Updated biography




I’ve updated my biography page. Most of it is just by-the-by; but I would like to draw attention to the last paragraphs, which I hope should clarify a few important things for those not yet aware. The highlighted words are linked on the page itself.


There is considerable contextual information concerning them which I may or not not write about one day, but I felt this was simplest for now. 🙂



Katrina Van Tassel


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‘… Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and only child of a substantial Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen; plump as a partridge, ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her father’s peaches, and universally famed, not merely for her beauty, but for her vast expectations. She was withal a little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold, which her great-great grandmother had brought over from Saardam, the tempting stomacher of the olden time; and withal a provokingly short petticoat, to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.’
~ Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


This sketch was left untouched at a faint, gestural stage since it was begun about four or five years ago and was only ‘finished’ up last Saturday night.

It has been pointed out to me that such a richly dressed Katrina looks rather more French than Dutch, and that the eighteenth-century Dutch Protestant settlers of the New World, even wealthy ones, would most likely have been more simply dressed. A very good point to which I concede and will bear in mind for a future revision of her. I can only plead that in responding to Irving’s description, it was too irresistible for me not to be indulgent and forget how Spartan Dutch bourgeois inclinations actually were. It would be a good future exercise to find that right balance which reflects this whilst still answering Irving’s wonderful text.



‘Theodore’ Process


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Short process clip of an Edmontosaurus juvenile (whom I decised to call ‘Theodore’) in watercolour. I work so glacially slowly that it’s virtually impossible to film the entire process to create a time-lapse, so this is put together from just the photographs of the various stages and the final scan. A detail from a larger illustration.


‘Theodore’ ~ Watercolour with touches of gouache on Saunders Waterford hot pressed


Quatrain XXXII


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Quatrain XXXII ~ Watercolour and gouache on Arches cold pressed

There was a Door to which I found no KEY:
There was a Veil past which I could not see:
Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE
There seem’d–and then no more of THEE and ME.

‘Throwback Thursday’ to this illustration for Quatrain XXXII of Rubaiyát of Omar Khayyám, published by The Folio Society, 2009. This piece borrows directly from Rene Bull’s illustration to the same quatrain from 1913.



Wanderers Nachtlied I


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Der du von dem Himmel bist,
Alles Leid und Schmerzen stillst,
Den, der doppelt elend ist,
Doppelt mit Entzückung füllst;
Ach, ich bin des Treibens müde!
Was soll all der Schmerz und Lust?
Süßer Friede,
Komm, ach komm in meine Brust!

Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s Wanderers Nachtlied I is an achingly beautiful jewel of a miniature (even by lieder standards), and is a heartfelt favourite of mine. This performance by tenor, Ian Bostridge and pianist, Julius Drake is one of my favourite recordings of it.


International Faerie Day


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It’s International Faerie Day today! It was Midsummer earlier in the week, and Benjamin Britten’s opera of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on BBC Radio 3 as I post. An opportune time for a friendly reminder of my Pictura: Faeries colouring book (Templar Publishing, 2013).

Shown here is half of the eight-panel, concertina-folded book. All pennies thrown into my bonnet via the book’s purchase most gratefully received.


From Pictura: Faeries. Pencil on Arches hot pressed watercolour paper.


The Questing Beast


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The Questing Beast ~ Watercolour on Arches cold pressed, approximately 290 x 290 mm.

Cover illustration for The Arthurian Concordance, ‘an encyclopedia of all things Arthurian’ by Phyllis Ann Karr, to be published as a companion to the new edition of Le Morte d’Arthur, whose cover I posted a little while ago.

I quite enjoyed working on this piece, although it progressed at a glacial pace, as usual.

Trivia: the beast’s snake head is actually an amalgamation of three snakes (though of no specific genera): cobra, python, and horned viper.