Archive | November, 2018

Another Cadaver

19 Nov

Here’s another drawing from the museum of natural science in Florence, from the exhibition of exquisitely made wax cadavers. They are quite gruesome to draw, partly because they have been given very lifelike glass eyes. This example shows the main veins and arteries.


18 Nov

I’m having a break in Florence for a few days and although I brought my sketchbook with me, I wasn’t planning on doing much drawing unless something really inspired me. It turned out to be a cadaver. Sometimes I worry about me.

We went with our excellent guide, Andrew, to the La Specola Museum of Natural History where they have an extraordinary collection of anatomical models made in wax. They are amazing and, I was going to say lifelike, but I guess they’re deathlike. Drawn with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen into my A6 Tate Gallery sketchbook.

Don’t Bother With The Tipsy Tower

17 Nov

If you visit Pisa in Italy, my advice is don’t bother with the tipsy tower, too full of tourists, but go instead to the fascinating Museum of Calculation Devices, which displays the history of early calculators and computers. It is awesome.

But avoid the toilets. Easily the worst public toilet I have visited in Europe. Otherwise, so much better than tipsy towers.

Taking a break.

16 Nov

Taking a break. Pisa today. There is a wonky tower there.


15 Nov

Just taking a break for a few days, soaking up the art and sunshine of Florence.

It’s All A Bit Zen.

13 Nov

cut 1


The carving begins! The final drawing has been transferred in reverse onto the MDF block in compressed charcoal. Then I redrew everything with a brush and walnut ink. And now I’m cutting. After all the rush and stress of the past few weeks, it feels a bit Zen to quietly carve into the wood, carefully scribing the lines and curves with nothing but the sound of my breathing to accompany me. It’s very meditative.


cut 2

This is a large woodcut commissioned by Sky Arts television channel for ART50. You can read more about what I’m doing here.



sky-arts art 50 mash up





Getting On With It

12 Nov


I’m on the last leg now with “Here Be Dragons”, my commission for Sky Arts, getting my final design transferred into a large sheet of MDF. I’m back in my studio at home, with Helen Finney’s portrait of me looking down as I work.



I transferred it using detail paper, that had a tracing of the design in compressed charcoal. Once that was on the MDF, I went over each line with a good quality squirrel hair brush and home-made walnut ink. Tomorrow, the cutting begins!


sky-arts art 50 mash up

Still Slogging Away….

10 Nov

final 2a


Still slogging away. I have redrawn this yet again and now I think I’m finally happy with the way the textual imagery flows. This is the third version that I have worked up, and I did it lightly in graphite first.


final 2b


Then I covered it with detail paper (tracing) and copied it through with compressed charcoal, which will help when I turn it over to copy it onto a sheet of wood – it has to be carved in reverse of course. Off to the DIY centre next, to get a sheet of MDF. This is the reality of doing art, reworking and refining and slogging away, not very glamorous, eh?





What has brought you here?

9 Nov

An interesting and challenging artblog from Swansea artist Patricia McKenna-Jones, with some great drawings en plein air


I attended a meeting of Stand Up To Racism two days ago in Swansea at which we listened to some politically -committed guest speakers. I couldn’t stay long but did a couple of sketches anyway (here and at base):

After this we were asked to speak to the person nearest to us about what had made us turn up; for some reason I felt something akin to nausea and was suddenly back in Liverpool with my school friend, Owen, in 1968.

Owen was mixed race and were in the same class all the way through Primary School and some of Secondary. I have a memory of us being on school trip in the Lake-district aged 11 with Lulu’s I’m a Tiger playing on someone’s radio. He was always better than me at maths and was a great natural artist.

This all changed when we went to the ‘big school’ and…

View original post 137 more words

Back To The Drawing Board

7 Nov

Literally, back to the drawing board. I worked up a full scale drawing yesterday, ready to transfer to a block for cutting. But I’m not happy with it. There’s so much text to fit into the space and I think it’s too busy and cramped so today, back to basics, redrawing each word so the text is more abstracted. Tomorrow, I’ll work it up onto another full size sheet of paper and see where that gets me.

reworking a


This is a commission for Sky Arts television.

sky-arts art 50 mash up

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