Doodles in the margin from an artist living and working in the Scottish Borders.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Nauty But Nice

Following on from the previous post, I developed the pencil drawing of the space bear and turned him into a linocut.

I've only done one linocut before and it... well, it was a first attempt. The Ursunaut has turned out better, although it needs another pass with the cutter to remove some of the extraneous inking - mainly on the face and the background. I quite like some of the other accidental lines that turned up on the helmet and around the lettering.

 The lino, and some preparatory compositional doodles. I very carefully drew out the image and transferred it to the lino in reverse, and then blithely wrote 'URSUNAUT' the right (i.e. the wrong) way round, so I had to write it in again, backwards, over the top of the black marker in white conte pencil so I could see it.

It's an odd, sluggish sort of material to work with, but I quite liked the sense of everything being under control that gave me. Also, a top tip I picked up from somewhere - lie the lino in warm water now and again. Much easier to cut.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Great Bear

A quick 2B pencil sketch. Russian Bear. A cosmobear. Or an ursunaut.

(I just finished reading Deborah Cadbury's 'Space Race.' Dubious morality abounds, but also undeniable bravery. There's something about space that makes me ten years old again.)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

It Used to Go Like That... Now It Goes Like This.

Professor Stone arrives at the office.

In 2009 it looked like this;

Now it looks like this;

Not very accurate in terms of delineation of departmental boundaries; Assyriology, Egyptology and Biology apparently in the same room.

Monday, 12 March 2012



A number of things came together to bring these paintings about. Firstly, Twitter contact Abigail Bosanko changed her avatar to this striking painting:

I'd never seen it before; it's called 'Pink Roses, Chinese Vase' by S.J. Peploe, one of the Scottish Colourists. Then we went up to Edinburgh to look at the Cadell cycle of their Scottish Colourists exhibition, and I got the chance to see this painting in the flesh. It's fantastic; it hangs in the far corner of the room and drags attention towards it. The draughtsmanship and the underlying geometry is so confident and solid, and the paint is put on in magnificent, thick, chunky slabs of colour - and what colour. It hums with life. It's also got something I find really exciting, that apparent ease and simplicity and confidence of a painter who really, really knows what they're doing.

The Cadell exhibition I was less keen on (a bit passionless) but again it was exciting to see big, vigorous paint strokes on big paintings that work right the way across a large room.

Then the Crossing Borders exhibition at Paxton House wanted some pieces that could 'hang together' so I thought I'd try to put together something of what I'd got from the gallery visits. Obviously it doesn't stand up to Peploe's work (you'll see how small and grudging I made his picture) but I think I've moved on with something, and that's always a good feeling.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Wendell Hicks - Frontier Librarian.

Finally completed the second Wendell Hicks strip. And here it is. (And here, if you want a frankly better look.)

Saturday, 3 March 2012


Two new landscapes, the Borders under heavy snow. Two views - across the Merse from Chirnside ridge, and from Ninewells Mains to the distant Cheviots.

Wintry views, just as Spring arrives. I am nothing if not topical.

The Merse, Snow, oil on canvas, 60cm x 49cm.

Ninewells Snow, oil on canvas, 60cm x 49cm.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Coldingham Rocks.

New painting. A study of rocks on the beach at Coldingham, Berwickshire.

Coldingham Rocks,  oil on canvas, 60cm x 49cm.


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