Saturday, June 28, 2008


These are shears which belonged to my great-grandmother, Beatrice Coggrave (or possibly her mother, Elizabeth Easton). She used them for dressmaking; I borrowed them from my mum to trim my pond liner!

They're large and quite heavy and one of our few family heirlooms.

This can be everydaymatters challenge #32: Draw something metallic

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Broad-bodied Chaser

I went into the gardens at work today armed with a little sketchbook instead of a camera. It's a hard habit to break. I found a quiet corner and tried to draw some plants but didn't come up with much that I was that happy with.

On my walk back to my desk, I spotted this male Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly perching in a flowerbed. Because it was cloudy, he sat still for a couple of minutes. I'm reasonably pleased with the above. It was difficult not to panic when trying to work quickly!

Monday, May 05, 2008

King Vulture

King Vulture, c2000, gouache

Another one, from a photo, that never got finished.


CART/Champcar driver Alex Zanardi, c1998

I think I was fed up with painting brown and green things and the bright primary colours really appealed, and Alex's driving was incredibly exciting... I have fond memories of spending Sunday evenings on the edge of the sofa.

Another painting that never got finished. Maybe one day...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Messy table

#9 'Draw a bit of “organized chaos” - your messy desk, your table stacked with books, etc.' This started fairly well but my hand started aching and things fell apart a bit, so I stopped.

You can see a copy of the Collins Bird Guide, a little Crumpler bag that my camera lives in, a framed Carry Akroyd print, an RSPB Sumatra mug with a paintbrush, a spiral bound sketchbook and at the bottom of the pile, Oliver Rackham's Illustrated History of the Countryside.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Now available: prints, cards, mousemats

It's far too windy, rainy and cold outside to be doing anything, so this afternoon I've taken the plunge into e-commerce. You can now buy prints (choice of three sizes), postcards (packs of 16) and greetings cards (packs of 8) and mousemats from my Photobox gallery.

I ordered some prints from Photobox a few weeks ago and I was impressed with the quality and speedy delivery. So, please get shopping! Feedback appreciated (leave a comment or send an e-mail), and let me know if you'd like to be able to order different images or products.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008


A young male Sparrowhawk is a fairly regular visitor to our garden. It employs the strategy of making a raid on the bush where the small birds hang out when they're not at the feeder. That's typically unsuccessful, so the hawk then sits quietly in the bush, preens its ruffled feathers and plays cat and mouse.

Usually some small birds - Blue or Great Tits - get stuck in the bush with the hawk, too afraid to fly out in case it chases them. They either cower silently or make loud alarm calls to alert other birds to its presence.

Quite often, the Sparrowhawk seems to be oblivious to the birds' actions, as it is engrossed in preening, with one long leg tucked up against its chest. I'm not sure if it's just resting or merely pretending to be relaxed to lull the little birds into a false sense of security.

Occasionally, it can't resist scrambling around amongst the dense twigs, where it's surprisingly agile, but then Sparrowhawks have evolved over thousands of years for just this kind of behaviour.

Photos and a bit of video are here

Saturday, February 23, 2008


A traditional British cup of tea. I've come round to tea-drinking fairly late in life, only in the past couple of years. This is my attempt at everydaymatters challenge #4 - 'Draw your mug or cup'

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Again, from a photo, but my own for a change. This is Borrachito, an Andalusian stallion we met while on holiday in southern Spain, 2000


Red-backed Shrike. Really no idea when I did this - I certainly don't remember it. Probably mid-to-late-1990s.



Formula 1

From c1997 (I think)


From 1998, when I should have been studying [journalism] but was painting instead.

Delving into the archives

My parents came over last weekend and brought a box full of my old stuff with them. Here are a few of the bits of artwork that lurked within.

R.E.M. This probably dates back to c1996, when I still indulged in the sin that is Copying From [Other People's] Photos. This is one of Anton Corbijn's, whose work I love.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Yes, I know it's not a sketch. Tapestry (or needlepoint, if you prefer) is just the thing for these long, dark winter nights in front of the telly. I did the stitching; my Mum kindly agreed to make it into a cushion cover.

Sewing in anything other than short, diagonal lines is not really my strong point, but I had a crash course in sewing machines at the weekend and hope to make my own in future...

The birds are Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, adapted from John James Audubon's famous work.