Witty quote

"I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught." (Winston Churchill)....Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread. (Richard Wright)....Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet (Stephen Hawking)

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Where does the time go?

I can't really believe that I have not posted anything all winter. Part of the problem has been getting drawings duplicated. I've been thinking about getting an A3 scanner for ages, since my drawings are all that size at the moment and I get intensely irritated when I try to do little drawings or doodles. I have half a dozen folders full of A4 ink art and a small photo album displaying 100 zentangle-sized drawings, after which I switched permanently to bigger ones and now look yearningly at old A2 sheets of paper and would use them if I could make enough space to put them on.
I used to have a drawing board you could tip to flat. That was mainly to do large watercolours, but it was not very stable and eventually I consigned it to my loggia. I am thinking about setting it up again when the weather gets better!

Monday, 9 October 2017

More backgrounds (suminagashi)

Suminagashi is  a Japanese method of marbling paper (google the definition). I adapt it to make backgrounds using water and the wonder of coincidence!

The curious round marks are made by dropping 100% isopropyl alcohol (dropwise) onto very wet paint.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Vacation 2

I managed to finish (is anything really finished?) 5 new A3 coloured doodles, which I am adding here! The patterns were chosen at random, of course. Drawing patterns is easier than simply drawing lines, as in the drawing with only lines, which was exceedingly boring to do!

A3, as all the following drawings are. I was determined to finish it!


September flew by and now we are well into October. I'm posting some ink backgrounds (suminagashi), which can be downloaded and printed by anyone eager for a challenge!


Monday, 4 September 2017

Doodling takes time

August slipped past almost unnoticed and I'm taking a month off from September 9th, so the doodling will be on A4 paper (half my usual size) as it's not always convenient to draw A3. I'll post a few drawings I think I did since my last post. From October I'm planning to date every drawing and hope I can avoid posting duplicates that way. Here are a few A3 drawings to keep this blog up and running:

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

More of the same

I scanned 6 drawings this evening - laborious on an A4 scanner. They are therefore merged bits, but I'll post them anyway.

anyone for tennis?
 I enjoy the pen doodles most. 
This one above should get a spot or two of colour - maybe blue or green.
 Bluebird was one of those drawing that did not really know where it was going 
and ended up all over the paper!
Can you spot the little tins of caviar? There was an advert in a magazine and I thought it rather pretty. I did not copy it but invented something similar. I don't usually do all-over designs. I usually start in the centre of a drawing and most of them are finished before I get to the edges of the paper. The one above was too, then I thought it would be nice to do some joined-up ribbons
focussing into the drawing itself.
The 'patches' are 9x9cm tile illusions. They are drawn on the paper, not stuck on! I cut out a square hole in the required size (that's the zentangle size) and overlaid the squares in pencil then went over the edges in pen as I decorated them and used a graphite pencil to do some shading, but I think it needs to be stronger to emphasize the overlapping look. I quite enjoyed the experience and might do it again with my favourite patterns and some colour. These patterns were chosen to try to balance the types (ribbon, grd, lines etc.) and were not intended to be coloured. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

Framed doodle art

It's not what it sounds like in the title to this post and I'm not sure I'm too keen on pencilling in the frame before I've started some kind of doodling. That's what I did for this one. The mouse scanner would not 'eat' the left lower corner. I gave up in the end - as you see. The format of nearly all my drawings is A3 (double letter size). I have two hates - one is tiny drawings (e.g.9x9cm) and drawing books with ring binders that always seem to get in the way.

I have now managed merges of the drawings (to the right). The colours are better on the mouse scanner! I must get myself an A3 scanner (I'll atart saving today!)

framed - slightly better scan!

I really should decorate the frame but I got tired of the drawing and moved on. The mouse scanner more or less coped because there was lots of white space that takes almost no memory, but I can see that I did not quite straighten the result. For reasons best known to itself the scanner scans wonky however you hold it. I think it's meant for little printed items.

framed by the frame - accidentally!
better scan but colours not really right
Above is a drawing I really like from the colour angle, but my mouse scanner could not cope. I was sober!!!!! I'm not sure quite how to get this scan in with the mouse. I don't think I can since the scanner only has limited memory and it stops when the memory is full. I'll add a photo of this drawing showing it in its fully glory without the wonky frame even if the frame has a charm of it's own!!! An attempt to do a merge failed because you cannot define the size of the scan and getting the bits in exactly the right proportions was too much for me - let alone the scanner. I could attach my old scanner and do digital merges, I suppose. In fact, I'll do that today, though the scanner is attached to a printer that will not work and has therefore been given its own small corner in which to languish. 

The mouse scanner likes black and white because it takes less storage. It digested the mild pink dots done with a pencil. I think the scanner has a permanent aversion to the kiddies' gel pens I use on lines. I often use the brush end of tombows for larger areas. The drawings are done with indelible graphic pens.

pink dots

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Taking lines for a walk (after Paul Klee?)

I've joined a doodle site HERE There are some truly magnificent doodles to be admired there - not just pen, of course, but paint, cartoon, illustration etc Doodling is a wide definition and includes pattern drawing, which I enjoy, and line-drawing, which I always come back to (no patterns - just lines). It took me only a few weeks to leave the Zentangle scene not least because the format of about 9x9 cms is simply too small for me.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

On track?

the original background image

It's such a long time since I posted anything here. I'll start gently. One of my favourite 'strings' is currently the treble clef. I'm doing one now but will post the three previous ones. Click on an image to see it larger. I need not tell you that these images are copyright!!!!!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Latest round-up

I'm raking in all my various blogs. What did I do in 2016?

One or two drawings have emerged - no, a whole A3 display file full and one half full, but not photographed well enough to publish. The ones I did photograph have disappeared somewhere on this laptop!

I also wrote a book, choral arrangements etc.... I was not idle!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Tempus fugit

I can't believe it's over two months since I wrote something here! I've done almost no drawing at all in recent months. I'm on vacation till later this month and drawing has been on the back burner. The days have slipped by with visits to concerts, a few days in London, a visit to Venice, and shopping. I will finish my break in Bristol before driving home in about 10 days time..

So what, if anything, do I have to show here?

The 4 drawings included below are - as usual - put together from patterns I remember, 'borrowed' or invented and are consequently bitty and piecemeal. I'll call them 'dingbats' after the symbolic font all computer users know and number them according to the order shown here. The photo quality is poor. I have a new digicam now that gets good results. I'll post some snaps over on FAPJ soon and try to replace the ones below when I'm back home.

Looking at them now, I feel I have already moved on. In fact, I was irritated rather than zen-therapied by my last drawing attempt the other week and ripped it up. I need new ideas that I think they go in the direction of drawing 'proper'. I saw some wonderful trees in a park today and want to draw them - or at least studies of the bark textures - with graphite and or charcoal, Thanks to my diligent digital photography. I might even be successful. It produced over 200 images this afternoon and I'm learning to photograph 'models' from several angles. Pictorial art involves reducing 3D to 2D without losing the 3D effect. It definitely helps of you have more than one photo-shot to refer to.

The magic word is "shading". Dingbats 3 is shaded and some shapes are nicely rounded. In Dingbats 2 the dark shading between the flowers brings them forward. Dingbats 4 has colour, but no shading to any degree. The ochre comes from a used (brewed) teabag drawn gently over the paper. Dingbat 1 is probably unfinished.
dingbats 1

dingbats 2

dingbats 3

dingbats 4

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Long time no see

Jetzt schreibe ich kurz auf Deutsch, weil ich ein Kommentar HIER hinterlassen habe. Ich habe übrigens ein Buch in meinem holprigen Deutsch geschrieben aber nie herausgegeben, weil inzwischen viele Bücher auch auf Deutsch erhältlich sind. Aber der Anfang dieses Stils ist schwierig, und ich kann auf Anfrage meine kleine Anleitung eventuell zur Verfügung stellen!

But I really want to write in English, so I will. I'm just going to add a few drawings I did late last year. I'm taking a rest from doodling as I have one or two painting commissions.
These drawings are a few I did sometime last year. I did lots of others, but have not yet photographed them.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Who is that?

I spotted the quote above by Richard Wright this morning and decided it was really apt! Well, I think this is the guy who said that. But there are other Richard Wrights. Here's one: Richard Wright (musician). Here's another: Richard Wright (footballer)
Take your choice?
I don't think so. Here's a biography of the first and most likely author of those words. Inspiring.

So why quote them on a doodling blog?

Well, I read and commented on a comment by a persistent and very ambitious perpetrator of "Zentangle", which is apparently and disparagingly claimed not to be doodling, though Z... serves the same purpose as other forms of recreation; re-creation was the word used for hobby or leisure activity long before the word hobby was used; pastime = pass-the-time is another word for recreational activity, but the word recreation says it all - the aim is to rejuvenate, relax and refresh (= the 3 Rs). According to this person on that blog, everything that isn't Z..... is an imitation (= plagiarized). All those who dare draw a pattern not apparently invented by the inventors of the adopted term Z ... are imitators.

Informed people know that in the 90s a Russian lady named Nadia Russ used this form of drawing, but mainly for educational purposes (Z... people got onto the educational side much, much later). The Z.... thing came about 6 years later.

As for imitation, patterns 'invented' by Z... artisans are often based on other patterns that were drawn, created, woven, hammered, stuck etc. previously - in other words they are copied and/or imitated. There are many examples of that on the blog of the woman who claims imitation by anyone who is drawing patterns but not on or in the Z... thing. Incidentally, one of the rules of Z... is that the drawings have to be abstract, but that rule is also old hat.

I wrote an irate comment on the woman's epistle. My comment will either not be published at all due to censorship of anything not in harmony with that woman's thinking, or will be severely edited to cut out anything negative! That is protectionism: inviting comments and then not publishing them if they do not suit the purpose. But it's her blog, not mine, and my opinion not hers. I am not saying who that is since she is entitled to her opinion, though she ignores the facts of the matter and not least because I am not going to promote her!

I write these lines (inspired by that R.W. quote above) because many people now well and often exclusively into Z.... had never drawn in their lives before and are dependent on rules and regulations to keep them on the straight and narrow of Z...., though in my view they could - and some do - grow out of Z.... and do their own thing, as I do. The rules and regulations of Z... include not using an eraser (haha not admitting to doing so???), strictly speaking no colour (although the inventors of that commercial Z. label use colour now),  and other rules you can find listed on various blogs. Z... is traditionally drawn on squares marginally smaller than a beermat. Creativity has at last come to people who thought they were uncreative. All praise to that, of course. But as for the rest...

I've been doodling A3 a bit, but I had to buy a new camera and haven't had time to take any photos of recent studies.......yet. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Just a scribble or two

I didn't have much time for drawing while I was on vacation. I tore one effort up into small pieces and threw it away because I had lost the plot. I was left with only 2 attempts. The first one is mainly coloured and fairly jolly:

scan of dingbat 19

The second drawing is not finished, as you can see. I had drawn a blind string as I do for most A3 drawings. It was being worked on when a friend of my friend came in and she was curious. She wanted to know if the drawing - or the one in colour - was a pattern for embroidery. No, it's just a drawing, I said. What? Just a drawing? No reason for doing it? I just draw for the fun of it, I told her, and sometimes I get quite involved with trying out patterns. The lady could not understand why I wasn't going to do something useful with the result. I could not convince her that the act of drawing was itself useful, if only to me!

scan of dingbat 20 (unfinished)
Looking at the unfinished drawing I realize that I still want to add to it, though at the time I was depressed by the woman's remarks. Most people are so sure that they cannot draw, even abstract patterns - doodles(?) - that they won't even try, so the reaction to the drawings is quite often astonishment with a little admiration and a lot of skepsis and remarks such as: I couldn't do that, I wouldn't want to do that, It's a waste of time...

I think this business of whether something has to be useful can also teach us a lesson or two about perseverence. You cannot learn anything without even trying, even or especially artistic things. The Zentangle (keyword) craze in the USA and elsewhere in the world has brought people (mainly women) to the drawing board who would never have dreamt of doing anything artistic. OK, you can argue about whether something is art or not, but the fact remains that creativity is the human expression of a inherent need for self-expression that is innate in every child and often gets hidden under the pile of ordinariness that comprises everyday life. The artist pursues the goal of maintaining that self-expression. But doesn't that mean everyone if creativity is inborn? And does that not mean that all, or some facets of a person's character are stifled, sometimes life-long?

Rather than continuing to preach on this topic, I think I should get my pens out and do some drawing.

Back soon...

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Friday, 26 June 2015

Doodling on and on and on...dingbats...imperfection

I've called this collection 'dingbats' - after the alternative symbols in 'WORD'. It's such a nice word that it was time to put it to good use. 
I was quite surprised that so many drawings had mounted up - I put them on my piano stand before filing them, in the the hope that I will come back to them and improve them, but seldom get round to that. Some really need more colour and during my coming vacation I plan to work more on some of the drawings, maybe even incorporating some of the gorgeous new patterns I've found in recent weeks. Some are by Helen Williams, who publishes the most elegant videos and most elegant and graceful doodles of all those I have as yet come across, and if I call them doodles rather than 'zentangle'  it's because her work transcends the sometimes humbrum efforts in the zentangle world. I do not claim that my drawings are NOT humdrum, but I do claim that they are DOODLES (and not zentangle). they are sometimes worked on a (blind) string, sometimes entirely freehand. I am hoping to do some DIN A4 drawing during my vacation (starting tomorrow - yippee) and some of the results are to be monodoodles i.e. only one pattern is used, or duodoodles in which 2 patterns are used. I'm inventing those words, but not patenting them! May aim is also to leave more empty spaces! I tend to overwork my drawings, as I often do with paintings. I think it's the futile search for perfection!


ongoing colouring

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Doodling, Rembrandt and some proper paintings

I've been so busy writing etc. that I haven't had time to scan in the large drawings I've been perpetrating. I can't get out of the habit of using the A3 format (= double letter-size) and my scanner can only cope with A4 (letter-size) so that means merging bits. That is very time-consuming and usually takes 6 bits (the golden mean?) to get a single merge, but I will replace these photos eventually. It is possible (and necessary) that some of the drawings will evolve further.

floral c. 40x30cm

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Taking time to doodle

I've been busy writing a novel again - go here to read - I'm writing the final chapter now, but took time to draw this evening: yet another abstract line drawing. I found a name for the art form - or rather, borrowed: "INK ART", Below is the newest attempt. The scan was not very good. I retraced some of the orange twirls, but a few spaces coloured orange in the design do not show up. However, retouching depends on spaces being completely enclosed, otherwise the space around is flooded, so I didn't retouch those bits. It would have taken too long to retouch the lines.

Below my drawing is a video by a really good line artist. I skipped the long bit about his sandwich! I'm going to try to start a new drawing like he did, but I won't copy it, of course.


Saturday, 4 April 2015

long time no drawing

I finally got round to drawing or rather filling in a zendala (mandala in zentangle art style) last night. It's design #100 by Erin Olsen and the template can be found here. I quite enjoyed the smaller format (A4 paper). Months of drawing only A3 size and a refreshing pause to do some 'real' painting have helped to make this drawing possible :-)

Friday, 27 February 2015

Out of sync...

It's nearly March and I've been preoccuppied for some weeks. A good friend died on 24th January. I was in the UK for her funeral and did not get back until 17th February. After that I just haven't had time for drawing, not least because I'm painting two works for real people (not just to keep my hand in).  A broken washing machine that had to be replaced, a broken digital recorder that had to be mended, and a broken me, tired after my trip and emotionally rather stressed, completed the mess. Ah, I hear you say, that's when the doodling comes in. But I can't say doodling improves my mood. It is relaxing, but relaxation is sometimes the last thing you need if things are not going the way you'd like them to. Now I'm more or less back to normal and hope to produce something worth exhibiting over the weekend. I'm showing the new paintings over at fapj.

Thanks for visiting! 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Good intentions

Somehow I lost touch with all the doodling activities online. I think it was because I had got to the stage when I was really only drawing so that I could post stuff and get comments! Ridiculous. I'm all for being encouraged, but the doodling thing, whether you call it 'zentangle style'. 'neopoprealism' or just plain doodling, is for amusement and is a form of relaxation. Very keen 'zentangle' groupies get quite hysterical if you call their 'art' doodling, though that would assume that other forms of doodling are entirely without rhyme or reason and raise their 'art' to a status it does not really merit.

Thursday, 27 November 2014


I've just re-discovered this blog, which was intended to house my visual attempts at being an artist. I've been writing a lot lately, so the drawing and painting have been neglected. Not really a good reason.... Here are a few recent drawings to relaunch this blog. I'll be back!

The drawings below are mainly from a collection I've called "new age" because I'm trying to free myself from any cramped patterns I've been struggling with. But some are in the old style: more colour, lots more patters, a fair amount of pattern desperation, humdrum to draw sometimes, and much less relaxed! The busy ones are named "new bits". The last drawing is a mixture of the two styles and will probably herald a new style evolved out of the blend of elegant curve and itsy-bitsy pattern.