Figure Drawing

I’ve been doing a good course this year: “Create” at the Northern College of Arts and Technology, Preston, Victoria.. one of my favourite bits is doing figure drawing EVERY WEEK, we have a good teacher and some SUPER models.  My favourite models (I’ve been interested to discover) are the Large Ladies, they are so lovely, and to me the epitome of femininity on paper.  These models are confident and imaginative and often acrobatic!  These are some favourite drawings chosen by my classmates (mainly 2 or 5 minute poses):



I’ve finally finished some new pieces.  Phew!! – It’s taken a while to acclimatise to the new country and a new medium: oil painting; as well as working out what I want to paint and how to paint it.  I’ll appreciate any feedback.  [Though if you can be gentle, that will be nice – we’re trying to buy a house among other things and I’m feeling fragile..]

For full details of works including prices see:

Up Close: Moth and Butterfly wing scales

I love the abstract nature of the moth and butterfly wings that I paint.  Here you can see their underlying structure, close-up.  This structure informs my brushwork:

Looking at the construction of space in Aboriginal Artists’ painting

Over the past year or so, I’ve been looking closely at many Aboriginal Artists’ work.  I’ve been admiring the complete finished works, and also looking at technique.  Because of my own work, I’m interested in how broad areas of ostensibly one colour, are painted, so that they are interesting to look at and not flat.  Here are some examples:

Large areas are painted with a wide brush, and with a thin wash, so that the background colours shows through, or the foreground hue is slightly varied, as in the white in the righthand detail:

Below are examples of monotone dots painted over backgrounds of varied hues, also lines and scrapes.  The righthand example shows monotone dots over almost monotone backgrounds.

In this one the dark red-brown background shows round the edges of the bright foreground colours:

And here a variety of background colours – many layers – are held together by a network foreground which is mainly one hue.


The works I viewed are in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.  I apologise for not naming the artists as they are too numerous to list here, some paintings are collaborations; I reproduce portions of their work here with profound admiration for their talents.

A Good Christmas Gift

I did a couple of watercolours for Kaloko Trust‘s Christmas card this year.  Kaloko is a great charity that is actually being effective in Zambia.  The card illustrates their beekeeper training project – using local materials and easy techniques, and taught by local people, it’s one way for people to get an income.  I particularly enjoyed the co-operation and enjoyment shown by the students in the illustrative film.

Please consider donating to Kaloko, and/or buying and distributing this card this Christmas.



Entomological Loan the Second

I have been fortunate to meet Ken Walker, Senior Curator of Entomology at the Melbourne Museum. He welcomed me into the insect vaults at the museum, and as in Oxford, I was able to take my pick of insects.  I’ve decided to focus on moths for now, as I love ’em – they are less obvious than butterflies, more subtle..   And as I was looking through a few of the thousands of drawers down there I got the idea for what I’ll be working on for the foreseeable future – so I’m glad that there are an awful lot of drawers – although I’d also love to see these guys in the wild – turns out I’m living in the wrong state – I need to relocate to Queensland – however, these are going to do me for now – these are all Australian, and some are local:

Melb-Mus-MothsThen the next day I found this lovely specimen in the window of the bookshop where I work:

Bookshop-MothIt’s called the “Old Lady Moth” apparently – Why?! – with thanks to another very helpful guy, Peter Marriott at The Entomological Society of Victoria; he’s also identified all the moths in the first picture for me.



Oil Painting

I wonder if anyone wonders what I have been up to, artistically, since we moved to Australia..?  Well, whether you wonder or not, I’m gonna tell you..

I’ve been thinking (and boring people by telling them..) that I would either branch out, or return, to painting in oils at some point.  So when we moved here, I found the best teacher I could, and got on with it.  David Moore did turn out to be a great teacher – people travel from all over to be taught by him, so I am lucky to have him here in my home town – and at the beautiful and interesting location of Montsalvat.

And so began my Monochrome Period..

To remind us how to paint form and space, and to re-familiarise us with handling the new medium, for the first two terms we painted in varieties of black and white.  This resulted in some fairly interesting images:

But then my favourite is when we are at last “allowed” to use colour!  Phew!!