Tag Archives: sketchbook

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.


Cornish sketches from 10 years ago

We had a week in Cornwall 10 years ago, staying in Polruan and just wandering round the  area with our old dog, who discovered that she really liked being a pub dog. For once I did a number of sketches on the  ground, which are still good memories.

Pict2022This view of our kitchen window shows the steep lane down to the harbour. We walked it several times each day (the dog wanted to go to the pub…)

Pict2021I’ve seen this lovely ketch, the “Bessie Ellen” several times since in different ports. I hope to go on her myself one day as she is a commercial charter boat. This was the first time I saw her and judging by the speed they raised the sails, it was the first time most of this crew had seen her either.

sketchbook 005

Polruan harbour. I was outside sketching. The dog was in the pub eating crisps.

sketchbook 004On the beach. The Cornish coastline is just spectacular. We were back in Mylor last September and are going again next July. Almost perfect sailing and the pubs are delightful. The old dog, sadly, is no longer with us to beg for crisps.




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.

A favourite pose

The foetal pose from behind has always been a favourite of mine, I don’t know why. Looking back through many pictures, I have drawn it again and again. The first one here goes back about four weeks, the others stretch back at least 10 years if not more, I have lost the dates.

Charcoal and pencil
Watercolour birthday card for an old friend. You can never go wrong with a naked lady for a friend’s birthday.
Two sketchbook nudes, just musings on the pose. Pen and ink, chalk and pencil
Birthday card for my brother. Based on a photo on an artist’s anatomy book. pen, acrylic ink and pastel
Three studies in five minutes in a life class. Just done as fast as possible whilst the model decided what pose she was going to choose. Pen and watercolour. this little picture lives in our bathroom, I am very fond of it. Our cleaning lady loves it and asked for a copy for her bathroom

Homage to Klimt, or to Eve at least

Sketch of Klimt’s Eve in the Belvdere, Vienna

I love Gustav Klint’s paintings and even more so his drawings. His last painting of Eve is one of my most loved, and I have seen it several times in Vienna, where I lived for many years as a child. I can never have her hanging on my own wall, but I have this sketch I made of her in 2004. It isn’t great, but it shows how big she is.

Acrylic copy of Eve, Hanging in Daisy Grace
Acrylic copy of Eve, Hanging in Daisy Grace

If I can’t have the original, I can make my own copy, which is shown next . It is in acrylic, not oil, and only about 18″ high, so no one can accuse me of faking it. I also made some effort to complete her, as sadly she was found, unfinished on an easle in Klimt’s studio after he died. It is nealy the only painting in acrylic I have done to date, and I am very fond of her. She hangs in my boat, to keep me company on dark nights.

Eve at home on Daisy Grace with my other girls
Eve at home on Daisy Grace with my other girls

Theyam dancers, Kerala, 2006

kerala2 kerala1

These two sketchbook entries were at an extraordinary Theyam festival near Tellicherry in North Kerala in December 2006. A group of dancers perform at a local temple (which are generally open air in balmy Kerala) They dance for up to three days… The one in the very top left sketch is sitting on a huge bed of roasting wood embers. His skirt is fresh bamboo strips which must give enough protection to survive. He had to be pulled off the fire by helpers as he is nearly unconscious. Some costumes are nearly 20ft high, carried on a dancers shoulders. Crashing drums, blaring shaums and bomb like fireworks going off all the time. Makes Christmas carol services seem a bit tame.

The pictures were scribbled in my sketchbook and then coloured crouching behind a wall. Atmosphere very friendly and party like..