Fox under the moon

Fox under the moon
Oils and collage

Greenwich, Piper's Wharf 2005

Greenwich, Piper's Wharf 2005
Greenwich, Piper's Wharf 2005

Gate to Topkapi Palace

Gate to Topkapi Palace
Through the gate you can see the Blue Mosque.

Unfinished street!

Unfinished street!
A fabulously scruffy Turkish street. Haven't yet finished, but I won't add much more...

In Asia!

In Asia!
A beautiful mosque on the Asian shore.

Uskudar fish market

Uskudar fish market
We found this market on the Asian shore of Istanbul.

The Harem

The Harem
A view of the harem at the Topkapi Palace.

Elderly gentleman

Elderly gentleman
A thoughtful looking man near the Grand Bazaar.

Girl in souk

Girl in souk
Girl strokes cat in souk


Free spirit in Morocco

In the Medina

In the Medina
The light falls through the arches onto jewels and treasures


Goats along a dusty derb

Dyer's Souk in Marrakesh - has a long and complicated name!

Dyer's Souk in Marrakesh - has a long and complicated name!
We actually didn't find this much colour!

Woman sitting infront of a mosque (not really in the shade)

Woman sitting infront of a mosque (not really in the shade)
Just have to add the mosque!

Thoughtful old man, Marrakesh

Thoughtful old man, Marrakesh
The boxes haven't yet been added!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Listening to Eric Clapton

Listening to Eric Clapton whilst sorting out all my artynesses - tomorrow I'm going to the east end to search out some bits of bridge - there's some by brick lane and kingsland road of an old disused line that ran from Broad Street. I need to make sure my project is wide-ranging - i.e. doesn't just look at Southwark. At the moment I am collating my work for my portfolio - there is an archaeological theme of course! I have a mix of artefact drawings, some more expressive pieces, reconstruction, section drawings and stuff from my book. Just finishing my Mississippi Delta Blues project as well - Bessie Smith and the singers of the Classic Blues period (1920s-ish)...

Monday, 4 May 2009

Poetry critique

I've sent some poems off to the Poetry Society to critique - it costs slightly less as I am a member. We shall see what they say! I also got sent a free book and CD of this really cool poet (Felix Dennis) called "Island Dreams". Check out:


Favourite Poem

My favourite poem on the other hand is by Robert Frost!

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

This poem is just really simple and beautiful - it makes me think of being all warm and snuggly inside with the snow outside, like the feeling at Christmas time! I love all Robert Frost stuff!!!
Horrible poem! But so horrible, it's quite good! Is this the worst poem in the world??

A Tragedy
Theophilus Marzials

Death! Plop.The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and flyTo the oozy waters, that lounge and flopOn the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
Plop, plop.
And scudding byThe boatmen call out hoy! and hey!All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks -- "Stop,"
And my heart shrieks -- "Die."* * * * * My thought is running out of my head;My love is running out of my heart,My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,For my life runs after to catch them -- and fledThey all are every one! -- and I stand, and start,At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,On the barges that flop And dizzy me dead. I might reel and drop. Plop. Dead.
And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top Flop, plop.* * * * *A curse on him. Ugh! yet I knew -- I knew --If a woman is false can a friend be true?It was only a lie from beginning to end --
My Devil -- My "Friend"I had trusted the whole of my living to!
Ugh; and I knew!
So what do I care,And my head is empty as air --
I can do,
I can dare,
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)
I can dare! I can dare!And let myself all run away with my headAnd stop.
Plop, flop. Plop.

Just wow!


Carol Ann Duffy is the new Poet Laureate! yay!

First female laureate!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Ragged London

"No spectator has ever been bold enough to grapple with the back streets - the human warrens - on the south side of the metropolis..." John Hollingshead, Ragged London.

My favourite Southwark character is Springheeled Jack - but I don't think he really exists, which is probably just as well! Built on the back of more famous criminals such as Jack the Ripper, our springheeled friend was a 19th century urban legend - a shady figure, haunting the backstreets and alleyways of deserted dockland areas and rookeries, so called because of his nasty habit of pouncing on women when they least expected it. Another characteristic of his was belching flames and laughing madly in people's faces - what a rotter. He is supposed to have thrown an unfortunate prostitute to her death in Folly Ditch, part of the Dickensian slum known as Jacob's Island.

Illustrated Walks In London

I know there is a big market for walks in London, and as I am interested in illustrating places, it would be fun to link the two. My walk in Southwark: Dancing Monkeys, Dirty Bishops and Debt Collectors - A Walk South of the River is an illustrated walk with a pull-out map from Waterloo to Bermondsey - yes it is long, but there are many pubs along the way for those who need to be rehydrated!

As I was painting in Strand Alley, just off the road by Somerset House, I was offered tea, and a seat by some very friendly builders. I saw loads of people go to the alley, guide book in hand, looking for a 'Roman Bath' which is in one of the buildings off to the right. Interestingly, the gatehouse over the alley used to be a watchhouse for the graveyard of St Clement Danes - to keep an eye out for bodysnatchers! I'm going to try and put the pic on my website so you can see for yourself!

There are obviously guided walks including oddities such as the 'Roman Bath' (I don't think it's really Roman), and I think that illustrations could be used in these sort of guidebooks to reconstruct places of the past. It would be great to see how a building is now, and then to see an illustration showing it maybe 50 or 100 + years ago - telling a story. There are so many fab places to walk in London, and so many weird and wonderful myths, legends, tales, characters, and atmospheric scenes! I just don't have enough time or paper to record them all!!!
Hmmm... I forgot to mention that I am an illustrator (though that might already be obvious). My website is at:

I have just updated it, though it changes all the time!

I spend a lot of my time doing observational drawing in Southwark and other parts of London - it is fun but you do have to deal with a lot of things at once, especially bad weather and freezing fingers! I have met some fantastic people through my exploration of London - I hope to meet many more!

Art and Archaeology

Art and Archaeology

I thought it a good idea to set up a blog to keep others informed of what is going on in my world, especially as far as art and archaeology are concerned. So here is a bit more information about me!

I am a student at university, hoping to do an MA in archaeological illustration next year (I have just sent off an application form). Most subjects mix well with art, not least history and archaeology. The illustration of artefacts is very important to assist archaeologists in understanding the minutest of details, and creating a picture that is clearer and can sometimes be understood more easily than a photograph. I am especially interested in the reconstruction of artefacts and the people who used them. Landscapes and environments also fascinate me - I have been studying Southwark in London for a long time from a historical and archaeological point of view. The wealth and abundance of archaeology in London is spectacular, as can be seen on the Museum of London Archaeology site.

Southwark is of particular interest to me because I think it is often overlooked as an area to intentionally visit, and is perhaps only passed through by people on their way to work or to other places. It isn't a very beautiful part of London, but it holds so many fascinating people, places and objects together within such a small area. It is an atmospheric mix of tall dark converted warehouses, bridges, markets, abandoned wharfs, tidal inlets and council estates, not to mention the railway lines that cut and disect nearly every street, splitting apart communities, and adding a subterranean feel to the area.

Sadly, Chambers Wharf and cold stores on Bermondsey Wall, built in the 1930s, were recently knocked down. I went to take some photos of them for an art project, and saw that there was a huge space where they had been - the only sign that they had ever been there were some piles of rubble behind boarding. The wharfs gave a somewhat derelict feel to the area, but they were very impressive buildings, and during their life they provided so much employment for the surrounding communities. They were even used for shelter during the Second World War. I included them in A Walk South of the River - my walk through Southwark. As far as I know they are to be replaced with flats. But of course urban regeneration is necessary and inevitable for the survival of Southwark, and the wharfs didn't really have a place in today's society.

I always think it would be great to be able to step back in time and to have the working docks and warehouses to draw and paint on location - think of all the smells and sights, sounds and colours! But then these areas were notoriously unpleasant in the 19th century - at least with all the nice surrounding flats and offices of today, Southwark feels much safer! If you want a reconstruction of what these riverside areas were like, visit Sailortown at the Museum in Docklands - it is meant to be a representation of 19th century Wapping High Street. How accurate it actually is remains to be seen, but it smells pretty bad!