Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Boboli Koffeehaus

I always feel that there's something sinister about Rococo architecture - as if all the refined prettiness and airy hues must be concealing something horrible. Much, I suppose, the way a candy-coated gingerbread house always suggests a child-murdering witch.

Anyway, this is a small picture of the coffee pavilion in the Boboli Gardens in Florence. It was done with magic markers, pencil, and acrylic paints on canvas.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wrapped up in red

It's Reinisa again, curled up in a blanket. I don't recall whether she was in fact cold (which wouldn't be surprising) or she just wanted a prop.

It was done with markers in something like ten minutes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


A quick watercolour still-life. I came across these in the park adjacent to viale Michelangelo in Florence.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saint Croix

Another church, this time in France. It's the ancient parish church of the town of Montrichard, a romanesque structure tucked under the towering castle erected by Foulques Nerra, the Black Falcon, a man so entertainingly evil he deserves his own novel (or two) plus a mini-series. The castle is 11th century, and no doubt the original church was too, but what you see in the picture probably dates from a century later.

It got its name (Église Ste-Croix) from a fragment of the true cross brought back from Jerusalem by Foulques Nerra, on one of his three pilgrimages to the city. He had a lot of repenting to do.

The picture is one of the first etchings I ever made, back in 2001 at the Ontario College of Art and Design. It's quite small, about four by six inches.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Waverley Abbey

The decrepit remnants of Waverley Abbey, once the richest monastic house in all England. Its main church, dedicated to the Virgin, was one of the largest in the country at almost 91 metres long. The associated structures - dormitories, cloister, the all-important brewhouse - covered 24 hectares, sheltered in the valley of the river Wey.

Of all that, only a few heaps of stone survive, plus the vaulted refectory you can see in the picture. Sic transit gloria, etc. When Henry VIII disolved the monastic houses of England, the fabric of the Abbey was recycled into the new houses of local worthies. Some of those are still with us and are pleasant enough.

These days, the site is embellished by an array of WWII era static fortification - part of the inland lines devised against the expected German invasion. There's also a rather sombre 18th century mansion looming over the river. In short, a nice place to sit and draw, or just to poke around.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Red Gloves

In which a snappy dresser of my acquaintance stops to look at something on McCaul street. I think it's a motorcycle. Whatever it is, it's not in the picture.

It's a drawing done with three colours and many sizes of marker, intended as a design for a future lino- or woodcut. The drawing is about ten inches tall. As a lino, I think it may end up a bit bigger.

I was listening to Mylène Farmer and the Dum Dum Girls while making it. I don't think that really comes through.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2 Men

at the airport, waiting for the delayed American Airlines flight from JFK.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Red Skirt

A quick painting done with acrylics on cheap photocopy paper. I taped down the margins to prevent the paper from buckling and never untaped them.

A model who sleeps without tossing and turning is a priceless resource.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Clear your brain

Sometimes I find myself drawing someone who is clearly suffering. And after I've finished drawing, I wonder whether I should do something to help. But what, exactly? And the fact is, having to deal with the solicitude of random strangers has rarely helped anyone.

Being drawn is poor therapy, except for the supremely narcissistic.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuscan Panorama: San Appiano

Back in July I posted a watercolour of the ruins of the baptistry at San Appiano. My work on that picture was interrupted by the sudden arrival of snow. But I was still in the area the next day, which was considerably warmer.

Here we have a broader view of the area. The old church where I was sitting the previous day is concealed by a pile of cypresses, but the orange-red patch a third of the way from the right-hand margin is the roof of an adjacent building.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Reinisa strikes a pose

Reinisa, one of our favourite models, combined charm and wit with the poise and imagination of a dancer. She's flown away to the west, and is much missed.

This drawing was done from life in about ten minutes with two colours of marker.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chateau Barben

I apparently sketched this - from my bicycle - at 3:16pm, on May 18th. In 2004, if I recall correctly. It's a castle in Provence which I passed on my way to Salon-de-Provence from Cadenet in the Durance Valley. I dimly recollect a long ride amidst Roman ruins and the prevailing scents of lavender and rosemary. With, perhaps, a hint of labdanum. A good day.

Re: the castle, my notes say:
"original castle prior to c.1000, Property of St.Victor [a monastery in Marseille]. Acquired by King Rene, who sold it to the Forgin family, who still own it? They enlarged it in the 14th and 17th century, [but] the round tower was enlarged after the 1909 earthquake."

Which is clearly wrong, since King Rene was not alive in the 14th century. I must have meant the 1400s, and in fact the sale took place in 1474. Wikipedia (en Français) tells me that the same family does indeed still own the castle, although not, sadly, what they're currently doing with it.