Saturday, January 31, 2009

Drawing the TV

I can draw a tiger without leaving my armchair. This was pencil with photoshop added colour and I think the first time I’ve ever drawn a tiger.

Friday, January 30, 2009

More inchies

After his comment on the last lot of minipics, I’ve decided to adopt Owen Swain’s description of these time deprived one inch sketches.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hugo profile

Hugo catching flies.
Pencil in sketchbook.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mother watching swimming child

Pen in sketchbook

Monday, January 26, 2009


Hugo absorbed in skateboarding films on YouTube. And this is my 300th sketch for my family portrait blog.
Pen and ink in sketchbook

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cuddled together

Xavier loves settling into the curve of his father’s arm – he always cuddles Daddy first when he climbs into bed with us in the morning, and I get such pleasure from their delight in each other’s company. This was drawn with Robin’s Grandfather’s lovely old Parker pen in a tiny sketchbook.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


For when there’s only enough time to create a one inch square sketch

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A dark day for comedians

In this house strange cryptic messages appear regularly on the side of the bath (often limited by the available letters) but yesterday’s message was all too obvious. However in the midst of all this joy, please take a moment to empathise with the grief of comedians, sketch writers and cartoonists. What happens to your career when after the glorious send-upability of the Bush years, you are faced with a President who is cool, compassionate and intelligent?*.

*And very handsome.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sweets from Venice

These little pastilles in their gorgeous packaging have been waiting for over a year for me to paint them. I bought them at Venice airport solely for art purposes. It’s been quite an achievement to stop the children ripping open the packaging to eat them.

Monday, January 19, 2009

St Peter’s Church

St Peter's Church, St Albans
After shopping at the Saturday market, I sat at the war memorial and sketched this church. Although the building has been re-built numerous times and the current exterior is nineteenth century it still amazes me that people have been worshipping at this site for about a thousand years.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Xavier and Robin swimming

I wasn’t keen to get chlorine in my hair just after washing it so I sat and drew my boys throwing the rubber frog at each other in the local public swimming pool.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Look, before they disappear

I come back from the market laden down with these and in moments they’re gone. Tom is the main culprit – three or four at a time. This was painted in one of my new hand-made sketchbooks. Although not as gorgeous as books made by proper bookbinders such as Roz, nonetheless there is a deliciousness to a sketchbook made by my own hands filled with creamy deckle edged watercolour paper with hand-painted endpapers and my name blind-embossed on the cover. However I’m not too sure that all this preciousness isn’t a hindrance to creativity as one really has to steel oneself to paint or draw in the thing.Well now the first drawing is done, hopefully I'll stop feeling intimidated and just fill up the pages.

Friday, January 16, 2009

One that didn’t make the grade

The standards are pretty low around here and so there aren’t many pictures that don’t make the grade for this blog, but this one done on the beach in Wales in August was one of them – even I thought it was pretty rubbish. However a day without a moment to create something new has meant I had to pull something out of the ‘Only scan and post when desperate’ pile.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Football boys

Some scribbles from Xavier’s birthday party.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The school pick up

school pick up time
I had to drive because Xavier’s little legs will not get him to Church story group in time, and if I want to be able to park near the school I have to get there early as the cars snake along the road some distance away from the school.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hugo, cracking nuts

Cracking nuts

Monday, January 12, 2009

St Albans Organ Theatre

St Albans Organ Theatre
A visit to the St Albans Organ Theatre (formerly the Organ Museum). A tiny little place that’s open every Sunday afternoon to show off their wonderful collection of organs and mechanical music-making machines. Xavier got to push in the coin to start off the mechanical violin playing machine (that’s the one that always surprises me), but after the first ten minutes it was a struggle for him to be interested

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sketching in below freezing weather

Chequer Street, St Albans
I was determined to sketch outside yesterday, but it was so unbelievably cold. The wobbly lines produced by my shivering hands were so dire that I thought some added watercolour might help and for the first time ever for me the paint froze in the pallette and on the page.This is Chequer Street in St Albans from the roof at the back of the old town hall.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cake topping

xavier robot
On Monday I realised I still had to sort Xavier’s birthday party and cake. How stupid can you get, you have three children – none of whom have a summer birthday and then you go and have a fourth child whose birthday falls a week after New Year’s day. For those of you who don’t have children let me inform you, the summer birthday party is the holy grail. Think cheap, think in your own garden, think cake crumbs all over the grass rather than ground into the carpet. Instead we organised a football, laser gun battle thing in a soft play area which was so expensive per child that I had to keep to the minimum number of children (and suffer terrible pangs of guilt about the children Xavier wasn’t able to invite). Anyway a quick cake topping was organised using this wonderful site and everything came together in the end

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

And another five minute pose


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Five minute pose

five minute pose
I love it when a model takes advantage of a short pose to hold a dynamic position that he or she wouldn’t be able to hold for a longer pose. If I have my materials prepared (which I didn’t have this time) and if I concentrate fully and create something along the lines of what I’d hoped for, the exhilaration I’m sure must be something like how my more sporty friends must feel after they’ve played a particularly good tennis rally or kicked the football into just the right spot.

Monday, January 05, 2009

On age

In an earlier post I was rightly pulled up by Judith of ‘Not Dead Yet’ for saying ‘the wrong side of sixty’, however for most of us there might be a better or worse side of any age. For me the right side of twenty is definitely this side and the right side of forty is the other side. Though, with the arrival of Xavier some of my happiest years were after forty. In fact when I think about it, I’m quite content with my mind this side of fifty – all that acquired knowledge and life experience. I just wish that my fifty year old brain came packaged in the energetic ache-free body that I had the other side of thirty. After starting this post I see that 91 year old Diana Athill has won the major literary prize – the Costa Biography Award for her memoir, Somewhere Towards the End. Isn’t it wonderful to achieve something like that, she’s gives us all hope.
The picture is completely unrelated to the text and is another one of Nick at the paper mill.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

You say to-may-does, I say to-mah-toes

Playing Scrabble yesterday, Flo was bemoaning the ‘Q’ she couldn’t get rid of because she didn’t have a ‘U’. Tom then said that he’d heard that in American scrabble they have a ‘QU’ character instead. My response was that it was probably one of our snotty oh-so-superior British urban myths where we like to think that our bigger, richer more successful cousins are nevertheless not quite as bright as we are. Then Flo told us an interesting story, apparently the American pronunciation of what we call ‘allah-mini-um’ (aluminium) and what the Americans call ‘a-loo-min-um’ (aluminum) is the original spelling and pronunciation that was employed by the British chemist who isolated the metal. Think ‘platinum’ rather than ‘titanium’. So there you go – Americans more ‘correct’ than us and another comforting myth about American stupidity exploded. However don’t get me on to ‘nucular’
The picture – another one from yesterday.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Nick at the paper mill

Life drawing today, and a fine model who held his poses very well. Makes a change, all the male models I’ve drawn in the past few years (apart from this one) have been the wrong side of sixty.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Sick Xavier

Poor little chap, he’s been vomiting all morning. We’re hoping he’ll have one of his miraculous recoveries so that he can go to the pantomime later on today.
Brushpen in sketchbook

Flo keeping in touch with friends

Brushpen in sketchbook

Nail-biting film

Tom, last night.
Brushpen in sketchbook

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year’s Eve at the Crooked Chimney pub

Robin and I had planned to slob out in front of the TV but after putting Xavier to bed we decided to spontaneously go out to a pub for a bit of couple time as we had some home-grown babysitters available. The pub was in the middle of the countryside so not a prime spot for New Year revels. However I think the staff – who had completely taken over all the best seats next to the only roaring fire in the building – were not best pleased at receiving any guests.