My friend, and fellow award winning artist, Fiona Jarrett wants to do a spot of ghost hunting in Firenze; so I drew her a couple of maps to get her started.

I anticipate more from this collaboration.


Firenze is now my home.

With the exhaustion of travel and the stress of finding an apartment behind me I have began to draw again. Perhaps influenced by all the Renaissance art that clutters Firenze’s streets ( you name it, they paste art on it and sell it) I have started with a few fruit still life’s. (How traditional! The young man from my previous post would be proud! Ha!)

Fig’s are, disappointingly, out of season, so wine grapes here are the first fruity specimen to find their way into my sketchbook.

Today, suitcase unpacked and my mind and belly fed, I feel like now I can finally properly start this blogging journey. The intention of creating an online sketchbook of my ideas and art makings can be realised, so more soon friends. A presto!


A disagreement

(part two)

Now, I only speak for myself, and I might have a few feminist issues with a lot of the work that hangs in The National Gallery but I’m certainly not out to sabotage and suppress the work of the Old Masters. I think at worst, and correct me if I’m wrong, contemporary artists are generally disinterested in the work of Adolphe William Bouguereau and Michalangelo.

OK, so this young man and me have different favourite artists, it seemed to be a huge problem for him but for me… no. However, I found myself fiercely defending my corner against his statements that 1) How dare anyone who can’t draw like Leonardo teach art and 2) If you can’t draw correctly (correctly!!) how can you call yourself an artist? Well I certainly had something to say about that. Apart from being entirely ignorant to other forms of artistic expression, he seemed to be completely negating the fact that some people need to be artists. I feel I need to be an artist – for my health!

My thoughts cast back to my tutor at San Francisco Art Institute, Keith Boadwee who explained on the first day of class he set up the Conceptual Drawing course for people who wanted to draw but ‘couldn’t’, those who didn’t meet, and did not want to meet the technical standards of drawing encouraged at ‘Drawing level 1’, (a class that ran parallel to Boadwee’s that I quickly un-enrolled myself in after arriving at SFAI). Boadwee’s class had a profound impact on the way I addressed a blank piece of paper, his mantra of ‘if a drawing isn’t working, just scribble on it, take a risk’ really opened up drawing for me, and soon turned it into an important part of my practice.

When I told the young man that I used to draw like him – his sketch book was filled with bits and bobs of anatomy, statuesque faces, all drawn as accurately as he could manage – but now I draw like this; (I showed him my recent mono prints) he stared at me in disbelief! How could I be so stupid?! A child could do it!


I personally think it sickly self-indulgent to draw with mirror like accuracy, I used to do it, shh people away but secret adore their coo’s and adulations that I was ‘so talented’. And I can only speak for myself again here, but when I drew like that I wasn’t exploring anything, it was a simple superficial exercise of ability. Now if I was to create a representational image I use my camera, I reserve my drawings for notions, suggestion and whispers. Stupid stupid stupid.

Ah I wasn’t getting anywhere with this conversation, after a couple of hours I called it a day and went out for a bite to eat. But is this the kind of discussion I am going to find myself embroiled in again and again here in Firenze? Can the Renaissance art share its cradle with a little contemporary art?

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A disagreement

(part one)

I’m living in a hostel at the moment in Firenze while I search for more permanent accommodation. I thought it would be a somewhat claustrophobic experience but I am thoroughly enjoying the influx of globetrotters, all with a new tale to tell over breakfast.

I got into a particularly heated discussion about art yesterday with one young gentleman from Canada (early in the afternoon mind you, before the free Tuscan wine started flowing); at first he was gleeful that I was another artiste but upon my explanation that I considered myself a contemporary artist his disappointment quickly turned to fierce revulsion.

The young man considered himself a brilliant artist as he had studied Leonardo Di Vinci’s work for two years (he has no intention of attending an art school, they only ruin talented people, like myself). He taught himself to draw imitating the way Di Vinci learned to draw, because someone who cannot draw as well as Di Vinci has no right to teach art, I laughed and said so you must be a good artist then? Yes, I’m great came the blunt reply catching me off guard. He raged and seethed that contemporary artists are seeking to destroy Renaissance art. (I introduced him to some of Luigi Ontani’s work thinking him might be able to relate to the Renaissance inspired prints but alas Ontani is obviously mocking the old masters – despicable!). Contemporary art is a horrible business, people who think they are better than others purposely making work that the general public can’t understand. At which point I joked he must really hate Damien Hirst huh? Who? What? Whose that? Surely…? Tracy Emin? Never heard of her. All he knew what that contemporary art was out to destroy the work of the old masters; contemporary art and realism locked in a vicious battle to the end. (note, realism)


Sono arrivato!

I have made it safe and sound to Firenze.

I am tired though, so this won’t be much of a blog, but I’ll share a few brief observations from my notebook that I’ve been jotting down since I landed in Italia, however corny and fractured they might be.

locks are different – i wish you were here – ears still crackle – watch is still in British time – italian wedding in Torre del Lago A4 print outs line the whole street celebrating the union, many cars honking in celebration – shirne to the young man under the bridge – train shelter cracks contracting after expanding in the days heat – cicadas – scots pine, palm tree, buddleia – light rakes the land – can’t walk on raked sand – many moggies, moggies seems more appropriate word than cat some how – men driving mopeds with cigarettes hanging from their lips – miss italia 2010 on Tv – autumn is here already, it’s beautiful – i wish you were here – medieval Lucca – the sparrows have different voices

for now any artist endeavours must take a back seat as I catch up on sleep then search for accomodation, wish me luck!