Thursday 22 November 2012

Sketchbook No.2 (#5)

In the Boatyard, Funchal. 10 August 1992 (Mixed media in A5 sketchbook)

Drawn the same day as the previous post, this is a pair of a huge tanks normally floated in the harbour to keep ships from bumping into the harbour walls.

It was probably a mistake to favour the dark local colour of the tanks when drawing this. I should have simply concentrated on the linear and tonal qualities.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Sketchbook No.2 (#4)

On the Mole, Funchal, 10 August 1992 (Rotring Art Pen in A4 sketchbook)

It was quite intimidating drawing this huge grab. It towered over me and getting the perspective right was a challenge. Putting the two pages together in Photoshop proved almost beyond me, however, so apologies for the slight disconnect at the top of the drawing.

Monday 19 November 2012

Sketchbook No.2 (#3)

Funchal, 7 August 1992 (Coloured pencil in A4 sketchbook)

I sat on a bench in one of the municipal gardens of Funchal,the capital of Madeiraand drew this. I wanted to see how I might tackle the subject with coloured pencil and the end result seems to owe just a little to Pointillism

Not entirely a success, but not a waste of time either.

Friday 16 November 2012

Sketchbook No.2 (#2)

Up Cuthbert Street, 27 October 1991
(2B pencil in A4 sketchbook)

I'd recently discovered the paintings of Wayne Thiebaud when I drew this. Trying to capture something of his vertiginous San Francisco views, I chose one of the steeper streets in Gateshead and looked up Cuthbert Street to the  houses on Bensham Road.

I don't think I really caught Thiebaud's essence, but looking at this drawing now, complete with colour notes, I think it might still make an interesting painting.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Sketchbook No.2 (#1)

Northern Goldsmiths, 4th November 1990 
(Fine point marker and sepia ArtPen in A4 sketchbook))

Having begun a course in painting with the OCA, I decided I needed to get serious about my sketchbook, so this drawing is the first done in a lovely black bound A4 sketchbook from Atlantis.

It was a freezing cold Saturday afternoon in November and I stood on a corner of Westgate Road to draw this great example of Victorian Newcastle. I was just outside a pub that was later closed for allowing drug dealing on the premises..My thermal socks, fingerless gloves and whisky-primed hip flask failed to keep me warm and by the time I went home I was almost frozen solid.

It's interesting to note that in 1990 there were still flocks of starlings settling on the tops of buildings. Even individual starlings are a rare sight in town now.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Henry Pijohn

Henry Pijohn, 4 May 1972 (Ballpoint on scrap paper)

Drawn the year following the other fragments, this is a quick sketch of Henry Pijohn who sat opposite me in the office. He and I became firm friends for many years until - and no one really understands why - he abruptly cut off contact with me and his other friends in our circle.

Monday 12 November 2012


Norman, 28 July 1971

CA filing, 28 July 1971

Peter Healy, 29 July 1971

For some incomprehensible reason, a number of the comments made made most recently on this blog have disappeared. As a consequence, I'm unable to assess the size of the probable flood of requests from the Boogie Street Readership for me to continue posting from my sketchbooks. 

Anyway, in the absence of comments to the contrary, I'm going to assume that there's a real desire to see where sketching took me after the end of the Very First Sketchbook. Meanwhile, however, here are three fragments I found tucked away at the back of the Very First Sketchbook. They were all done in  in the office with ballpoint on scrap paper, then torn off to keep for posterity.

Norman, I believe, was then the Executive Officer and Peter Healy the Senior Clerical Officer. I worked with both of them at different times and in different situations throughout my Civil Service career, The Clerical Assistant's name escapes me altogether.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Very First Sketchbook #19

Poly corridor, 16 October 1990(Fine point marker in A5 sketchbook)

Like the previous sketch from the Very First Sketchbook (#18), this was done while roaming the corridors of Newcastle Polytechnic one night. I like the sense of emptiness in the corridor, the feeling that no one else is around. It's an idea I've returned to many times in my paintings.

This is the final sketch in my Very First Sketchbook. Although there were many pages left untouched, I decided that I didn't like the ring binding or indeed the fine point marker I'd stored in the binding, so I moved on to a series of differently sized sketchbooks. Whether this was a good move is debatable, as it eventually seems to have led to a falling away of the sketching habit. However, if you'd like me to, I think it might be interesting to post sketches and drawings from those other sketchbooks. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday 7 November 2012


Pot (2B mechanical pencil in A5 sketchbook)

There are times when inertia builds up so much that the only thing to do is to pick up a pencil and draw. Draw anything, whatever comes to hand. In this case it was a ceramic pot, so I guess it qualifies as EDM #43 - "Draw something china or ceramic".

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Very First Sketchbook #18

Poly lift, 16 October 1990 (Fine point marker in A5 sketchbook)

One evening, at an OCA tutorial in Newcastle Polytechnic (now the University of Northumbria), we were sent away to find something to draw. Wandering the corridors of the building, I eventually settled on this lift as a subject. Not very exciting, perhaps, but looking into (and out of) interiors proved to be a recurrent theme for me later.

Monday 5 November 2012


While we were in Dubrovnik this year, we found an exhibition of decorative fabrics by Ottavio MIssoni. Missoni was born in Dubrovnik and it was as the founder of the Missoni fashion house that I knew his name, but the wall hangings and rugs were a real visual delight.

Missoni Rug

Missoni Screenprint

Missoni Wall Hanging

Missoni Wall Hanging

Missoni Wall Hanging

Missoni Four Panel Wall Piece

Thursday 1 November 2012

Very First Sketchbook #17

Heraklion (Fine point marker in A5 sketchbook)

A return to Crete in September 1990 and here I am, sitting in a pavement cafe, drawing the building opposite. One of the difficulties in having only a fine point marker was that it took some time to fill in that black square with the Loggia Piano Bar sign on it.