Thursday, 30 June 2011

Last Day of Aberglasney

The painting of Laugharne above sold at the exhibition. It is the last day today and we have thoroughly enjoyed Aberglasney. We met a lot of people including old friends and customers.
Sorry I missed you yesterday Geraint. Thanks for telling Alex about another artist who is signing himself MC. The back of all my paintings are catalogued with a unique reference number and we maintain a record with images and frame details. I don’t want a flamboyant signature across my work as I want it to speak for itself, but people do want it to be identifiable. I will give this some thought and may in future add a dot or two dots before the initials?
I popped to Brecon to drop off a couple of paintings. When I got back I met Norman and his good lady who had come from Brecon and I hadn’t seen for 20+ years.Exhibitions are good fun and it is nice to see your work laid out and also to hear and read people’s comments. We also enjoy chatting with the staff at Aberglasney who we have got to know quite well over the years. Anyway back to normal tomorrow the dog will be pleased although I came home to take him out every lunchtime.

Last Day of the Exhibition

The painting of Laugharne above sold at the exhibition. It is the last day today and we have thoroughly enjoyed Aberglasney. We met a lot of people including old friends and customers.
Sorry I missed you yesterday Geraint. Thanks for telling Alex about another artist who is signing himself MC. The back of all my paintings are catalogued with a unique reference number and we maintain a record with images and frame details. I don’t want a flamboyant signature across my work as I want it to speak for itself, but people do want it to be identifiable. I will give this some thought and may in future add a dot or two dots before the initials?

I popped to Brecon to drop off a couple of paintings. When I got back I met Norman and his good lady who had come from Brecon and I hadn’t seen for 20+ years.
Exhibitions are good fun and it is nice to see your work laid out and also to hear and read people’s comments. We also enjoy chatting with the staff at Aberglasney who we have got to know quite well over the years. Anyway back to normal tomorrow the dog will be pleased although I came home to take him out every lunchtime.
A very successful exhibition thank you.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Secret Garden

The painting above sold yesterday at the exhibition. It was a lovely sunny day the second we have had in 2 weeks there.

We had an interesting meeting at the Origin Dyfed Co-operative meeting last night and I am looking forward to the co-operative going forward based on the decisions made. Today I will be dropping some more paintings into the Ardent Gallery in Brecon after dropping Alex at the Exhibition in Aberglasney. Last 2 days there now.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Aberglasney Exhibition open again

Yesterday we went to Aberglasney to set up the exhibition. It was pretty busy with contractors moving staging and equipment. By about 5pm we were all set up and the contractors had removed pretty well everything ready for opening today.
Guess what? It is forecast to be a nice day, the second during our exhibition. So lets hope so anyway.

Last night I helped Alex, well I think I did, in putting together an order for 120 cards. (She may well have done it faster without me).
Tonight I am off to a meeting of the co-operative.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Pontargothi and Josi Spiccelli

It was hot yesterday and pretty warm this morning so the painting above is a reminder of our cold winter. It is of Abergwili and is sold.

At the Pontargothi Show we saw some lovely old engines and tractors. I know I will be doing at least a couple of paintings of the show. It was very busy and I was pleased for the organisers who had obviously put a lot of work in to arranging it.

We found a stall where a young artist called Josi had several drawings and prints for sale. I have previously posted about drawing being the basis behind all good art work. Well this young lady can draw. She also had the gumption to do something about it and take out a stall so good for her and we wish her every success in the future.

Below is a link to some of her work.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Broadhaven Beach

The painting above is of Broadhaven Beach and is one I finished this week. You can just see Rickets Head on the left of the cliffs.

Last night we went to David Cowdrey’s for dinner and had a very pleasant time he is a very good cook as well as a first rate artist. Alex was driving so I had to force the wine down, it would have been rude otherwise. He showed us two of his works in progress, which are going to be stunning. I am looking forward to his next exhibition in Aberglasney.

This morning Alex finished spraying some frames then we went out.

Saturday, 25 June 2011


I did a drawing of the Gatehouse at Aberglasney last week while passing away a few hours of rain. It is a talking point and practicing drawing is always good. I generally don't do anything with these drawings. More often than not I give them away when someone shows sufficient interest.

If I can prompt some interest in drawing in someone all well and good if not then I may have made someone's day. (despite the rain).

Alex has been priming and painting frames today. Tomorrow maybe we will get to the Vintage Show at Pontargothi.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Nolton Horses on Druidstone Beach

The painting above sold at the exhibition. It is a painting of horses from Nolton Stables on the beach at Druidstone Pembrokeshire. Yes I know it is another reflection and I do paint a few of them.

I have a few paintings to do at the moment and a busy schedule anyway. So it is a matter of prioritising which to do first or more likely which I would most like to paint first?

I have to deliver a couple of paintings to Brecon and catch up with another outlet. We set up again on Sunday and I also want to get in a visit to Pontargothi Vintage Show.

Last night was funny. We were in bed when the phone rang. There was no-one on the other end but we could hear a television on. My mother has the TV on all night and quite often doesn't say anything when she wants us. So we quickly got dressed and went to her bungalow. She was in bed awake and apparently fine. She denied using the phone although it was on her bed. We went home checked the call and found it was actually from Alex's Mom. We called her back to make sure she was alright. She too was fine but had knocked the call button by mistake ringing the first number on her call list.

Life can be confusing. If Alex had been called Zara, Zelda or Zoe we might get less accidental calls.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

German POW Abergwili

Yesterday we delivered a picture to a lady outside Carmarthen. She invited us in and then showed me a painting. She had seen my watercolour of Abergwili and told me the following story.
She had grown up during the Second World War and had gone to school in Abergwili.
During the War there was a Prisoner of War Camp in Abergwili. I had seen photographs of this previously where West Wales Hospital now stands.

In 1947 there were still prisoners of War there but they were allowed a reasonable amount of freedom. One of the prisoners used to paint. She would often see him sitting on the wall, which at the time extended from the Gwili Bridge down towards the village running by the road.
When he left to return to Germany he gave her a painting of Abergwili, which was the same view I painted in the watercolour above. The differences being that the wall is shown and a farm that stood by Ebeneezer Chapel was included that is no longer there. The painting itself was an oil in an impressionist style similar to Edward Morland Lewis. It was a lovely painting that had been very well executed. Her husband had wanted to return it to the family of the POW but had failed to locate them.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Red Kite

The painting above is the one I added the red kite to. It shows the Brecon Beacons from Storey Arms looking towards Brecon and Libanus.

I have had some trouble with adding images to my blog today and eventually changed the posting editor which seems to have worked. I have started a new painting today and it is going okay to date. Alex has been framing and had got on well until she found a defect in the moulding of a big frame whe was putting together, Although it was a minor defect, a 4mm dent under the moulding coat, it shows and she had to start again, which is not only expensive but annoying.

Must go now she needs a hand with a full sheet of glass.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

On Reflection

The painting above sold at the exhibition this week. I have always done quite a number of paintings incorporating reflections and find the subject quite captivating. In theory darker tones come out lighter and lighter tones come out darker but of course this isn’t always the case.

Yesterday we decided to take down the paintings a day early as today is likely to be chaos with lorries and equipment going in to erect staging for a concert at Aberglasney. So it was a last minute decision and a bit of a rush. We will be putting them up again ready for the opening on the 28th June.

We have had some interesting offers lately one from American Art Agents who came to see us. We have also accepted to participate in an exhibition involving the CPRW on the Landscape of Wales. There are a few other decisions we have yet to make about the future. I would like to enter the Bath Plein Air Prize competition but fear that time is not with me. So interesting times.

Today I have to prime and cut some boards and Alex has a number of paintings to frame a couple that are sold and a couple for display.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Tug Anglegarth ~ Milford Haven

This morning at the exhibition started pretty slowly. We didn’t see anyone for a couple of hours but it picked later. The painting above is of the Tug Anglegarth and Sold today.

When we were rushing out this morning to go to Aberglasney we had pretty well everything books, float, sketchpad, flask etc but Alex couldn’t find her glasses. We eventually left without them being a bit behind. It reminded me of when she went to the opticians to have her eyes tested.

He asked her if everything was all right, if she had any problems. She said her eyes were a bit sore but that she had been putting “Corsodyl” in them.

He asked if she felt that helped and she said: “Yes”.

Anyway she left after the eye test and then suddenly thought, “Oh I meant Optrex!”

I bet that optician is still wondering why Alex puts mouthwash in her eyes.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

MG with a picnic

The painting above is one that sold this week. It portrays an MG with the owners picnicking. Of course there is always a risk with this sort of painting that it will provoke a conversation. For the most part it goes along the line of:

“Of course I drive a Triumph TR4 which is far superior but it is tricky to handle…”

Which is fine and generally interesting.

“I love the painting it reminds me when we had an MG and we used to go to the Lake District for the Day…”

We had any number of those chats, which were very pleasant.

You also get the odd one that goes:

“Of course the radiator is not right on the 1950 MG model it had only 6 bars not 7..” or whatever.

Even this can be quite amusing, for a little while.

Anyway it sold and we could have probably sold it a couple of times over.

Saturday, 18 June 2011


The painting above is one of the River Teifi and sold this week at the exhibition. My family are coming up today for the weekend which will be good so a busy Saturday night and Sunday in prospect.

Today at the exhibition I did an oil painting to while away the time. It was pretty horrible weather but we did sell a painting cards and print…

Not much other news really.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Life's Rich Tapestry

The painting above is one that sold this week. It shows the boathouse at Laugharne.

We had a pleasant day at the exhibition yesterday. I did a bit of  sketching even the rain kept off for most of the time. I contrast that with our daughter who told us the following tale.

She was out taking her two year old son and dog for a walk on the beach when the dog spied a half eaten pie. Now her dog is intolerant to meat. (He is also very smelly). What is the world coming to I hear you ask? Anyway she raced to the mangy pie but was beaten to it and had to wrestle the remains of the pie off her dog.

Consequently the dog had a very upset stomach and she had to let the dog out 4 times in the middle of the night ! In the morning she was making breakfast when the dog had an accident on the lounge carpet. She was cleaning that up when she found that the dog had a further accident in her son’s bedroom. She went to get the dustpan and cleaning equipment and on her return found that young son had walked through it and covered himself in same.

Then she smelt burning and the smoke alarm went off. She had left the porridge cooking on the stove.

Yes we all have days like that. Its just part of lifes rich tapestry, although it may not feel like that at the time.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


The painting above shows a Carmarthen Farmer with his grey Ferguson or “Fergie” tractor. I thought it was a charming little picture and it didn’t take long to sell.

We have met allsorts of people and it is one of the reasons I really enjoy exhibitions. For the most part they are really interested in the paintings and it is great to chat regardless of whether they buy anything. Of course occasionally things go the other way.

Yesterday I walked in to find Alex talking to a gentleman. She introduced me and then excused herself to check on her cards. He informed me his wife was going around the gardens by herself. He was a very pleasant man and proceeded to regale me with the details of his life for the past 60 years on a day-by-day basis. If he took a breath in between sentences I am not sure but it certainly didn’t seem like it. Eventually I was in a trance like state. I didn’t want to be rude and ignore him or make an excuse as he was very pleasant but I really didn’t need to relive his whole life with him in real time. After 40 minutes I am afraid I had to pick up my sketchbook and start sketching. Even then he carried on talking without the slightest encouragement from me. I later found out Alex had stood with him for 30 minutes before I got there. If we had been having a summer this year he would certainly of shortened it. I never met his wife!

All that said I shall certainly remember him and to be honest I could probably do Mastermind with a specialist topic of his life.

We also met the West Family from North Carolina. Eighteen members of the same family. They were absolutely charming. They were having a holiday in Wales three generations of the same family being driven around in a coach. They were very interesting and great fun.

It really would be a dull world if we were all the same.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


The painting above is a large oil painting showing Laugharne Castle, The Boathouse and Dylan Thomas’ writing shed. It has sold this week at the exhibition. We do fine quality prints from this painting which are popular.

The weather has been pretty mixed of late. Occasionally when the wind is howling and the rain lashing down I think of some of the times we had sailing. When we were first learning to sail a yacht we went on a Course from Neyland around the coast of Pembrokeshire and across to Lundy Island.

One day we were off Linney Head sailing quite nicely when a fishing boat reported on the radio a squall of 40 knots coming our way. We just had time to reef our sails and turn into the wind before it hit us. We were fine except in the hurry I dropped some equipment overboard which we had to retrieve later.

The instructor was a lovely man called Roger who was very unassuming but very knowledgeable. I often think of him drawing the entrances to an anchorage for future reference. They were lovely line drawings, which had a serious purpose.

We sometimes saw him afterwards when we were going out sailing or Alex would see him in the Boatyard. He had been planning a round the world trip and a couple of years ago he left these shores to follow his dream. I believe he got as far as the Azores but was sadly lost at sea after setting out from there.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Cadair Idris

The painting above is of Cadair Idris and sold over the weekend. Yesterday was quite nice, a bit of warmth and happy people in the exhibition.
I managed to get a bit more painting done before we went off to the exhibition yesterday and Alex did some more cards. Looks like at least 2 good days of weather this week. I did some sketching which was good practice and passes the time nicely. It is also a good icebreaker as people generally come to see what you are doing and have a chat.
Alex got to chatting to a couple that arranged gig racing. (Rowing races using a boatbased on original specifications laid down in 1838). As Alex has had a go at rowing in a gig crew and has a good knowledge of boat construction she was in her element.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Cats and Dogs ~ or "Its raining again" with apologies to Supertramp.

It was a bit damp yesterday. Well maybe that's an understatement. It was rain or torrential rain with nothing in between. So I counted two couples and a group of three brave souls who came to Aberglasney and the exhibition. I don’t blame those that stayed away I wouldn’t have gone either. Anyway we did sell the painting above of Broadhaven, which reflects better weather.

Alex left early to go to spend her time more productively and I did some sketching out of a rain-splattered window.

When we got home we had another look at a Landscape painting I had done of the Beacons looking from Storey Arms towards Brecon. Alex advised it needed a centre of interest and suggested a Red Kite. I promptly painted a Red Kite and it has finished the painting off nicely.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Margo ~ with apologies to the Goodlife.

The painting above sold at the Aberglasney Exhibition yesterday. It is an oil painting of Kidwelly.

There was a funny incident at the exhibition yesterday. Well I found it funny but I am not so sure Alex was amused. I was sitting reading “Our Mutual Friend,” by Dickens when I heard an extremely loud and annoying bray coming from the next room, very plum in mouth and "Margo to a T".

“Oooh where have all the lovely paintings gone that were here last Sunday?”

Okay well clearly she wasn’t impressed with my exhibition. Now I have to admit I might have been persuaded to give her 10p to phone someone who cared but I feel if you are prepared to accept praise you should also take any critical brickbats coming your way. I got back to my book but I could literally feel the heat rising off Alex and I was pleased she didn't say much more on the subject or there might have been a bit of an incident.

Last evening we had the pleasure of meeting David with his cocker spaniel who came for his painting and was thankfully very happy.

Anyway overall a very pleasant day meeting lots of interesting people and if you can’t laugh at yourself well who can you laugh at?
(Incidentally the expression "to a T" is of unknown origin but dates back at least to the 1650's).

Saturday, 11 June 2011


The painting above is one that sold yesterday at the exhibition. It is quite a querky painting but I do like to vary my subjects as things take my fancy. I called it the "Nightwatch" as a salute to that great Painter Harmenszoon van Rijn Rembrandt. 
David Cowdrey came along to the exhibition which was really nice. He is an enormously talented painter and a genuine guy. I am pleased to say I have one of his wildlife works on my living room wall. It was a long day setting up at 7.30am and I got home at 10pm.  I am looking forward to today. I hope the weather isn't too bad this week but there is no point getting bothered about it.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Llansteffan Church

The watercolour above was a commission I did a while back for a wedding in Llansteffan.

I don’t have a family coat of arms strangely enough but if I did it would probably feature a boathook. This useful little implement could easily be overlooked as insignificant. Ah but my family history would be so much different without it.

I have previously mentioned that when I was a small boy my father converted a ships lifeboat and took us around the canals of England and Wales. This was at a time when the canal system was in decay and there was virtually no leisure traffic and a minute amount of commercial traffic.

One day I was crossing a lock gate when I had the misfortune to slip into the open sluice. I remember little of it other than being dragged under water in a sea of bubbles. I was stuck but my father got a boat hook and eventually managed to hook onto me underwater and pull me out with it. I didn't suffer any long term effects other than a bit of abuse for falling in. Strangely I don't like heights but have no fear of water or drowning.

So that is why I feel obligated to the humble boat hook.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Usk at Brynych

The painting above is of the bridge over the river Usk at Brynych and sold last weekend.

I finished a painting this morning and then we went to Town to get some last minute items for the exhibition and probably more importantly bread veg. and fish for tea.

I was listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 yesterday while I was painting and there was an article about the rare white-throated robin, which had been sighted in Britain for the first time in a decade. This had caused thousands of bird watchers to flock to Hartlepool? Anyway while I was in Town today I saw something equally rare. I wondered if I should tweet it and if I did would thousands rush to see it. It was the sight of not one but two police officers walking. Its a truism really a bit like buses you don't see one for ages then two come along at once.  I thought there must be a serious incident in the Town but I then saw them walk into Gregg’s the Bakers!

Seriously I am a huge supporter of the police who do a really excellent job and I hope the cuts don’t result in fewer officers. It really is a thin blue line and I would n't want it to be stretched further.

Now I must get on loading the van while Alex finishes framing one last painting.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


The painting above is one that sold over the weekend. It shows the bridge over the Usk at Brecon.

We lived in Brecon for a short period some 25 years ago. One of our houses was in Dan y Gaer Road. This was where the canal used to terminate. At the time we lived there the canal finished about a quarter of a mile away having been filled in. It has now been refurbished and a proper terminus had been built alongside Theatre Brecheiniog. Anyway at the time we were there that area was a bit rundown. We had an abattoir behind us, which produced all manner of sights and sounds. It was not unusual to see Cattle and sheep escaping down the road.

Our garden had apparently been part of the old canal and had received all manner of donations over the years. As a consequence Alex and the children spent many happy hours digging in the garden recovering all manner of items. They never found anything valuable but we still have some of the clay pipes and old bottles. In fact I occasionally use them in still life paintings. We later moved to a house with a wonderful view of the Beacons.

Today I was in the gallery and Alex was in Origin Dyfed the arts and crafts shop.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Highland Cattle ~ Merthyr Mawr

We went to Merthyr Mawr yesterday to the printers. As we were driving along a field of Highland Cattle came into view. I persuaded Alex to give me ten minutes for a quick sketch shown above. Over the years I have done quite a number of paintings with cattle and sheep in them not surprising really as they are part and parcel of the landscape.

Today I have been wrapping paintings individually and then boxing them ready for transporting on Friday morning. I seem to have a lot more than I thought so with forty boxed and a possibility of another fifty we really need to make some decisions as there isn’t room for that number without making the exhibition look overcrowded.

Monday, 6 June 2011


The painting above of Ferryside is one we sold today. It is a view we have often seen as we have sailed down river towards the Carmarthen Bar in our boats. Carmarthen Bar is a large set of sand banks which lie at the mouth of three rivers entering the sea on the north of the Bristol Channel. The Bar is  a dangerous place for any  sailing vessel because it faces the prevailing SW winds. It is difficult to navigate due to the ever shifting sands.
We have had a good weekend and have sold a further 2 paintings in another gallery.

Today we went to the printers near Bridgend to get work photographed and colour matched. This takes a while and we have to leave the work there while it is undertaken. It generally takes about an hour a painting.

Alex has had made another 400 cards and framed several collectors prints for the exhibition while I have done a few posters including a Welsh version. The cards take time as they are individually printed and then mounted.

Tomorrow we have the grandchildren!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Kidwelly Castle

The painting above of Kidwelly Castle is one that sold yesterday. We had a bit of an issue with the moulding mitre cutter yesterday but eventually found a bolt had worked slightly loose sufficient to cause a minute change in the cut. All sorted now.

I was asked if I would do a commission yesterday but to be honest although I don't like disappointing people we have too much on this month and had to decline. I have hopefully pointed her in the right direction to get one done.

I watched the Wales v. Barbarians, which wasn’t the best result for Wales. Several players were excellent but as for the team performance I was disappointed.

Then Alex and I went to a house warming where we were made very welcome and had a very pleasant evening. I was particularly interested in talking to Ellis who is a performer and free runner. He has been performing in France where I believe parkour originated. He is next performing on the stage at Glastonbury Festival so good luck. I have never seen this done live but from what I have seen on television it looks absolutely amazing.

I asked yesterday what decade the following phrase was written.

“A cool four thousand pounds”

Answer 1870’s ~ Charles Dickens he was way ahead of his time.

Saturday, 4 June 2011


Well I did get to watch some cricket last night but typically the floodlights packed up so the game was decided on the Duckworth Lewis Method, don’t ask me. Anyway

Today started well thanks Mal. Mal Pope gave our up coming exhibition at Aberglasney a good plug on the radio. Nice guy with a great taste in music and a pretty mean musician too.

Went for a walk along the river this morning looking for scenes to paint. Lovely day with goosander and Canada Geese on the river. A red kite flying above and then two swans came in low over the river. Should be able to get a decent painting or two out of it all. Now I am going to watch Wales play the Barbarians on TV.

Alex is a bit behind with framing and cards but working flat out. Got the printers to visit next week, babysitting and Alex is in the gallery so a busy week ahead. The watercolour above is one that sold last year at Aberglasney.

Just a little teaser to finish. What decade was this written?
"A cool  four thousand pounds."

Friday, 3 June 2011


I have just finished this small painting of the beach and cliffs at Mwnt. The Holy Cross Church can be seen in the distance on the cliffs.
Next job is to walk the dog. Might get to watch a bit of cricket. Not much other news.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Great Expectations

I thought I would have a day off today I have to cut the grass and then I thought I would read a bit of my book. I am currently reading Great Expectations ~ Dickens.
A nice read.
I recently read Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket ~ Edgar Allan Poe. That had a fine to start with but suddenly it lost all credibility and interest for me. It was as if it was written by two authors.

Anyway I enjoy a good read and think a day off will charge the batteries. I note that The Hay Festival or Book Festival, I’m not sure what you call it is on currently. I like reading but am not that interested in analysing books or listening to people talk about them.  It can all be a bit highbrow.

I was once asked by Phil Rickman of the Book Show on Radio Wales if I would review books for the show. I declined due to work and basically a lack of any interest in doing that sort of thing.

The watercolour sketch above shows a girl trying to control a couple of “Tups” or rams.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Cellist ~ Busker

I was in the gallery this morning and had a couple of visitors otherwise it was pretty quiet. I did a painting of Burry Port again. The painting above is one I did last week and is of a cellist busking. He was very good, well I thought he was. I am interested by the cello as I took it up myself for a very short period.The cello is most closely associated with European classical music, and has been described as the closest sounding instrument to the male human voice.

When I went to secondary school we were all asked to take up an instrument. Most boys were already playing an instrument those that weren't chose the violin or trombone. I got what was left a cello. I didn’t mind. It made a bit of a screeching sound for me but I thought I would improve.

I hadn’t really thought it through though. I was told to take it home to practice. I lived over 2 miles away and normally walked to school. I tried to get on the bus with it but was refused so I had to carry this thing, which was probably as big as me. I also had to run the gauntlet of some rather unsavoury characters who delighted in bullying and beating up boys from the school. Anyway after heaving a cello 2 miles home and back I told them I was averse to playing it. The end of my musical career.