My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Definition: Sprezzatura…A certain nonchalance that makes art appear to be without thought or effort.

E. H. Gombrich’s book Art & Illusion is a definitive study in the psychology of pictorial representation. The book has sat on my shelf for years but only recently have I given it the in-depth attention that it deserves. In particular the book delves into my obsession of suggestion rather than definition.

I quote:

It is an art in which the painter’s skill in suggesting must be matched by the public’s skill in taking hints. The literal-minded Philistine is excluded from this closed circle. He does not understand the magic of “sprezzatura” because he has not learned to use his own imagination to project. He lacks the appropriate mental set to recognize in the loose brushstrokes of a ‘careless work’ the images intended by the artist; least of all is he able to appreciate the secret skill and cunning which hide behind this lack of finish.

One of my paintings of Jessica from two years ago illustrates the point. It took seventy-three years of thought and effort for it to appear to be without thought or effort. 

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