Sunday 22 December 2013

#31: Glass and plastic figurine

Back to my series of drawings from direct observation. I have become badly rusty, I fear.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Fallen flowers

Found a whole carpet of these colourful flowers under a tree. I have no idea what kind of tree, but they made for a nice subject for a few sketches. Ballpoint pen and coloured pencil on bits of scrap printer paper.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Halo and chameleon

Saw two somewhat unusual things today. The first, a halo around the Sun, which I photographed from two different sides of a building, trying to keep direct sunlight out of the lens:

And then, a few hours later, found this little fellow clinging to the curtains in my apartment:

Presumably my cat brought it in, and then, for some reason, decided not to dissect it as she usually does with her wildlife specimens (she makes Hannibal Lecter look like Gandhi by comparison). So I took the lucky survivor outside and put it in a tree densely overgrown with creeping jasmine - not perfect, but probably better habitat than my apartment:

Chameleons were common around here when I was a child, but I haven't seen one in many years. Perhaps they are making a comeback.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Wednesday 9 October 2013


Done from a reference photo. I have reported before on my struggle to draw from photos. Considering how convenient they can be, it seems like a weakness not to be able to make proper use of them, so I am trying to overcome it. Not sure if I am managing...

HB mechanical pencil on printer paper, 13cm x 18cm.

Saturday 21 September 2013

#30: Pine cone

I find this kind of subject absolutely fearsome, because whenever I have to deal with this kind of repetitive complexity, i.e. little units that repeat, but not exactly, I quickly lose track of which bit it is that I am working on. Here I think I managed reasonably well, though I greatly simplified it and the drawing does not remotely contain all the detail I could see.

When I was a kid, ladies would often sit and knit or crochet in conversation. Nowadays we buy our jerseys in clothing stores, and we have cell phones, so the knitting ladies making idle and pleasant conversation have been replaced with people rudely ignoring the conversation while frantically typing text messages, or privately laughing at something they see on the little screen. 

I wonder why we bother to have friends in real life at all. Anyway, I made the above drawing while idly chatting in a pleasant conversation with colleagues - my version of doing the knitting lady thing. Or perhaps drawing while chatting is every bit as rude as texting? 

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Black-collared Barbet

A sketch of a Black-collared Barbet (Lybius torquatus). Ballpoint pen and coloured pencil on printer paper, about 20cm x 20cm.

Wednesday 3 July 2013


As always with self-portraits, the rather menacing expression is just an effect of staring intently into a mirror...

Sunday 12 May 2013

#28: Blue bottle and tomato

Oil on canvas board, 20 cm x 15 cm.

A friend gave me a lovely blue bottle, and I couldn't wait to paint it. Clear bottles are common, so are green ones and brown ones, but blue ones are rather hard to come by!

With such richly coloured things, one is always tempted to use too much colour, ending up with something way too garish. In fear of that, I erred in the other direction, and my painting's colours are not nearly as rich as the bottle. 

I added the tomato for some extra colour. And I liked the curious bump on it - vegetables (and bottles, for that matter) all have their own unique personalities, well worthy of portraiture. 

Sunday 5 May 2013

#27: Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves collected while enjoying a morning walk. Oil on canvas board, 15 cm x 20 cm, and still sticking to my limited palette of black, white, red and yellow.

Sunday 21 April 2013

#26: Apple and glass

Bit of a failure, I think, but the apple looks better than they used to.

I have forgotten how to paint glass, so I had a mighty battle with the thing. I used to struggle quite a bit with this cultivar of apples; I seem to be getting a bit better at it. 

Saturday 13 April 2013

#25: Squash and egg

Another small panel, 5 x 7 inch, painted with a limited palette of red, yellow, black and white oils. Not entirely successful, but then, they never are.

The photo didn't get the colours quite right, but it's not too far off.

Saturday 9 March 2013

#24: Pepper and egg

Weekend: time to paint. I have had a piece of 6 x 8 inch canvas board lying around here for ages, so today I decided to take the plunge and paint on it instead of my usual cardboard cut from a cereal box. 

My verdict: I hate it. The paint soaks right into it and it's a battle to blend or manipulate on the support. Only Masonite for me from now on, I think...

Wednesday 6 March 2013

#29: Glass and teaspoon

Trying to draw glass with a ballpoint pen is probably not a good idea...

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Aubrey Beardsley

A portrait of Beardsley, in the style of Beardsley. Well, sort of...

India ink on printer paper, about 20 cm in height.

Sunday 3 March 2013

#23: Measure glass and banana

It has been ages since I tried oil painting, and it shows. I have become monstrously rusty. Not that I was much good to begin with, but this is only painting no. 23, so as Ed Wood said, "my next one will be better."

Cheap oils on cheap cardboard cut from a box, primed with cheap acrylic. About size A5 or so:

Saturday 2 March 2013

#28: Screwdriver and egg

Another slightly surreal still life. I am rediscovering my enjoyment of the humble ballpoint pen as drawing tool...

Sunday 13 January 2013

#27: Skull

A model of a skull, given to me by my friend Lenny Flank. Go check out his publishing company at

As usual, I messed up the shapes and proportions a bit. I did find it a useful exercise though.

Monday 7 January 2013