Themes – Sketches

Above, Iona in October winds. 2018

As I’m currently painting a private commission which must remain secret until October 2021, I thought I’d post themed blogs in the meantime. Today’s theme is Sketches

My last themes were Sea, Trees and Mountains In the next few weeks I’ll  share my paintings of winter, abstraction, imagination and collaborations.


I prefer to sketch people doing things they do – playing guitar (Donald) making animations (Adam) playing cello (Atzi). Theyse are all of men – not because I prefer painting men but because, aside from Richard Demarco, the people I hang out with the most are Adam (my partner), Donald and Atzi. The sketches of Richard Demarco were preparation for a portrait which you can read more about on this link Portrait of Richard Demarco.

Energy, Landscape

Although Constable and Joan Eardley are more than a century apart, both artists beautifully recorded the energy of landscape in their sketches. In the sketches below I’ve attempted to capture the energy of landscape, it’s such an important part of a painting. These sketches were made in Iona in October and express the wild energy of October winds.


These sketches were made on the Isle of Eigg in 2014. I remember it was the year of the Scottish Independence Referendum. Aside from one family, every one of Eigg’s 99 or so inhabitants was supportive of Scottish Independence. This was no surprise as the islanders had effectively voted for their own independence with a community buyout in 1998. Once the community was in charge Eigg’s fate changed radically for the better with a 100% renewable energy system and improved tenenacy and ownership rights for the islanders. Maggie Fyffe, Iona Trust secretary described it to me in an interview as; ‘the difference between night and day’! Maggie owned the croft in which we stayed, with it’s little wood-burning stove, below. You can read more of that interview here: – Eigg Island


Winter’s monochrome tones lend themselves to sketches. These are of a bridge in Canonhill Park (pen and ink), Birmingham, and a preparatory sketch of Edinburgh( gesso on wood board)


Lastly, horses. They always look mythical to me!

As my secret commission is coming to an end next week (t will then go into process for tis launch in October 2021) I’ll be starting a new private commission – this time of the beautiful Isle of Mull. I look forward to posting about that soon!

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