Drone III: We Must Leave These People No Place To Hide

Intelligence led, quasi-judicial, remote, aerial, guided kill

We must leave these people no place to hide

Hooligans, ne’erdowells and terrorists

The government writ no longer runs

These people

No place

We must leave





The Holy Moment, plus goats

Painting begins in frustration, self-doubt and swearing.  I look at the marks on the paper and cannot believe that I have ever painted anything worthwhile.  I have to persist, make myself paint,  if necessary abandon that piece and start the picture  again.  Eventually there can come a moment when I stop thinking in words, forget by doubts, my eye, brain and hand become wired together.  Then I am completely in the present.  This is the Holy Moment as described by Purplewax http://purplewax.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/the-holy-moment/.

During one particular holy moment I painted goats on a karst rock face.

No one says achieving the Holy Moment results in good draughtsmanship.  My goats were mutating into reindeer or donkeys and required a little surgery with a sharp blade to bring back a little of their goaty nature.

Limestone gorge sketches

In recent weeks I have changed my tools. I used a squirrel mop brush that hold a lot of pain but comes to a fine point for calligraphic marking.   I painted on a small notebook of Arches rough paper.   I took my colour selection from Darren Woodhead, who paints birds direct from life with a skill that made me want to weep (http://www.darrenwoodheadartist.co.uk/).  Prominent in this is the absence of pre-mixed greens and the generous use of rose madder in the neutrals.

I have revamped the pages to create galleries, marked by the tabs at the top of the home page.  These show work I  value, if not for my skill, at least for the meaning the work has for me.  Please do look in on these.


He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away.


Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich protested publicly against Putin’s third term presidential candidacy and specifically against the open support of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch for Putin. They were arrested in March 2012 and today, after a laughable trial, were found guilty of “hooliganism”. They have been sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Freedom of protest matters




A day later, I added the link to a thoughtful commentary in the Guardian. Interestingly, my post is a tiny ripple in a big splash, intelligently orchestrated by a very professional art collective. The powerful church and state in Russia have held themselves up to ridicule in their crass and vindictive reaction. Does sharing and disseminating this art shine a light on the abuse of power everywhere?

Secret cove ii: plein air

This was my first attempt at this picture, leading onto the studio version posted a day or two ago.  I was perched on a slab high above the valley floor, sun on my neck, the repetitive cry of a falcon behind me.  image

The cove is at the end of a short gorge between high limestone walls. The rock beds are uneven and diagonal; thrust up, I guess, by the African plate moving north. However, there are strong vertical lines scored in the stone faces, carved by rain continually dragging the minerals down. The tops of boulders are pocked by deep grykes.

Our life spans are so short, it is easy to miss that this is a dynamic landscape, that over only a few millennia a high plateau has been undermined by caverns; waterborn solutes forming stalagtites then columns then rock curtains, before that transient carved beauty collapsed and crumbled leaving the present chasm.

Aberlady: storm clouds

Distant lightning flicked under low clouds and the delayed thunder rolled inland across the estuary.


The eiders had been roosting on the far sand bank.  As the tide seeped in, they shuffled into action, one by one launching themselves to swim up river.


When I was writing this post, I wondered why I had drawn with the charcoal tip and not with the side.  I then remembered that these drawings were done early on that last day of the course.  I was warming up.  Later, I also migrated along the coast.  The drawings of gull chicks posted previously had actually been done later that day.  They were bigger, freeer, more expressive.  Drawing is a process and it was taking time to get my eye, hand and brain into gear.