Still here

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And so the artist emerges from hibernation, blinking and stretching and in need of a cup of tea.

The little piece on the right is 4×6″, in pen, watercolour and coloured pencil on paper. It’s based on a photo of dendrobium orchids.

Below, you can see the 3×3″ leather-bound sketchbook that I bought in Camden Market last month, and a montage of pages from it. This tiny book is encouraging me to fit in a scribble when I have a few minutes to spare, without stressing over the quality of the finished (or unfinished!) sketch. It’s precisely the kind of thing I should be doing more of in my regular hand*book journal, but ho hum, that just isn’t happening; and as opportunities to paint have been thin on the ground these past few weeks, at least the novelty of my little book has kept my sketching hand moving.

To quote Danny Gregory: “The drawings don’t matter. The drawing does.”


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While you were sleeping … Boast post #2

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I was struck by many things about Audrey Niffenegger’s astonishing novel The Time-Traveler’s Wife when I read it in early 2007 – just before I started this blog – and among them was a tender description of one of the characters, an artist, making a pastel drawing, from life, of a sleeping baby.

As a pastellist, I yearned to do this with my own infant daughter. She’s 18 months old now, and still I have not accomplished it. I found it impossible to sketch her back in those early days, when the only place she would give in to a daytime nap was in my arms; but from the past year I have a handful of small pen sketches made of her while she slept in her pushchair. I thought I would share them as a montage. (The one in the bottom right-hand corner was done 5 days ago while in a moving car, where (strangely) it is easier to draw than to write.)


I have painted M in oil pastels, but “only” from a photo, as shared here. One day , perhaps, she will be patient enough to indulge her mummy while I sketch her awake, and from life.

Meanwhile, here is a record of the moment when she stopped simply making lines back and forth across the page, and started visibly experimenting with mark-making: she was 17 months old. These drawings remind me of abstract work that I have seen, and I’m very fond of them. To me they’re like an exotic script, or some strange dance notation.