Road to wherever

With my dad in Soho, London. He talks a lot, and manages not to be boring. Rare, I like that. Another thing I like is that if I have my camera he doesn’t mind me taking a picture. And another. …and another. This is also rare. I photographed him in some winter sun, near the corner of Greek Street and Bateman St. The low afternoon sun was glorious, and a reflection from a window picked him out against the background.


My best of the year so far.

I regularly come back to this thought: Do I have the courage to get a T-shirt printed with “I want to take your photo” and stand in a place like that all afternoon gathering any willing people, no charge – just for fun? Not yet.

London people are often very reserved. They can treat you like you’ve popped out of a spaceship just for making eye contact. But this is a good area at this time of year for a mix of really interesting people, for light and for capture. …Maybe one day I will get that T-shirt.


Artworking a life drawing

I recently posted one of my latest life drawings. It occurred to me some time ago (as I use Adobe Illustrator at work,) to add colour form and shape into the drawings and see what happened. Well, this is what happened:

Life drawing

I use a Wacom intuos tablet at work – they’re great tools, essentially they’re a mouse but also work like a pen, pencil or paintbrush.  As well as tracking across the screen  responding to pen pressure that can be used in many ways (like making the line you draw thicker the harder you press).   at home I have an old one – a graphire 4. It no longer works with my operating system osX El Capitan. so I have done this one using the track pad on my laptop – which has taken much, much longer.

Life drawing V2
Using Adobe illustrator also makes it easy (and quick) to adjust colours

Wacom products are great, but they’re expensive. Looking into it I have seen this on Amazon: Huion H610 Pro Graphics Drawing Pen Tablet, there are MUCH cheaper and have great reviews. If anyone of you guys out there has any experience of using one I’d love to hear from you. 

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 16.15.17
Detail: I left the sketchmarks in the 10 minute drawing in the background as it added a nice texture. 

Billy on the bus

I captured this photo of my friends son Billy on the bus, we were on our way to see the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. While he was daydreaming out of the window of the newer Routemaster buses in London’s Regent Street. It was taken on my phone – but it was such a nice shot with his reflection in the window I had to make do with what I had.


For the record we thought Star Wars was great. I have seen some mixed reviews for it – particularly people criticising the movie for being a ‘remake’. I think this is a bit unfair. First of all its stripped back and is a simple story – much like Star Wars, the effects are great – it has heart and is beautifully produced. Secondly It delivered what Star Wars needs to deliver. Its a certain type of movie and it hits the mark, if you’ve seen any of the previous movies it meets expectations. Well thats my opinion and i’m sticking to it! (Billy liked it too – well, apart from the twist on the bridge – but no spoilers!)

Happy new year

Happy new year to everyone in WordPressLand. I wish all of you every happiness and success in 2016.

Despite the annual rainy season that has been particularly bad this year – I’m happy to be surrounded by good people – friends and family – i hope you all are too.


Life drawing

Most recent life-drawing set, all quick poses. Looking to get a more finished (polished) result – but i guess that takes time and practice!

Shooting into the sun

These were taken at my friends wedding, I have been interested in this technique lately, it creates an emotional warmth, and is really easy to do in the evening, or winter and spring months when the sun is out and hangs low in the sky. And while I’m not yet in a position to totally control the results its beginning to work.

Essentially, with the sun in front of you, spot meter your subjects face. If the sun is directly behind the subject, (as in the header image), you get that hazy result, and in the image below I placed the subject in the shadow of the tree, with the sun slightly to the right to give them more definition.

Needs some more work – but i’ll find a willing London victim and post some more here when I do.

2S4B7632 2



Pumpkins and Squash

I can honestly say I have never seen so many pumpkins and squashes in my life

The word ‘harvest’ has come up again in my blog, since the raccoon post, as it’s that time of year. The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, is known as a huge produce area, people will come down from as far away as Vancouver (400km) for the weekend to break for the weekend, and in addition to activities or just hanging out they’ll pick up huge bags of fruit and vegetables on their way home.

On our way to Osoyoos we passed through Karemeos, also in the Okanagan valley. I was astounded at the amount and variety of squashes and pumpkins, apples, aubergines and other fruit and vegetables there were for sale directly to the public, a huge farmers market.


I love the fact people are so obviously dedicated to this as a way of living, despite the fact these are growers who supply across the province (if not country) there were varieties of apples, onions, courgettes and aubergines I have never seen before. I also admired the spirit of the grower markets; the fact that the stalls were bigger than mini-supermarkets at home in London, the range of creative displays and handpainted signs created a sense of community.









Vancouver has great coffee, and great coffee shops (such as my favourite ‘Our Town‘ in Mount Pleasant – where this photo appeared on ‘Road to Wherever’ last year). Soup bowls full of rich coffee are served to customers, like myself, who sometimes over-indulge.

So I was in Our Town, with a sketchbook trying to get into the flow of drawing. It wasn’t forthcoming, when a couple sat directly behind me. While listening to their conversation, which may have been over-caffinated, I began draw. Their exchange was a little peculiar, I honestly have no idea if it was a first date, breaking up or perhaps  they were rehearsing a play. I also couldn’t really hear what he was saying – men talking at a lower frequency in a crowded place are hard to hear (sadly), but she was a bit fierce and really articulate – my favourite line of hers was “Don’t be pretentious, it brings me out in a rash” she then challenged him on his heterosexuality (twice) and they left together for dinner… quite happily it seemed.


I’m often amazed at other peoples’ conversations. London’s listing magazine, Time Out, has a section called word on the street – pieces of overheard conversations which are often quite funny / weird / ridiculous – if you like that kind of thing do have a look.

I think this particular conversation had a direct influence on my drawing!

An old Plymouth from the 1050's lies abandoned under a bar sign on the Crowsnest Highway to Hope
An old Plymouth from the 1950’s lies abandoned under a bar sign on the Crowsnest Highway to Hope

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