Tag Archives: sketching



Miles teaching in South Africa

Wishing you all a joyful and abundant 2016!

Our January classes are now scheduled and we look forward to welcoming new friends to our studio in Alverstoke, Hampshire, UK.  Booking is essential as places are limited. Please email info@studiobluesea.com, call/text Pippa 07402 332676 or stop by the gallery upstairs at Darcey’s, 47 Village Road, Alverstoke, PO12 2LD. Please join our mailing list by emailing us, leaping aboard here or following us on Twitter @StudioBlueSea


TUESDAY DRAWING GROUP – every Tuesday starting 12th January

Morning Group – 10h30 to 12h30 – £12

Afternoon Group – 14h00 to 16h00 – £12

A fun and friendly class for all skill levels; beginners welcome. Please bring a drawing book and 2B pencil and other media you may wish to use. A2 paper and black Conte crayons are available in the studio.

STRUCTURED WATERCOLOUR – alternate Saturdays starting 23rd January

10h00 – 12h00, Saturday, 23rd January – £12
(And then 6th and 20th February etc.)

For beginners or anyone wishing to increase their skills. An email will be sent to you with a sketch of the subject. You will use this to prepare your watercolour paper ready for the class. Every class will have a new theme and you’ll learn how to paint water, fire, nature etc.

WATERCOLOUR WORKSHOP – last Saturday of the month

10h00 – 14h30, Saturday, 30th January – £50

A class for more experienced painters who wish to work on or complete their own work with the help of a tutor. This is a 4-hour workshop with a break for lunch. Numbers are limited so please book early.

LIFE DRAWING CLASS – starting soon


Life Drawing











Cascais, Portugal – visit if you can

On Portugal’s western Atlantic coast, near the Tagus river estuary, is the town of Cascais. From ancient and humble beginnings as a fishing village, in the late 19th century it became the cool hang-out for European royalty after Portugal’s King Luis  turned the citadel into his summer residence. The town’s popularity with the rich and noble continued on through the next century, thereby blessing it with an architectural heritage of magnificent mansions.

From our place at anchor in the bay we spied, through the binoculars, a large poster advertising a Goya exhibition. And lucky that was too, as a walk around the town and a visit to tourist information gave no clue that such an exhibition was on locally. Unless one had actually walked up to the Cultural Centre hosting the exhibition (and on whose wall the poster was affixed) which is situated on a rise outside of the central town area, one would never have known about the exhibition. That’s probably why we had the place to ourselves and we were able to enjoy a’ private viewing’ of Francisco de Goya’s lithos and etchings including his famous Disasters of War. Congratulations to the Cascais Cultural Centre for hosting and presenting such an excellent exhibition (with free entry) but if you want to draw people away from the beaches, the pavement eateries and the tourist shopping you need some promotion!

Here’s a sketch of Cascais from a boater’s point of view:

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

Watercolour sketch

In the days before GPS and electronic charts it was essential to have navigation skills. We learned our position lines, fixes, transits and dead reckoning at evening classes where our teacher, Jim, fondly laced his lessons with memorable descriptives and mnemonics. Who could ever forget ‘Can Dead Men Vote Twice’ and ‘True Virgins Make Dull Companions’ to ensure the correct order in converting compass to true or the other way around? One cold and rainy November evening Jim said, “Being at sea on a night like tonight will mean zero visibility … you might as well stick your head up a cow’s backside!” He went on to teach us about lighthouses and their characteristics … no wonder we have such a fondness for these structures.


Cabo de Roca is the furthest point west of Portugal and of the European continent. Steep, rocky cliffs, 168m high form the perfect base for the lighthouse that warns and comforts mariners navigating the Iberian coast. We sailed by that lighthouse, high-tailing it before a storm to our north, rounded Cape Raso in heavy seas and headed for the protection of Cascais bay where we anchored in the lee of Cascais, relieved and grateful to sit out the Atlantic depression in safety and comfort.


Caya del Pina, Mar Menor, Spain

Multi-tasking is something we avoid if possible, being of the mind that sensory perception works better when focus is added and pleasure is diminished by the number of times that focus is divided. The absolute pleasure of sipping a great cup of coffee combined with observing the view should be the extent of multi-tasking but sometimes the light calls for an immediate sketch. Here’s the sketch on (weak) coffee-coloured paper. Stop everything else and enjoy looking.




Action drawing strengthens visual perception and helps one develop vitality and energy in one’s subjects. The most challenging action drawing I’ve come across was at Circus Space in London where I went to draw the performers practicing their routines. It was hard to focus on my sketching as the performers were quite mesmerising.

The acrobat was aloft using a series of ropes in aerial gymnastics that would be the envy of any monkey.

The hoola hoop juggler  was a little easier to sketch as she stood balanced on one leg while speeding up and slowing down the multiple hoops twirling around her body and limbs.

If you’re in London visit Circus Space; it’s an amazing experience.