Drawing and photography are central to my practice. Both make pressing - if sometimes fictitious - claims to the capture of lost moments.


The other side

The edge of the township of Masiphumelele, very close to the beach villages of Kommetjie and Noordhoek in the Cape. According to Wikipedia, it has approximately 26000 inhabitants. Ameneties are scarce and 30-40% of the inhabitants are infected with HIV/Aids. I'm hesitant about whether to even post this caption, but as photographs tends to objectify and aestheticise, I will risk sounding like an armchair liberal.


Page from sketchbook

Brush marker and watercolour in Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook.

Shop in Kommetjie


Holiday activities

My brother Dan and I drawing lemons in the kitchen... Dan says he could get used to this! His style of art, he says, is known as exactism, and I quote: "you have one chance. What you see is what you get." But actually, he was looking over my shoulder and copying my drawing, occasionally glancing at the bowl of lemons!

African Christmas

The light is so fierce, the sun so strong, that I really don't know how to take photographs here - the contrast is excessively sharp, so either they come out blanched, or with the shadows sooting out too much. This Father Christmas waiting at the chimney for his reindeer to collect and take him to cooler climes, on the road from Kommetjie to Fish Hoek.


They took me kicking and screaming for a walk up Table Mountain. Everyone else was doing the same thing on Boxing Day. The views were spectacular but the heat unbearable. Needless to say I didn't make it to anywhere near the top. I felt like dunking my head in some snow. I've always thought heat was overrated. The photo shows the children in our group, who were plucky and uncomplainingly made it all the way.


Not snowy

Definitely no snow here. Arrived exhausted today at Kommetjie, near Cape Town. I took this photograph shortly after arriving and walking five minutes down the road from the house where we're staying.



I'll be away from tomorrow - if the flights from Heathrow can be relied upon to run! - for almost a month. Will try post while away, but certainly won't have a scanner... meanwhile, wishing you all a


In the bleak midwinter

... though from just before things totally froze up! Just testing the paper of a spiral bound sketchbook to take to away with me (if I ever get on a plane) to see if it takes watercolour without too much curling (the verdict is so-so, but too bad!)
Brush markers and watercolour wash in Windsor and Newton spiral bound A4 sketchbook.


Frozen lines

The country is at a standstill with all lines of communication frozen - still not sure why this problem is repeated every year, 'they' should know it gets cold in winter... the poor spiders have their lines of communication frozen too.



I know it's not a very manly look, but Kato was shivering for a while. Note: that was at home - he doesn't go into the outside world as Cardy Man - there, he is feral beast (or a bit of a lad, actually)!

Brush markers and watercolours in Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook.


Kato sat next to the big vase of amaryllis which is on the floor...
Brush marker and watercolour in Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook.



I'm afraid these have been slightly chaotically busy days before the Christmas break, so not many drawings, or even not any, though I may settle now to an hour's sketching... but here's a photo taken this morning. Of a transparent giraffe's leg...?


Life drawing

Still tidying the studio storage, I also didn't remember these - from a small sketchbook of very quick, watercolour sketches from life. Probably around 1998!

All are watercolour or pencil in watercolour in small, wire-bound watercolour sketchbook.


Then and now

I had a big tidy of my studio store cupboard and found all manner of lost and forgotten things. Not least, a big Seawhite of Brighton sketcbook, begun probably twelve years ago and abandoned after some pages, having been used mostly to jot down ideas and many lists of things. Slipped between a double spread of ideas for titles, none of which I ever used, was a drawing made on tracing paper. There were other sketches of this couple, which I must have drawn at life drawing sessions at the faculty of fine arts where I was teaching at the time, but I liked the way this one let the writing through. 
Pen and ink on tracing paper, on pen in large Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook.


Scarf and gloves

Winter gear - the scarf brightens up my always dark clothes. But the drawing is a disaster. I couldn't find my sketchbook so grabbed a piece of paper in the studio. I was sure it was a pencil crayon sort of drawing that this called for. But as soon as I started, I realised that the pattern on the scarf, which is what attracted me to do the drawing in the first place, was just too fiddly and detailed and that the pencils didn't grip properly, so I changed over to those beloved Faber-Castell Pitt brush pens. I really prefer to do drawings where I'm looking at a general sweep of something and not very finely wrought details. I thought I'd include this because drawing has been thin on the ground these past few days.
Pencil crayons and brush markers on cartridge paper.

Painting upwards or a certain slant of light...


Lacy tightrope in the sky

I have hardly had time to draw this past week, but going on the daily walk with the camera is also good: both drawing and photographing have the advantage of making one focus on the outside world rather than on one's own tangle of thoughts.


New sketchbook, early drawing

New sketchbook (square pages this time), and I've already spilt tea on it! Still very cold here, and I'm still getting pleasure out of quick mark making and the landscape close by.

Brush markers and watercolour in Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook.