School fair posters.

I thought it was time to get away from my usual tasteful style and go for eye bleeding pattern and COLOUR.

This bit of the A4 post I found on the ground. You can see how the colour was a touch more subtle after a few weeks on the floor.

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Life Drawing. Lady in grey, red and green

Friday life drawing has started again, this time in a small group of talented artists at St.Lukes, South Islington. www.slpt.org.uk I miss friendly The Mary Ward Centre with it’s purpose built life room. The tutor is the same, the great John Close, the room is smaller but interesting and there are different props, including a nice chair.

Lady in grey, red and green. Acrylic and pencil on paper. 95x70cm.
Nice to be using acrylics again, more immediacy and quicker drying time, less worry about paint on my clothes. The paint is mixed from tester pots with names like ‘Scotch grey’, ‘Vineyard and 'de Nimes’. The chair leg really helps the composition, with it echoing the models legs. Note the amount of time spent on the blanket, which in real life is dark magenta.

Some 30 and 15 minute poses.
I felt very calm and just let the work happen. You can see the different techniques used.

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Life Drawing. Here’s Looking At You.

Here’s looking at you. Oil on canvas. 90x90cm.
This probably the last painting I’ll make in the wonderful life room of the Mary Ward Centre, Queens Square, London. Friday nights will never be the same. That large, purpose built space has been one of my favourite places on the planet for the last 8 years. Mary Ward are moving to Stratford, which is understandable but a shame.
This painting is over an old work of mine. I covered the canvas with plaster and coated that with gesso.
There were two live sessions with the model. I found a spot behind a fellow artist, the perspective it gave and the trope of artist painting artist painting model made the composition work harder than normal. On the second session the lady artist didn’t turn up which was a shame, in the last minutes of the time I had an artist quickly take a photo of me in the pose.
In the next few sessions at home, the lady was morphed into a self portrait, colours were changed and the composition tweaked. Finally some art within the painting was added.

Some details.

Previous stages a photo taken outside the Mary Ward Centre and reference material.

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Pencil portraits.

Birthday card. Faber Castell Polychromos Deep Cobalt Green 158. On A4 cartridge paper 400gsm.
So, I had a nice photo of my son, a quick search for an image of the young Napoleon and Viola!


Goodbye Ben. Faber Castell Polychromos pencils. On A3 cartridge paper 400gsm.
An old friend has gone. Lovely guy. Thought this would be a good thing to do for his wife.

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Sketchbooks: Travel.

Gails in South Kensington. Having a coffee. This reminds me of a bus stop picture I made in powder paint circa 1985…

Sketching my son sketching x3. On the Northern line. Showing him differing approaches to starting a drawing.

My son on the train from Bromley. With new basketball.

The Isle of Wight Ferry. For a great party weekend.

On the train from Chesterfield to London. To see my folks. Of course we had to get off half way because of signals.

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Square Sketchbook. Derbyshire landscapes.

The Nine Ladies Stone Circle. Two sketches of a beautiful spot, the end of a fantastic walk.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Ladies

Bolsover Castle, a saucy fun castle and the rather more haughty and expansive Chatsworth.

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Square sketchbook. London Town.

Here’s the view from: Prom number 20, Monmouth coffee, Chilango’s Brewer Street, A bar in Coal Drop Yard Kings Cross and Buck House lawn!

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Life drawing. In the tree plus other works.

Paintings that aren’t bad but weren’t finished, got lost or were overlooked.

In the tree. oil on canvas.
After the session in the life room, what to make with the image you’ve created? On this painting, I made sketches – at one point she was in a library, another sketch she was a queen on a throne. Eventually a tree came into the image, then suddenly the model was up in the branches, really testing your belief in the painting. A stream in Derbyshire helped give the image some perspective and a misty wood / city on the horizon was added. Reflections from the stream on the branches worked well.

Some of the stages the painting went through.


Here are some works that were good but never really finished.

Three times. Acrylic and oil on paper.
This was an experiment in really solid form building with some rich colour.

Yellow nude. Oil on canvas. This painting still has some paint put on it every now and then. The feel of the work is good enough to keep on.
Crumpled paper nude. Acrylic on paper.
Nice enough, but I do have a lot of work now. Prussian blue is great!

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Balance A.

Balance A. Oil on canvas. 40 x 35cm.
At the Mary Ward Centre the theme was Red. I had an old canvas stumbled in blue oil paint.
This shows through on some of the figure, giving the shadows depth. originally there was a plastic lobster where there now is a white book. The hot and cold colours thick and thin paint, detail and space gives the work the title ‘balance’, the A is for the model’s first name.

Some details showing the amount of paint used. A really varied application of impasto, stumbling and glazes.

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Balance

Balance. Oil and pencils on canvas board. 42 x 32 cm.
A balance of hot and cold colours, detail and blank space.
The board was primed with thick acrylic which soaked the oil paint up, making the paint look like dry goache. The composition became a series of right angles. The colours have a fair amount of Naples yellow or Prussian blue.

A detail showing the use of a little pencil, just to give the work more focus.

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Green, blue, white.

Green, Blue, White. Acrylic of grey-green then Prussian blue and Zinc white oil paint sometimes thinned with Walnut oil or Liquin on canvas. 76 x 90cm.
An exercise in painting two colours onto a third. If I was to start again, I wouldn’t have chosen the white as it is too stark when laid on thickly and when thinned looked frosty. The tritone of colour made other aspects of the painting stand out, such as the brushstokes. Making the most of the paint was interesting. I chose a school palette (which looks like what you bake tarts in) and mixed up different amounts of the paint and the walnut oil and liquin ready to put onto the canvas. Tonal values became where the painting worked. You can see this in the black and white photograph underneath. The model was erudite and everyone had a good chat about the history and current state of the modelling world. They had stayed in the same pose for months on end. Imagine.

Some details showing how its works in black and white, the differing brushstrokes and opacities of the paint.

This work was created on Friday at the Mary Ward Centre, 42 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AQ. Click here for a link. https://www.marywardcentre.ac.uk
Doing a regular evening class is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The life room at the top of the building, the tutor and the fellow students mean a lot to me.
Each week for 3 hours I am in a different world.
Why are these courses not more popular?

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Good Dogs.

Good Dogs. Oil on canvas board. 40cm square.
I’m slowly getting the hang of oil paint. This was a secret commission, so was given a photo and a quick deadline.


1. Thumbnail sketches were made of the composition, then the photograph in photoshop was rearranged and colourful bedding added to make the dogs stand out and look opulent.
2. It was a sunny day, so why not start in the garden? Simple colours on a little blue pencil.
3. Oil paint thinned with liquid or walnut oil.
4. A few hours with some smaller brushes and it felt finished.
5 & 6. Details when the paint was still shiny.

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Cricket art?

So, I now have a son who plays cricket. This involves a fair bit of looking at people playing in cricket matches. Luckily I have a sketch book and some pencils to hand. Cricket has rhythms, perspectives, big skies, trees and if he’s playing in Regent’s Park, the occasional lion’s roar.

They speak for themselves really.

A football game as well.

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A tree as metaphor

Growth. Japanese ink and pencil on old watercolour paper. 22 x 22cm.
This was given to an old friend who has been having a time of it lately.
I was thinking of how this tree has had branches snap, has been twisted, attacked by the elements and still pushed it’s way towards the light, year after year. Making it’s way to something beautiful and grand. I wanted to keep the movement, energy and life in the tree.

A detail. How I worked, on the ground in the mud, sitting on the bag, meeting lots of dogs. A photograph of the tree. Only taken after the work is finished.

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Beautiful trees.

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s tree with sheep, summer 2021. Tester pot acrylic and pencil on 1960’s art paper. Around A3. Probably an old imperial size.
Chatsworth is a nice place to spend a few hours, lounging in the grounds, trying not to sit in sheep poo. I had a bit of time, so decided which of the surrounding trees look the most magnificent and proceeded to record it on paper. It has the effect of the strong sunlight and the scale is imposing, once the sheep are seen.

The big tree, Padley Gorge. Pencil on 12″ paper.

Chatsworth view. 9B pencil on 12″ paper.

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Poppies

Poppies in a Derbyshire garden. A bit more thought and time than a sketch, less trouble and strife than a finished work. The teeming life – see the snail in one flower, the spider in the other flower and the tumult of colour was quite something to draw. Very intense in the bright sunshine.

These will be framed and put in the house, so the poppies will be in bloom forever.

A slightly more stylised version with concentration on the diagonal.

Even more sparse, plus the mark making is becoming more like handwriting; OK, the flower is not a Poppy!
Very these are happy diary entries of being out of London, in a beautiful garden and drawing intently in-between family outings.

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Regent’s Park. Woods, the canal, walkers and giraffes (again).

These are all made on Saturday mornings when one of my sons is playing football. I have around 90 minutes to myself, which is nice.

Regent’s Park woods (Changeable weather). Acrylics and pencil. A3.
Regent’s Park canal (Sweeping view). Pencil. Two pages of a 11″ sketchbook.
Regent’s Park Canal (the shy warthog). Pencil. One page of an 11″ sketchbook.
Two Giraffes in 30 minutes. Pencils. One page of an 11″ sketchbook.
Two Giraffes in 10 minutes. Pencil. One page of an 11″ sketchbook.
Regent’s Park walking by. Pencils. One page of an 11″ sketchbook.
Photos of the top two artworks, taken just after the works were made.

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Zoom life drawing. Den Haag.

Den Haag 1. Oil and pencil on gesso / wood. 200 x 450mm. 
I’m not sure if this will ever be finished. Three poses by the great actor Robin. The light streaming through his door really interested me. How to make this effect the painting and the figures within the space. The paint was thinned with zest (a non-toxic turps) and quickly brushed on. 

Den Haag 2. Pencil on paper. 150 x . 
This was originally in colour but works better as a black and white artwork. This has a strange style to it. A touch warped, like a fish-eye lens. As near as I get to Aubrey Beardsley.

Den Haag sketches
As series of different takes on the scene, some worked on by my youngest son, who is better at shading than me.

Robin the violin. Acrylic and oil paint with a little pencil. Framed A4.
What an outfit! I was aiming for Chaïm Soutine style work but the painting failed to progress. Shame, as Robin looked magnificent.

Robin the guitar. Acrylic on paper. 90 x70cm.
A very quick and happy work. It didn’t need much more.

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Life drawing. Lady of the orange, grey and blue.

Lady of the orange, grey and blue. Acrylic, pencil, and thinned oil paint on paper. 90 x 70 cm.
The last pose of the night with a thin blue ribbon draped over the model. It was important to have the line on the floor for the composition. The orange and wash over the figure was added at home, in the studio. There is something nice and simple about the work, with the orange adding some excitement to your retina.

Water Goddess. Acrylic and pencil on sugar paper. 50 x 30 cm.
This pose was so reminiscent of ancient sculpture I could treat the work in the most slapdash manner and it would still come out looking like Ancient Greece. 

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Life Drawing. Storms

Stormy Weather. Ink, acrylic, pencil, oil pastel, compressed charcoal and thinned oil paint on paper. 90 x 70 cm.
This started off at home with some ink I had out and didn’t want to waste. This ink was splatted over the paper with some water and moved about. Then the life drawing session happened, followed at home by the trees, the sky and the rest of the background. An oil wash was put over the figure to make her less like alabaster. The life model has such a strong look there isn’t much need of a story to add. The weather has been changeable and I though of her looking out on the start of a storm. That blue skies and heavy rain time.
There’s some interesting experiments going on with bands of colour and line, multiple colours of similar shade but different medium in the red material. The different sorts of marks being made are consciously done than before.

Dancing at night in Tivoli. Acrylic, pencil, compressed charcoal, and oil pastel on paper. 90 x 70 cm.
The purple wand black stripes were again put down on the paper for no great reason, something to work against or with. 
The model looked liked she was dancing. I added the mysterious orb in her hand as I’d been reading about Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi.
I was going to use some old sketches of the majestic Tivoli on the Stormy weather painting but just happened to start on this one. The strong purple, greens and greys mean that the work was always going to look strange, so I went with it, adding a Van Gogh manic swirling sky. Pleasingly odd.

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