Friday, August 31, 2007

Another beach sketch


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Coming home

Xavier fast asleep in the car with Buzz Lightyear when we came home from Southwold.
Pencil, digitally altered

Rufus on the beach


Guest artist slot

Ha, I put her on the spot when she tutted that time! I’m so pleased she wants to do maths at university!
Pen and ink drawing by Flo

Hugo profile

You may think I’ve been neglecting drawing second son Hugo. However, like ships in the night I’ve only been with Hugo for the odd evening in between his several sailing weeks away this summer holiday. At the moment he’s on TS Royalist and will be back for supper tomorrow before going away for a weekend canoeing competition on the Thames.
Brushpen in square sketchbook

Tom profile

Brushpen in square sketchbook

Robin reading with crosssed legs

Pencil in square sketchbook

The two days of summer

This may well be known as the English summer that lasted two days, and luckily we were in Southwold this bank holiday weekend to enjoy it. These were painted on the beach surrounded by a tumble of children, a dog, and sand blowing into water and paints.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Painting in peace

I set the alarm and jumped out of bed early so that I could paint for an hour (without the tutting) while Flo had a lie-in. This was a small canal near our hotel.
310mm x 410mm watercolour on Arches HP

Quick impression

We were just about to cross the Ponte Scalzi on the Grand Canal when Flo realised she’d left something at the hotel, so as she went back to fetch it, I grabbed a few moments to draw the opposite bank.
Pencil and watercolour

Flo asleep on the plane

Pen and ink in small sketchbook

Realdo in Burano

One day of our holiday we visited the island of Burano in the afternoon and stayed for dinner. The island is very picturesque with brightly painted houses either side of tiny canals. Realdo, our waiter, saw me sketching people from our table and offered himself as a model. So I’ll be posting him a copy of this. Thank you Realdo.
Pen and ink in large moleskine

All dressed up

I took a photo of Flo in this gorgeous dress, on, I think, our last night in Venice. As the photo wasn’t much good I used it a start-off point for this illustration.
Ink brushpen and watercolour in large moleskine (from my photographic reference)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

San Michele

Another vaporetto quickie as we headed off to Burano. This is San Michele, the island cemetery for Venice, and another place to visit next time I visit Venice.
Pen and watercolour in large moleskine

Flo in Florians

I know that Venice is supposed to be horribly expensive, but as London is so much worse we were well prepared. The eight euros each for a pot of Earl Grey tea was worth it to sit in this gilded, painting encrusted tea-room on St Mark’s square. We eventually saw a small exhibition of Whistler’s Venice paintings after being sold the wrong tickets (with no refund) by a sour-faced museum attendant at the Museo Correr (no we really did not want to be route-marched round the archeological exhibits first!). Then we went round the Doge’s Palace which was as much a delight inside as it was outside. The queue for the Basilica San Marco was very long and so we missed the opportunity to see inside, however as I definitely intend to come back I’ll be able to see it then. This is what I always say when I miss seeing something when visiting a beautiful city – despite two visits to Rome I still haven’t seen the inside of the Pantheon, so I’m sure I’ll go back as I still have something I definitely want to see.
Sepia ink-pen in large moleskine

Venice scribble

Flo was dozing in her seat at the back of the vaporetto, so I snatched a moment to draw the scene as it flashed by.
Sepia pen and watercolour in large moleskine

Botticelli in Venice

This serendipitous photograph will have to count as art for my family portrait series as the girl would not stay still. She couldn’t even manage it when I warned her that this was going to be a flashless long exposure photo!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Paradiso Café

195mm x 125mm ink, brushpen and watercolour
125mm x 195mm ink, brushpen and watercolour

Flo and I spent much of a wonderful day at the Giardini Biennale, wandering round the pavilions and looking at all the art. We started with a coffee at the Paradiso café, surrounded by sculptures of swimmers by
Carole Feuerman. We then toured round the gardens, stopping only for a picnic lunch. The Pavilions in all their different styles of architecture are just as much a part of the delight of the experience as seeing the art. There was a great deal of thought provoking and interesting art, though generally speaking we tended not to be that keen on video installations (if I want to see a film I’ll go to the cinema) unless they were presented beautifully (such as the installations in the Australian pavilion by Daniel Von Sturmer). Our absolute favourite exhibition was by French conceptual artist Sophie Calle. The idea was fascinating (she asked 107 different professional women to respond to the e-mail she’d received from her boyfriend, in which he dumped her). So from a copywriter’s analysis of his use of language, to a translator explaining how to convey precisely the writer’s tone and intention in another language, to an actress reading the letter while chopping onions, she really managed to get this man out of her system. And all of this was presented beautifully. I can’t find a link that does justice to the visual beauty of Sophie Calles work, but if you’re interested in reading more about the project, have a look at this article here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Prosecco and pizza

The view from the restaurant where we had our first meal in Venice. You really do have to see Venice before you die.

Pen and watercolour in Moleskine

Sleepy Flo


After a wonderful three days in Edinburgh which included seeing Simon Amstell, Mrs Barbara Nice, Nicholas Parsons, Barry Cryer, the play Swingers, another play whose name escapes me, a wonderful show about the life of Woody Guthrie, Mervyn Sutter presents the fringe, numerous street theatre events, eating out at Valvonna and Crolla and The Kitchin, having afternoon tea in the Elephant Cafe (where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter) we flew home, offloaded all our worn clothes, grabbed our pre-packed bags and set off for Gatwick airport and Venice.
Pen and ink in small sketchbook

View of Leith Street from the hotel balcony

I didn’t have time to add colour to this on our last morning in Edinburgh, but may do later now that I have the monochrome version scanned. I’ll be able to show how you could see the sea in the distance.

Flo and her best friend in Edinburgh

As usual a hopeless attempt to capture my ever-moving daughter. Both girls were thoroughly enjoying star spotting (Keith from ‘The Office’, Nicholas Parsons and Frank Skinner) while we waited for the next show so I failed to capture either of them.
200 x 145mm pen and ink

Friday, August 24, 2007

The front of the Glasshouse and the curse of the artist’s pen

This is the front of the gobsmackingly gorgeous hotel we stayed at in Edinburgh. You can catch a glimpse of our delightful doorman, William, in his very undoorman-like outfit of black fedora and dark double breasted pin-striped suit. The routine when we were in Edinburgh was to breakfast at Valvona and Crolla and then hit the town, soaking up the atmosphere, seeing the shows we had pre-booked or booking more tickets to slot into the gaps. Obviously with so many shows on you can only scratch the surface – even if you were there for the duration of the show.
I am still completely exhausted after our time away, so finding it difficult to catch up with scans and posts, nevertheless I set out this first summer-like evening to take Rufus for a walk and to see the devastation of the Hill End farm barn pictured below (which went up in flames while we were away). This post
on my One Mile blog explains what I mean by the curse of the artist’s pen. The barn looked rather attractive, so it’s sad that it’s gone, but fortunately no people were hurt in the fire – just the sets from the TV programme Top Gear, which were being stored there.
Pen and watercolour in sketchbook

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

View from the Edinburgh hotel roof-garden

I’ve been back from my break a couple of days now. It was absolutely wonderful and absolutely exhausting. Two such beautiful contrasting cities – Edinburgh and Venice, but both demanding a helluva lot of walking – up and down hills in Edinburgh and up and over bridges in Venice. I felt like the glamorous cultured people you see on television – the Edinburgh festival at the beginning of the week and the Venice Biennale at the end of the week.
I had no idea that Edinburgh was so gorgeous – and it was such fun to be there at festival time. Venice was just out of this world. I went at the worst time you could go – hot and crowded with tourists – but it was still a feast for the eyes.
I wasn’t able to draw as much as I would have liked, but I would much rather have had my impatient daughter tutting at me every time I whipped out my sketchbook, than to have been deprived of her company. So a very memorable week. More pictures to come.
I tried to frame the view so that the composition of each page worked independently, in case I didn’t have time to finish it off.

Pen and watercolour in sketch book.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hill End Farm in the evening


Xavier playing with Buzz Lightyear

My last chance to draw Xavier before he went off for his boys’ adventure with Robin, Tom and Hugo. As you can see he moved before Buzz could be included in the drawing.
There will now be a short break in posting while I have my holiday but I’ll be back soon.

85mm x 120mm pen and ink.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Please can I have some apple?

145mm x 100mm pen and ink

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tom in Crystal Castles t-shirt

Another concert another t-shirt!
200mm x 235mm brushpen in sketchbook

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Men on the train

The reason I haven’t been scanning and posting regularly recently is that I’ve been busy finishing off work before my holiday and getting ready for a presentation in London. These sketches were done on the train there and back. One of the questions I was asked (in the presentation) was ‘How do you keep yourself creatively fresh?’ and the answer I gave – without needing to take a moment to think about it – was, blogging. Yes, I truly believe the wonderful Innernet has given all of us solitary home-based graphic designers a wonderful way of showing and sharing our ideas, sketches and drawings which keeps us excited and interested.
Pencil sketches in small moleskine

Rufus in grass

95mm x 65mm brushpen in sketchbook

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Robin lying down

270mm x 200mm pencil on cartridge

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rufus in the woods

150mm x 120mm brushpen

Monday, August 06, 2007

Tom wearing Cajun Dance Party t-shirt

Tom never thinks he has enough t-shirts. He feels that he must have a t-shirt for every single music band that he likes. This is one of them. It’ll be interesting to see in a couple of years’ time whether he’ll view this t-shirt as a sign of innate good taste or cringingly embarrassing. I, of course, am far too much of an old fogey to have any idea and need to read Tom’s music blog if I have any hope of keeping up with what the kids like. Having just had a quick skim through his blog (checking there isn’t anything that might shock my readers before I link to him) I approve of the fact that he rates Bjork – who even to my Radio Four ears* seems startlingly original – so maybe he’s quite good at this music reviewing thing.
*to non-English readers Radio 4 is the epitome of middle-aged, middle-class, middle England talk radio and the only radio station I have on – and you can now listen to it live over the internet!
345mm x 190mm pen and ink in sketchbook

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Tom with Tintin hair

Tom has joined me on this dyeing lark. He went for blonde – which on top of the previous dark blue turned the hair a carroty orange at the tips. So off he went for a hair cut to remove as much of the orange as possible, and now his hairstyle has a marked resemblance to Tintin’s.
345mm x 190mm pen and ink

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Covering the grey

At last I’ve bitten the bullet. It’s bad enough for Xavier having such an old mother so I’ve decided not to go grey gracefully, but rather to join the ranks of women heading off to the hairdressers every six weeks or so. Having only been to a hairdresser less than half a dozen times in my life I will just have to think of all the money saved in the first half of my life rather than begrudge the expenditure now.
85mm x 130mm pen and ink

Hill End Farm and a thirsty dog

I sat in the shade of a hedge with Rufus to paint this. We hadn’t walked far from home but I had to share my painting water with him as it was our first really hot summer day, so if my children complain in years to come that the picture has started to degrade we’ll know that dog saliva is not an archival quality medium.
345mm x 140mm watercolour on Arches HP

At the hairdresser

Pen and ink in small moleskine

Friday, August 03, 2007

‘Blurry self portrait’ or ‘How to look twenty years younger’

Another go at painting while peering through the fog of my myopia.
180mm x 255mm watercolour on Arches rough

Walk at midday

Almost the same view as a week or so ago, but different weather, different time of day and different light.
200mm x 145mm ink and watercolour

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tom sketching re-visited

An older drawing with watercolour added. I don’t really have the nerve to have Indian rose coloured walls and wheat-gold settees, but my friend Jenny does and bloody marvellous it looks too.
200mm x 145mm pen and watercolour

Practising painting water

We visited our pool-owning relatives. I took the opportunity to practise rapid painting of water and reflections as I have a very exciting last minute break coming up. Flo and I are going away to two very different places while Robin and the boys go camping in France. Now for which place would you want to practice painting water and reflections?
415mm x 145mm watercolour in Robersons sketchbook

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Scribble before bedtime

370mm x 185mm pen and ink in sketchbook