21 Dec 2009

Hidden art

Got fascinated with all the different footprints in the snow and tried to get them in the book with numb fingers and glasses steaming up. Love the patterns these shoe designers come up with. Its like a hidden art, only seen in flashes when people cross their legs, or leave imprints on the earth. Always there but never really noticed by anyone till the snow brings them out in all their glory. Lets celebrate the forgotten art of the sole designers!

17 Dec 2009

First real snow of the winter today. Trees and land covered, and things never noticed before are really standing out. Shapes and angles of branches, colours more intense and vibrant, the different marks and pattern from boots in peoples footprints, sunlight drawing a golden halo around an impatient dog who's not interested in this at all but just wants you to get on with it and throw the stick....

14 Dec 2009

Singing the changes

Finished another commission - music related again (I sense a theme). This time working from photos, and hopefully I've got the likeness okay. Though apparently, I've knocked a few years off him, but he may appreciate that it being his birthday....

9 Dec 2009


Finally got round to posting the latest instalment of my daily meanderings. Another busy month at the end of a busy year. Crazy, but life is good. Already got the sketchbook lined up for next years' box drawings - one exclusively for this 'diary' rather than muddled in-between my current drawings in my sketchbook. I've never been able to write a diary - or at least one that goes on all year,(it usually peters out by mid January) so this year has been quite an achievement for me, and I find more interesting looking back and remembering fun and interesting days. Almost cant' wait to start the new one, but I don't want to go and start wishing my life away before this year is even over and done with.

4 Dec 2009

Testing the waters

Been trying out a new style of ink drawing. Not at all sure it works, think the big black cloud is too black, but was trying to go for the more graphic look with solid colour and texture. Think I need a few more attempts at this before I get the balance right...

30 Nov 2009

Miles away

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments - thought you might like an update with photos from THE night.

Great party, great music, & great company with my two guys joining in on the fun. Not great photos but you get the general idea...

27 Nov 2009

Miles Davis gone wrong

Was asked to do some drawings on a big white wall to sit behind a stage - a friend has converted a barn into a studio, and now he's got a big birthday/opening party planned. So as he likes jazz and music in general, I decided to do Miles Davis.

Did lots of research, found a great photo of him when he was young so thought that would be a fab drawing to do, did lots of compositions, positions, different instruments, different musicians, then gave up and decided to just go with the flow when I saw the actual wall.

So, whacked on the music, got out the charcoal and brushes, got into my 'zone' and it ended up being nothing like Miles at all, but a couple of young guys in their 'zone' just enjoying the music.

Kind of pleased with the results (even though its nothing at all how it looked in my head), it being the biggest drawing I've ever done. Perhaps they'll encourage the real musicians into their zone....

26 Nov 2009

Getting my regular fix of the sea. Love the hills, but occasionally only a blast of cold salty sea air will do it for me. So drew the lifeboat hut, slight artistic license here as not quite these colours, but I love drawing lobster pots and impossible boats. Why are cars and boats so hard to draw?

23 Nov 2009

Armchair travelling 2

Another market, another Spanish town, this time Sitges. Still stuck at home, so more wish fulfilment travelling required...

20 Nov 2009

Armchair travelling

Getting huge withdrawal symptoms for Spain (especially looking at the wall of rain that is UK at the moment), so thought I'd do a virtual tour through all my old sketches and drawings. Looking back through my books immediately takes me back and surrounds me with sights, sounds, smells and constant chatter that the Spaniards seem to live and thrive in. Bliss.
So, virtual travelling, not quite the real thing, but good enough until it can be done for real.

19 Nov 2009

Peace and quiet

Just had a marathon trip around the UK, both business and pleasure, and after the madness of the south of England, its great to be back amongst the relative peace of Scotland. Car did about 800 miles, and gave up 20 miles from home when I tried to go out in it again. Glad it got me back that far, so I don't blame it really for saying enough is enough. So, stuck at home relying on lifts, but at least its keeping me out of trouble...

12 Nov 2009

Bedtime for bees

Had our first winter meeting at the Border Beekeepers, and though this isn't an actual bee, I found this bumblebee a while ago and thought that I would draw it. Bees are now tucked up for winter, and hopefully we'll see them safe and sound come spring.

10 Nov 2009

Kissing season

There is an old tale that when the gorse stops flowering, there will be no more kissing. As is evidenced with the number of buds I found on the bushes, I think we'll be alright for a wee while yet. Phew.

5 Nov 2009

The Great biscuit debate

I have a dilemma everyday, whether to go for the cracker or the oatcake. I know, wars, recession, climate change etc etc , but this features pretty high up on my agenda. Trying to stay off the choccie biscuits and be good, so as a wee snack have taken to nibbling on one or other of these. Not exactly inspiring but healthier. Whilst drawing them, never realised how great the writing was on the Jacobs crackers, really intricate. Also realised how hard it is to get an oatcake looking like an oatcake....

4 Nov 2009


Got invited out at the last minute to a concert near me. Could have kicked myself when I found out I forgot my sketchbook, so in the dark scrambling around in my handbag I managed to find a scrap of paper and pen and drew Darden Smith, an american singer/songwriter who was great and sang fantastic stories about his life, experiences and relationships. He said "songwriting is like alchemy: its a way I can touch that mystery - art, god, whatever it is out there - and I'm in love with that. I write because I like touching that mystery, that magic. and there is no end to it." Bit like drawing really.
McIntoshRoss were on next and in the interval I managed to find some postcards to make odd scribbles on the back. They're a husband and wife duo, Lorraine McIntosh and Ricky Ross from Deacon Blue fame. Didn't get their likenesses at all, especially her curly hair, but my excuse was I was drawing in the dark....

3 Nov 2009


So, more thumbnails from another action packed month in an action packed year. Can't believe its already November. So much for my new years resolution to make a Christmas present each month, not done one yet!

29 Oct 2009


Saw this clump of mussels clinging to this beautiful mottled pink rock (the kind of rock I would take home with me being a habitual beachcomber). Don't think I've quite captured the lovely texture and colour of the rock but I enjoyed going back to watercolours. Luckily Pulga was happily swimming and barking at the splashes so didn't come and help me paint.

28 Oct 2009

Been going crazy with the inks again this weekend. Sketching outdoors can be quite challenging trying to stop dogs from knocking over ink pots, putting dirty paws on your sketchpad, sitting on your lap while they wait for you to finish (favourite habit of Pulga's), bringing you muddy sticks to throw, and generally being really helpful in letting you achieve your creative endeavours. Can't begrudge them though, I get just as excited as them whenever I make it up to the highlands and see the amazing views again.

27 Oct 2009

Old Man of Storr

Was away up in the highlands of Scotland this weekend restoring the soul, and getting a chance to use the new pens. Bliss when you're hunkering down out of the wind and rain...

22 Oct 2009

Hmmm, new pen...

Just bought some new Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens, and thought I'd try them out on a few simple line hand drawings (does anyone else find nails hard to draw?). Love the brush one giving the variety of thickness in the line.
I'm like a kid in a sweetie shop when I find an art supplier (or 2nd hand bookshop even), and think its a good thing really that I can't afford much at all, otherwise I'd be buying the place out. For some reason though I can't resist buying gorgeous sketchbooks with lovely hand made paper, but I find it really hard to find a medium to use in them. Must get over this obsession and either stop buying them or experiment with everything I've collected over the years and hope something sticks!

21 Oct 2009

Night colours

Decided to give inks another go, and tried to capture the weird orange night time light you get from street lights. It was some sketches I did on some recent travels and I got the sketchbook out to try and ignore (and capture) some of the more shady characters hanging around.

19 Oct 2009

Went for a magical walk in the woods this weekend, and picked up all sorts of beautiful moss covered twigs and golden leaves.
I read an article asking people to find ancient trees in your area, and try and work out their age. Apparently, for every 1.5m circumference, the tree is 100 years old. We found a huge beech tree (and turning into tree huggers) we measured it to be around 7 metres which by our calculations makes it to be around and witnessing the 1500's. We worked out that when it was a sapling Michelangelo was working on David, da Vinci on Mona Lisa, Henry VIII was divorcing and beheading, and since then its seen the rise and fall of the Ottoman and Ming empires, America colonised, Incas wiped out, industrial revolution, and moon walks. Pretty humbling. Bet it has some stories to tell. One day I'll do a watercolour of it...

16 Oct 2009

Fur balls under the bed

Every morning, Pulga and I have a chase game where from god knows where, she finds one of my socks and proceeds to run up and down the corridor and under my bed with it. Find its much better than yoga in waking up in the morning....

15 Oct 2009

Pepper Plant

Not done this poor pepper plant justice after all its gone through. Only just getting fruit now, after starting it way back in May, and its now looking like a cheese plant with all its holes from its resident (now evicted) caterpillar. It was only when I started to paint it that I realised what a beautiful spottled purple stem it had, as its been back lit all summer sitting on my kitchen window. I should make the time really to do a proper painting and do it justice.

12 Oct 2009


First time in absolutely ages that I've sat down and drawn a scene like this. Had plenty of time to wait in Leeds, and even though I'd only had 2 1/2 hours sleep the night before thought I'd combat the tiredness and draw. It worked wonders, and killed half and hour, and surprisingly felt really invigorated after it.

Love people watching, but sometimes its a real challenge to capture them without them realising, as they usually move just as you're half way through.

Did this sketch on the train, of a really scary, grumpy looking guy, then suddenly his wife appeared from behind the seat, lent on his shoulder and they looked like the happiest couple on earth. Felt really bad then about my first impressions.

7 Oct 2009

Scottish Elements

Did this watercolour sketch on a very cold blustery walk, and just as I started, so too did the rain, adding to the general watercolour look. As they say in Scotland, fed up with the season? just wait a minute and another one will come along shortly.

5 Oct 2009

Valentia Island, Ireland

Did this wee sketch last night for my brothers birthday card. The whole family went to Ireland in the summer for a week, first time we've been together like that (not counting Christmas' etc) since we were kids, so it was a great giggle. This was done with ink and dip pen, didn't even attempt to try and get the rich colour of sunsets and golden grasses so just went for the rosy red look. My poor family are very long suffering as they get a picture for every occassion, especially when money is a bit tight!

4 Oct 2009

Took Pulga to the beach, beautiful but incredibly windy indian summer day. Had all the kite and regular surfers out, thought not appearing in this drawing - think going past too fast for my pen to capture!

2 Oct 2009

Guitars and G strings

Just started my first guitar lessons this week, and as a reminder on how to actually play properly I drew Rob and tried to capture how it should be done! I've got Twinkle Twinkle little star and Happy Birthday now as a repertoire - can see my name in stage lights already...

1 Oct 2009


After being inspired by an artist, Martin Wilner, I've taken to doing a wee sketch every night on something that happened that day. Sometimes I really struggle to think of something interesting to draw, sometimes its trying to just pick one thing! Usually they're unintelligible to anyone but me, but I've found my memory is so much better looking back through the year and remembering what happened that day, as I usually have the memory of a goldfish...

Martin's drawings are amazingly detailed, and one day I might turn these scribblings into a finished work, but in the meantime I find its a good exercise to at least get me drawing one thing a day if I don't have the energy to do something bigger and better. My January drawings are very neat and careful, but come September, they've become more of a scrawl!

30 Sep 2009

This is about the only time I can capture Pulga, as she's normally jumping 3 feet high in excitement, whether its balls, sticks, bunny chasing or just general life excitement...

28 Sep 2009

Found this mouse on my walk this evening, had no damage to it at all so no idea how it died. Pulga patiently sat while I drew it, think she's getting used to it now, though think it was the last straw when I also found the last of the bell heather to capture.

Dog falls, dippers and dragonflies

Hidden Valley in Glen Coe, looking down from half way up Bidean nam Beinn

A weekend of dragonflies, dippers and waterfalls in Glen Affric. An indian summer, that only Scotland knows how to do in style and couldn't believe we took out our t-shirts and sun cream from our rucksacks earlier.

24 Sep 2009

Pulga catching a few zzz's. All I could see was this inky blackness in a vague shape of a cosy dog.

23 Sep 2009

First Sloe Harvest

I picked 1.5kg of sloes. Now I've just got to figure out what to do with them....