Friday, 3 October 2014


Old newspaper used to insulate the minor bird cage. Got an air mail letter from California today. Rare thing to have the pleasure of receiving a hand written letter, the date and everything. There were three stamps illustrated with birds on. A Mountain Bluebird, a Western Tanager and a Painted Bunting.  I painted a budgerigar once. 
In the corner of the stamps were the words 'forever U S A'.

Thursday, 2 October 2014


Recently, went to a boxing contest. I imagine this is a form of reportage drawing. It just wasn't done ringside. 

Dear David,

I really enjoyed reading your interview. Too bad it missed the eternal question "How do you consider yourself? As an illustrator or an Artist?" We want to know!It surprised me to learn that Otello was intended for "young audiencesat the base.

So, is there à n
ew book coming soon? We want to know!

Red corner. Blue corner. Serious? Out for the count. Red corner. Blue corner?  HaHaHaHa.

New book? At the moment, at present, no, no new book. Too many books in the world, too many picture books, too many recipe books, too many celebrity bios, too many charity shops. It's difficult to dispose of your old books, to donate them to cancer research. To make space for more new books. Can't have too many books...... press flowers. I remember I used to go to the library, get my ticket stamped. Pay the fine. In Twickenham Library I lived, eleven to twenty eight, read about Turner. At fourteen found a book about Timothy Birdsall. A book of David Hockney drawings overdue by forty years. Can't remember any poems, learnt by heart. Muscle in the brain. Exercise, unfit for poetry, out of breath, must do more paragraphs. More laps. More trees.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


A bird solo accompanies me from the Heart of Midlothian. 
Gian Carlo Menotti lived at Yester House, Gifford east of Edinburgh. Menotti planted me in Spoleto 1992, 1993 and for an encore in 1998.
A fine example of the mediocre early morning 'live' drawing abandoned in a fit of failure and frustration. What not a masterpiece, Maestro? How many visits does it take to Spoleto, dozens......? Over a period of six years, total number of drawings: 1. One. This noble effort.1998. Cut his hands off. Stick his head in a bucket. Wait, wait I was under a lot of pressure. I felt obliged to draw some architecture. I did two operas. I did an exhibition.  I did some interviews. I played baseball, okay it was softball, with the Americans at 2 in the morning in the piazza with the Duomo as a magnificent backdrop.I was being a Maestro. Big deal. Where did it all go wrong? Anyway others have drawn the Duomo di Spoleto since and before, there must be a billion notebook leaves of pencil scratchings superior to mine scattered throughout the solar system. But now sixteen years later my fine line unravels in front of me and ties a large knot and lynches me.

Just to illustrate my point. Look at this Ellen Bell drawing. How to capture a likeness. This is how I saw the cathedral in my mind before I was committed to paper and blunted my 404 nib. Sob.