Year of the monkey

by cliveadmin on February 10, 2016

chinesemonkey_600With the Chinese New Year approaching, I thought it might be a nice idea to create a drawing of monkeys  in a Chinese brushed ink and wash style for my Chinese friends. I used traditional materials of Chinese ink (prepared using an ink block and slate rubbing stone), calligraphy brush and rice paper. I’d had a short lesson in the technique of drawing with a brush while I was at Shanghai Open University and had some sense of the challenges of this way of working. The paper is incredibly absorbant and unforgiving of mistakes. Mark making is not easy and there is no option other than to be brave and just go for it. After scrapping countless sheets of paper and really struggling I eventually got this pair of monkeys (based on similar drawings I came across in an internet search).

The Chinese characters (hanzi) simply mean, year of the monkey, and were written on plain paper (hence the differing qualities of the brush marks on the drawing and the writing). The drawing and the hanzi were then scanned and assembled in Photoshop.



Total trout

by cliveadmin on February 10, 2016

This is the full version of a drawing of a trout I did last year. The earlier version was a crop that I did to add a sense of presence – I wanted the trout to loom large, as it were. I’ve had requests for a complete view of the trout, so here it is.


Christmas Mandarin

by cliveadmin on February 10, 2016

I did this drawing of a mandarin duck to use as an e-Christmas card for my Chinese students and friends. It’s rather tighter than my usual way of doing these things, but it seemed necessary to convey the wonderfully precise nature of the bird’s amazing plumage.


George Benson

by cliveadmin on June 5, 2015

george_benson_600Another legend I painted at a time when I was exploring a range of musical themes. Beyond creating a straight representation, then I was using a reduced palette of four colours; cadmium red, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and titanium white, which I settled on to see how far I could push their creative potential. While this and other paintings I did at the same time are blue themed, others I did do not necessarily reflect the blue tones seen here.

The King and Lucille

by cliveadmin on May 23, 2015


The death of BB King gave me all the excuse I needed to draw him again, this time in vectors. Larger than life, I’ve nominally drawn him at A1 size, but of course he can be scaled to almost any size in vector format.


Blowing cool

by cliveadmin on May 20, 2015


This was originally done as a sketched idea for a more fully developed commissioned painting. I was happy enough with the painting (of which I no longer have a photograph) though I do remember that it didn’t quite have the zest and energy of this swiftly and playfully produced sketch. The dribbles and splodges of running paint I felt (and still feel) added to part of the spontenaiety of the sketch and I came to deliberately induce these sorts of happy accidents to happen in future work.