Friday, November 30, 2007

Glasgow University

Glasgow University
We arrived at the Kelvingrove Museum twenty minutes before opening time so I took the opportunity to sketch the fairytale gothic towers of Glasgow University that could be seen on the other side of the park.
410mm x 145mm pen and watercolour in sketchbook

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The view from the Burrell collection café

For me, the most exciting part of seeing the Burrell Collection was the building in which it is housed. One part of the building has a glass wall and roof and is built right inside mature woodland so that you are walking amongst the trees with dappled light falling onto the works of art displayed. So I’ll add that to the list of features I would like when I build a house should I ever win the national lottery.
200mm x 145mm brushpen in sketchbook

Flo asleep on the plane

I don’t want to jinx it but I have to tell you Flo found out today that she will be having an interview with her first choice university, so she’s passed two hurdles, just one more rather terrifying three day interview to face. She said that in some ways she would have been relieved to have been turned down at this stage as she already has offers from her third, fourth and fifth choices. And the thought of being turned down after getting even closer is so much more heartbreaking. I’m so nervous and excited for her. And I know I have to be prepared to be there for her if she’s disappointed.
100mm x 145mm pen in sketchbook

Hugo in the hotel bedroom


410mm x 145mm pen and watercolour in sketchbook

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hugo waiting for his pizza

After a very early morning flight to Glasgow we were ravenous by midday and were the first people in the restaurant. We then went off to view the Burrell collection. Glasgow was freezing and a lot of the museums or Mackintosh buildings are shut from November to March, so I wouldn’t recommend going at this time of year.
410mm x 145mm pen and watercolour in sketchbook

Friday, November 23, 2007

Smiling Julie

This is Robin’s first attempt at drawing since he was at school. I rather like this happy looking version of me – it’s far more joyful than any of my self portraits. I’m off to Glasgow with Flo and Hugo for a few days so there'll be a break in posting for a while.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Flo lying down

flo lying down
I’ve discovered that portraits of people you love, or even just people who interest you, is the most fascinating kind of art twenty or thirty years after it has been created. While sorting out my old artwork I’m finding it quite difficult to throw away some truly terrible pieces simply because the subject matter is of such interest. Whereas I’m not half as attached to some fairly competent pieces that are more anonymous landscapes, still lives or life drawings. So I’m really glad to be doing all these family portraits as I’m sure I’ll enjoy looking at them twenty years hence. I still haven’t nailed Flo – though this one is one of the better ones.
350mm x 190mm brushpen in sketchbook


An illustration I did for an Annual Report that I designed and illustrated a couple of decades ago.
210mm x 300mm watercolour and black ink

Monday, November 19, 2007

Simple Simon says…

290mm x 200mm brushpen in sketchbook

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Glynn Boyd Harte in 1978

glynn boyd harte in1977

I was delighted to come across this picture as I sorted out my old artwork. Now I know this isn’t a very good drawing, but bear with me. That day the model failed to turn up for the life drawing session, so our tutor Glynn posed until she did. He was renowned for being a bit of a dandy and would often wear extraordinary items of dress such as spats. I love the work he produced – gorgeous lithographs, coloured pencil work and watercolours. He was a very talented, prodigious and successful artist/illustrator and I’m lucky to own one of his limited edition lithographs which was a generous present from him. Sadly he died far too young in 2003. Earlier in the year (before my holiday) I bought his illustrated book about Venice and take a look at the self portrait on the dust cover flap. It tickled me that it was still the same flamboyant foppish Mr Harte that had taught me.

glynn boyd harte book flap

Glynn was far too much of a fogey to be remotely interested in the Internet so I’m afraid that there are only a few places you can see his work, but if you’re interested look here and here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Quick portrait exchange

Xavier wanted to draw me after I’d drawn him. You can see his portrait here.
145mm x 140mm brushpen in sketchbook

Friday, November 16, 2007

Valerie sitting

valerie sitting on stool
500mm x 330mm watercolour 30 mins

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Art foundation course studio reflected

art foundation course studio reflected in the kettle
This drawing takes me back to being eighteen and with all my life ahead of me. Sorting through my old work it’s interesting to see how appallingly bad some of my work was and how surprisingly competent some pieces are.
This is a huge pencil drawing 480mm x 450mm

Mummy was a person once.

I’ve been sorting out the contents of an old planchest (because we cannot afford to keep on hiring a garage to store stuff we haven’t looked at for seven years!). Anyway I found this old polaroid of me – almost faded to white so I’ve used some Photoshop trickery to bring back some colour. I like all the scuffs and fingerprints so I’ve kept those. My darling son Tom said ‘When I look at all this stuff it makes me realise that you were a person once’. I know what he means. I am so subsumed in what I am to other people, it can be difficult to be me. Anyway a lot of my future posts will be scans of old work that will just have to have a virtual existence from now on.

Digitally re-touched old faded polaroid

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Life drawing again

460mm x 270mm watercolour and graphitint pencils. 45minutes

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Walking to school

Our walk across the Woodland Park. Xavier came up with a variation on the ‘don’t step on the lines’ game. We had to avoid the leaves, which was pretty challenging.
200mm x 145mm pen in small sketchbook

Monday, November 12, 2007

Xavier drawing

I don’t know how any of you mothers or grandmothers feel, but I find it quite hard to throw away the artistic efforts of my children, but I know if I don’t I’ll be overwhelmed with sculptures made of cereal boxes stuck to yoghurt pots – which to the untrained eye can just look like heaps of household litter. My solution is to photograph or scan such items and create a blog just for Xavier. It should be interesting to see his progress.
Pen in small sketchbook

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Old self portrait

I’ve been clearing clutter and I came across this drawing I did when I was a student and learning about perspective. I remember that we learnt some very complicated maths, almost all of which I have forgotten, but by using the maths I created this anamorphic self portrait. If you view the picture like this:
Then what you should see is this:

Graphite on A3 sheet of paper

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Robin in his wedding suit

We went to a charity concert last night at the Methodist Central Hall in London. All that exercise is obviously doing Robin some good as he can still wear the suit he got married in 20 years ago. As for me, four babies later, I’m afraid that the wedding dress is simply something to admire on the hanger rather than on me.
200mm x 145mm pen in small sketchbook

Sketches at the concert

I wasn’t in the best position for sketching – I couldn’t see Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’ Connor, when he did his party piece (playing a Schubert duet on the piano) but at least I managed to scribble down a rough sketch of the very wonderful trio Instant Sunshine. Do go and have a listen to some of their songs here.

All sketches 200mm x 145mm pen in small sketchbook

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pastel Flo


Flo was doing her homework while watching television so her head was bobbing up and down and she was wearing her glasses. Well that’s my excuse for yet another portrait that bears little relationship to my lovely daughter.
260mm x 300mm pastel

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Double profile

Tom and Robin this evening. There’s something rather wonderful about lowest common denominator TV. You don’t pay a great deal of attention to it, everyone talks all the way through it and so it’s the kind of television that can be very sociable for the whole family. The other members of the family rarely want to join me watching serious dramas or programmes about art and architecture. Nobody wants to join Robin watching motor racing. CBeebies really only has one big fan in this house. However we all have a raucous time together watching ‘The X Factor’ or ‘The Apprentice’ or ‘You’ve been Framed’. We’ve also experimented with having no TV at all in the house for a period of one to three months at a time (the first time the family reluctantly agreeing to let me have the ban for a birthday present). That was an experiment that in the end everyone agreed had been a worthwhile experience.

380mm x 190mm pen and ink

Glimpse of Sandridgebury House

Xavier and I walked up to the bluebell wood today and I sketched this little glimpse you get of Sandridgebury House from the woods. The house is at the end of a long drive and from every other angle it is hidden behind high walls. This was one of the views I had planned to draw during my One Mile from Home year, but never managed to fit it in.
I was thrilled to hear today from fellow one-miler, Alison. She’s been working on an installation piece about our journey together that is for an exhibition called ‘The Art of Moving’ and it will be on in Canberra in November/December 2007. How exciting is that? My illustrations together with Penny’s and Alison’s in an exhibition the other side of the world. If you followed our journey last year, do have a look at Alison’s 5k radius blog to see the photographs showing the progress of her installation.

200mm x 145mm pen and watercolour in sketchbook

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Tom photographing waves at Duckpool beach

200mm x 145mm brushpen in sketchbook

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Early morning kayaking, Bude

The red and green splodge is Robin crossing the beach to get into the water.
410mm x 145mm watercolour in sketchbook

Waiting for dinner in Boscastle

195mm x 145mm brushpen in sketchbook