Tag Archives: boathouse studio

My youngest model – Creativity and emotional well being

A little over three years ago, I arrived at The Boathouse Studio to find a lovely young model, named, Tessa. 

During the first break, Tessa’s  three month old baby, Maya arrived with her grandmother.      As I watched Maya feeding Tessa I asked if it would be possible for them to model together.

That was the  beginning of two wonderful sessions.

The studio was very quiet and warm, and Maya loved it.    She modelled with her mother for most of the day….and didn’t make a peep……

Baby Maya and Tessa. – watercolour/gouache – Boathouse Studio


This post touches on how beneficial creativity is to emotional well being

As I mentioned before, a life drawing/painting session is like a long meditation.    Once artist and model settle…..a beautiful calm comes into the studio….and at best an intense connection between artist and subject.     It is as if mind and body are in a protective bubble.

I call this, becoming one with my subject – and it is at this stage that I enter into a completely different zone.      Any cares and stresses are dissolved, not necessarily solved, but removed during that moment in time, consequently allowing my mind to rest.

Tessa’s hand gently supporting baby Maya – waterlcolour


When I was very young, maybe three or four, I saw my Aunt’s sketch book at my Grandmother’s house in London, and It was pure magic.    I knew from that moment what I wanted to do….and really never wavered.

Baby Maya in Mother’s hands. – watercolour. 


I was to find that being a creative in the world we live in is not always easy.

Although today there is a greater understanding of how the creative mind works, society in general still tends to see artists as interesting outsiders.  

I recall a great deal of mental anguish when I was younger, mostly centring around the worry of not fitting in.

Then as I matured and my art career developed, my confidence grew along with a resolve and understanding that this is who I am and what my life is about.     With total acceptance of this,  I was free to move forward.

I heard a very interesting interview on the BBC recently with a young man who had lost both legs to the war in Afghanistan.     Initially he thought his life was over, and then he was introduced to the camera, which became his medium and art form.     As he said “Creativity set him free”.

Baby Maya on the floor…during her second session.     Watercolour


Mother and child – watercolour


After these two sessions, which were several weeks apart, Tessa and Maya moved to S. America.

I received an e mail recently from Tessa saying that they were back in the UK….that Maya is now three…..and hopefully we might meet up sometime soon.      I do hope so.

A Bientôt

Painting the Male nude

I am sure it has been noted that I haven’t shown any male models.

I have nothing against the male form, to the contrary, it can be very beautiful, however it is my opinion that the female form offers more scope.

When I do paint the male form, I often focus on details….or as you will see from the following images, I enjoy observing the strength of the neck and head.

rapid watercolour – Boathouse Studio P1160934 The nude first became significant in the art of Ancient Greece, where athletic competitions at religious festivals celebrated the human body, particularly the male, in an unparalleled way.    The Greeks considered them to be the embodiments of all that was best in humanity.

The ancestry of the female nude in art is distinct form the male in that it embodies the divinity of procreation. 

Moving forward it is Michelangelo’s ‘David’ created between 1501 and 1504 that to this day is the embodiment of the sublime male form.

Reclining male – rapid watercolour – Boathouse Studio – rapid watercolour


Twenty minute study – Richmond upon Thames studio P1160957

The strength of male arms – Boathouse studio


Dancer – Paris, France – a superb model – twenty  minute study


From the ‘Nudes in the Parish Hall’ Series, Crickhowell, Wales.    This model was superb…He and his wife often modelled together which was great.      rapid watercolour and pen P1160975

Kingston upon Thames Studio – rapid watercolour and felt tip pen P1160967 A Bientôt

Creativity: the key to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being

“It is my belief that the creative process in all its many forms is the key to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being”  The first time I drew from a life model was in 1962 when I was sixteen years old.     Once I became comfortable with figure/life drawing it quickly became one of my great joys….the place where I learned to see. Twenty minute watercolour from Boathouse Studio1397165_10152080311495396_774838983_o Throughout my career, wherever I have travelled or lived I have always tried to connect with a model or life group. When I moved to Crickhowell, Wales (The Magical Town of Crickadoon) in 1993, unable to connect with a model or life group, I started my own.    At that time the vicar of St. Edmund’s Church, which sits in the middle of Crickhowell was an artist, and backed the idea wholeheartedly.     I rented the parish hall once a week….hence the name of the series of paintings.   Nudes in the Parish Hall.  Rapid watercolours painted in Hay-on-Wye, Brecknockshire, Wales.     Another excellent group P1160978 I find that when I am drawing or painting a life model all feelings of stress and anxiety are removed.   It is a like a long meditation.    Good for body and mind.  Often when working in large unheated studios I would start the day feeling cold and uncomfortable.    However, as I entered into the zone of creative focus, all physical discomfort would disappear.    During these long painting sessions, (especially when working on huge murals), I felt no physical discomfort.    It was only when I stopped working and returned to the real world – that I would feel utterly exhausted and yet satisfied. Twenty minute post – Boathouse Studio. – watercolour P1160924 It was Picasso who said that artist’s spend much of their working time removed from their body – which in turn removes all the stresses and anxieties that come with day to day living – something I completely agree with. Rapid watercolours – Kingston upon Thames studio.  P1070127 I would recommend that anyone with an interest, whether abject beginner or more seasoned artist join a life drawing group.      In today’s world where so many have been desensitised and are plugged in 24/7 to some form of technology, it is a wonderful way to re-focus, and at the same time release stress and anxiety.  I love red hair….and so this model in a Richmond upon Thames studio had great appeal.  Rapid watercolour/gouache P1100780 A Bientôt