Saints in the café.

saints-in-the-cafe-230916aThese are two local gentlemen. One wears Rasta clothes and nail varnish, the other a nice fedora. Both have walking sticks, which gave me a link to bring them into the same image.

Media used: Wood base, acrylic, pencils, metallic paint, gold paint, silver paint, mod lodge (a painting glue), gesso, white gold leaf, retoucher’s varnish, spangly nail varnish, oil paint thinned with liquin and spray varnish.


Here’s a close up, showing the varnish and mod podge, giving a depth acrylic doesn’t usually have, also see how the pencils and acrylic work together.


This saint has bad eyesight, hence the blurred technique. The size of the hands are consciously large and expressive.

saints-1st-state saints-2nd-state saints-3rd-state
These are 3 earlier states. The painting became calmer as it went along.

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Night Dancing film poster.

night-dancing-poster-h-smallerestA call came late in the night. “I’ve been given your name; it’s said you can design good film posters quick”. And that’s how it happened.

A business card and promo postcard.

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St. Paul McCartney in the storm 1992/2016


This was originally made around 1992 and exhibited in the Oxford FREVDS solo show. Uncovering recently, I thought it needed a revamp.

Paul is in a dressing room and his body language looks defensive, his eyes blank. It made me think about control, here he is at the top of his game, on top of the world but cannot get any time alone.
Paul in this painting was treated like a Saint, in 1992 mannerism was on my mind so he is stretched and manipulated to heighten the sense of discomfort. The 1992 version didn’t even look to much like him, it was the feeling that was the important part, not the recognition of a famous face. I’ve made him more Paul in the repainting, also the hands have a reality to them that was missing in the earlier version.

The mediums used are: acrylic, watercolour, charcoal, pencil and poster-paint. i wanted the texture to be cracking under pressure, almost burnt. With the colour range so muted the textures were concentrated on.


The original image was taken from a rare set of photos of the Beatles, which when I came to revamp the painting, I could not find. So he is now an amalgam of different photos, including these hands.


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Des as Grimaldi.


So, I’m having a small exhibition at the local café. All the paintings I put up are apparently too big for the space – health & safety with a little bit of politics thrown in, you get the picture? Anyway this means I have to come up with some smaller works. So I paint this local character, Des. He likes a joke, does Des, but he’s more than that.
With this in mind I thrash at an old, knackered canvas board between 9 and 1, finding this in the morning, looking all colourful and that.


Here’s a detail. The painting went like this: Read a bedtime story. Black paint, acrylics, then frenzied work with coloured pencils. Some cropping to fit in the frame. Go to sleep.


Here’s Des the next day with his portrait.

Here’s the inspiration for the title:

In the year 1806, a well-dressed man in his twenties visited a doctor who was renowned throughout London for being able to treat what nowadays we’d call depression, but back then was called melancholia.

The patient explained that he felt overcome by a terrible sadness, that he didn’t want to get up in the morning. He could not see any point in his existence.

“With your condition I would normally prescribe a course of my patent powders,” said the doctor, “but it so happens that I have recently come across something which will alleviate your condition much more quickly.

“You must,” he continued, “go to the Covent Garden theatre to see the pantomime, Harlequin and Mother Goose. This is the happiest thing I have ever seen performed on a stage, tears of laugher ran down my face. Why, sir, I can almost guarantee that watching Grimaldi the clown will cure you completely!”

“Ah, but doctor,” said the man sadly, “I am Grimaldi the clown.”

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Auckland Castle website

This project was a collaboration with Piers Aitman (coding), Lynda S, James H and Ann C. It was a pleasure to work with them all. In fact Auckland Castle was full of great people. If you ever get the chance to go I recommend it.

The designing of a large website makes for a long project. It’s a bit like making a reference book where the pages can be any order. Having a strong branding, colour palette and signage was important with all the information on offer.
The illustrations of the buildings was a particularly interesting part, trying to get disparate styles of architecture to have a coherence.

Auckland map homepage

The interactive google map was a nice touch. Notice the amount of portals to different pages. Here’s a close up of the illustrations.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.37.43

If you don’t want to click anything you can just scroll down to a lead-in article about the castle with a drone video.

Auckland castle page

Big plans are afoot.

Aucklnd Castle Spanish Gallery page

Notice the menu bars, taking you to other pages.

Auckland Castle news page

There’s some good photography on the site.

Auckland Castle school page

See the whole site at:

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Drink drawing in wet Wales. Holiday sketchbook 6.

These were also created in the long weekend in Wales. it was rather rainy, so drinking seemed to make more sense than usual.

Trev hands 220816

Five right hands.

As I coloured
I, A’s daughter. She is much prettier in real life. and has the most auburn curly hair.

As boys 200816
A’s sons. It is all too common a mistake to add a few years on a children when you draw them.

Around the table with J N G I and others 210816
The large dining table. One side was drawn by another artist, James Oliver. The scalpel was to sharpen the pencils.

J and T drunken sketch off 210816
Here’s James drawing me, as I draw him… while drinking. Was it whisky by that point? Laphroaig Quarter Cask…
You’ll like his work. See it here:

T not so good 210816
I had a rare occurrence, a face I could NOT get ‘right’. Giving up on it was annoying as the figure drawing was not bad. Sorry T.

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Feel Ortho in Wales. Portraits of the DC family. Holiday Sketchbook 5.

This was a long weekend in the amazing Foel Ortho.
See for more info.
The images have an intense atmosphere to them which wasn’t present at the the time. I did drink a fair bit of Whisky so it might have been that. these works are in an A2 sketchbook and made with pencils – most of which were lost in a Harry Potter themed Cluedo box.

ED 200816
I like drawing ED. He has great presence.

AD in profile
AD has a lively mind.

MMD Wales 200816
M-MD is as sparky as a happy pixie.

GDC 220816GDC. I could not work out where I was going wrong with this image. A real shame as GDC has everything that makes a great subject. The sketchpad was on my lap, therefore the whole image was stretched. Now that I’ve widened it out the image looks better.

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