Sunday, May 31, 2009

Xavier bike-riding in Spencer playing fields

The blotch in the text is ’cos picnic er didn’t look right. Should it be picnicker? Or maybe just ‘people having a picnic’.

Friday, May 29, 2009

St Leonard’s from Spencer playing field


Thursday, May 28, 2009

The woodland track

I took a short break from work to walk Rufus and sketch, but in an uncharacteristically forgetful moment I somehow mislaid Rufus’s lead. So if anyone local, who follows this blog, spots a blue dog-lead somewhere near or in Langley Wood could you drop it off at this house in the High Street please?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Abu came to tea

Pen in green sketchbook

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wisteria doorway

Isn’t wisteria the most gorgeous plant to have climbing over your house? This little sketch of their front door is for my in-laws who are celebrating a big wedding anniversary soon.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Another visit to Oxford

This time we had a picnic in the park and left Granny, Tom and his friend Will to watch the matinée, of ‘As You Desire Me’ while we visited the Oxford University Botanic Gardens. The sketch is bit wobbly as it was drawn in the car journey home.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Coffee in Oxford

In a student-dominated town like Oxford in the restaurants and cafés you frequently see an older couple with one young person. After taking my daughter Flo out for dinner we had coffee while she went back to the Old Fire Station theatre to get ready for the evening’s performance of Pirandello’s ‘As you Desire Me’. It was great to see her in a wonderful production of a very interesting play. I’m sure taking time to put on a play must be a healthy foil to having your head stuck in mathematics text books.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The view from the bench as Xavier read

We’re so lucky that we have such a lovely walk home. Only one road to cross and then a walk across Jersey Farm Woodland park. This week is ‘walk to school week’, so congratulations to those of you who managed every day with a less delightful route.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hugo after Harry Potter reading

Pen and ink in sketchbook

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sometimes the walk home is too long

Pen in sketchbook

Monday, May 18, 2009

Waiting to get into the pool

Pen and ink in green sketchbook

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Last month in Southwold


A day spent largely keeping my two youngest sons from each others' throats, so something else from the ‘post only when desperate’ pile. Looking at these, on a cold, wet, drizzly day, bundled up in my favourite ancient old jumper, I realise how fortunate we were when we had our weekend away.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Burghley House sculpture garden

burghley sculpture garden
I snatched a few minutes to sketch while Xavier rolled down the slopes of grass behind this sculpture at Burghley House sculpture garden. The little lump next to the second inverted obelisk is Xavier complaining loudly that I’m a terrible mother for not running over instantly to kiss bruised parts better. He cheered up soon afterwards when he got soaking wet in the Garden of Surprises where jets of water would suddenly spurt up from the ground or pour down from above as you walked through archways.

Friday, May 15, 2009

We all laughed…

Tom isn't this ugly
…at this portrayal of Tom. But that’s the bonus of sketching them over and over again – they know it’s just a screw-up, not an intentional insult. Taken from the ‘only post if you’re desperate’ pile.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Little portraits

I've just noticed I’ve been blogging for over four years – blimey!

Pencil in sketchbook

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Time-lapse sketching

We’re delighted to bring you the latest in sketch-blogging technology, where you get to see Xavier sitting by the side of the pool watching himself swimming backwards and forwards and holding on to the rail as he rests after his exertions.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Feet up

My lovely son Hugo in one of his typically contorted poses.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunny Saturday

Some quick sketches from yesterday

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sketching from the Orchard

The Abbey Gateway, by St Albans Abbey, is part of St Albans School – a private boys’ school founded in the year 948. Fortunately we have very good state secondary schools in St Albans, so I don’t lose much sleep about not being able to afford to send my children to this school. The most famous twentieth century old boy of the school is Professor Stephen Hawking. He came to speak to the pupils a couple of years ago and they kindly extended the invitation to pupils from the other St Albans schools, so my two eldest children were lucky enough to meet him. This is one of several lovely buildings that the school is housed in around the Abbey area of the city.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

School pick-up time

Lightning-fast pen and ink sketches that could probably have been drawn outside any school anywhere in the world. I’ve made myself some tiny sketchbooks filled with bristol paper and the smooth as silk paper is perfect for speeding pens and brushpens. Although my handmade books are full of imperfections and wouldn’t stand much scrutiny from experienced, talented bookbinders – it nonetheless delights me that I’ve made a sketchbook that you cannot buy, you can buy pads of bristol paper or board but you cannot buy a bound sketchbook filled with this wonderful paper.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hatfield House fountain

Xavier allowed me to spend a few minutes sketching when we visited Hatfield House on Monday. I’d always known that Hatfield House was where Queen Elizabeth I lived as a child and where she learned that she had become Queen of England. So I fondly imagined, before I moved to the adjacent town, St Albans, that Hatfield would be a beautiful historic English town. Hmmm – well, the graffiti-spattered, decaying, boarded-up ghetto of a town centre that seems mainly to consist of pound shops and charity shops is about as far away as you could get from what I’d expected. However, Hatfield House, the gardens and the park are as grand and beautiful as you would expect the home of a Tudor monarch in waiting to be. And if you live in Hatfield, there are some compensations, access to the grounds is free to Hatfield residents. The management of Hatfield House do make people jump through hoops a little – they need to go to the office next to St Etheldreda’s parish church with two proofs of residence and a passport photo to get a pass, but then year-round they can enjoy the gorgeous grounds for free.

Pen, with digital colour added later

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My son, Hugo

How do you support your grieving child whose best friend, in a moment of teenage impulsiveness, ended his life? My eyes keep leaking as I think of the three sets of parents in St Albans who have all been bereaved of a teenage child last week. Show the people you love that you do love them – there are no guarantees they’ll always be with you. Be kind to people, life can be unbearably hard. Savour every joyful moment. Be thankful.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Guy reading on Southwold beach

His legs should be about a foot longer, but hey at least this way I get all of him on the page.