Friday, 9 December 2011

Little sketchpads

A Portrait
Last week my friend Judith showed me how she makes books. It's remarkably satisfying to do and makes me feel like a craftsman! I can now make lovely little sketchpads in whatever format I fancy. I made myself another watercolour pad in a longer format, which is just right for capturing the figure. This is the first painting in the new book and it sets a high standard to follow! I've always liked this composition for female portraits and this is one of the best I've done. As always the picture is about the moment of drawing, the evening and the connection with the model. Lots of variables but when it all gels this is what happens! I can only look on with wonder and hope it happens again.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

When the Show is over

Moving contour drawing
We didn't have many visitors to our exhibition, which was disappointing. No pictures sold but Becky Brown sold 5 of her sculptures, which shows how appealing they are. We did get lots of enthusiastic comments from those who came and many people gave their details for future life drawing events. The evening workshop went well despite my packing in an ambitious amount of lessons! Since packing away the pictures I've really enjoyed drawing for pleasure again. Not trying to achieve anything or develop ideas. Just enjoying that state of simple looking and the feeling of wonder at the beauty of the body. I've done a few contours of the body gently moving and like the intense but delicate scribbles that appear on the paper. I'm wondering how to develop these results into paintings. Not just stylised abstracts but something that conveys my fascination...

Monday, 14 November 2011

Life Drawing in Norfolk

Charcoal gesture drawing
My son and his girlfriend worked hard, helping me hang 35 pictures in about 3 hours on Friday. Thank you! It would have been near impossible without the help! The exhibition looks great but we haven't had many visitors. As always, quite a few artists turn out to view the nudes and we discuss life drawing! They appreciate the pictures because they know how difficult it is to capture the subtle beauty of the figure. I enjoy teaching life drawing and I'm good at showing people how to look properly and how to relish such a wonderful subject! I'm running two classes in life drawing. The first is in the gallery on Friday 18th, 7 to 9pm and can be booked through the Arts Centre on 01553 764864. The second is an all day workshop at the Granary Theatre in Wells on Sunday 4th December. Contact me to book or for more information.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Hanging

Sitting easy
That's it... time's up! Tomorrow I hang the work. Saturday the exhibition As Nature Intended begins at the King's Lynn Arts Centre. An exhibition of nude drawings, paintings and photographs. I've done what I can to drive it along and promote it. There is so much more involved than just doing the fun drawings! I've been framing and wrapping and writing supporting stuff and I'm pretty worn out. It's been a big, long indulgence and I have enjoyed every drawing session. I've done some good stuff that I won't mind keeping if nobody buys anything. What a terrible time to try and sell pictures! Retail figures are rock bottom. But that's not why I've been drawing all year. All these pictures are like memories of fun moments when I've played at being an artist!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Watercolour Nudes

Letting Go
Watercolour is the perfect medium for nude pictures. One of the delights of skin is the flowing variation of colour that sweeps around the body. I find this can be easily matched with a flowing, varying wash. Leaving behind some paper to convey the light catching on all the lovely forms and using a bit of soft-edging here and there, captures the naked body perfectly. With all my framed pictures ready to hang I can once more simply enjoy the process of drawing and let the results look after themselves. This is another little gem that I've added to my hand-made watercolour pad.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Framing pictures

It's never hard to know which pictures to frame. When everything goes well a picture simply declares itself as wonderful, exciting and valuable! However what gives a picture this special quality is still a mystery to me... I think I always try my best but so many of my attempts just don't spark into life. Putting a pleasing drawing into a frame turns it into an object that someone will want to live with. Framing helps me to see my own efforts as real achievements and I'm usually over-enthusiastic about the results! I'm incredibly pleased with the outcome of this watercolour drawing. It took me about 4 hours to frame, much longer than it took me to paint! Right now I think it'll be the star of the show...

Friday, 21 October 2011

Big charcoals

The sprawl
I'm still on my quest to draw a big, lively charcoal for the big frame I'm trying to fill for the exhibition. Drawing can be an elusive process and when you have a goal in mind it can spoil the results. For me it works best if I can get lost in the pleasure of looking at a beautiful body. As soon as I start thinking about the end result I draw like a fool! After several attempts this one isn't too bad but I will be trying again. Still got a few days left! "As Nature Intended" opens on the 12th November at King's Lynn Arts Centre. I'll be  running a life drawing class there on the 18th from 7 to 9pm, so come along and enjoy a bit of scribbling!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Work in progress...

Finally my little people have dried so in a few hours I'll be taking them to the kiln. I'm a bit worried about the lady with holes in (see picture); it's a risky technique that I'm always really pleased with if it works....however they don't always make it out of the kiln looking as I want them to. One of my kneeling figures in the past looked like it had deflated a bit! So fingers crossed the firing goes well!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Drinking and Drawing

White wine
I've got quite fond of drinking while drawing since my stay in France! When Two and I get together in the evening for a bit of drawing, we like to open a bottle of wine and free the artistic spirit... Trouble is she always draws first as she gets tired, so by the time it's my turn the confidence is high but the eye unreliable! However the last time we met up I did this little watercolour that I'm very proud of. I've been trying to fill a hand-made pad with such paintings in time for the exhibition but it's only half full at the moment. Time is running out!

Monday, 3 October 2011

One last picture

I've been sorting out my pictures for the exhibition in King's Lynn Arts Centre starting on the 12th November and I think I have more than enough to put on a good show. However it won't be as planned the work of just the two of us! We haven't done enough to fill up the Red Barn gallery so I've invited a photographer and a sculptor to join us in our show of nudes. I've asked them to submit posts and introduce themselves so I won't say anymore for now. I have a lovely big frame to fill and a big lively charcoal drawing would look great in it. I've done a few but haven't decided on which drawing to use. Here's one that's in the running. I like the strong expression and lively mark making. let me know if it appeals to you!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Holiday Season over!

I've had two holidays since my last post so not much drawing has been happening! I had a fun time in France modelling for a sculptor friend, Sue Riley, who lives in her fantasy gallery in Normandy. We drank a lot of wine but I still managed to learn from the intense way she draws with pastel and charcoal. This is a very poor photo I snapped of one of her drawings.
Sue Riley - Red Wine
I also had a great week in Northumbria and visited Barter Books in Alnswick, the largest second hand bookshop in Britain! Brilliantly sited in a lovely conversion of the old railway station. Here I discovered a life drawing class was running that very evening, so I stayed to attend. The class have been meeting for 19 years but they seem to have lost all the fun of life drawing! They sat the model in this dull, unnatural pose for two hours... I wish I'd brought them a bottle of wine!
Barter Books

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Print drawings

Planographic print
Tried a new technique out today, which gives an uncontrollable but rich finish to a simple drawing. We inked up a perspex sheet, lay a sheet of paper on the ink and drew direct from life. The pressure of the pencil and fingers picks up the ink giving a soft line and random marks of tone. I don't know what you call these types of one-off prints. As we're working from a flat surface I guess it's a planographic process as opposed to relief or intaglio. I like the way it works beautifully with quick drawings done in the contour-looking mode. It's also exciting as it seems very hard to control where and how the ink applies itself to the paper! Lots of luck required...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Naked Workout!

Had our first draw together in quite a while and have found a new theme to explore - body building! Well not quite. Naked Two is keen on the gym and likes to use weights. Exercise does show the body off so we tried a couple of poses and I'm pleased with this result. The drawing has to be quick as it's not easy to hold such a pose for very long. But the combination of strength and beauty is very appealing. I like the idea of using modern weights as this makes it a very contemporary image as well.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Assembly House Art Show

The Chair - £599
I'm just off to deliver this painting, which was selected for the August exhibition in the Assembly House in Norwich. The curator didn't like the way I "depicted" women in my paintings but was happy for me to submit male nudes. I've spent a bit of money to have this one well framed as the show should get a big audience. I like the sense of something old and classic in the colours and handling of the paint. Not sure what the pose is about, but it looks quiet and reflective and shows off the lovely curves of the male back. Check out the show at

Sunday, 17 July 2011

On the Beach

On Holkham beach
One of the reasons I love drawing nudes is that it allows me to experience the power of nature in our own bodies. To feel the instinctive responses that fire inside us when we appreciate the subtle designs of our own form. I enjoy getting in touch with Nature outdoors and feeling the sun and wind on my skin. The sensation makes me feel very alive and aware of my body. I've tried to convey this feeling in the watercolour, drawn from a photo that Naked Two took at Holkham beach after one of our classes at Wells. The body conveys strength and power, capable of running or swimming and looking as beautiful as any other wonder of Nature!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Lacy knickers
I usually find that life drawing classes begin with quick sketches to help people warm up. I don't think this works. I find you need to begin with slow careful looking to get your eyes working fully before you can move on to quickies. If you try 5 minute drawings after you've been studying hard for an hour or so they will be much more successful. We'll be trying this out at our all day class in Wells this Saturday. I love the energetic, splashy feel of quickies like this one!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Posing Naked!

Self portrait
My accomplice is such a busy girl! So many hobbies and activities! I haven't drawn her for 16 days now and it will probably be another week before I get the chance. Like any art, drawing has to be practised as regularly as possible to maintain a level of proficiency. When I find myself without a model I have to turn to self portraits, which I do enjoy but it's a different experience. I've always found that beginners draw me much easier than female models. My body has many more reference points to help keep track of the drawing. I've also found that pictures of me seem to sell, those that I do and those of other artists. So while Naked Two is busy elsewhere, I'm going to be looking in the mirror, practising and creating some powerful male nudes...

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Little sketchpads

Sitting in pearls
One of the students in my Wells life drawing class gave me a lovely little sketchpad of watercolour paper that she'd made herself. It was very nice of her and the hand-made pad looks great. I thought I'd better draw in it immediately before I got nervous of spoiling it! So that afternoon I did 3 quick sketches of Two and luckily they all came out ok. These little sketchpads are great when filled with drawings and shouldn't be pulled apart for individual framing. I hope to continue to fill it with splashy sketches. Thanks, Judith!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Cheating with Charcoal

String of Pearls
I love drawing with charcoal. It's so responsive and makes such a range of painterly marks. All you have to do is concentrate on what you're looking at and the charcoal practically does the drawing for you! I like to use a big, thick stick about 3cm long and draw with the whole length touching the paper. Two was a bit sleepy on Saturday but managed to put on a lovely string of pearls before she nodded off. I like the bit of story a little prop like this creates in the picture.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Fund Raising!

Calling Out
To help cover the costs of framing for our exhibition in November "How to Draw Good Naked" we're going to sell some of the sketchpad drawings we do along the way. Click on the link on the right and grab yourself a bargain! We're not charging much as the sketches are fun to do and help us improve and develop. Also we're running life drawing classes on Saturday mornings in Wells, including a full day on 16th July and we're doing a two day workshop in King's Lynn at the end of July. Email me via my profile if you'd like more info.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Contour Drawing

Drawing nude
We had a lovely drawing session outside in the sun on Friday. Naked Two is working hard at finding her drawing eye so that she can move on to creating pictures in different media. We use "contour drawing" as an exercise to strengthen control of our looking. The exercise involves drawing without looking at the paper. The eye stays on the model exploring slowly, trying to observe every tiny detail without rush or question or any interference from our thoughts. The pencil point is locked to the eyeball and moves with the eye as it explores. It is the eye that does the drawing, not the hand. This exercise works just as well with the pencil in the left or right hand as the eye can still move it just as easily. Of course the drawings go quite astray without being controlled on the paper and the benefit is what you learn about looking. However we both like the odd results that "accidently" occur and the contour drawings have a rich intensity that I strive to capture in my correct drawings. Here is Naked Two out in the sunshine, concentrating!

Friday, 3 June 2011


Contour of face
Having broken the lack of discipline, practise is the next step. And this week has been all about practise. Contour drawing is the key, and fighting against my hang ups has helped. Faces have always been an issue, too many preconceived ideas in my head to battle with, but thanks to my new found discipline, and practice I feel I'm getting somewhere. The next step is battling with 'media' - oh boy!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Stripping off

And the pants
I'm still exploring the idea of clothes being removed to reveal nakedness. I feel that on-the-edge moment is quite a powerful image but I'm not sure what it says. It's more challenging than a straight-forward nude and seems to say "look at me" with the figure engaging with the viewer. Unlike a Degas voyeur image. It also suggests that clothes are bonds from which we need to escape. I like that idea - the body struggling out of restraints to show itself to the world!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Contour drawing
Discipline. Life drawing needs a bit of this, and sometimes life gets in the way. And this being my first post I'll let you come to your own conclusions.
My drawing skills are very slowly evolving, having heard far too many tips, pointers and lessons from years as a life model - 'You need a bit more yellow in your skin tones' being my firm favourite (as spoken to a retired gentleman with dubious drawing skills.)
And now the baton has been passed on and I am the one trying to listen to the worthwhile advice. Having weeks off doesn't always help, and trying too hard to produce 'pictures' too soon doesn't either. But at the moment I am just enjoying the process, looking at beautiful bodies all day and getting lost in drawing.
Progress is slow but enjoyable!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Sold a painting!

It's always a delight to sell a painting! The male nude I posted on the 14th has sold in the Norwich Fringe Festival. Do folk prefer male nudes? Do they seem less exploitative than female nudes? My paintings are honest expressions of love for beautiful naked bodies and not an attempt to depict anyone as nothing more than a sex object. This seems to come across more clearly to folk in my male nudes. Here's another that's in the Norwich show until Friday 27th if you want to rush in and buy it!


Monday, 16 May 2011

Edgy Nudes

One of the nice things about being naked is getting naked. That on-the-edge moment when the flesh is finally revealed. I've been exploring it recently in different drawings wondering what makes it so exciting. Partly it's the idea that the subject is showing off their nakedness. I like this quick charcoal drawing as the show-off here is more challenge than tease! Like a superhero caught in mid costume change!

5 minute gesture drawing

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Norwich Fringe Festival exhibition

I was able to squeeze into this Fringe Festival exhibition at the last minute and will be hanging up some previous work to help promote this Two Naked venture. The free show is at St Margaret's Church, Benedicts Street (near the Arts Centre) and is open 10am - 5pm every day from the 16th to the 28th May 2011. I'll be at the Private View on 21st May from 7 to 9pm.

Broad Back £199

Monday, 9 May 2011

How to Draw Good Naked

In November my life drawing accomplice and I will be exhibiting our drawings and paintings of each other. Make a note - 12th to 20th November at the King's Lynn Arts Centre! We plan to explore, experiment and have fun and hope that some good work emerges. We're running some life drawing classes to help fund the exhibition. During May we're teaching at Wells on Saturday mornings. At the end of July we're running a weekend workshop in King's Lynn. We're pretty good at teaching people how to draw and they get results fast! Let us know if you'd like to come along.

Poster for Wells class

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


We are two odd people. We don't mind being naked. We like to draw people naked. We do worry a little what other people think of this. Maybe this blog will let us know. We intend to post sketches and comments from our drawing sessions as we work at creating nudes for our up-coming exhibition - How to Draw Good Naked. Be good to hear from you.