In Context—Direct Brush Sketch and A Brief Review of “Taboo.”

July 10, 2017
Direct brush watercolor sketch of actor Tom Hardy in “Taboo.” This is a test sketch in a Handbook Watercolor journal (8 inch square approximately). I was working with a mix of Schmincke Horadam pan watercolors Helio Blue Reddish and Scarlet.


I know last week when I started the new series “In-Context” I wrote that I wouldn’t be writing a blog post with the images—but today’s entry really required a bit more “context.”

Detail from the image showing the overlapping brush strokes and color use. I was working with an old and worn Niji water brush so I could not do very fine strokes, but I like the line quality I did get.

In January I started watching “Taboo” staring Tom Hardy. Readers of my blog already know I’m a huge Tom Hardy fan and think he should have received an Academy Award for “Legend,” a Kray Brothers bio-pic in which he plays both brothers.

It will come as no surprise that I started watching “Taboo” when it aired in January. However I got ill and needed all my spare time for work, and then of course life interrupted with new obstacles. It sat on the DVR until this past week when I resumed watching at episode 3.

The show is set around the war of 1812. Hardy plays James Delaney, a British subject who has something (a trading post near Vancouver) that everyone wants—the Americans, The East India Company, the English Crown, a woman claiming to be the widow of Delaney’s deceased and estranged father…).

The show isn’t for everyone. It contains graphic violence and deals with incest. But it has a fantastically plotted script and a great cast of actors. And the cinematography is beautifully decrepit—i.e., dirty, grimy London in the early 1800s. Of course there are interesting hats and hair styles and great coats taking yardage of fabric, little heed of germ theory (because of all the muck), and it’s all really quite wonderful.

So while posting this piece in the “In-Context” category I just had to give you a little bit of a review. I’m sure you can find this show on pay-per-view or some streaming service.

I will have an updated review of the Handbook Watercolor Journal in a later post in a few weeks. I’m still working through the book and getting used to the paper’s idiosyncratic behaviors.

Spread cropped to show only the full portrait.





  1. Reply

    I LOVED that series too… TABOO, and Tom Hardy did a great job of acting… great portrait.

    1. Reply

      So glad you got to see the series and enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping in. I have a couple more episodes to watch!!!

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