Sketchbook notes from the drifting spaces

Portrait of Tokyo Ren Master

Many visitors to the friendly Ren Bar in east Tokyo made calligraphy and artworks to express their wishes for the new year… here is my fast ink portrait of the famous master!

Small sketchbook drawings Ardfern – perception/intuition

Shodo zen calligraphy practice

Trying out the zen enso circle, symbol of universality and the idea of beauty within imperfection.

Small to medium fude for sho on single hanshi sheets.

Working on the character nen – commonly translated as mindfulness or mindful, also attention or care. There is a balance needed between the two parts of the kanji.

The fude brushes hanging to dry – looking like they need another good rinse!

flux – interchanging – equalising

Sho calligraphy mark making

Making some marks with fude brushes and fudepen using Japanese sumi ink. Beginning practicing for a series of three Drawing and Painting Studio workshops. Experimenting with the brush stopping and flicking, speed of the marks and energy.

In the first Shodo group the Kanji characters ten – heavens/ sky and shin or kokoro – heart/ mind. I have chosen zen related characters for participants to practice.

Beyond Kyoto on the Nishiyama mountain trail

Nishiyama 8 (

Nishiyama Drawing 2 (

Nishiyama 6 (

Nishiyama 4 (

off the beaten track, drawing through the dense foliage
impenetrable undergrowth
seeking colour and light blasting –
near the magical ponpon yama hills

Nishiyama 1

Nishiyama Drawing 1 (

Nishiyama 7 (

Nishiyama 2 (

Nishiyama 5 (

Season’s Greetings 2016

season's greetings (

Have a great 2016 and all the very best wishes.

Spatial trail – neither above nor sideways

line red grey


red purple indentations

Tonedown characters part 2

Fude brushes and acrylic and ink jars with prep

sky space lines drawn into wash

expanding ink wash space

linear structure reconfigured by yellow orange space


investigating elements T – S – I – D

actions in times present, past and futures – neither the same nor different (zenki)


Tonedown 1 (

Tonedown 2 (

Tonedown 3 (

Tonedown 4 (