"Twisted Realism" A visual artist, creating moody black and white tonal drawings in charcoal, pastel and graphite. Inspired by the human figure, story telling and Europe.


A Difficult Pleasure Completed.

Pages from my journal.

The drawing I have been working on is titled "Lutte Et Le Desir" (Struggle and Desir) It is the accumulation of a lot of ideas that were teased out in my journal over a number of weeks. One thought was to include the picturesque Spanish village of Cadaques, a place I had visited on a couple of occasions, and the place where Salvador Dali holidayed as a youth. It was the source of many of his iconic coastal landscapes, and I wanted it to emerge from a flat photo into a 3D image as it rolled across the surface of the paper.    

I have also played with the idea of the graphite pencil, the basic tool to make a mark with, being some sort of spike that anchors me to my art, and torments me with it's insistency. As a younger person, there was always the visual power of Christ nailed to His cross. A similar inevitability and sense of persecution by my art exists within. 


Sketches trying to work out the best way to visually solve the problem, and create impact. The pages are also full of ideas that never made it into the final image.

 I wanted to show that the experience of creating is not one I have a lot of control over, and that it's not just a matter of removing the pencil to alleviate the need. Although piercing the wrist has religious connotations, I find it to be the point in my body where any emotional pain is felt immediately. At times my wrists and forearms are the first parts to recognise emotional anguish and respond instantly with a deep, dull ache.

I wanted the face and hands to create an embrace around the story, so pushed them to the far edges of the paper. I often use words as a speedier way to capture thoughts about an image. Smaller ideas around the page, eventually make it into the final image.

This drawing uses black pen and wash to try and capture the final expression on the face, and endeavours to work out the awkward relationship between the two hands and pencil, while not concealing any of the vital information in the drawing.

"Lutte et le Desir"

190 x 103 cm
Charcoal, Pastel and Graphite on Kraft Paper.

When the entire surface is finally covered, the fun begins. I love the notion of depth in my work, a sense that you can "enter" it, so then it's time to push areas back and pull some parts of the image forward. The quiet addition of warm red pastel to pull, and cool blue pastel to push, creates dimension, and subtle and interesting changes to the work.
I also seek out the confidence of family and friends to give feedback as to what works and doesn't in the picture. All drawings get to a point where I have no idea what I have created. Bit like not being able to recognise your own voice on a recording. It's so familiar I don't see it anymore. Invariably I will listen and change.
So when is the work finished? This drawing has sat on my easel in this state for about two months now, and I have not been tempted to touch it, to walk up and tweak some troubling square centimetre, even though I scan it constantly. There is this gut feeling, this intangible knowing that it is done.


  1. Hey Pete - Haven't seen a new post in a while. Is this one still sitting on the easel for tweeking??