Thursday, 24 April 2014

On Location; Finicounda, 23rd April

Sketch made 'On Location' in Finicounda yesterday morning where, because a gale was blowing, I had to resort to parking my car on the jetty and use the car as a gently rocking shelter in which to make this sketch.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


I posted an earlier essay at drawing this window on 22nd January 2013.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Tattersal Castle, Lincolnshire.

While bemoaning the truth that my drawings take me far too long to produce Galway based talented professional water-colourist Róisín Curé kindly suggested I try drawing against the clock.  This drawing, took me ten minutes to draw and a further twenty to colour.  This is far from high-speed sketching, I know,  but, as far as I am concerned a satisfactory start.  According to Róisín practising 'speed-drawing' also helps to free-up drawing style; mine could do with some of that.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Pádraig Pearse's Cottage, Rosmuck. Connemara, Co. Galway. Ireland

Pearse used this cottage at remote, Irish speaking Rosmuc, as a summer retreat.  It was here that he probably wrote the wonderful panegyric which he read at O'Donovan Rossa's funeral.  Here is the closing paragraph:

"In a closer spiritual communion with him now than ever before or perhaps ever again, in a spiritual communion with those of his day, living and dead, who suffered with him in English prisons, in communion of spirit too with our own dear comrades who suffer in English prisons to-day, and speaking on their behalf as well as our own, we pledge to Ireland our love, and we pledge to English rule in Ireland our hate. This is a place of peace, sacred to the dead, where men should speak with all charity and with all restraint; but I hold it a Christian thing, as O'Donovan Rossa held it, to hate evil, to hate untruth, to hate oppression, and, hating them, to strive to overthrow them. Our foes are strong and wise and wary; but, strong and wise and wary as they are, they cannot undo the miracles of God who ripens in the hearts of young men the seeds sown by the young men of a former generation. And the seeds sown by the young men of '65 and '67 are coming to their miraculous ripening to-day. Rulers and Defenders of Realms had need to be wary if they would guard against such processes. Life springs from death; and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations. The Defenders of this Realm have worked well in secret and in the open. They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! — they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace."

O'Donovan Rossa died, and Pearse's oration was read, ninety-nine years ago but the British Government yet refuse the majority of the people of the six counties to exercise their right to be Irish judged and governed!

The cottage was fired during the Civil War but has since been restored and now is a charming if poignant museum to Pearse's memory.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Drombeg Stone Circle

 Excavated  byProfessor Edward Fahy in 1957, the stones were carbon dated in the 1980s to the eleventh century B.C.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Carolina dreamin'

When a friend sent me a photograph of this romantic house on an Atlantic beach I just had to have a go at drawing it.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Wild Anemones, rocks, grasses.

On Location, 12th March 2014

Yanni's roadside tomato stall; new season tomatoes.  Drawn at Gill's studio from a photograph taken the previous day; painted later at home.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Luna Lounge again!

It has been rather lounge kind of weather here recently.

The Luna Lounge, Kalamata

The Luna Lounge: Best coffee this side of Italy, best croissant this side of France (Sez I!)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Kalamata Town Centre. Friday 21st February

The town centre was very quiet today, much of the population was nursing its sore heads and stomachs; consequences of the previous day's excesses.  Thursday 20th had, this year, been 'Barbecue Thursday' a greek tradition connected to lent and Easter which dictates that on the Thursday in the middle of 'Carnival' local authorities, businesses and private residents will extend hospitality to share huge amounts of grilled meat copious litres of local wine with which to wash it down.

'On Loco' 20th February

This stone-built structure stands at the end of the harbour mole at Koroni.  I am uncertain of its origin, it is reputed to have been a shelter for a lamp kept burning for returning seafarers, a lamp from which they could light, when they came ashore, their lanterns.   The stone is deteriorating but some attempts appear to have been made from time to time to keep the structure in at least reasonable order.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


Fellow blogger Andrew MacLaren-Scott posted recently a couple of excellent photographs of the scenery near his home in Scotland after the first snow of this winter.  So impressed was I with Andrew's pictures that I could not resist attempting this quick sketch.

I made the drawing using Rohrer & Klingner Leipzig inks; 'Scabiosa' for the background, 'Sepia' for the foreground.

Monday, 17 February 2014

A Spot of organisation

Drawn 16th February
I have accumulated far too many paints; too many tubes and pans of too many colours from too many manufacturers, consequently I spend far too much time searching for the  particular colour I want to use.  To try to mitigate the problem I began to put my paints into recycled food tins.  Because the tins were nearly all identical empty Lavazza coffee tins this attempt at organisation was something of a failure.  I then hit on the bright idea of decorating the tins with illustrations of their content.

Drawn 16th February

Mystraki in Westering Sun

Drawn 10th February

A sketch of Mystraki catching the last of the afternoon sun.  I hope at sometime to make a larger, more considered, studio painting from this sketch.

Through the Kitchen Window

Drawn 9th February

The view north from the house.

Oxalis pes-caprae

In winter and early spring these cool lemon yellow flowers carpet the ground in the olive groves hereabouts.  In this sketch I attempted to be really free with my paint; to try to create an impression rather than to make a botanical drawing.

Drawn 6th February


These small single flowers are flowering in abundance now.  The open beautifully in the morning sun but close with the fading light of the afternoon.

Drawn 3rd February

Iris Cretensis

From December until April the roads and tracks near my home are generously lined with clumps of Iris Cretensis.  The colours of the petals vary from pale blue-violet to intense deep purple.

Drawn 2nd February

Friday, 31 January 2014

Contrasts: Organic against Inorganic

Drawn 27th January

Around my home, concealed under a thick blanket of vegetation, there have lain for a generation or longer many beautiful vignettes of rock, tree, leaf and flower, fairylands lit by dappled sun through leafy ceilings.   To liberate these hidden glades it has been necessary to hack passages and paths through a jungle of thorny creepers, dead branches, vigorous shrubs and saplings.  This work is, of course, interfering with nature but only very temporarily; within a decade of stopping this work nature will have reclaimed her own.  Only my efforts at trying to record how these places are now will remain; as good a reason as any for my essaying to render them in watercolour.


Drawn 26th January

Number four grand-daughter Harriet had her eleventh birthday on 28th January.  This is the portrait I drew of her dressed in Harry Potter mode for the front of her birthday card.

The Old Way

Drawn 25th January

From the mid nineteenth century when, post Greece's abandonment by the Ottoman Empire, Velanidia was first settled, this donkey track to the Mystraki village well in the valley would have been in daily use until the middle of the twentieth century; until petrol engines replaced draught animals.
The track, unused now but for our occasional pleasure, has become partially eroded and overgrown, it remains accessible only through considerable efforts to keep it so.

The Toy Boomerang

Drawn 21st January
In 1999 a couple from the UK came to visit us at home; they had with them her three children, two girls and a boy.  The boy,  Robin, then ten or twelve years old brought with him a precious and new toy boomerang which he launched on its maiden and only flight from a meadow next to the house; the boomerang did not come back, it fell into dense scrub.  Despite long and intensive searching the toy could not be found.

In January 2014, to liberate into view some fine woodland and a dramatic limestone outcrop, Lisi and I have been clearing of undergrowth the steep bank that rises from our track to the meadow from which, so many years ago, the toy boomerang was launched.  Apart from exposing, for the first time in many years, some beautiful rocks and trees we had also exposed the errant boomerang. In something amazingly close to its original condition, the toy was lodged on a heart-shaped rock at the foot of a cleft between two huge boulders.


Drawn 18th January
Until WWll and the subsequent civil war here in Greece every village community had a threshing floor; a circular paved floor with a central post around which oxen dragged heavy timbers over grain crops to thresh out their seeds.  Since then these floors have been abandoned and have largely fallen into ruin.  Here and there they have been preserved but a far greater number of them have disappeared for ever.

Plastic, poly-tunnel greenhouses yet abound in the landscape but this one has been long abandoned. It was last used for sheltering kids and lambs.

On Location 16th January

Wet weather forced the usual Thursday, 'On Location' gathering of sketchers to be abandoned.  We met instead in Gill Tomlinson's well-appointed warm and dry studio.  The drawing was not finished but I shall add no more to it.

On Location, 29th January

For the third week in succession wet weather caused the 'On Location' gathering to be at Gill Tomlinson's studio.  Having exhausted my pleasure of sketching the interior of the studio I chose this week to make an interpretation of a magazine photograph of the ruins of a Greek temple in Sicily.

On Location 22nd January

'On Location' day was altered from Thursday to Wednesday.  Again we were obliged to accept Gill's generous offer of use of her studio.  I managed to finish even less of my drawing than that of the previous week.  This was largely due to spending rather more of the morning drawing 'warm-up' sketches; wrong-handed, blind and restated contour drawings too ephemeral to post here.