What are you looking at? by Will Gompertz

Subtitled 150 years of modern art in the blink of an eye, this is not for the purists but it is for me. So much so that I have all three versions – audio, kindle, and paperback; one to listen to while mooching around, one for its search, links, and notes facilities, and one to flick through when neither of the others will do. I have the kind of memory that places something on a page – bottom left, middling-ish on the right, that sort of thing. I can do it with ebooks so long as the font stays the … Continue reading What are you looking at? by Will Gompertz

Assignment 3 – an outdoor scene

The brief includes straight lines, elements of perspective, and some natural objects. I’ve chosen the scene under the Shoreham flyover – an area above which roads and slip roads curve and swing, their huge struts with their feet in land used sometimes by keepers of horses but more often left to its own devices. There are other bridges in the distance, and tall shrubs between them and the concrete posts. It reminds me of a scene from Metropolis, the 1927 sci fi film directed by Fritz Lang. My sketches are quite stark, reflecting what I now understand to be brutalist … Continue reading Assignment 3 – an outdoor scene

Aphantasia – absence of ‘mind’s eye’

Nothing to do with never having seen a Disney cartoon, and everything to do with mental imagery, aphantasia is a newly described condition in which people are unable to exercise their ‘mind’s eye’ or ‘get a picture’ in their heads. Typically, they’ve thought other people were speaking metaphorically and, when a range of neuropsychological tests became available through a research project, were surprised to find this wasn’t so. Rather like colour blindness, you have no concept of the missing colour and so no way of knowing you can’t see it unless you come across someone who can. One of the … Continue reading Aphantasia – absence of ‘mind’s eye’

Part 3 project 5 exercise 4 – statues

I’m not a fan of statues. Too often they represent a defunct empire, colonialism, and men men men men men (to quote Mary Beard in a documentary some time last year). That or delicate flower women, often with a naked breast or two on display if not actually totally in the buff. I make an exception for the ones that move if you shut your eyes … From Dr Who episode 10, Blink. BBC 2007 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByPrDPbdRhc accessed 28/04/19. There are some beauties though, or at least the detail and the skill that went into the execution of them. I’m thinking particularly … Continue reading Part 3 project 5 exercise 4 – statues

Brutalist architecture

Vis a vis townscapes and my preference for lurking under concrete bridges rather than replicating the lovely-to-live-in-but-twee-to-draw local town and village scenes. I’ve been talking about brutal architecture as though I’d invented the term but it turns out I didn’t – it’s a whole movement! I grew up with it though; the science lab added to the side of my late 1800’s school, the motorways that began to plough huge furrows across the landscape – we saw these on the telly but they didn’t reach us in Yorkshire till the early 1970s – and the kitchen sink dramas that seemed … Continue reading Brutalist architecture

Part 3 project 5 exercise 3 – limited palette townscape

Oh dear! Well, I haven’t got the perspective much (any) better but I’ve achieved a limited palette drawing of the townscape I struggled with in the previous exercise. This version at least delivered a bit of texture from the application of conte over dried watercolour pencil and I like that.   I strongly suspect that, if I set this aside and then drew it from memory, the perspective issue would resolve itself because it would be a processed and simplified image. Challenge? Well I said it so I’d better deliver! 3rd May – I’ve done my thing with a monochrome … Continue reading Part 3 project 5 exercise 3 – limited palette townscape

Part 3 project 5 exercise 2 townscape

Another dreaded attempt at forcing buildings into a proper line on a page. This time I’ve used a soft 7B pencil so I don’t get too involved in sharp corners and points. It’s a little childlike but better than I’d expected, particularly as one of my cats settled on my knee while I was drawing. This is our car park, conveniently empty of vehicles. This may not be strictly ‘line’ but I think it may be close enough. There are many points of variance from real perspective but I’m relatively confident that anyone local would recognise it so that’s a … Continue reading Part 3 project 5 exercise 2 townscape


Came across this word in an episode of The Verb broadcast on April 26th 2019 and still hadn’t quite got the meaning by the end so had to look it up. Suddenly then thought there might be a case for palimpsestic art – painting over old prints from boot sales but without quite obscuring the original. Suddenly also discovered that my made up word, palimpsestic, actually exists and that I’m well behind the curve with regard to palimpsestic art! This is from Artopium, accessed 2nd May 2019. I think in my mind I was seeing an old image, maybe even … Continue reading Palimpsest

Perspective – a re-blog from The Conversation

I was looking for something handy to say on perspective; preferably something that might also illuminate my approach to a technique that foxes me, visually, every time I try to complete a perspective-directed exercise; then this article rolled up right on cue. The Conversation permits re-blogging on condition that the article is not edited, so here’s the whole piece. Comments when I’ve read it properly, but here for reference too. Four ways in which Leonardo da Vinci was ahead of his time Leonardo da Vinci had a seemingly inexhaustible imagination for innovation. Hywel Jones, Sheffield Hallam University; Alessandro Soranzo, Sheffield … Continue reading Perspective – a re-blog from The Conversation

Part 3 project 5 exercise 1 townscape

I’m using my own photos for these as standing still or sitting in unsuitable seating is problematic due to a back injury, and keeping hold of items such as drawing implements and sketchbook tricky due to Dupuytren’s contractures in both hands. I also need glasses to see the page and sunglasses in bright light which is an incompatible combination. These are largely inconveniences most of the time but, in these circumstances, comprise an impediment to on-the-hoof sketching. Luckily, I often take photos and I have quite a few suitable ones. This first sketch though, is from a paused dashcam video … Continue reading Part 3 project 5 exercise 1 townscape