Friday, March 25, 2005

No updates for a few days

I'm away for a family event over the Easter holiday, so there won't be any updates for a few days. Have a look at some of the marvellous links in the sidebar instead! See you in a few days.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

An ink sketch of my youngest daughter reading. I sketched this on the same evening that I did the quick sketches of comedians that I posted the other day. I had no choice but to be quick with this one -- thank goodness she had a book that was interesting enough to keep her still for a few minutes!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Just thought I'd note the fact that I got listed on blogwise yesterday, which I hope will increase the traffic to the site just a little. When I submitted the blog, I had a message saying that it would take about 22 days to submit my blog. Fair enough, I thought, given that this all has to be done by a real person. Imagine my surprise when I received an email this morning telling me my blog was now listed. Fantastic!

For the record, my details are listed here, though given that you're already reading this post, there's probably no reason on earth why you'd want to go and look at them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Now let me be the first to say it before anyone else adds it to the comments: yes I know this is a bit "twee" and bit like something you'd see on a tourist postcard, but I kind of like it, and because I snapped it a couple of weeks ago while walking in Cambridge, I know it's NOT a postcard! :-) Actually, I currently have this set as my desktop wallpaper (in sepia tones with a bit of soft glow -- even MORE postcard-like), and it works quite well.

Triangles Part 2

I thought I'd post this sketch just for curiosity's sake, since it's the closest picture I have to an actual representation of the scene in the triangles picture. This was sketched from the banks of Crummock Water on a slightly hazy day, and the two peaks - Dodd in the foreground towards the left, and Red Pike in the background on the right - are the two peaks represented in Triangles.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I love pictures that show spontaneity and immediacy, and a lot of my pictures reflect that. The majority of what I do is fairly quick to produce, and I don't take on very many long term art projects. Actually, I think part of that has nothing to do with the art itself, but with my ability to invest a lot of time in something that's a risk -- I think I find it difficult to commit to long-term projects that might not work out how I hoped.

Anyway, all this notwithstanding, I do admire quick, assured, simple sketch-work, and here are a few examples that I came up with myself one evening. They are all of British comedians (who happened to be featured in that week's Radio Times), are drawn directly in ink, and there's probably a total of less then 10 minutes sketching involved in total for all three sketches.

First of all we have a trio of David Walliams, Ricky Gervais, and Matt Lucas. For anyone not in the UK, David and Matt are currently the darlings of the nation for giving us the fabulously funny Little Britain.

Next there is the straight-faced, straight-laced comedian Jimmy Carr. Of the three sketches, I think this is my favourite. The hand doesn't quite look right, but I think the general idea of having a disconnected hand worked quite nicely.

Finally, one who is known outside of the UK, Graham Norton.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I did this little sketch some time ago when I was experimenting with ink drawing. At the time, I had never had the courage to go straight to the ink: I always did a light pencil sketch first and then inked over it. This was the first thing I ever did without a pencil underlay, and I was quite pleased with the result.

The subject is quite famous, but I'm blowed if I can remember who it is, and I was foolish enough not to write it down at the time. It's from a reasonably famous self-portrait of a well-known artist, Italian if I remember rightly, perhaps from the 17th or 18th century. If anyone recognises the portrait from my sketch then I'd be grateful if you could let me know via the comment box!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Washing line

This is a quick charcoal sketch I did a couple of years ago in our back garden. It was a breezy day, and I wanted to try to capture the movement of the clothes on the line. I was particularly interested in the way the clothes folded around themselves and the pole to create quite different shapes.


Here is a little picture which is quite close to my heart, being as it is one of those pictures where I was brave enough to stick to my original ideas and go out on an experimental limb. So often I have an idea for a picture and what I end up doing is a toned down (no pun intended) version of what I originally had in mind. With this one, what you see is pretty much exactly what I had in my mind's eye right from the start. I call it simply "Triangles".

OK, a few technical details. It's an acrylic painted on A5 sized board, so is fairly small. It was painted in the early part of 2004. It's currently unframed, and sits on a book shelf in my office at home. It took me a surprisingly long time from start to finish: about four weekends of occasional work.

So where did I get the idea for the picture? Well, I guess it dates back to a holiday in the Lake District in the summer of 2003. For those of you not based in the UK, the summer of 2003 gave us consistently beautiful weather, and my family and I were lucky enough to spend one of the hottest weeks staying in a caravan in the village of Lorton, not far from Crummock Water. This picture is, notionally at least, a view of the gap between Crummock Water and Buttermere, looking across at Red Pike. Of course, none of the features in the picture bear the slightest resemblance to their appearance in real life.

Why the triangles? I'm not entirely sure. While we were staying in the caravan I read a fascinating book, written in the 1930s, by a Japanese gentleman who took a holiday in the Lake District and chronicled his adventures. Most interestingly, he illustrated it with Japanese-style sketches of his travels. To see traditional Japanese pictures of the Lake District was to see the Lake District in a completely new way, and I suppose that was the effect I was trying to achieve. Why triangles? Well, I suppose there's something vaguely oriental about the look of the picture, and after a holiday filled with triangular mountain peaks and triangular tent peaks (both of which are depicted here) one thing seemed to follow on from another, and it felt right to make the whole picture should consist of nothing but triangles. In contrast to the sharp angles of the triangles, I wanted the shading to be very smooth, particularly in the forest, and this is actually what took the majority of the time to paint.

My family and I actually did the walk depicted here during this holiday. A beautiful walk between the lakes of Buttermere and Crummock, up through the forest, and onto the peak of Red Pike (which, unlike the picture here, really is red). The plateau you reach above the forest offers a particular view that shields all aspects of modern life from you - even the villages below - and you really can convince yourself you've entered another world. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone that wants to escape from the pressures of the everyday world for a day.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

First post

Welcome to my blog. Indeed, welcome to the first post in my blog. I hope to post (reasonably regularly? We'll see) about the things that interest me, in the hopes that they may interest you too. My intention is to make this blog a vehicle for some of my artwork (I use the term loosely, since I am neither a trained artist, nor an experienced one), but I hope to cover other subjects as well. Which ones? Well, only time can tell.

A note about the name. Several years ago, my eldest daughter -- now approaching 10 -- made up the character of Mr Porkpop for a role-play game. I always rather liked the name and made a note of it, knowing that it would come in useful one day. While she has long since forgotten about Mr Porkpop, at least a little of him lives on in the name of this blog. I'm sure she'll be pleased.