Family portraits

Portraits do not usually attract a market except where they are of a well-known person, a close friend, family member, or on commission.

Family members can be relied upon to be the most direct of your critics, which can be guaranteed to encourage you to do your best.


(Images are clickable)


The portrait head is clearly the most widely used element of the entire figurative tradition both in painting and photography for numerous reasons, but it is especially valuable in mastering a likeness when you are time-poor.

It can be supported by accessories (applicable to men, women or children) to conjure up a narrative and add interesting detail, eg hat, scarf, jewellery, etc.

The hand, or hands, may also be brought up into the image, and brings with them it’s own powers of expression.


Life drawing

Life drawing of the nude is both of enduring popularity through its difficulty to accomplish and also a victim of its notoriety for portraying nakedness. Its significance, as a portal to the entire figurative tradition is generally unrecognized, especially in mastering the clothed figure.

It is hard to find a good place from which to start a conversation about the purpose of life drawing. A quarter of a century of continuous practice has left me literally with wheelbarrow loads of quick, unfinished studies, most of which are simply not worth keeping. Many persons attend life drawing classes more as a kind of therapy than with a plan of where they see it taking them.

Womens’ fashion down the ages

Fashions are normally best displayed in the standing figure, and are typically presented with slender proportions that are anatomically improbable but, nevertheless, well received.

Copying sculptures and works by other artists

While using sculptures and the work of other artists as a reference for study can potentially raise legal issues of fraud and copyright if done for commercial gain, they can be a very useful and convenient method of study. Most collecting institutions permit it.


For many, landscapes represent an ultimate goal in any medium or condition of weather, in which living forms, including farmers, livestock, growers, etc, sit well, even if presented in a semi-distant and simplified form. Cityscapes can also incorporate living forms, plus architectural forms in all their diversity.

Historical Buildings

Sketching Outdoors


A welcome diversion from portraiture and landscape, and a challenge in its own right, from making boats look like they have clean lines, float nicely and, of course, the wave forms in the water, to make images suggesting relaxation and pleasure.

Gardens and botany

The diversity in botany, including trees, shrubs and flowers, plus land forms simply could not be invented by mankind, and are more or less indispensible to portraying landscape. Botany may be portrayed in the landscape as distant and miniaturized or nearby in a garden or a still life. Green is a major colour for study, particularly in the Australian landscape.

Fruit, Vegetables & Game

Fruit, Vegetables & Game historically have constituted the subject matter in stil-life imagery in the art of many nations, contributing to variety in colour and shape.


I have always loved the cartoons EH Shepherd drew for AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh childrens’ book, plus cartoons are quickly drawn.


I set myself the challenge of portraying dogs because I had no idea how to portray their fur (sometimes described as wool), and also to experiment with pastel, which seemed to be the choice of medium to represent how fur trails out to its extremities, even though other practitioners seem to manage perfectly well with oils or even water colour,