Saturday, 31 October 2009

The Gates of Hell

A couple of miles south of here is the site of the "Most Haunted House in England", Borley Rectory. Numerous books have been written about it and there are plenty of websites. I've taken people up there many times but in truth, there's little now to see. No signs lead to Borley, the church is always locked and the locals actively discourage tourists and ghosthunters. The house itself burnt down in 1939 and bungalows have been built on the site. All that remains of the old estate are these gates that I snapped earlier this evening. Happy Halloween...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Shoreditch Types...

For one reason or another I sometimes find myself in the Shoreditch area of London. When I first knew it decades ago, it was a gloomy, Dickensian labyrinth of tight cobbled lanes and alleyways connecting shadowy Victorian railway arches, decaying warehouses and dormant manufacturing workshops. Like other pockets of forgotten and unfashionable London at the time, it had a distinctly eerie ghost-town atmosphere. Now of course, it is far, far from that. A super-fashionable ‘artistic’ quarter, the factories and shops have long given way to ‘NY-style loft apartments’ and bars, galleries, bars and more bars encourage the streets to teem with revellers almost 24 hours a day. Not really my cup of tea. But the strenuous sartorial efforts of some of these ‘bohemians’ still amuse. To misquote Garrison Keilor: “Hoxton Square - where the women are strong, the children average, and the men dress like village idiots...”

Big Bird

Over the last two years I’ve occasionally seen a large broad-winged bird circling high on the thermals of the wide Suffolk skies near where I live. Now I’m pretty familiar with all the usual suspects, but once in a while you catch something from the corner of your eye and you just think “what was that?” I did once have a camera in the car with me, but by the time I’d pulled over and got the lens on it it was heading for the horizon and could have been anything. Another time, it appeared to hover directly above me and I watched it long enough to be able to grab an envelope and do this little memory sketch shortly afterwards. It’s a Buzzard. They’re more common in the West of Britain, but increasingly they seem to be turning up in the East, apparently swept here by strong winds.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


Just for a change a drawing not by me, but by my young brother Eugene. Eugene went through a bit of a ska/2-tone phase when he was at school and this drawing is from that time. It could be The Specials but I think it's a made-up group. I just love the attention to the smallest details. Eugene was a talented drawrer and briefly toyed with the idea of going to art college, but he decided his interests lay elsewhere. Eugene died suddenly in 1989. We still really miss him and talk about him often.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Small Chap with Large Hair

This fellow walked past me in Bury St Edmunds yesterday - all smart in fitted overcoat, shiny cuban-heeled winkle-pickers and fashionably huge hair. But it was a very blustery day and I thought he and his hair were about to take off at any moment...

Friday, 2 October 2009

2 Girls...

2 girls in the street. Still in 'Fish Tank' mode maybe....


A few street studies from Cambridge earlier this week. Was there to catch up with the wonderful Darwin exhibition at the Fitzwilliam and also Andrea Arnold’s tough but tender little film ‘Fish Tank’. Both recommended.


A fifteen minute pencil sketch of one of my favourite models. (42 x 59.4 cm.)


Took a couple of quick reference photos of my hands the other day for a drawing I was working on. The colour echoes are completely co-incidental but I quite like it. I used to have quite slender little hands, long and sensitive ‘artists’ fingers. But judging from this I seem to be ending up with my dad’s hands - pudgy little ex-boxers dukes.