Category Archives: Pen and Ink

Giro around the Valtiberina

Monterchi study

Monterchi study

The next painting is a trip down the Valtiberina Valley, a pure delight, especially if you approach it from the Aggia Valley side. Drive up to the stoic walled town of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina (MSMT) and follow the winding, narrow road down to where Monterchi and Citerna stand staring each other out, as they have for centuries.

Lippiano Castle

Castle at Lippiano

Halfway down you’ll see the hill top village of Lippiano in front of you. Its strange tower dominates the horizon as you get closer.  This is a lovely, quiet little place with an elaborate fountain and a supposed, Templar church as well. The views from here are gorgeous and you can make out MSMT in the distance, amongst the wooded skyline.



Crossing from Tuscany, back into Umbria and rounding the hills you get your first close up of Monterchi. Famous for its Piero della Francesca painting, “Madonna del Parto“. Not to be out done in their rivalry, Citerna recently discovered a long lost Donatello sculpture, “Madonna col Bimbo”.

The landscape also takes a turn, instead of rough woodland and rocky fields, there is more agriculture and you’ll pass vineyards, olive groves and fields of bright yellow sunflowers (at the right time of year).

Stormy sky at dawn

Stormy sky at dawn

A change in the weather as autumn sets in has brought us some dramatic skies, with leadened clouds, heavy with rain. These swirling masses with the pale yellow peaking through will make a great backdrop on which to paint the four towns, once again bathed in all shades of green, with maybe a little seasonal orange, red and ochre for good measure.


Pen and Ink Drawing of St George’s Church

Wales, church


This is another last century picture, going back to 1999 and is of St George’s Chruch in the Vale of Glamorgan. The design has lots of happy memories andwas used on our wedding invitations. It has a nice bold quality making it ideal for reproductions. 

Drawings of St George's

St George’s Sketches

It is around this time that I started to develop the idea of playing around with perspective and foreshortening, taking inspiration from old 15th century German block prints, Byzantine paintings and the early frescoes of the Renaissance. I’ve always liked the stark black and white contrasts of ink drawing and love it as a medium in which to work.

For me less confusing than using colour and no where near as messy as oil painting.The church is over 700 years old and features an ancient walled yew tree at the centre of the graveyard, believed to ward off evil. The pig skin bound, church register that you sign when getting married is at least 250 years old and had entries going back to 1768.