Is he or isn’t he Leonardo?

I was a bit sceptical about the new ‘portrait’ of Leonardo that’s been identified in the Royal Collection (LEFT). Face looked too young. But @Muralista sent me a reworked version he made, with hair and beard (RIGHT), and I have to say it’s pretty good. Bravo @Muralista #Leonardo



Alone with Velazquez

It is an unalloyed joy to be alone with possibly the greatest portrait ever painted, the glowering look of Pope Innocent X notwithstanding, the way the sitter both questions from on high yet looks pinned down by the painter’s searching- but today that was my experience in the Doria Pamphilj palace in Rome, which hosts the great masterpiece by Velazquez.

As an artist it is particularly absorbing to be able to copy and yet never quite reach the limits of a great artist’s finest work, yet one must always try. This doesn’t of course mean it has to be in the same medium, or be faithful optically, but the search implied in the act is worth every minute, if only to understand.

So, sketchbook in hand, I took the central part of the portrait and drew in pen on paper.

Dom Ramos.

ARTWAVE EXHIBITION: Dom Ramos, Tim Jee and Kathie Murphy




Dom Ramos

Kathie Murphy

Tim Jee


I am happy to announce that Dom Ramos will be exhibiting recent drawings and paintings, with Kathie Murphy exhibiting her celebrated polyester resin jewellery and Tim Jee his intriguing paintings at the annual Artwave 2017 – Artists & Makers Trails.

21 August  –  3 September 2017

VENUE: 21 Priory Street,
Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1HH.


This is a widely promoted event which allows the visitor to visit a number of locations dotted around the beautiful town of Lewes and its surrounding area, many of which would not normally be open to the public.


STOP PRESS: This show is on until 3rd September,

11 a.m. – 5 p.m.




Kathie Murphy started jewellery evening classes at the age of 14 with Jonathan Swan at the workshop in Lewes. Murphy went on to gain a degree from Middlesex Polytechnic and then a post graduate Diploma from Glasgow School of Art in the subject.

Since 1992 Murphy has specialised in working in Polyester resin and continues to explore the possibilities of this material.  She has had two books published by A&C Black, Resin Jewellery and Design and make non precious jewellery.

Murphy’s work is in the collection of International jewellery at the Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, Aberdeen City Art Gallery and National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.  She teaches at City Lit London, Morley College London and West Dean College, West Sussex.




Dom Ramos (b. 1966) comes from three generations of painters in his family. Aged 12 he assisted his father, on a copy of Raphael’s ‘Transfiguration’, and into his twenties with his mother on a  number of murals. Going solo as  a mural painter, he went on to adorn public places as well private houses with murals, specialising in historic themes. After a fire tore through his studio in 2015, he has returned to working on drawings and easel paintings.

He has taught for the Royal Drawing School. He was awarded the Friends of Lewes Civic Award for his mural, ‘The Friars’ Garden’ in 2006.  He is due to publish a survey of historical figures of Lewes illustrated with his murals from a panelled room in the town in 2017.




Tim Jee (b.1960) grew up in the Midlands and studied Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art. At college he initially painted large abstract paintings, eventually abandoning this way of working for painting small imaginary landscapes that had a sense of narrative about them. He began to introduce figures and other elements into the paintings, things that he found significant, interesting, or simply engaging. He says:

“I paint things that take my fancy. People sometime ask me what my paintings mean but all I can say is that everything you need to know is in the painting. They are simply the view from my mind’s eye.” 

Mr. Incommunicado calling…

We all get computer glitches from time to time. In my case, the whole thing went a little…broken.

The result is I can no longer access my mailing list to send you A4artist drawings and so can I ask you to contact me through the contact form with your email if you would still like to receive my drawings, which I will send as a file (fortnightly instead of weekly) as before?

Now to get back to drawing…


Many Thanks in advance,


Art: The Spanish Tradition. Part I.

  Cave-painting of a deer, Spain.

Spain occupies a central role in the development of art that belies its geographical situation at the edge of  the world that was known until 1492. Its importance was in no way marginalised after the ‘plus ultra’ of the Americas had been reached.  

An extraordinary  capacity for an earthy sense of observation was already evident by the time the cave paintings of Altamira had been made tens of thousands of years ago. 

  Native iron oxides found in Spain.

Artists millennia later, such as Tapies, still conduct a dialogue in paint with this great heritage, as did such Spanish forerunners of modernism as Pablo Picasso, once he had liberated himself from classical modes of  representation.

 Antoni Tapies.

What is it within Spain that permits, leads, or encourages art? Is it perhaps the extraordinary density of caves, in a country where thousands of people live as troglodytes to this day? That’s a lot of ancient wall space. 


Is it the incredible mineral diversity, that provides the bulk of the pigments found in any palette before 1830. Cinnabar mines from the time of the Ancient Greek settlers could provide vermillion, the colour that the great Medieval painter Bermejo was synonymous with.

  Altarpiece by Bermejo.

Perhaps the latitude, the light that gives such relief to vegetable and mineral forms under the sun etched the strongest shadows in the mind: the real vehicle for depiction. 

The interplay of ancient cultures must be of primary significance: Greeks, Phoenicians, Celts, Iberians, Romans, Tartessians, Basques, Berbers, Arabs, Slavs, Visigoths, Genoese and settlers arrived in or emerged from the land of Spain. The first named people here brought the Classical to Hispania. Tarshish- a proto-Goidelic speaking society was mentioned in Isaiah as a trading nation with the Mediterranian. It is beyond doubt that cinnabar was used on polychrome sculpture at Athens at the time of Plato- it came from Spain.

An early form of globalisation meant that Iberians painted Greek kraters and urns from this time.


 Vase in the Greek style from Iberia.

The Romans followed the great trade nation of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, who, successively had built the oldest cities in Europe, such as Cadiz, dominating the tin trade and opening up the mining of ores, pigments, silver and gold. It was this memory of a homegrown El Dorado that would provide the impetus later, for the exploitation of the Americas, but this time it was for the native Celto-Iberians to be exploited in the Romans’ incessant search for gold, after a struggle of nigh on two hundred years. More remains than in Italy itself, from  the period, testify to the permanence the Roman influence was to have.

  Roman mosaic from Mèrida.

The Visigoths had, in short order, migrated across Northern Europe, founded Toulouse then Toledo as their capitals, upgraded from beer-drinking to wine, abandoned paganism first in favour of a transitional Arianism thence to Catholicism. The feudal culture also brought the most beautiful reinterpretations of the Roman, as if seen with childlike eyes or a distorting mirror. Pilgrimage contended with settling down as the cultural pendulum swung. 

  Visigothic stone carvings. 

The arrival of two generals, one Arab and the other half-Berber, Ibn Musa and Tariq, at the head of large armies who went largely unopposed such was the unpopularity of the decayed Visigothic regime by 712 AD, marked the 800 year influence of Islamic art in Spain.

Again the cultural pendulum swung, but this time between the poles of a preserved gulf Arab paganistic richesse, of dense yet graceful animal and vegetable forms and an architectural form of decorative brickwork and the newly developed fine calligraphy of Kufic script that could almost pictorially act out a sura from the Koran, elongated on the wall of a palace or mosque. These two artistic tendencies reflected a tension between the civilised yet decadent Caliphs and petty kings and their internal and external enemies, fundamentalists such as the Almohads and Almurabits. Under the former, all religions lived almost equally with a social-economic order that one economist has called “finest in history”. 

Reflecting the extraordinary social mobility of that society, Ibn Badr, a Slavic ex-slave and bodyguard of the Umayyad Caliph was yet able to not only rise to the position of prime minister, but also design the Mezquita of Cordova,  the finest building of Islamic Spain.

  The Mezquita of Cordova.

Calligraphy and ceramics, tile-making and architecture were the chief areas of interest- the relatively small amount of depiction of living forms owes itself to Koranic prohibitions, yet Al-Mutadid, the poet-King of Seville would drink wine.

The long shadow seen: forty thousand years of drawing tools

The first time Mankind stained their hand and found, wiping it on the cave wall, that their imagination could leap with this new drawn image  in imitation of the animals they thought they saw cast there by their own shadows from the fire- it was the beginning of something that would distinguish us from all other living creatures: Continue reading The long shadow seen: forty thousand years of drawing tools

Drawing: why?

War has propelled the art of drawing into unlikely uses, as has medicine, architecture, archaeology, film-making, forensic science, and even communication with uncontacted tribes in the Amazon. Being the first ever non-verbal communication, with a forty to fifty thousand year history with us all, drawing is so fundamental to what we are as a species, known for its dominion over, and from within the environment we inhabit,  it is perhaps surprisingly easy to gloss over the fact that drawing involves the essential materials of what we come from. Drawing is us. Continue reading Drawing: why?

The ‘A4artist’ gives you an A4 drawing once a week. Free for your collection.

Each week Dom Ramos offers you his latest drawing

‘Number One-The Court House, Lewes’ © Dom Ramos.


from contemporary British life, from nature, landscape or people, as an A4 attachment (it’s a downloadable pdf and its free! ) for you to print and keep. It will keep you abreast of the work of this artist and the world he shares with you.

'The fiddlers; Ben Paley.' Drawings. ©Dom Ramos
‘The fiddlers; Ben Paley.’ Drawings. ©Dom Ramos

All you have to do is contact him below and start to enjoy his vision of the world. He will be depicting musicians, nature, landscapes, studies of people and objects: all that fascinates will be brought to life. So leave your email below and start a free collection.

Dom Ramos & his art