Tuesday, March 29, 2011


My cat Sushi usually saunters into the studio half way through the Monday night drawing evening, and settles down near the model (and wood stove) so he appears in a few of my drawings.

I had to snap him this morning, posing with one of the drawings.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My friend Roger posed for the Monday drawing group last night. I got quite a nice painting out of the evening, though I am not sure how good a likeness it is.

One thing I tend to do, and am criticized for, is cutting off the top of the head. Sometimes it makes a more interesting composition.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Muses and magic

My mother, Frances Stock, was a painter. Soon after I finished my studies yet didn't quite know how I would proceed with my life, my mother commissioned me to paint the family portraits. I started with a painting of her.

The painting progressed well at first, but I was struggling with an overworked mucky face. One evening I came into the room to find my mother working on her portrait! I was livid. At about 4am I stormed back into the bedroom where the painting was set up on an easel and my mother was sleeping and flipped on the lights. I squeezed out a smear of white paint and blotted out the head, flipped off the lights and stormed out.

The following morning, I sketched in the head and face in about half an hour and after signing the painting, put down my brushes.

I have tried to work myself into a similar froth on subsequent occasions when a painting wasn't working but the magic didn't work on command.

Now, working on the illustrations for the Emily Dickinson biography, I find that I can't start work before nightfall. The book is demanding its own quiet time. Sometimes, as now, I have scrubbed off all the work I have done on it, redrawn in the figure sitting at her small desk, and seen it come together almost on its own.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Large ladies

When I was an art student, I was mocked for my fascination with painting large ladies.

But now that I can paint what I want, hey, I paint what I want!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


I promised my friend Ron a portrait two years ago for Christmas. He hated the result. Tonight he posed for my group and I came up with this picture. Something is wrong with it but I can't quite figure it out. The head is just not working with the body.