Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Robin on the laptop

Making his ‘Homer Simpson concentrating’ expression.

Monday, December 29, 2008

One I did earlier

And now with added colour!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas at Far Corner

Far Corner Christmas
The thing about having such a complicated family, is we end up celebrating Christmas several times over. This is a tiny flavour of a day that included 13 adults, 13 children and one dog, lunch, tea and a pirate disco.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A special invitation on Christmas Eve

Xavier received a special invitation to help the elves finish making the toys on Christmas Eve. We went through a special elf passage into a snow-covered winter wonderland. Xavier made a rocking horse, we visited Father Christmas’s reindeer, Xavier decorated gingerbread, we had stories told by Sami people in a tent, we met mother Christmas and went ice-skating. The highlight of the day was visiting the big man himself. Xavier knows that Father Christmas allows other people to dress up as him and stand in for him as he can’t be everywhere at once, however… we think that this one was the real Father Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Café Roma

Twenty years ago when we moved to St Albans from London you couldn’t buy a decent cup of coffee in this town, however like almost everywhere in the UK we’re now awash with the stuff. This café is one of my favourite places to drink a cup of coffee, firstly because it’s not part of a Starcostabucks coffee empire, secondly they don’t use quite as many silly pretentious names for the size of your cup of coffee and thirdly it’s right next to the bus stop for the bus home. I hope they appreciate the fact that I sat outside on a freezing cold Boxing Day to immortalise them.
Pen and watercolour

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Theatre trip with Hugo

Hugo is studying ‘The Woman in Black’ for school drama so a couple of days ago we went into London for a pre-theatre meal and then on to see the production of the play at the Russell theatre. The tiny restaurant near the theatre was like so many long established Italian restaurants that can be found all round the Covent Garden/Soho area. The same menu as they had twenty years ago, signed photos of actors and actresses on the walls, the shelves crowded with strange lurid coloured liqueurs.

If I’d known that they promote the production as the second longest running show in the West End (after ‘the Mousetrap’) I’d have been less inclined to bother – it’s going to be a bit of a tired production if its main claim to fame is that it’s been running for so long. And as I dozed through the first half I was grateful that at least I’d found a website that sold the tickets for half-price.

Merry Christmas everyone


Monday, December 22, 2008

Playing charades at Christmas

After eating a huge, delicious, early Christmas lunch cooked by Sally (in the background of the sketch) we settled down for a hilarious game of charades. My pretty half-sister, Victoria sat still for just about long enough for me to capture her – now why can’t Flo do that?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Tardis

This corner shop is known locally as 'the tardis' because although it's small on the outside it's huge inside.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Found sketchbook

The prodigal sketchbook returns with lovely memories of sunshine days.
Pen and watercolour

Monday, December 15, 2008

Prizegiving at Verulam School

Prizegiving at Verulam School
My son Tom was invited back to his old school to receive a prize this evening. This is the only state-funded single sex boys' school in St Albans. The wood panelling, academic gowns, rolls of honour on the walls together with testosterone-fuelled obsession with sport and general boyish thugishness did not suit Tom which was why he headed off to St Albans Girls' school as soon as he could. Reputedly, one of the members of 60's group the Kinks and comedian/actor John Sessions also went to this school.
Hello to the parents who were watching me sketching if you're visiting.

Last night’s attempt at sleep

An old picture that shows exactly what last night was like for me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hugo and Robin

Maybe I should be done with it and re-name this blog “The View from the Sofa”. I’ve done my back in bending over to wash Rufus after a muddy bluebell wood walk, so together with my dodgy knees all art will have to be the kind of thing that can be done with the minimum of movement.
Pen ink and wash in sketchbook.

Friday, December 12, 2008

O' Neill's Bar, formerly The Peacock

O'neill's Bar St Albans
Feeling as though I’ve been slacking a bit on the Urban Sketcher’s blog, so I stopped to sketch in the car on the way back from getting the grey covered at the hairdressers.

At the hairdressers I had a man sitting next to me having the same thing done to his hair. I know I’m probably horribly old-fashioned but I’m not sure whether I’m keen on these body conscious men. The latest L’Oréal ad with Piers Brosnan spouting the merits of man moisturiser and finishing off with ‘…because you’re worth it’ makes me cringe.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tom exercising

Tom has discovered the joys of gentle electric shocks while you watch television. This has to be to be one of the silliest exercise cons and I promise you I didn’t buy the thing, but Tom seems to enjoy watching bits of his body flail round involuntarily, even if his chest ends up covered in round red marks.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tom and Hugo

Sepia ink in sketchbook

Monday, December 08, 2008

Flo Home

Sepia ink in sketchbook

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lunch with Robin at the Old Chequers pub

We drove to Oxford this morning to pick up all of Flo’s things. She isn’t allowed to leave her stuff in the halls of residence over the holidays as the colleges make a small fortune renting out the rooms for conferences*. She’s visiting friends over the weekend so we’ll have her home on Monday.

*and unfortunately sometimes to bogus ‘universities’ like this one, who use photographs of the facilities to make their websites seem credible

Brush pen and watercolour in sketchbook

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Rufus relaxed

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Monday, December 01, 2008

Fishpool street, St Albans

This is a gorgeous olde-worlde residential road leading to the centre of St Albans. I imagine I will probably go back to draw different parts of it several times for the Urban Sketcher’s blog.
Pen and watercolour in watercolour moleskine