Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Old Drawings #62

In the Yard at Lemba (Charcoal, compressed charcoal on cartridge paper, 60 x 60 cms.)

As the snow continues to swirl round the lamp standard across the road, as it has done for days now, let's move back again into the swirling mists of time to the sun-drenched Cyprus College of Art, where I last talked about the curious wall there and showed you one of the drawings based on it. This is the last of those drawings, done in the studio at University and, as usual, ignored by all and sundry. I find I get increasingly cross now thinking about that, but I still like the drawing.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

And the snow continues ...

Snow has come early here this year. Last year's began on New Year's Eve, but it's been snowing on and off for days now and most of it is lying. I had to abandon a trip into town to see my buddy Kev tonight - the walk up the hill is just too treacherous and coming back down even more so.

I'm going to have to think through my options carefully if this continues. We're never prepared for weather in this country, yet we get so much of it!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Private View

(Photo taken as the gallery was set up for a lecture.)

It's a week ago and seems to be already almost lost in the mists of time, but the Private View for the Christmas Show was a lot of fun. It was very well attended and the comments I received on my work, both directly and indirectly, were very encouraging.

I'm now in the flat period that always follows a time of intense concentration and work to bring a set of paintings to conclusion. What I should really be doing to get over it is to launch myself into a new project, but the weather is against me, making the studio steps unwelcoming, so work on The Cartoonist's Hat will have to suffice.

Thursday, 25 November 2010




11 am

Encouragement , if encouragement were needed, to sit in my nice warm study and get on with sorting out the new blog, was provided by the newly inclement weather. Never mind Xmas Day, we've got snow now!

It snowed for a good part of the night and on and off throughout the day. It's 5pm now and it's snowing again. Getting down the slippery back stairs to the studio was not an option, so on with The Cartoonist's Hat.

{Note to self:If only there were an exhibition I needed to do some winter paintings for.]

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Cartoonist's Hat

(Marker, digital colour)

"It's perhaps important to point out that I find cartooning and painting almost totally incompatible, in that they each require a different mindset. When I wear my cartoonist's hat I cannot paint and vice versa."

"In 1973 .... I gave up all thought of art college. The cartoonist's hat was firmly on for the next 15 years."

"If [painting] keeps me sane, it's worth it, but every now and again I find my head itching for the cartoonist's hat."

Those are quotes from an article I wrote for my fanzine, PIE in the SKY, in 1992 and serve to demonstrate the ongoing difficulty I find in working in both fields at the same time. It ought not to be so difficult. I've mentioned before that Wayne Thiebaud draws a cartoon every day and while I'm far too modest to put myself in the same paddock as Thiebaud, if he can do it, I don't see why I can't. Maybe not every day, but I don't see why painting and cartooning can't co-exist in my art practice.

All of which is by way of announcing the opening of my new blog - The Cartoonist's Hat. There's more work to be done on it in terms of banner headings and the like, but I've copied across all the cartoons from this blog, together with contributions to Moleskine International Exchanges. From now on Moly work and pieces done for Illustration Friday will appear only on The Cartoonist's Hat. If you'd like to keep up with those things, you'll find a link in the sidebar, or better yet, why not subscribe to posts using the handy widget in that blog's sidebar?

Monday, 22 November 2010


(Black marker, colour in Photoshop)

A contribution to the latest brief from Illustration Friday: Sneaky. I find I still get enjoyment from doing this sort of thing, but reactions (or more accurately, the lack of reactions) from readers of this blog suggest that these posts are of limited interest. I'm thinking that it might be useful therefore to set up a new blog to post cartoons and related drawings, such as Moleskine Exchange contributions. Watch this space.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Kastela Seaside Restaurant

Kastela Seaside Restaurant (Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 ins)

This is the painting I finished at the Club last week, when I finally got round to putting in all those fiddly white lines. It brings back good memories of our week in Kaštel Lukšić and the fine meal of fresh fish we had in this restaurant. The restaurant is in Kastel Stari and its name, should you find yourself nearby, is Labinezza. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Christmas Exhibition

If you're able to do so, come along and say hello! Further details in the sidebar.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

I'm Proud of the BBC

Something I think should be said more often and as widely as possible.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Snow by the Tracks

Snow by the Tracks (Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 ins)

This photograph could be better; I think my hand shook a little and I've had to tighten up the picture in Photoshop. However, this is the last of the paintings for the Xmas Exhibition. I took it and two others to the gallery today, using a taxi to avoid the awful winds blowing across the region.

As it was still morning, I wandered down to the Club and found a few regulars hard at work there. Although I hadn't really intended to do so, the atmosphere got me working and I finished one of the Kastela Restaurant pictures. Photo next time I'm there.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Side, with Snow

The Side, with Snow (oil on canvas, 36 x 36 ins)

I finished this, the second of the bigger pictures yesterday, although I'm still waiting for some of the white paint to dry. I had it out in the garden sunshine for an hour or two, while I hacked away a year's accumulation of brambles, but the sun seemed to make very little difference.

After that I stood it in front of the radiator all night as I continue to pander to the idea that heat will help, even though I know in my heart of hearts that oil paint dries by oxidation rather than evaporation. I'm supposed to get it to the gallery today, but I suspect I may be able to delay until tomorrow. That would be a good thing for a number of reasons, not least the weather forecast for today, which is truly horrible.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Not Wanted

Breakfast & T-Shirts (Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cms)

Paintings & Prints ((Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cms)

Ah well, it was worth a punt, but the Royal Institute of Oil Painters didn't like my two paintings enough to want them on the walls of the Mall Galleries. I'm sure there are lessons to be learned from this, but at the moment the only one I can think of is that I should refrain from sending the ROI (or indeed the NEAC) any more pictures. It would certainly save me some money.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Turnbull Winter

Turnbull Winter (oil on canvas, 36 x 36 ins)

I could probably go on tinkering with this forever more, but I signed off on it today. Pat helped me deliver the first two pictures to the gallery this morning and this one is now ready to go too.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Brand New Moly

(Markers, fibretips and coloured pencils in Japanese accordion-fold Moleskine)

As I've indicated previously, progress on Moly_x_63, the Totem Pole Moly, has been slow, so I recently signed up for another Moleskine exchange. This is my first contribution to Moly_x_25, just beginning its second round after a successful first one.

I find it really relaxing to sit in front of the tv and draw things like this. There's no theme to this one, so I decided to start with a cornucopia and let it disgorge its contents, surprising me in the process.