Tuesday, 24 January 2017

When we were young


This is a beach scene from Broadhaven. We have stayed at a camp site at Druidstone a few times and walked the coastal path and this is a scene I captured. I titled it "when we were young" because it brought back memories of playing on the beach and at times negotiating the tanktraps that were still about.

I posted a story from my time in the Birmingham City Police yesterday and maybe I will do a couple more in the future. I enjoyed my time there although they were a rum lot, brave, hardy and not a degree in sight. It really was Ashes to Ashes stuff. Policing was so much simpler in those days and justice well it was ..different.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The case of the missing Panda




Many years ago I was a policeman in the now long gone Birmingham City Police. I worked in the City Centre ( I may recount how I got to be there at some point).
Most police officers walked and a few unfortunates had to drive the several Panda Cars. Being a driver was not popular as you got all the rubbish jobs. Any way I won't go into details here about that.

I was designated driver for one of these Austin 1100 Pandas one afternoon shift. It was a fairly quiet shift and after refreshments I decided to park up and go for a walk. Later I went into the police station and booked off after a quiet shift. I was due two days off and went upstairs to my room where I lived and got changed.

Two days later I was back on shift. During the briefing the Sergeant asked if anyone had any knowledge about the Panda Car and gave a call sign. I started to blush and felt in my tunic pocket feeling the familiar shape of the keys for said car. I had parked it up in a quiet side street and eventually walked back to the police station booking off and taking two days leave.

I decided to say nothing and when allocated a beat diverted (risky as being off your beat area was a discipline offence in those days) to find the missing panda. It was still there and unbelievably un-blemished. Now should I come clean or risk returning it to the yard and say nothing. I decided to do the right thing and return it without saying anything.

Nothing further was ever said although I am pretty sure the sergeant knew as it wouldn't take much effort to work out who was last allocated it.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Short Cuts






The above watercolour of the Towy Valley was done a good few years ago and was scrapped off the board. I took a risk and used a paper that was not properly stretched and in the end there was  a cockle in it. A wavy line although that not too pronounced but unsaleable. A lesson there don't take short curts in preperation. I have since done this view a few times in oils and watercolour

Due to my work I had to work or be on call for Christmas and the New Year for 30 or so years.

I think I pretty well worked every New Years Eve which to be honest was no great sacrifice.


When the children were younger we would always try and go to my parents for at least one of the days of the Christmas holiday. They lived on an old smallholding near Knighton. We would go onto the common and either play cricket weather permitting or sometimes take a motorbike up there. (I appreciate this may not be quite legal so I will make it quite clear we always remained on the road and conformed to every statuary requirement!).


We had an old DMW at one time. Know what that is?
A DMW was a Dudley Motor Works motorcycle. Link http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/Museum/Transport/Motorcycles/DMW.htm
We had a few problems with it such as the spark plug blowing out of the cylinder head and the clutch packing up. We made new clutch plates with cork mat and put a helicoil in the cylinder head. In the end we scrapped it.


We also had a trials Honda. It was quite easy to pull this over your head with a fistful of throttle and a steep gradient which was quite entertaining for those watching but something not to be recommended as good practice. Seeing the world go by with the front wheel coming up over your head and wondering whether the bike will land on you is a little disturbing.


I remember watching Alex accidentally do a similar trick at the Beguildy T Junction. She pulled up at the give way, checked it was clear grabbed a fistfull of throttle, lifted the front wheel and shot across the road straight throught he hedge opposite. My brother and I were in fits!


Several times we had to get up to my parents house through snow. They lived at the top of the hill overlooking the Valley and the roads were never cleared. We used to pull off the main road and lower the tyre pressures in the Austin Maxi and she would go like a train ~ generally most of the way up if not we would go as far as we could then leave it and walk the rest. This was always an adventure, which the child
ren loved.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Solva cartoon


My methods of painting have developed or changed over the years. For a good while I used to work from sketches or a full size cartoon like the one above of Solva. Although occasionally I still do this for the most part I prefer to just get on painting straightaway. Possibly it is because I am more confident (or lazy) but it is certainly quicker.

In whichever case it is essential to have a good image of the finished painting in your head. I always work through how I am going to get there what I am going to paint first and what palette I am using.


This is the finished painting of Solva using the cartoon above and in fact it has never been framed as I noticed it in my studio and thought I might post about it today.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Vignettes of Carmarthen



I put together the above vignettes of places in Carmarthen with a view to using it for prints or postcards. In the event I never got around to it. I did a couple of drafts.

At one time we did sell postcards and they were sold in various places including the Boathouse but to be honest they were more trouble than they were worth and were little return for the effort so we stopped.

We had a day out in Pembrey yesterday and had a long walk along Cefn Sidan probably our favourite beach and one I have painted on a good number of occasions.

Pat I know you read this blog I hear you and Clive have been not too well. I hope you are on the mend.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Brecon Beacons from Brynych


I have had a bit of a job getting a decent  photograph of the above painting. The colours have not come out at all well and overall the painting is darker in the foreground than it really is. Still its the best I can do without wasting more time on it. Getting back to the painting it is from Brynych near Brecon. Much of the paint work is translucent although that doesn't show up much here.

When I have prints done I take the painting to be professionally photographed in a studio then colour matched before getting a draft. The equipment costs in excess of £60,000. It is a time consuming process and expensive (so we are careful in choosing to have any prints done) . So I suppose I shouldn't complain about the results with my Brownie Box camera. Anyway I finished the painting yesterday.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Painting of Brecon Cathedral


I have now finished the painting of Brecon Cathedral. The rest of the work surrounding the cathedral was done very loosely. I did this to emphasise the cathedral and not to cause a distraction to the eye.
It is also quicker!

I have started another painting of Brecon probably my last in this series although I am hoping for a nice day soon to go out in the Beacons with my pochade box and paints.