Drawing on a Wednesday

Wednesday is a workday. Every workday needs to be monetised.

So my question at breakfast was ‘why am I here’. It’s now lunchtime. I am sitting eating spinach and ricotta cheese tortellini, sharing a table with fast speaking French men in an Italian restaurant.

The burners are fired on. Noise fills the tiny space. Bodies fill stools on one side looking onto the street; they fill three tiny tables the other. On red tiles, the queue fills the space in waves. Through the bulk of figures I can see the depth as the rectangular room gives way to a smaller squarer florescent wash kitchen. I can see space, rhythm and shapes.

When the queue dissipates the proprietor paces up and down in air thick with adrenalin. Like a fighter he’s ready for the door to swing.

I see the space now and feel so alive I have to concentrate not to cry with it’s beauty. I see it because I have sat with Frances finding space in the life room, zoom…a wobbly line shoots over Ingres paper. The charcoal does the work. Gentle, an eye, a hand full of form finding knowledge. Knowledge of shapes on a flat page. Knowledge found from time and love.

My question at lunch is ‘why am I not here’.

My Hackney Holiday

Reaching out for knowledge is a funny thing.
It would be good if by doing so the image of yourself stayed the same.
But it doesn’t.

It shifts and grows and shrinks, as if you are sitting in a train
looking out at yourself standing on a platform.
And the train comes in and out of the station.

Your form, like your ego shifts.
Often it is so small it’s
like a pin.
A stripe of figure with a head.

Even from a distance we can recognise this as human.
A little closer the stance is particular.
Closer and you see yourself again
but with knowledge you are altered.

Like gathering candy floss, images come with you.
Jewels float from Victoria and Albert’s stained glass
(which you hated at the time)
and from a tapestry with mad eyes.


I could hardly see myself when I arrived,
The tiredness from a years working on adrenalin,
a new space to live, new studio, 2 months of nothing mapped.
But I walked on roots.

The planes outside our window grow on common land.
Their foundations must reach to the edges of the park
so at turf level, below the branches,
we are enveloped in wood.

Days spent in low sun and the patterns of branches,
the unfamiliar becomes the regular
and you find the right route,
the super highway.

And like Barcelona it makes you break into song while riding your bike.
Its January, its raining and cold
but from the cycle path the outlook over the river is awesome.


One week in the national gallery
is enough to alter the currency.
The anxiety of a workaholic
switches to self investment, to enquiry.

I went medieval.
I went baroque, I even found Jesus.
And Mary.
And Venice.
I could go on.

The great masters like route planners,
they handed a baton,
they said yes.

After a couple of beers your ambition swelled
to be as great as Amadeus
and ‘so lofty you shat marble’.

Yes, you could be as good as Raphael.
Given the time, the space.


The equation is a third.

I am only working to a third of my ability.
(ok so add two thirds I admit Raphael and Mozart may still be a reach)

But as you stared close up at your mad and excited face
the train pulls away.


Back in class, learning.

I always said drawing was humbling but then add a tutor’s
knowledge, even just their power to retain names makes you small.
Eating out, drinking, growing physically larger makes you small.
A weakness is exposed, a chink,
and you go for self destruct.

The train moves out and even the pin starts to haze.
You need help to get back into the station.

You reach out by email, ‘I need a guide to help me see myself’.
I check my website to make sure I don’t look too shoddy
and realise that I am back on the platform.


I am suddenly back in my body.
The equation is still two thirds
but I have a strong third here.
I am actually a painter after all.





Graham says ‘it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t give yourself a hard time about it’
Yes, correct Graham.

But Graham,
it does matter.
It does matter what you do.
2/3 rds Graham,
that’s how much it matters.




Wether to paint mountains


6th February 2017

The writing seems to be in a poem form but I am not trying to be a poet here. Its just as it comes, in part shaped by the space at the edge of the paper. So in typing it out I have kept it similar, thats all. Some of it makes me cringe when I see it and my naive and basic understandings. It takes me a while to catch on*.  Most of it shouldn’t be shared but I have such a terrible memory and my mind scatters about so it gives me structure to have it written down, in print as it were. Formalised.


A4 Drawing Scan 36a –  Wether to paint mountains  – Later hands


A figure has certain rules.
A mountain not, its


A4 Drawing Scan 38 – Wether to paint mountains – foot drawings x2


This is not a casual discussion
these are not casual concerns.
It’s not about blackcurrant or damson.
It’s not a decision about toast
or the everyday.

These decisions are
worried, picked at.
They are buried by work but surface
given the tiniest of light.

A fracture, a glint
and they bubble ferociously.

They worry.



Is a valley more exciting than an instep?

A person,
a toe is specific
but there are rules.
It’s not just random shale
and fallen boulders.

I ache as I watch light
glide over a mountain.
Is it the light and the mountain,
or is it the feeling of the light
on the mountain?

My god this person is alive
and so true is it
that this person will
once not be.

Maybe that’s
the difference

The mountain will stay.
Its different everyday
but it will stay.

This foot will not.




So inevitably its about death…. of course.

Thats why its beautiful.
Thats why it makes you cry with the confusion.


A4 Drawing Scan 44 – Wether to paint mountains

Today I have found
a mountain in a foot
a rock in a hand
a valley’s flank
in a thigh.


A4 Drawing Scan 47 – Wether to paint mountains

So if it’s about showing people beauty.*
if they won’t see it line then maybe try colour.

deep maroon base, yellow bright red





*Edgar Degas

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”


*Dolly Parton

I’m a little bit slow to catch on

But when I do, I’m caught on

1st morning back Jan 16th 2017

Oh drawing I have missed you.
You are the best of who I am.
You are kind,
not short, not irritated.

Without you I am wanting
but with you I can see.

Without you I am anxious
but when I slip back
between your sheets
I am at peace.

Your relentless lessons
have taught me to be humble,
without flare. With you today
I will learn again.

Without you I am a vacuum
filled only with self doubt,
insecurities and need.

You are difficult, for sure,
but with you I see beauty
and in form finding, a quiet.

In age you see the history,
the girl and the woman.

In attitude
you see fragility.

You search for the truth.
You are inquisitive.
Sometimes you conceal
but you never lie.

Approached with caution,
with respect
and you are a true and
honest friend.

I am yours.

Be mine
and drawing
please don’t ever leave me.


Talking about drawing. A4 Drawing Unspecified 1st morning Jan 2017

Slipping back into your velvety graphic
I feel a peace.



Talking about drawing. A4 Drawing Unspecified 1st morning Jan 2017

Blue water, coral and sparkling fish
can not compete with your calm.

Lapping azure cannot
ease me like your lines.


Talking about drawing. A4 Drawing Unspecified 1st morning Jan 2017

Only by seeking the truth
will you reward.
Style, fakeness, cleverness
is punished.



Talking about drawing. A4 Drawing Unspecified 1st morning Jan 2017

I am held by your tranquility
and suspended
I am calm.


A4 Drawing No.12 Jan 2017

In your practice I see
beauty. I am kind
not short, not irritated.


A4 Drawing No.13 Jan 2017

Naked she sits.

I have the privilege
to see her truth,
the truth drawing shows me, life.

Muscles of a life lived
through time sits
still here with us
as we learn
from her form.

Privileged we are
to have this time
to learn from life.


A4 Drawing No.13 Jan 2017

I am a drawer
not a snorkeler
not a deep sea diver
or cliff top rider.

I am a viewer
a looker.
Not a doer.

A4 Drawing No.15 Jan 2017

How could I have been so stupid to leave your lessons, to empty my head of all but anxieties.
Thank you for staying.
I will not leave you again.


4 Drawing No.16 Jan 2017

With you I am
who I am now,
here, not who I
could or should
or want to be.


A4 Drawing No.18 Jan 2017
A4D18 Jan17

The peace you give
has to be earnt,
has to be taught
from time with you.

It can not be bought
can not be faked.

You are generous
but take you for granted
you are cruel.

It’s a beautiful
but not straightforward

For me the immediacy in front
of life can not be

Lack of courage, laziness
is punished.


A4 Drawing No.17 Jan 2017
Truth is rewarded