Tuesday, February 26, 2013

9 heads of Lily

Each drawn with a china marker, in about thirty seconds. Some more successfully than others.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Perseus Medusam occidet

A drawing from last year's classically themed Keyhole Session in Toronto. It was a diverting evening of life drawing, in which fetish models played Athena, Medusa, and Perseus. Just because.

So here's Perseus putting the sword to Medusa's neck. The drawing was done from life and took about 30 minutes.

We managed to fit in most of the Medusa story, including a rather unterrifying scene of Athena cursing Medusa, a more convincing Medusa transformed, and the Goddess of Wisdom sitting around looking wise. Or faintly regal, anyway.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pussy Willows

They were a more difficult subject than I thought.
I once saw a woman lean into a bunch of pussy willows not dissimilar to these and breath, with finger gently caressing one of the soft buds, "Oh Pussy, I love you". That was it.
Very Rinpa.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Not your typical Surrey scene

But nonetheless this is one of the trees in my aunt's neighbour's backyard. Painted out of doors as it was a balmy 10 degrees today. Perhaps curious to some, I only had to dip my brush twice, over the period of an hour and a bit, to get the whole thing done.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


A quick pencil sketch of a piazza in Naples, at once the most grimy and most tantalizing of cities I have visited. I did this standing, in less than 5 minutes - there were places to be!

Amidst the chaos of Italian cities the orchards of television antennae strike a particularly charming note. It will be a sad day for landscape artists when they are all replaced by satellite dishes.


A very quick sketch done with Copic brush markers.

Monday, February 11, 2013

One of my perennials

The paper is thin. You can see the words from a plastic bag through it. The ink cannot go on to heavily, or slowly. I fancy that my plant drawings would make nice prints, lithographs perhaps, but Romney says there are too many plant prints around as it is. He generally knows best, don't ask me how.

Friday, February 8, 2013

After John Ward

Back in the day art instruction depended on imitation. Students were set in front of the old masters to learn their techniques by osmosis. And repetition, of course. It was like Dafen village is now.

Doing it on an iPad may defeat the point of the exercise, as they conceived it a hundred years ago. Nor is John Ward (RA) exactly an old master. But whatever composition he put in his painting, Tarragon has here captured it.


Drawn from life at the Arts Project in London, Ontario.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Venice by night

Mikhail Vrubel found Venice boring. It was of interest "only for his palette." That was not my experience. Even at night, when your palette shrinks to greys and only a muddy simulacra of the daylight colours are visible, the city remains beautiful and ominous. It's a place to feel lonely in.

And to paint. Watercolour at night is not easy. I was alone, and wandering the sestiero di San Marco, but I had my paints and I had plenty of time.

How Vrubel, a painter at once romantic and nihilistic, could have rejected Venice, the most romantic and abnegatory of cities, is a mystery. Perhaps they were too much alike. Sometimes you have to be a little bit dull in order to appreciate the magical. Tolkien retired to the most tedious suburb imaginable. Perhaps magicians read only non-fiction.

Monday, February 4, 2013

a model

Our brains do strange things. For as long as I was drawing this man, I thought of him as a Polish cavalry officer, dismounted and lost in the heart of the Białowieża forest. A man with a melancholy spirit and a sword in his hand. In fact, he's a yoga instructor. So it goes.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Katherine disdains her phone.

She questioned the accuracy of the likeness. When Matisse's models expressed doubts that he had being paying any attention at all he told them if they wanted to be appreciated they should go to the Spaniard. This anecdote dates from the mid to late teens which makes it doubly funny.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Willy at rest

A drawing done from life with a brush pen, in about ten minutes. Our model had just returned from a long day of hunting, and was dead tired.