketches from three countries

These are three of my favourite travel sketches, all done on the spot with no tarting up afterwards. I think they were all done with a fine tip felt-tip pen, but I honestly can’t remember for sure. I keep changing my drawing media.


Our friend Viv buying matches at the bar in Les Templiers in Colieure in the south of France in 2004. The bar was half a boat, complete with figure head. Viv is so short she had to stand on tiptoe to talk to the bar man. This is the hotel the Fauves lived in early in the 20th century. The walls are lined with paintings and one of the bedrooms has originals by Matisse that he painted there


Our good friend Brian is an excellent pianist and always wanted to play the piano in a cafe in Vienna. One summer he did it, playing Tales from the Vienna Woods in the Cafe Sperl whilst my wife turned the pages for him.


A real challenge. This was one of my earliest travel sketches, in Zanzibar in 2001. We went to a “cultural evening” at the fort in Stone Town, which was in fact really very good. Dancing, drumming and food. I was trying to scribble pictures of the dancers, with a sketchbook on my knee, and them jumping around all the time. The lady in the middle was dancing towards us, banging her head from side to side as she came. The man on the left was the sergeant major, keeping time for the whole ensemble by blasting on a football whistle hanging around his neck. The drummer was beating out crescendos on a battered cooking oil drum. This scribble catches it better than any photograph.

New life drawing workshop

I’ve joined the Stroud Life Drawing drop in sessions today and found them very good. Better than the class in Cirencester, which was held late in the evenings and in a very poor room. These are held in the old Stroud Art College, with aural painting and shamanistic drumming going on in adjoining rooms (all very, very Stroud). An excellent model, who looked good and could hold a pose indefinitely. She must have been the same age as me, so nice to see we oldies can still flaunt it. The first sketches were dreadful, on the wrong sort of paper and wrong medium, but these two in charcoal, conte and some pastel worked quite well. I shall probably go to the Tuesday evening sessions mainly, but you only pay for the sessions you go to, which is very economic. I always miss some.

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Indian canoes (real Indians)


12717836513_9d1151ebf5_oI painted these two little watercolour greeting cards  from a guest house we stayed at in Kerala over New Year’s eve many years ago. Small sailing canoes were passing by in the early morning, heading for the fish market in Tellicherry. I tried to give them very intense colouring in the manner of Paul Hogarth’s screen prints. That was only partially successful, but I have always liked them. They bring back memories of heat and intense sunlight in what was the middle of the European winter.


I have always had a soft spot for camels. No animal makes you feel quite so unimportant. I always feel that they are the one domesticated animal which one day will say “We’re just not going to do this any more”. These were the ones we rode into the Thar desert in Rajasthan to view the sunset over the dunes. Along with 50,000 other tourists. The sunset was not good, but the camels were worth it.