Tag Archives: Toulouse-Lautrec

Dystopian Man

23 May

I haven’t done much sketchbook work for a couple of weeks because I’m working flat out on a painting – sort of. I’m not a painter but I’m entering an international painting competition and I decided I’d push the definition of painting a bit and approach it as a scribbler and printmaker. The theme, broadly, is Utopia or Dystopia and of course I’ve e gone for the dystopian viewpoint. I’m very close to finishing but it’s taking all my time and energy, no time for sketching or printmaking until the deadline, which is this Friday.

It’s on quite a large scale, about four times the largest I normally use and I’m working onto primed heavyweight cardboard with litho/relief inks [oil-based] applied with squeegee, roller and pallette knife and using oil bars for the detail. So it’s sort of paint. But I don’t use a brush – ever. It also involves a lot of rubbing off with rags and scraping with all sorts of implements. I’m having a good time. This is a detail. The finished piece has three figures – male, female and child. This was the man as of last night. I’ve done a lot more work on him but I forgot to take my camera in today. It’s a pretty grim image but that’s okay because I wanted to see how far I could portray a concept, a state of being, using just human figures with little else to contextualise them. It might fail miserably but I’ll know by Friday.

BTW I’m using cardboard because Toulouse-Lautrec used it and if it’s good enough for him ……….

The Illustrated Man

2 Feb

Ink sketch. Man and tattoos.


Not an original blog title – I remember the film with Rod Steiger – but it seemed apt. This is a friend of ours who has fabulous tribal tattoos covering half of his body and I’ve been wanting to draw them for ages so we fixed a time for him to drop down to my studio. Unfortunately it was the coldest day of the winter so far today. I borrowed another artist’s convector heater to work alongside my fan heater to try and get the studio warm and when my model arrived yet another artist lent me her directional heater and between the three, and a nice hot cup of coffee, we managed about an hour and a half. I did a few quick, warm-up ink sketches into my little ‘cat’ sketchbook [ the one I had for Xmas] and then I worked in graphite, charcoal and white gouache onto an A2 piece of cardboard I had previously primed with rabbit skin glue. I’ve never worked on cardboard before but I’ve been studying Toulouse-Lautrec’s technique recently [I’m a big fan] and he did loads in cardboard and gouache. The piece on cardboard is nowhere near finished but I have enough visual information from my sketches to do a lot more work into it, before I need my pal to come back for another sitting.

Steampunkery at Mozarts

28 Oct

Ink drawing: A lady in her finery.

It was the first anniversary of the Swansea Steampunk Association Meet this week and there was much jollity with lashings of Earl Grey tea and home-made cake at Mozarts, a faded Victorian club of slightly shabby grandeur. Behind the classical façade is a large entrance hall with a magnificent patterned tiled floor leading to some rather shady backrooms with high ornate ceilings and a mirrored and panelled bar, a carved Victorian fireplace with a large mirror perched on top of it and old winebottles stuffed with dripping candles all over the place.

The eclectic mix of strange Steampunk music was reflected in the diversity of costumes, from authentic Victorian and Edwardian dress to sci-fi steampunkery at it’s most outlandish. I wasn’t able to stay long so just did a few very scribbled drawings. This lady in her finery is bathed in candlelight reflected in the mirror above the fireplace and looks for all the world like she is sitting in some Parisian bar in the late 1800’s, being sketched by the likes of Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas or Manet, not that I would ever compare my scribbles to such awesome artists!

The drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt pen [size S] into a tiny leather-bound sketchbook.


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