My own little Degas

I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last week. They have almost a whole room of Degas pastels. I believe these rank amongst the greatest of works of art. I can never have an original, so I thought I would make myself a little copy. I prefer her to my chicken. 

Working on my drawing skills

I’ve decided that I need to improve my basic drawing skills. To that end I am starting to do a lot of small copies of exemplars, starting with Leonardo da Vinci (may as well start high). It is also something I can do in the evening, perched on a sofa. Most painting requires and easel and all the other technology. Drawing just needs paper and pen.

I love drawing in ink. You are stuck with every line, whereas with pencil you can keep fiddling with it. I love charcoal too, but on a larger scale than this. Not suitable to sofas.

Life class watercolour sketches


Ink and watercolour this week. The planned model cancelled and our usual stand-in saved the day. He is an excellent model, can really hold a pose indefinitely, but it wold be nice to have a female model again. They seem now to be the exception rather than the rule.

This is not so much ink and wash as ink and watercolour dabs. Mark doesn’t want even washes, but lively variation of colour. He aso insists on just the three primary colours, red, yellow and blue. All the rest arise from them

Rust belt

Latest mixed media work. I’ve enlarged last week’s sketch and built up a layer of plain and printed collage before I drew the scene on with a set of very cheap white, black and grey chalks. A strangely satisfying image. Maybe soaking to the times. 

Industrial decay


I’m doing mixed media work with Sue Rae again. Very mixed output for certain, but I quite like this, although it is just meant as a study for a larger work based on the idea of ruins in one way or another. I think this was an old blast furnace. Charcoal smeared all over a piece of soft cardboard, highlighted with chalk, a little coloured pastel and lots more charcoal. I think charcoal and decay just work together.

Bluebells in autumn? 

I’ve done about five weeks at watercolour classes since September, but haven’t really liked anything I’ve produced. But I quite like this. Bluebells in the woods, which are a feature of the cotswolds, but not this time of year. Painted using just pieces of sponge and dryish watercolour from tubes. The trees a painted with the edge of pieces of cardboard and the floating bluebells are dabbed on acrylic. Purists would be horrified, but I’m not and I’m not. 

25 and a bit years old

dsc_0705.jpgIt may not look it, but I have largely repainted this nude. Hung on the wall, she just didn’t look right. The major change is the whole profile of her back from her neck to her bottom. Now she is leaning forward a bit more convincingly. Her right arm pit has had an overhaul and I have brightened her hair, possibly a bit too much, to get a bit of colour into the picture. The wooden frame helps her a lot, but I am not convinced gold is the best finish fro it. I may darken it after a bit of contemplation.