Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Last Post and Last Supper

This is it then last post and last supper in Carmarthen for a fortnight. Off to North Devon tomorrow. My family arrived this afternoon to House and Mother sit, so all looking good.
Pictured above is St. David's Head one of the paintings for the Small Picture Show, I think. Its a bit different to my norm but thats how I felt it at the time.
I have done the work I intended so all ready now. I have a few paintings to do when I get back.
We went to see Jayne Russel's Art Exhibition this morning very good work and my oh my lots of it she must have worked all winter day and night. I was very pleased for her as she is a lovely person and works hard. So its nice to see it all come together for her.
Well hope you will all be reading my blog after 14 September.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Less is better

Where watercolours are concerned I have the philosophy that less is better. The watercolours that appeal to me have been confidently executed with a minimum of strokes. The danger with watercolours is that of merely using the paint to fill in a drawing. The painting above of Abersoch is now gracing the walls of a house in France.
In all my paintings I like to see how I would paint them if I had to start again. This is a search for constant improvement.
Watercolours lend themselves to being used in layers as opposed to filling in the shapes. Hence less is more or better.
Today I have filled in the details for the Small Picture Show and sorted out the camper. Alex has been changing a frame for a customer and has been cleaning.
Countdown for the off now. Looking forward to a couple of weeks in Devon while my family come here to look after my mother.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Making an impression

I have started my paintings for the Small Picture Show an my commissions. I am doing a variety of paintings for the Small Picture Show. Two are in an Impressionistic style. The one above I did today and is of Cattle near Llanfrynach in the Beacons National Park. I quite like painting in different styles as it keeps me from becoming bored and too machinistic (is that a word?).
Alex has soldiered on with the accounts and is near done or done in.
Got a few things to do in the next couple of days including finishing 2 commissions and a bit of paperwork. Also looking after grandchildren on Tuesday, hopefully the weather will be ok and we can take them out.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

How Time is Accounted for

Today has been a tale of two halves. I have had the pleasure of painting a commission of Whitesands in Pembrokeshire. I havent finished yet so pictured above is Snowdonia from Harlech Beach ( is not as blue as it appears online). I confess I did also stop for an hour to watch the Test Match.
Alex the other half of the partnership has had the uneviable task of sorting out our income and expenditure for the financial year. We should learn to keep on top of it monthly but other things keep getting in the way.
It is interesting to note how things change and keep an eye on trends, where is our work coming from are we getting more from private sales and less from galleries?
Alex has stopped framing for the public and other artists so it will be interesting to make comparisons next year.
Meanwhile I have more painting to do tomorrow for the Small Picture Show.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Zen and the art of Gardening

Aberglasney is run by a private trust who work very hard to keep it going and move it on. They rely on private donations and some grants. I donated the painting above of Aberglasney for the Trust to give to a mature Lady from up North who has contributed substantial sums of money to the fund.
Now I like looking at gardens trees and nature but I have to say I am no gardener. I go along witht the old Zen saying,
"Hunter who chase 2 rabbits catch neither"
I only have a couple real interests my family and painting and rugby. I consider gardening to be an obligation to stop the local tenants association knocking on my door.
Today unfortunately was a day for gardening having been at the exhibition for 2 weeks. Things were a bit out of control. I also look after my mother's garden, maybe I'm paying a penance for some great evil deed I undertook in another life.
Some good news though a new watercolour brush arrived which I had ordered. I dont suppose I will test it anytime soon as I have about 7 oils to do at present. So don't look for me in the garden tomorrow!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Drawing to a conclusion

This was the last day of the exhibition and admittedly it has been a case of a fast start and a slow finish. We did sell another painting today of Venice but unforgivably I find I have again either failed to record an image of it or somehow lost it. Considering I have an external drive and automatic back up I guess I just forgot.
So pictured above is a drawing of trees from Aberglasney.
On the question of drawing I feel these days it is very much underated as: a pastime, basic excercise for an artist, or an end in itself.
Drawing contains most of the requisite skills for the artist:
The ability to frame a decent subject.
The ability to draught an image in proportion to reality.
The ability to identify the relevant values(tones).
The skill to put this together.
I admit I dont draw as often as I should but I do undertake numerous sketches from some of which I produce paintings. A sketch to me is a short hand form of recording information allowing me to use it at a later date if required and may take anything from 2 -10 minutes. My drawings may take anything up to 3 hours and are generally a finished article in themselves although I rarely sell them or even keep them.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Start the car

"Start the car" after 13 days at Aberglasney its nearly time to pack up and come home. Didn't see the dirty dozen or even the famous five to day more like the three tenner's (except it was £12). Weather was horrible so no one through the gates hardly, again.
Still Geraint did call at home for his painting of Abergwili and Ebeneezer Chapel with Merlin's Hill in the background. Pictured above. So that was one sale.
They say things come in threes and despite the lack of people the third knob managed to turn up today a rather borish hooray Henry with attitude and a big mouth who received the Alex treatment. Shame you meet lots of really nice people of all classes (If this is a classless society then there are a number of people who haven't been told about it) but the boorish ones tend to be of the Rupert variety.
Talking of nice people we had gifts of vegetables from Eluned who along with Graham, Francis, John and all the other lovely army of workers and volunteers have always made us feel welcome at Aberglasney.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

All men are born equal ~Thomas Jefferson

Had a quiet day today, so above is a drawing of the Gatehouse from the Cloister in Aberglasney.
Alex did break her record for selling cards which was quite good though.
Its funny really we have been at Aberglasney for nearly 2 weeks and met lots of lovely people and no knobs and then like buses, two come along at once.
Alex had a run in with a women who stormed up to her to complain about the set up of the commentary for the video on Aberglasney. Something to do with Welsh being on head phones and English on the speaker. Well one we had nothing to do with it and two she was extremely rude in front of a lot of people. She was also rude to Alex, oops! Not to be recommended to even the brave hearted. I am glad I wasn't there for the response. I would add we both are very pro Welsh Language run a bi-lingual website and have bi-lingual prints etc. and all our children are Welsh Speakers.
Next a gentleman swanned in to the exhibition asked where I did my BA. I told him and asked if he was a painter. The orange cords and pink top gave it away. He gave me his name which I am sorry to say I had never heard of. That is not to say he isn't a brilliant painter who ever he is but I have never heard of him.
He told me to "Google him" and then returned to present his card which had more letters after his name than mine. In fact he had more like a sentence. He then he looked down his nose and dismissed me.
I was, you can imagine devastated. I probably wont sleep for seconds. A woman who was standing by who had witnessed the display also remarked to me about his behaviour.
Knobs. I am certainly in the Thomas Jefferson fold of thinking that everyman is born equal ~ and cerainly dies equal. I hope I can always remember not to take myself too seriously.
Perhaps this is a timely reminder.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Global Warming

Weather Forecast! I could do it better for free. Its going to rain (a lot) and maybe if your lucky there will be a bit of dry! Either we are very lucky because we are doing alright despite the rain or one of us must have been pretty bad in a previous life like Attila the Hun bad.. I suppose its the arguement about a half full or half empty glass.
Anway today we saw hardly anyone in the morning other than a cormorant flying over wearing wellies and a raincoat. I drew trees from the window.
In the afternoon it dried out some, and about two dozen people came in. Fortunately a man who had bought 2 paintings before from Bristol came and added to his collection. I can't show you the picture as, major sin I forgot to photograph it before it was framed. It was an oil painting of Carreg Cennen Castle.
So the picture above is a drawing I did of the outbuildings to Aberglasney.
Tomorrow is supposed to be alright weather wise and then rain and wind of biblical proportions on our last 2 days. I suspect it may improve on Friday when we have finished the exhibition.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

View Down the Valley

The picture above is the view down the Towy Valley from Paxton's Tower or Folly as some prefer to call it. This painting sold today to a lovely couple from Malvern. The Black Mountains can be seen in the background and a sprinkling of snow sits gently on their tops.
It was a dry day today but there were surprisingly few people at Aberglasney and so not many came into the exhibition but fortunately our sales were ok anyway.
I did a drawing and chatted to the few people that turned up.
Got home tired and Alex decided to open a bottle of elderflower champagne our son had made.
I thought you were meant to drink it, apparently not it exploded all over her leaving an inch of drink in the bottle and a very wet unamused woman.
I opened a bottle of beer for health and safety reasons..

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Boathouse

I have a great affection for Laugharne. Pictured above is a painting of the Boathouse which we sold today. We quite often used to sail around to Laugharne and anchor on the sand bank opposite the Boathouse. We are also lucky enough to know some great people in Laugharne.
They are all "Great Characters". We go the internationals at Cardiff with the Laugharne RFC bus always an entertaining day!
Today was pretty miserable but again we met some interesting people and did ok. I started a drawing outside but the drizzle continued to plague me so I drew the scene from inside.
We had a good start to the day as Mal pope gave us a plug on Radio Wales. Nice guy and great program, my kind of music.
Tomorrow may be sunny?

Friday, 20 August 2010

Cats and Dogs

Nice weather for the ducks today. Horizontal rain and lightning. We saw about 20 people today or it might have been the same person 20 times. We still sold about £50 worth of cards so the picture above is of a painting we sold yesterday Aberglasney.
I did a painting of Burry Port Lighthouse and probably due to the influence of the weather it was a pretty rain soaked harbour.
We had a couple of visitors Neil and Diane Little nice to catch up with them. Heard from number 2 daughter she had passed her exams for her work which was great news.
We were starving and ready for some red meat so its steak tonight,yes, and hope for a drier day tomorrow.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Souwesters and Wellies

Yes the forecasters got it right wet and windy. We did have a couple of hours respite this morning though and sold a couple of paintings and cards. I painted a picture of Newport Pembs. Pictured above is Dinefwr Castle one of the paintings to sell.
This was I believe once or still is owned by the lords of Dinefwr along with Newton House.
It is a very spectacular setting near Llandeilo and is run by the National Trust. They have a deer park and long horned cattle. It is well worth a visit.
The forecast for tomorrow is pretty bad all day so not expecting to get much done but you never know. Off to our grandaughters birthday party now.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A Very Pleasant Valley Wednesday..

Well a very Pleasant Valley Wednesday today ( it is Wednesday is it?), sunshine despite the forecast. I did a watercolour in the Bay Room at Aberglasney. I decided to do something different, so I did a painting of Trafalgar Square. We recently went to London for the weekend and it was a painting that was floating around in my head. I think it was the Lions that did it.
In the afternoon I drew, above is the drawing of the Gatehouse at Aberglasney viewed from my seat in the Bay Room. We sold cards and a painting and my daughter and grandson turned up so all in all a lovely day.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Swings and Roundabouts

Had a good day at Aberglasney today. I painted a view of Porth Madoc with boats in front of the Yacht Club. I then did some pencil work. I think its important to keep up with your draughting skills although I acknowledge I dont do enough.

The painting above is of Tenby Fishing Boats and Sold today. We have had a lot of cards go so Alex will be up late card making..

Its funny how ironic life can be. Art really is subjective. When you put your work up to be exhibited you open yourself up to critical analysis or just adverse comments as well as very pleasant ones. I have always been fairly objective about my work and honestly can sit and listen to rude comments or otherwise without raising an eyebrow.

Yesterday two ladies were fairly scathing about the sky in one of my paintings. It has to be said it is not a clear blue sky but one placed on a ground of ochre which shows through the blue~grey. Today another lady came up to me and said it was her favourite painting in the exhibition. Swings and roundabouts art is just personal opinion. Well not quite but what works for one doesnt always work for another.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Monday~ Monday with apologies to the Mamas and Papas

Spent the morning painting at Aberglasney and then drawing. I had bit of an audience mainly a young girl and her father. In the end I gave them the painting when I finished ~ I felt she deserved it for being so patient. I don't have an image of the painting but it was similar to one above of a Pembrokeshire Village. I did this a long time ago and I thought would make a nice change to do another similar one.
We used to keep our yacht at Lawrenny Yacht Station and so we saw a lot of the village and had many enjoyable walks in the area, so doing it brought back some happy memories.
In the afternoon David Cowdry and Erica came in to see us. David is a very gifted artist although he doesnt exhibit a great deal in the area. They are both genuinely nice people and it was lovely to see them. If you get a chance check out David's work :

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Strange Day

Really warm Summers Day today so we set off for the Exhibition full of optomism. Lots of people started to arrive around 11am but for some strange reason sales were very slow. We did talk to a number of interested people about our work and I sat and drew most of the day which was a good ice breaker .
I chatted happily about the various techniques adopted by the masters and had a pleasant time.
My son and daughter in law brought mom in a wheelchair and 2 of the grandchildren which was great.
We only sold cards and a print so not financially bad but all a bit odd until we found out that the shop had also had very little in the way of sales compared to the large numbers.
So the painting above is of Llansteffan by Moonlight sold on the first day.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Lovely People Lovely Day

Had a really nice day today. The painting above is of Llyn Peninsula and went today. I sat and drew at Aberglasney and met a lot of really lovely people. I sold one of the drawings and am still finishing another. Alex read her book when not talking.
Cards went well and the prints.
At the end we met Doug from Golden Grove. He has had 3 hip replacements and God knows what else. He is a member of the Carmarthen Motorcycle Club and has his own motorcycle. He is 80years old and is off to Italy on his bike! A really great character.
If I live to that age what a great role model.. Although truthfully I am sure my motorcycling days are best left behind and that is another very long story.
Home for dinner and a bottle of beer..

Friday, 13 August 2010

Day 1

Well that was hectic. Up early and then 3 hours hanging pictures labels prints..... The exhibition at Aberglasney does look good though I say it myself. Alex has done a great job framing and preparing everything.
We met a lot of very nice people and had some really positive comments about the work and sold ok. Pictured above is a still life oil painting that went. I did a series of them and this was the last one. They were in a Victorian style which appeals to me.
Also heard from Sian Egerton who has invited me to exhibit in the Small Picture Show. Lovely event with very good artists. Sian is an artist herself who trained under Bernard Dunston RA. I dont know where she finds the time to arrange the show.
Anyway hope its another good day tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


A day of carrying paintings, cataloging and packing. Still nearly all done now but will need to take 2 vehicles tomorrow. One of the hardest things was choosing paintings. I keep saying, "What about this one or should we take that?" At the end of the day it is a matter of taking new work and a couple of older ones that havent been out in a while.
Generally a painting will sell within two years, if not its either too expensive or not in the right market, a couple of my unsold paintings are between £1000 and £2000 but they are very niche market and took a long time to paint. I am quite happy for them to sit on my wall at the present.
We start our exhibition at Aberglasney Mansion 10am, so its a bit of a rush as we cant get in until 8.30am. Aberglasney Mansion is pictured above with the old gatehouse in front. I have sold several different paintings of the Mansion and gardens all watercolours or drawings. This is mainly because I tend to sit and draw or paint to while away the time at exhibitions.
I really enjoy exhibiting here the place is quite magical and the people so friendly. So here's hoping for some nice weather and maybe I will see you there.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Prince Charles

Its been a long day. Walked the dog, then into the gallery. Painted an oil of a Pembrokeshire Farm I had seen at St Davids Head yesterday. Then walked home cut my lawns and my mothers, walked the dog again and now here I am.
Okay the painting above is of Bridge 159 on the Brecon Canal. I painted this one last week. I have also painted the same bridge from the opposite side.(see previous post).
So what's the connection with Prince Charles?
I have had the pleasure of meeting him and other members of the Royal Family on several occassions. On one such occassion we were on a barge on the Welshpool Canal together.
Quite surreal really as I have also been on a small sailing boat with two Members of Parliament.
Now I don't like to name drop but I am sure he tells people that he met me, so thats fair isnt it?
I have to say he is a thoroughly engaging and pleasant person and I have the utmost respect for him and the work he does for young people through The Prince's Trust.
Anyway tommorrow is packing paintings day for the exhibition. It is quite an art transporting between 40 and 60 paintings / prints without damaging them so it could be another long day.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Got a lot done today. I had a commission to paint Whitesands beach, so we had to visit but decided to go via Pembroke Dock as we needed more stainless fastenings for the camper. Pembrokeshire is well known to us as I have said we have sailed extensively around the area.
When we got to Hobbs Point to go to the chandlers we saw several tugs in the Dockyard. I love the working boats and have painted many tugs and tankers.
Pictured above is Anglegarth with the LNG facility in the background sold.

We then crossed the Cleddau river via the toll bridge and made our way up to St David's.
We arrived at Whitesands Bay in dull conditions and found dogs weren't allowed on the beach. A bit of bad luck for Jac but we took him over St Davids Head to another beach where he romped in the surf.

Got all the details I needed for the painting and made our way home. Then spent a couple of hours working on the camper. Then shopping for mom.

Tommorrow painting in the gallery and Friday next exhibition ~Aberglasney we have a lot of new work ready but still deciding what to take. Not sure about Thursday but have an idea for a watercolour if I have time.

Monday, 9 August 2010

London Weekend

As I mentioned I did a couple of sketches on the weekend trip to London. Above is a quick sketch of Alex reading on the train. naturally it doesnt do her justice.

We walked along the south Bank to the Tate Modern on Saturday. It was packed but I have to say we were both disappointed. The Tate is a lovely space but I find the work is:

a. Not Modern, it is mostly 40-80yrs old.
b. Anything newer is just a rehash of the same thing. Meaningless video loops and

There are many modern contemporary painters who would do the space justice.

We also went to the Bankside Gallery. We went in and said hello to the young man on the door who found it a great effort to do anything other than glance in our direction. The exhibition of prints and watercolours itself was also not of the ususal high standard.

Later in Cork street we found some nice work, modern but professionally done and presented.
I have made it sound a bit negative but the visits to the National Gallery and the Ted Seago works we found outweighed any disappointments.

Back in Carmarthen

We are back now having had a really good weekend away. Having caught the early train we had a relaxing journey with some delay around Reading as some rogue had stolen signalling cable. A good omen for the trip was that we saw a certain Mr. Rolf Harris a very talented artist and great ambassador for art.

I did have time for a couple of brief sketches with a cartridge pad and aquabrush. The painting above Tall Tale Leicester Square is one I did inspired from the previous visit. A group of Chinese gentlemen were having a rather animated and apparently funny conversation which caught my attention.

On the Friday we had a quick look into the National Gallery just long enough to acquaint myself with a couple of old friends including Whistlejacket below my all time favourite painting.

However the Highlight of the day was when we walked past a private gallery in SW1 and saw a painting by Ian Houston. His paintings are to my mind similar in very many respects to Edward Seago and generally well done. We went in to the gallery to have a look whereupon we found a room full of original Seago works.

I would still be there now if I could. His work is just effortless and made with the absolute minimum of brush strokes. This was a real treat for me.

More about the trip on the next post.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Bridge 159

Yesterday I painted Bridge 159. This is a bridge on the Brecon to Abergavenny Canal near Llanfrynach. The painting above is one I did last week of the same Bridge but from the other direction.
We stopped on a site next to the Bridge and it had a beautiful view down the valley and sight of the Beacons in the other direction. I was however taken with the bridge reflection and barge.
I have a fondness for the canals. When I was young my father bought a ships lifeboat and put an old Austin 8 engine in it. We then went around the canal system in it. At the time the canals were in disrepair and there were even a few horse drawn barges still in use. I remember one in Birmingham carrying refuse.
The lock keepers cottages were all derelict and the gardens were a great source of fruit. These days its all changed but they must still be a tranquil way of seeing the country and there are lots of great subjects for the artist.
My family are coming to stay for a couple of days so we can go off to London so I wont be posting anymore until I get back.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Newport Sands ~ early morning

Okay well I said I had been reminded of our stop in Newport Pembrokeshire so I got on today and painted an oil. It shows Newport Sands and the little town on the right . In the Distance is the harbour and yacht club. It is early morning before the heavy rain and wind comes in from the sea!
Alex had a good day today. She had previously found a minute blemish on a mount in one of the large paintings she had framed. So she set about taking it all apart and recutting a new mount. All very frustrating and time consuming. But its all done now and she framed another as well.
I am in the Lounge Gallery tomorrow and think I will paint another canal scene?

Monday, 2 August 2010

Take down

Long day today up early to take the dogs. Then off to Brecon to take down our exhibition.
The cathedral is very calming and could easily be a place of meditation or reflection. The painting above (sold) shows the chancel and east window of Brecon Cathedral. So mixed feelings about taking down the exhibition.
We are now preparing for Aberglasney which starts on 13th August. Different selection of paintings and more space so more of them.
Before that we have a couple of days to ourselves. We are off to london for a weekend a chance to visit the National Gallery. See a show etc.
Tomorrow a painting not sure what yet.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

St Mary's Newport

The painting above is of St Mary's in Newport.

Alex and I spent a week in our camper there last Winter. We tend to take time off out of season due to exhibitions and other commitments. We camped on the cliffs overlooking Cardigan Bay. There were periods of sunshine but mostly steely grey skies,rain and a couple of full blown gales. We even had to get up one night to move the camper around to face the wind to stop the van rocking from side to side.

Anway it was a beautiful spot with plenty to sketch although the weather meant painting was pretty much out of it. I got through quite a few paperbacks as well.

So when Enfys asked me to paint the church for a wedding gift for friends it was no problem.

Some subjects like churches are quite awkward as they can be surrounded by large trees and or encroaching houses making a view difficult but not necessarily impossible for an artist.

St Mary's has a large northern graveyard which is overgrown but picturesque allowing for a good composition.

Newport Pembs is worth a visit if you havent been. In fact I may well paint some more subjects from there now it comes to mind.