Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

untitled (Ulysses)

A drypoint that's diminutive both in size and in print run; it's about 4 by 6 inches, and I only ever editioned 7 of them. It's printed on a thin layer of Japanese tissue overlaid on a support of sturdy European paper.

The retro styling of the technique and the paper supports the subject matter: a brig with sails struck, waiting out the calm. It was only after I completed the picture that the thought of the sailors sitting out there, wondering when they would return home, suggested the Greek myth.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Queen West

Two sketches from the Starbucks across Queen street from CityTV and MuchMusic, and one from the inside of the Rex, a block further east along Queen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dr. Sketchy's: Julia as Alice, Lena Love as the Red Queen

Some drawings from the Alice in Wonderland themed session of Dr.Sketchy's, held at the Cameron House on July 19th. The models did a great job, especially Julia, who - as Alice - appeared in every pose.

The first drawing, along with some others, hung at the Gladstone Hotel for the duration of the 2010 Toronto Burlesque Festival.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Julia, we don't live in the 60s

A pencil drawing on mylar. I snagged the title from the song by the Indelicates.

The striped apron suggested Mary Cassatt's famous etching, itself inspired by ukiyo-e woodcuts of the (probably) early to mid 19th century. But the mood is a lot grimmer in this picture, although the setting is equally domestic.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Porphyria's Lover

A large oil painting by Tarragon. Presumably it depicts the moment just prior to the climax of the narrative.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Three Dr.Sketchy's drawings

From the session held at the Cameron House on the 12th. The first two, along with some others, will be on display this month at the Gladstone Hotel for the duration of the Toronto Burlesque Festival.

Friday, July 16, 2010

cafe sketchbook

Two more university students, in typical postures, plus a boy sitting at Forli airport. Over three hours in the terminal, he only remained still for about three minutes. Luckily it happened right in front of me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


A larger landscape this time: the original zinc plate was about two feet long.

Albi is a charming red-brick city in southern France, a bit to the east of Toulouse. It's full of interesting things, most of which were behind me when I made the sketch for this etching. I couldn't resist how the town rose like a wall from the river bank.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

tiny landscapes

I've posted a few of my largest etchings, so here are a few of my smallest.

When you're cycling around Europe, it can be awkward to carry a big sketchbook. These etchings, which are less than an inch tall, may appear larger on your computer screen than they are in reality.

They're the result of very rapid sketching, sometimes done without getting off of my bicycle.

Via S.Leonardo is a small road in Florence that winds around the back of the Belvedere fortress. Settignano is a village a very short distance north-east of Florence, renowned as the childhood home of Michelangelo and the location of several famous villas.

Monday, July 12, 2010


This is a proof of a large etching, about a metre squared, made on aluminum and hand tinted with watercolour. The luminescent colours were achieved by limiting my palette to just the three primaries, laid on in twenty or more washes, with each being allowed to dry completely between coats.

The title, of course, refers to the Greek myth in which Zeus, imaginative as always, took the form of a golden shower.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Castle

This is a bigger drawing, about a meter across, executed in magic marker. I plan to do a series of these, since accumulating all the architecture is great fun. The image here depends largely - but not exclusively - on elements visible from the Roman forum.

Friday, July 9, 2010

La Minouche at Dr. Sketchy's

Eight drawings from the Dr.Sketchy's session last Monday at the Cameron House. Our delectable model, who goes by the nom de guerre La Minouche, found time for three costumes. They were all fun to draw, but the second one, with its large area of high value (black!) and smaller areas of vivid colour (red!), was my favourite.

Two of these drawings - the second and the last - will be on display at the Gladstone Hotel during the Toronto Burlesque Festival.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An early painting

An acrylic sketch of Danielle, from years ago when I was too poor to use canvas when cardboard was available, and she still had short hair. I did a whole series of these: they started with a pencil underdrawing followed by some very swift work in acrylic. They took under an hour, although she could probably have held this pose for quite a bit longer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Our Charming Man Returns

Our charming man came home, legging it over the Hog's Back from Guildford station until he came to the crossroads north of Polstead Manor. It was a cold winter day, and a fraction of snow still reclined in the folds of the track. Would he go west, past the old farm on Down Lane and under the bridge with the cross fixed on its apex? Or south, to Polstead, the Withies pub, and the small white house where I waited nervously?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Balcony View

Two sketches from a concert at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena, Italy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cafe sketches

Two very different individuals on campus. At least one of them is enjoying the good weather.

I've been keeping a small daily sketchbook for ten years now. They vary in thickness, but on average it takes me about eight months to fill one. The trick is using a size that's not so small it cramps the drawing, but not so large everybody can see what you're doing. I find about six by eight inches is right. Generally I use china marker, as here, since it's a very unforgiving medium. You can't erase it, it's thick and chunky, and every mark is visible. Which is what you want for a cafe sketch, since people have this bad habit of moving.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Venetian Sketch

A rapid watercolour study of the campanile visible from Campo San Barnaba, Venice. It was a moist, grey day, and I felt like a pocket handkerchief that had been used to mop up spilled wine and then wrung out.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Photographer

The Photographer is not there to document the antique ceremony of the Catholic Church in Italy, or the elaborate pattern baldness of the celebrants. He's there for love.

The drawing is based on a scene I witnessed outside the Duomo of Verona. It occurred in late May, but I never discovered what festival was taking place.