Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Both the drawing and Violet are a work in progress, but I get the feeling that what she is working on will be a whole lot better than anything I could ever do.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jennifer and David

As I've mentioned before, these two are wonderful two work with, they create very graceful poses that at the same time feel natural.

This one was a a continuation of one posted below:

This is from this weekend. The split down the left hand side of the image is because I had to extend the drawing by about 50%...

Tuesday Data Dump

I'm so bad at keeping current these days. Which is good, it means I'm busy working. Here's some drawings from the last little while:

Jenny and Shorty (Shorty really gets in the modeling mood when Jenny's working...):

David and Jennifer (this one has been changed, I'll put it up in another post)

Anne Marie

Richard - this one is from a life drawing group, when the model didn't make it, so Richard got stuck with the task. Good job Richard!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Porn

Well, I'm falling behind as usual, but to keep things interesting, here's a blog that definitely worth a look! Book Porn

How could I not fall for a site that has pictures like this?

Friday, November 18, 2011

David & Jennifer, and Lisa

I have been spending too much time on the latest encaustic (with nothing to show for it yet), but here's a couple from this week....
David and Jennifer


This one has some odd artifacts in it because I didn't plan the drawing too well, and had to extend the paper to the left and below.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jennifer and David, Tangled

Not much to say, other than I love working with the visual rhythms David and Jennifer set up. And I could have spent a week on the hands alone....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Couple of Couples

A couple of couples from the last little while.

Jenny and Eric

Jennifer and David:

I quite like both, but I think the second is quite special. I like the feeling of sheltering and sheltered created by David and Jennifer, and it would be be worth pushing forward into something more permanent. If, of course, David's back can take it (it's actually a difficult pose to hold). In return, I promise to put in his missing fingers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jenny and Shorty

At an ungodly hour of the morning - we got started at 8:30. The sacrifices on must make for art. And Shorty, as usual, was up and down off the couch, curling up at Jenny's feet and grumbling; getting up and moving to her lap, sulking on the floor, he finally gave up trying to be king of the couch and curled up in the other room under the piano. I think in his next life (which may come sooner than he expects) he'll be a diva in Hollywood....

Jenny's a whole lot more fun (and professional) to work with. But for the moment when he was actually settled in, it was rather cute. I think with a few tweaks it might be a usable composition.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jenny and Eric

Jenny's friend Eric had some time to kill, so he came for our session on last Monday. (For someone who had never modeled before he did well.) I've just started to get back into drawing couples - the day before I had done Jennifer and David, but I'm still working on it (it's a delightful tangle of arms and legs and heavy perspective). Working with couples is very different than drawing a single model, partly because one has to draw a lot faster, and partly because two people set up a visual rhythm between them. And of course it gives me twice as many people to converse with.

That one took awhile, but we still had a bit of time left at the end for a "quick and dirty" sketch. Lots of drawing errors, but I still quite like it.

Lisa Still Wicked

Well not Lisa herself, just the book she is reading. As for me, I'm trying to push the perspective a bit, though it is hard in a small studio. We got two done - I prefer the second to the first.
Here's the first:

The second was rather fun to draw. Lisa took up a pose on the floor with her feet up against the couch, and I stood up on the couch. I wish I had planned the drawing better (or that I had larger paper), I would have liked to get more of her feet in!

As for wicked reading, I'm still engaged in Henry Miller, & am now on my third book in 10 days. Great stuff, though I really should have read it 40 years ago!. Thanks JR.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Nude Model's Story of Humility and Joy

Anya Wassenberg, writing on HuffPo:

I was going to be an important and well-paid writer, see. The modelling thing, that was just to tide me over till the whole writing gig took off, because I knew that you could basically walk in off the street and get work taking your clothes off for artists. But in the end, I found I liked it so much that I never gave it up. I found that there are many advantages to modelling for artists, though none of them is what you'd expect.

You can read the whole thing here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lisa Recumbent

Today was something different with Lisa - I asked her to take the first pose, which is actually a fairly uncomfortable one. I also worked from above, rather than on the same level as the model. She did a good job holding it, and getting back into it after breaks (thanks Lisa!).

I also wished I had slightly wider paper, I would have liked to get the book she was reading into it, Gregory Maguire's Wicked. But it is definitely on my reading list now.

After a hard pose, an easier one, at least for the model. For this one I had my back to the window, and although the shades were drawn the sun (rare thing around here these days!) was streamed in and made it almost impossible to see the sanguine conte on the paper. One does what one must! The cutest part was that Shorty went and actually lay down near her feet - something he will almost ever do for anybody. I think it's because he gets two car rides when Lisa works here...

David Rocks It. (with Bach and Josquin)

Tuesday I worked with David; the warmup sketches were wretched as my hand and mind seem to be going in opposite directions, and even the ink was uncooperative david of course was poised as ever, bless him for his patience! So for the longer work we brought out the big guns - Bach, followed by Josquin's Missa Linga Pange, which David has been kind enough to lend me. He's also provided me with some interesting films - such as Modigliani - I will never complain about my life again! - and Glenn Gould, 32 Short Films - talented oddballs really are worth knowing! Anyway, the Bach and Josquin seemed to work, though I'm not too sure where the color came from :)

I came across a couple of sketches I had done of David back when the the weather was warmer - he's an interesting guy with interesting lanky poses -

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Elinor Royale

Today was the first session for Richard's life drawing group at the Findlay Centre, and a great kick-off with the Elinor Uberwench as the first model.

Drawing Elinor is always a pleasure - she's amiable, graceful, and relaxed - and today she seemed to have certain je ne sais quoi touching on royal about her today. Plus some new tattoos.

For me, it was pen and ink and gouache. I put a link in because many artists don't seem too familiar with it anymore - to the point where NSCAD doesn't carry the tubed paints and that most wretched of art suppliers des Serres can't be bothered to keep up their open stock. A shame, because it is great for fast sketchbook work. One more thing to order from away...

Anyway here's two from this morning.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lisa + Books = Something to Draw On

For the last few weeks Lisa and I have been working outside (both at Point Pleasant, and in my yard), and in the Trident Bookseller and Cafe. What I would like to do is get a series of sketches together for etchings that focus on Lisa, reading and coffee. They seem to go together so well! And it means Lisa can do her work (studying) while I do mine

We had started out in Point Pleasant a few weeks ago - the weather was cloudy, and there was some offshore fog - a typical Nova Scotia day. Which is actually nice to work in, as long as it doesn't rain, and the weather stays warm.

Unfortunately we only had a brief bit before the fog decided it didn't want to stay offshore, and it brought with it rain. Once the ink started running it was time to head for shelter. The odd thing was that it only rained on the very point - the parking lot was dry. So it was off to Trident.

Trident is a great place to work - it's small and intimate, has great coffee, lots of good books, and even a few tables that are not for laptops. And big windows.

A big part of this is just collecting drawings; what ever goes into an etching will be an amalgam of these. So there are lots of little ones (I tend to do quick scrathes in a sanguine sort of colour and corrections in a sort of bistre, using Faber-Castelli india ink felt tips).

The problem with doing interior scenes is that one needs a lot of detail to situate the image. These include quick sketches of customers going about their business:

as well as the general setting:

(to be continued in a week or two...)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jennifer and David

Jennifer and David are a couple I've been working with for awhile - with Jennifer somewhat longer than with David - and I am dying to do a double portrait (or a family one), maybe in encaustic, or maybe in oil. The problem is that it can take me forever to actually "see" people, especially when they are lively and fascinating. So in the meantime, I work with them individually.



My initial ideas for a family portrait run to something like Schiele's:

but not so morose. But it is a classic sort of ordering, echoed in in things like this old milk ad Jennifer sent me:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hanna At The Piano Redux

I was going to get back to this about 3 months ago, but it was hard facing the fact I had to grind off most of the etching and re-aquatint....So finally I got up the courage to bite the bullet - or more appropriately bite the plate - there's still lots of room for work (I want to darken the floor and raise the tone in the walls, and add in defining etched lines, for starters) but so far it looks salvageable...


Though as usual I haven't posted much, it's been a busy month. Lots of drawings to - which I hope to catch up on with respect to posting - and back at etching. (And yes, I'm working on Sasha's portrait :) ).

I think this is my favourite picture (so far) of Jenny, who is a delight to work with. Unfortunately (as usual) I spent way too much time on the hair, so ran short on the feet. And someday I will get the details of those tattoos down.

There's a few more, not so good, where I made her look far older than she looks in real life. Interesting how that happens, but I thought I should put them in for completeness..

And of course, one in the red robe. I should start a special collection of these...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Something different.

Well Hurricane Irene rolled - or should I say meandered weakly - through here. It did trail some great weather in its wake - sunny, warm, and breezy. Like about half of Halifax I headed out to Lawrencetown this morning to see if there was any excitement on the shore. There wasn't much, so I parked myself up at the top of MacDonald Head to sketch in pen and ink (the breeze was a little too strong to break out the gouache, and I wouldn't have wanted to set up an easel for oils).

[The drawing is nib pen & brush, and Sennelier bistre in a little WC notebook]

Years ago a complaint among painters in the Paris countryside was that there seemed to be an easel set up in every corner. These days it's cameras - though I'm not complaining, it's enjoyable to meet & chat with people out enjoying the scenery. The beach itself looked like a camera convention.

BTW - if anyone from the Parks departments reads this - I can understand discouraging swimmers (the currents were pretty strong), but why block off the parking lots? It just means cars get parked along the road, which is hardly safe. Of course they were kind enough to block the entrances to the lots with picnic tables, which were easily moved out of the way. But really, just post "Swim at your own risk" and let Darwin work his magic...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shawn and Sasha

Oil on canvas, 24"x36". This one took a lot longer than I expected. So what else is new :). But it has a fair bit of glazing, which has to dry between coats. Thank goodness for patient models.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Last week, if I remember correctly, was wet outside from the rain the night before, while the studio was an even worse shambles than usual. So we started in the kitchen, shooting the breeze while I worked on quick sketches. This is partly to warm up, partly to test positions for a final, more formal drawing, and mostly to keep pushing me away from the can-of-beans approach to working with lively and interesting people...

At one point Shorty - who is almost always present, trying to edge into the picture in one way or another - caught Jennifer's eye, and that set the basis for the drawing. As usual, I got totally lost in Jennifer's hair - it's wonderful to draw, particularly when backlit.

This week, on the hand, we were back in the studio for more traditional work. I don't know how she holds a pose like this, it would be beyond me. And this time instead of getting lost in Jennifer's hair, I got lost in her hands. (Sorry Jennifer!)

Whoa, two weeks goes fast

And I haven't even been on holiday. Anyway, before I launch into putting up work from the last two weeks, I'd like to note that there's quite an interesting group show on down at the Craig Gallery, with work by Richard Rudnicki, Susan Tooke, Joy Snihur Wyatt Laking, Susan Paterson, Denise Soper, Laurie Gunn, Margaret Boyle, Bruce Gray, Helen Opie, and Louise Williams. The show focuses on work done out at Long Island (near Five Islands), one of those gorgeous little Nova Scotia spots...

Anyway, back to work.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jennifer R., Reading Aura

Wednesday was much nicer than Tuesday - sunshine (most of the time) and temperatures in the mid 20's (mid 70's for the US). Way too nice for working inside. So Jennifer and I sat in shade in the backyard.

The book she's reading is Aura's Erato, which is a wonderful allegory of the act of creation in its different manifestations. And as Jennifer pointed out (and I quite agree), Aura's play with language is quite delightful.

There's a couple of others I did with Jennifer last week, but they aren't finished yet.

Lisa, Not Whistler's Mother

Tuesday was a wonderful day for reading - wet and cold (and not a whole lot warmer inside). As luck (or more likely, Lisa's foresight) would have it, Lisa had a couple of books wih her. So she settled into my old rocking chair to read by the window, and I to draw. The only thing really missing was a bit of sunshine coming in the window.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another week goes by....

At least this time I have a good reason for not posting much, it's been a busy one for drawing! Probably the best way to catch up is just to put them up in the order they were done, all in one post. I try to schedule two to three sessions a week, but this week two new-to-me models became available (Jennifer R. and Aura King); both brought an interest in the arts as well as the history of modeling, so I got to learn a lot.

Monday was with Shawn. Unfortunately the session got cut short somewhat, since I wanted to go over to his place and meet Sasha (his dog). I would like to get to work on a painting including the two of them.

Tuesday was Lisa. If she's looking a little pained, well she was, with a bad crick in her neck. But she was kind enough to sit anyway, and I sort of regret not getting the icepack in. Or a bag of frozen peas....

Wednesday was the first of the new models, Jennifer R. Jennifer is an experienced photographer & model, but I had my usual trouble sorting out drawings with new people. As an added bonus, she lent me the book Alias Olympia, by Eunice Lipton. It's based around Lipton's search for who Victorine Meurent really was. She also provided a link to quite an amusing website for playing with digital photos, BigHugeLabs.

Aura E. King is a writer, dancer, and a well known model in Halifax (especially at NSCAD), who is currently working on a book on classical modeling. I got to pick her brain quite a bit on the history of classical modeling (I had no idea, for example, that for much of history since the Renaissance, modeling was generally the domain of families, much as any other craft..)

And finally on Friday, Jennifer. Maybe it's the fact that I had been drawing all week, or maybe it's the fact that Jenn's a country and western fan (like me), but somehow we managed to get two drawings done, both of which I like.