MV Independence Island and MV Christmas Island

Here is the fleet is being readied for Wirral Open Studio Tour at the Williamson Gallery. The smaller cargo vessel is ‘Independence Island’ and her larger sister ship is ‘Christmas Island’. Both are not based on real vessels in whole, although take inspiration from real vessels.

Construction is a combination of laminated cereal packet cardboard, thin brown cardboard, PVA glue, cocktail sticks, kebab skewers, art straws, matchsticks, poster paint and tip-ex. Both date back to 2008 and have been rebuilt and modified since. Construction is such that they would not really be suitable for actual sailing, however their building and modification has provided a great deal of learning experience.

Whilst these little creations are nowhere near the standard of the fabulous models exhibited in the Williamson, it is intended to display them in small dioramas and to have at least one vessel being worked on.


At the beginning of April I picked up a nice bound notebook with lined paper and started some ‘fun with cars’ scribbles.

The subjects are pretty much whatever talks my fancy, although Wheeler Dealer episodes also help with the inspiration.

This post is work in progress; so expect a few more here shortly.




Spring Days in London

1 Vauxhall Bridge


After jogging from Tooting to Clapham Junction for brunch and then wandering on through Battersea, Lambeth to Vauxhall, we sat to sketch beside the Thames.

In foreground is the Thames river side path (South Bank), beyond that is the river shore. There were a few people on this muddy/sandy shore. In the river is the yellow duck bus/boat which runs from next to the Vauxhall headquarters of MI6. Looking upstream there’s the Vauxhall bridge, beyond that the Vauxhall Tower (St George Wharf Tower) and the ubiquitous cranes of a London constantly under construction.

So for our sunny (slightly overcast) lunchtime sketch I used a selection of waterproof and water soluble pens, a brush pen (handy) and a limited palette of raw umber, burnt sienna neutral tent and cerulean blue.

2 Primrose Hill


After wandering through Camden Market and along the Regent’s Canal we ended up spending part of the afternoon on Primrose Hill.

For this piece my palette is limited to the soluble pen ink, neutral tint and cerulean blue. The trees around Primrose Hill weren’t yet properly in leaf, so I was particularly interested in depicting the large regency houses ‘peaking’ through the trees. The skyline was an added bonus.

Also during the afternoon we watched the sky turn from a sunny day to darkening for showers and then rain.



The promenade and marshes at Parkgate on the Wirral are a favourite subject of mine. Here is a finished piece worked up from a sketch of the town behind the marsh grasses in the foreground. I’ve used pen and washes of neutral tint watercolour to produce this piece for the Two Rivers Group exhibition at Ness Gardens in 2015.

The Scribble


Here is original scribble from my scribble journal (notice the ring binding across the base of the picture).

Tirley Lane, Cheshire

1 Detailed View


View from ‘Summer Trees’ on Tirley Lane. Using a very fine PITT artist pen. In the distance are the Peaks. Middle distance to right is Primrose Hill. In the middle distance to the left and Middle are Old Pale Heights a slight ridge above Delamere.

2 Ploughing


Scribble of the scene, mostly to try and capture the form of the land. Using a Faber-Castell PITT artist Pen which is a departure from my usual Uni-ball pen.

3 Haystacks


Very quick scribble of the hay bale stacks ‘marching’ across the fields.


Sunday 24th January

This time in my sketch journal I’ve worked to Journal the day in images. As usual I’ve worked with a limited palette of colours.


1. My morning apple

2. Terrace House in Broomhall covered in foliage

3. Building housing part of the University of Sheffield

4. Abu Simbel

The model is a model of Abu Simbel: which was made for the film ‘Khartoum’ (1960) which starred Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier. It featured in a few seconds of the film despite it’s incredible detail.

6. A classic Rover P6


Lark Lane Urban Sketching

1 Keith’s Wine Bar


Whilst I still had my A5 scribble journal, for this urban sketching trip I’d forgotten my favourite Neutral Tint watercolour tube. So I ended up having to resort to a tube of Sepia to produce the washes for this piece.

Lark Lane is a popular street for public houses and dining. It even has a number of art galleries. In front of the Wine Bar is another urban sketcher working away on Lark Lane. Naturally we all had dinner in Keith’s Wine Bar…


Hope Street, April 2015

A Saturday’s sketching with the Liverpool Urban Sketching group on a sunny April spring morning. The group met in the coffee shop at the foot of the Metropolitan Cathedral around 10 AM.

1 Hope Street


Going off in groups, our group sat looking down Hope Street towards the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool (sandstone Cathedral). For all the images during the day I worked a draft in pencil, then worked with waterproof pilot pen and neutral tint watercolour. The images are on my A5 cartridge paper Scribble Journal. In this scene the Cathedral forms the distant background with Hope Street in the foreground. I worked to depict the morning light casting strong shadows over one half of Hope Street.

2 Quick Cathedral  & 3 Cathedral


I did a very quick sketch of the front of the Metropolitan Cathedral then moved into the gardens to try a wider angle view of the Cathedral. I worked with almost fish-eye style perspective to get a big angle in the sketch. I liked the trees screening part of the Cathedral.

4 Wedding car


The final sketching destination of the day was the plateaux between St Georges Hall and Lime Street Station. As usual for a Saturday there was the conveyor-like stream of wedding arrivals and departures for the Registry Office. The wedding car made for one interesting subject and the glass façade of the Lime Street station train shed made for another.

5 Lime Street Station Front


I particularly liked the subtleties of glass front being transparent to the glass roof in turn transparent to the sky. In steam days the steam and smoke would have added another element as well.

A good, fun days sketching. I worked the Hope Street piece into a final piece, which was exhibited in the Liverpool Urban Sketching Group’s exhibition in Lark Lane.



Foodie Scribble


Something I’ve been playing about with over the last few days. Whether it’s finished completely or not is a question I’ve been toying with. The tin opener on the right doesn’t quite sit well.

I’ve enjoying studying the various chillies and other foodie bits anyway.

13120470_10154025003251327_1878080893_o_wm_mod.jpgTweaked that tin opener a bit.