Saturday, November 16, 2013


For most of the summer the field adjacent to my garden has been covered by a crop of maize. Now the maize has been cut and the stubble left until the ground is dry enough to plough. Immediately it has attacted the interest of Pigeons, Jackdaws, and Magpies.

The Magpies are the most interesting subjects and I decided to try a direct iPad sketch of a group of them browsing the stubble for worms and seeds. I've not used the iPad much for direct sketching sur le motif but I can see it has advantages over my usual sketchbook and charcoal method. It makes colour available without the burden of watercolour box, brushes, and bottles of water. So it's very handy for quick notetaking and you have a digital file saved for future reference.

With an iPad file you have a two choices. First to use it to create a digital print. If I think the file has possibilities print it as a limited edition of 10. These are offered signed, mounted and unframed. Alternatively the sketch can simply be used as the basis of a painting in a traditional medium. I think this will be the starting point for acrylic on board. I used Autosketch Pro to create the picture.

Friday, November 08, 2013


Year’s ago I read a book called ‘On Not Being Able to Paint’. The author was Marion Milner, a clinical psychologist who was also a keen painter. All I can remember was her advocating an exercise aimed at suppressing logical ways of observing and allowing emotional responses to take control. To do this she advocated relaxing into a state of reverie and allowing the hand to make marks.  She claimed that the results could be quite surprising. Sitting comfortably on a warm summer day in front of fine view could sometimes result in vigorous mark making that suggested a violent storm.
From time to time I try this method and adapt it to making marks which don’t represent anything other than being what the eye likes. I like to use a medium like soft pencil or Charcoal which can be used to exploit a range of design elements notably Line, Tone, and Texture. One of Picasso’s artistic objectives was to ‘realise forms’ and once a form is realised it is there to lead a life of its own.

Here are two examples which don’t represent anything other than forms. They’re what my eye likes but they may not appeal to anybody else.