Monthly Archives: September 2014

Woods and Forests

September 15, 2014

Trees are some of the most fascinating of life forms, and drawing media are perhaps the best way to reflect their linear growth and rhythm of movement.  Sometimes the life of the forest is halted abruptly as in the forest fires of 2011 in Madeira.  Only a year later, when I visited in January 2012, the undergrowth and shrubs were beginning to recover but the Eucalyptus and pine trees were an eerie, almost monochrome tapestry against the terracotta rocks. The sight is still fresh in my memory.

After the Fire: the Valley of the Nuns, Madeira
Pastel on terracotta paper 2014

‘After the Fire’ has been selected for the Society of Graphic Fine Art’s open exhibition DRAW 14 at the Menier Gallery, Southwark, London SE1 1RU from 6th to 18th October 2014.  The SGFA is the UK’s only society dedicated to drawing by hand in all media. For information on the Society’s events visit

‘After the Fire’ will also feature in Jo’s open studio during the Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail event 27th and 28th September (details at alongside other drawings of trees from Jo’s travels in the UK and abroad.

Argan Trees in the Anti Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Sepia Ink


Aspens on Sleeping Bear Dune, Michigan
Neocolor II pastel used dry and pencil


Willow and Aspens on the Cam
Black ‘Quink’ ink


Black ‘Quink’ fountain pen ink was applied to the paper with a pen and also diluted and washed with a brush.  The wet ink separates into its component dyes as each moves at a different rate on the damp paper, producing beautiful tints of amber and blue in places. Sadly such dye based inks are fugitive when exposed to light, so works produced in this way must be kept in reduced light conditions or reproduced as prints with light fast inks.

Silent Snow: on the Stour
Pastel, pencil and gouache on grey paper


Tower 42 and the Thames Barrier in 2001

Low Tide at Blackfriars

The watercolour above, completed in 2001, is now a historic record of the Thames and architecture from the South Bank looking toward Blackfriars Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Tower 42 is on the far right.  This painting, and the work below of the Thames Barrier with Canary Wharf and the Dome beyond, dating from the same year, will be on show at Jo’s studio for the forthcoming Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail on 27th and 28th September together with recent works. Details of all the venues and participating artists can be found at

Barrier, Wharf and Dome

Hand Drawn at Tower 42

September 2, 2014

From the Machinery Room to 595 feet above London 

In November last year 14 members of the Society of Graphic Fine Art, the UK’s only national drawing society dedicated to drawing in all media, visited Tower 42 to sketch in three locations.  Starting in an empty office suite on floor 32, we descended to the basement pump room before ascending to the sublime Vertigo Bar 595 feet above the city, where we drew in luxury watching the sun go down, illuminating the shard like a brilliant crystal and with a panoramic view of the Thames sparkling far below.  

Best of all is that yesterday we opened an exhibition of drawings, paintings and prints located on the podium level at Tower 42, based entirely on works accomplished on or inspired by the drawing day.  I would like to express my personal thanks to all at Tower 42 who gave us the opportunity and who made us so welcome at our opening yesterday evening, and of course my fellow artists at the SGFA who contributed.  

Having lived all my life near the Thames, in London, as a child, and now much further upstream where life is a little more rural I still take every opportunity to draw in London, fascinated by the constant changes wrought by demolition and construction.  My contributions to the Exhibition are below.

 Four Red Cranes
Mixed media;ink and acrylic 

From Tower 42 Upstream
Mixed media; soluble ink acrylic and pastel
Towards Canary Wharf
Mixed media; ink and acrylic
30 St. Mary Axe 
Mixed media; ink and acrylic