Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Priest

I spied the priest in a lecture theatre, listening intently to a talk on medieval medicine.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breakfast for One

A recent drawing in pen, markers, and pastel.

As for narrative, it's a morning after picture. I could say more, but there's a poem that suits it:

Blue, blue is the grass about the river
And the willows have overfilled the close garden.
And within, the mistress, in the midmost of her youth,
White, white of face, hesitates, passing the door.
Slender, she puts forth a slender hand;
And she was a courtezan in the old days,
And she has married a sot,
Who now goes drunkenly out
And leaves her too much alone.

It's Pound's The Beautiful Toilette, a very free adaptation of a poem by Mei Sheng (枚乘, died 140 B.C.  Not, of course, to be confused with Mei Sheng (美生) the well-known Panda). The poem first appeared  in Pound's Cathay in 1915.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

That new computer smell

Denise was so enthralled with her new computer that I had every chance to draw her. It really was a nice machine. Of course it waited only for the warranty to expire before giving up the ghost for good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Impromtu in red, white and blue

I did this small character piece twelve years ago, back when I could barely afford canvas. The method was simple: I did a moderately detailed drawing in pencil from the model, and then worked very rapidly with acrylic on top.

Although frangible and awkwardly textured, the disposable nature of cardboard does encourage experimentation. Nor is it necessary to dispose of it. I still have this picture, over a decade later.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Robert Bentley

I used a technical pen (and a computer) to make this drawing of the artist, martial artist, and fearsome autodidact Robert Bentley.

I recently attended the launch of his ambitious new art project A Thousand Lines, A Thousand Drawings, which should keep even a man as prolific as Robert busy for a while.

The book in the drawing is Pinker's Language Instinct, if I recall correctly. I posted another, much more spontaneous, drawing of Rob back in the winter.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The orchard at Settignano

Settignano is a village just north-east of Florence, famous for the villa I Tatti - once the home of Bernard Berenson and now Harvard's centre for renaissance studies - and also for quarries. The villa is visible in another small etching, here.

The orchard in this picture is down the hill from the village proper. And I was walking, for a change, not cycling.

This is a tiny etching - the image is only about an inch tall.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

my boredom is bigger than your boredom

Pale Flowers, Dark Heath

Looking down at Withies Lane over a field of flowers. It would make a good illustration to a story by M.R. James, I think.

It's another view of the wee village of Compton in the south of England. I made it this past May with a variety of markers.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

bleak alley

An alleyway in Florence. It's easy to forget how hostile life in the city could be.

A quick sketch done with water-soluble ink and a dip pen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A ruin in Tuscany

All that remains of the ancient baptistry at San Appiano is a ring of rough pillars on the grass. They've been there for a thousand years or more, although until an earthquake in the early 19th century they were not quite so freestanding.

I settled down to paint them a few years back, in early April. But the cloud you can see in the picture was rapidly advancing, and before I knew it there were snowflakes mingling with my watercolours. Tuscany is warm, yes, but it's also high. So I got up and biked off to find shelter, and never did get a chance to finish the picture.