Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Wigmore Bay

Here is another watercolour on the hoof this time of the cliffs overlooking Wigmore Bay in Scotland.
I have said we had a great time in Scotland but we did notice a couple of things.

Everyone was really friendly and strangers always at least acknowledged you or said hello.

Greens didn't seem to be on the menu. We went into the local shop and bought the entire selection of greens.
This consisted of a cabbage the size of a cricket ball and a sorry looking leak. We never saw anymore  greens for sale after that until we took at 30 mile round trip to a main town.

My Great Grandfather came from Maybole in Ayrshire and we took a trip to view it. I don't know what it was like in 1830 but it Jac was real pleased to leave. Out of respect for my ancestors I will merely say it looked rough.

Today I am starting another painting (hopefully) although we do have some of  the grandchildren.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Cruggleton Castle

The watercolour above is of Cruggleton Castle on the West Coast of Scotland. It was a lovley sunny day and we had a good 7 mile walk along the cliffs to get to it. There is not much left but it is in a spectacular situation perched on the cliffs overlooking the sea. I did the watercolour standing on the cliff path while Alex and Jac took a short breather.
I finished my large oil painting yesterday and expect to be starting a new one today. Today should be quite busy Alex is coming home this afternoon. I have walked the dog and cleaned the house now off to the gym do a bit of shopping, painting, walk the dog then we have a family dinner so happy birthday Norma.
The computer is really playing up now. I have had to coax it along the last year with bits of added memory, registry scans... I have made sure most of our work is backed up as the computer could breath its last anytime soon. It is about 7- 8 years old so its had a good run. (Having broadband that runs at the speed of dial up doesn't help either).

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Talybont on Usk

The painting of The lift up bridge at Talybont on Usk sold a couple of weeks ago. There used to be a nice pub on the side of the canal there called the Star Inn but I haven't been in it for 20 plus years.
I eventually decided to watch the opening of the Olympic Ceremony on Friday night. I was pleasantly surprised and watched it until the athletes started walking in then decided it was way past by bedtime and my boredom threshold. All in all an imaginative performance. I haven't actually watched anything else yet.

Yesterday I painted all day and went on longer than I intended so when I got to the gym it had closed. So Having walked the dog today and cleaned the house I am off to the gym first then paint after.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


Alex and I spent a wonderful couple of weeks in Garlieston this year. This little village is in Dumfries and Gallow on the west Coast of Scotland. It is just like the set out of "Local Hero", the lovely film by David Putnam.
Unfortunately we weren't treated to a display of the Aurora Borealis . A small shop and pub along with a little harbour are all that accompany the street lining the sea shore. Ah peace, plenty to paint lots of good walks and because of Scotland's right to roam Law Jac was allowed on any beach.
The watercolour above shows the only trawler based in the harbour and that was in the process of having a good refit.
Today I am working on a large oil painting.
The appropriate link is by Mark (a great name) Knopfler

Friday, 27 July 2012


I did the watercolour of Durham Cathedral above when we were in the NE recently. I stood on the River Bridge and was accompanied by a very good busker playing songs by David Gray.
I was a little disappointed with Durham we hadn't been there for 30 plus years but I had recollections of classy shops and narrow streets with a large lawned area outside the Cathedral. The lawned area had marquee's on it presumably for some University event. That scotched any chance of a painting of the Cathedral up close. The narrow streets were there but the shops were chain stores found in any town with charity shops.(As an aside what Durham and the NE did have were Police Officers walking the streets a real rarity these days).
Alex is off to Padstow today for the weekend. Jac and I are staying to look after my mother but I hope to get some painting done. Another hole has been dug outside our house today.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Old Tree

The painting above of the Beacons sold a couple of weeks ago. I was taken by the old oak tree which dominates the scene against a glorious backdrop.
I have posted before about our neighbour Mr Davies. He owned smallholding which backed onto us.
He was an old bachelor who could most often be seen working with a scythe or spade. I would often pass the time of day with him and we would exchange tomato plants for apples.. He had a large apple tree that always bore a weight of fruit. Over the last 20 plus years it has always been full of blossom which turned into good eating apples. Early this year unfortunately Mr Davies passed away suddenly. The strange thing is that for the first time ever his large old apple tree hasn't got one apple on it!
I have to help Alex cut some large sheets of styrene this morning. I may start a new painting later.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


I did this little watercolour standing in front of Chirk Castle on one of those rare sunny days.
Talking of rare things we had a visit from the BT engineer today.

Now I am not one to complain. I have a fairly relaxed attitude on most things. However it is extremely inconvenient when your telephone is only working intermittently and with a loud background noise.

I reported the problem on 21st June and was pleased to be told it would be fixed by 5pm on 24th June. Of course it wasn't. Now BT have a team who keep you informed of progress. They are all very pleasant but unfortunately they rely on information from a pyschic or planet Zog. They probably know this but are too polite to say. Some 6 weeks later we have had 2 holes dug outside. The first hole turned out to be in the wrong place and no-one came to look at the second hole so it was filled up again. It was opened up again no-engineer came to peer into it so it was filled in again. An engineer turned up today who knew what he was talking about and found the second hole filled in but was also in the wrong place.They apparently have spent £1600 just paying for holes to be dug in the wrong place and now there is another one to be dug.

We await with baited breath but little hope or expectation of the phone being fixed before the next ice age.
Still on the bright side it keeps the phone bill down. Keep smiling, Alexander Graham Bell has a lot to answer for.
I finished another oil painting today and Alex has been framing.
Anyway the link is a track from the greatest album of all time hope you get the link

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Barnard Castle

Here is another watercolour I did at Barnard Castle from the River Bridge. Despite there being ample room on the footbridge over the river for me to stand and anyone to drive a tank across there were some people who insisted on walking in front of me! A bit of a pain when I am juggling pad paints and brushes..
Anyway Alex got on well yesterday and now has half a dozen large paintings to frame. I am starting a new oil painting today. (Today didn't start too well as our guest dog knocked the iron off the ironing board in our lounge. It landed pointy bit down and leaving a hole in the floor. Alex was very unimpressed).

Monday, 23 July 2012

Barnard Castle

Alex and I were recently in the North East. I did this watercolour of Barnard Castle sitting on a wall next to the man road. It is a lovely little town unfortunately 2 days after we left they had major flooding.
Today I finished another oil painting. Alex went off to deliver postcards and cards.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Escape to Victory

Now my son and family are away visiting the relatives in Ireland. So we are now looking after one labrador and the girls.
Yesterday Alex and I went to check them out and feed them. (Oh the girls are the hens, Marjorie, Bridgette..) We let them out of the pen and they are free to wander the back garden all day. Now when Alex went to put them away last night she discovered there had been a bit of an incident. I had apparently not shut the gate properly and the wind had blown it open. The girls had wandered through gate into the front garden and then onto the road. This is a residential area and the girls were wandering over front gardens and the road when a neighbour spotted them. Fortunately the good Samaritan  finally persuaded them all back home using lettuce leaves. Mea Culpa.
Today I have finished an oil painting and Alex is making cards. In the meantime Alex has taken a sudden interest in chickens and I am awaiting copies of Chicken monthly and Broilers in Bloom to start coming through the letter box.
Incidentally I heard form Donald Ayres the other day. He is a fine landscape artist who used to live around here in the 1970's and is now resident in Chesterfield.
Anyway a real appropriate link is "Aint nobody here but us chickens" the link is to Louis Jordans original  version although I prefer Lisa Stansfields super tribute..

Saturday, 21 July 2012


This painting of Tenby Boats sold this week. A pretty harbour but a little too busy in the summer season for me.

Lots to do now. It has been a busy period and I have a lot of work to do for the next exhibition in December. There has been a big turnover of work this year. So I have boards to prime today and hopefully start an oil painting. I have a few paintings in mind. I have a few jobs to do on our camper as well while the weather is fine so no prospect of being bored. The walk over the top was beautiful this morning although the path is getting a bit overgrown with brambles at the moment. Must take a pruning knife with me!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Geoff Eales Trio

The painting above is of the Brecon Beacons and sold last week. Brecon has an annual Jazz Festival which I was involved in many years ago. At the time the Festival was used by some as an excuse to drink all day and misbehave.
When the licensing laws changed so did the Festival to being what it should have been about. Anyway last night Alex and I went to see the Geoff  Eales Trio at the Cawdor in Llandeilo. It was a very pleasant evening. I am not a great jazz fan but like most kinds of music and I did recognise  many of the pieces. I have been brought up on big band, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Count Basie etc. They were excellent. Watching them I noted that Musical Artists have to perform whilst for the most part painters work alone. I think that's why I don't like giving demonstrations (and have stopped doing them).  I like to concentrate on the painting not giving a performance to an audience.
Today Alex had been struck down with a mystery illness which I am assured has nothing to do with the alcoholic beverages consumed last night!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Cattle on the Brecon Canal

The above painting of cattle on the Brecon Canal sold at the Small Picture Show last week. I understand it was a great success overall and we did very well. I was sorry we couldn't get along to the Private view. I was pleased to hear the Honourable Shan Leggebourke bought a second painting. I am a big fan of hers, lovely person very down to earth. 
Today I am setting up the Exhibition in St Clears at the Gate. A bit of a hic-cup as one of the grand children was dropped off this morning. She wasn't well so Alex is baby sitting. Meant a change of plans but all going well with Toby helping me.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Moving figures are a challenge here is someone in a line dancing class. Seems simple but it is a test of memory really fixing the image in your mind. Draw quickly but thoughtfully. Hardly Degas and his ballet figures I know but to tell the truth I have never fancied going to the ballet. (When we went to St Petersburg I declined to go to the Russian Ballet although Alex went.). Philistine ? Probably.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Pembrokeshire Coastal Scene

Here is a watercolour I did last week based on Jack Sound. The water between Martins Haven and Skomer Island. There is some artistic licence but the rocks in the foreground represent the "crabs claws".

On for a quiet day today, going to catch up with some reading.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Not much to say about this sketch from one of  my A5 books. It was a little coaster off the coast of Norway butting through the increasing seas approaching a whole gale. I imagine it got pretty uncomfortable. It reminded me of the poem cargoes by John Masefield part of which goes like this:

Dirty British Coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rail, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Jac and I were greeted by a number of bullocks on our early morning walk today. The bullock on the left doesn't look quite right. I think it is because he was twisting his body and it doesn't show clearly. Although legs are longer on a bullock comparatively to a cow or bull he looks foreshortened. Maybe I just caught him wrong!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Card Making

Here is a sketch of Alex making card boxes from  my sketchbook. In the summer she makes any number of cards. It is a really good way of advertising which is just as well as we don't make a lot from the sale of cards themselves.
Anyone migrating from drawing to watercolours could do worse than coloured drawings such as Francis Towne and many others. i.e. do a drawing on cartridge paper and just colour it in using a couple of colours to make the mixes. The move to watercolours themselves is pretty much a smooth transition then.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


The above watercolour painting of Tenby was sold three weeks ago and is on its way to Australia.
Tenby is a lovely spot. We have previously sailed into the harbour and picked up a buoy and also anchored on the beach to dry out on the sand.
We prefer to go there out of season when it is quieter.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Black Five

The painting of the Black Five hauling goods sold a couple of weeks ago at the Exhibition in Aberglasney.
It was generally used for hauling passenger traffic but was known to haul mixed and goods towards the end of steam.
The scene is generic and set in the industrial midlands. This particular painting is going to Canada.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Llansteffan Beach in the rain

The painting of Llansteffan beach and ~ rain sold a couple of weeks ago. Now I know I have painted Lalnsteffan on many occasions. I like to paint it. People like to buy it so thats it. Turner painted it and I am not going to argue with him.(be kind of difficult now anyway).

Monday, 9 July 2012

Mae'n Dybynu

The sketch above is of Alex at the ships rail in Southampton. Normally in fact always when we went sailing 
Alex would helm. (ie. steer the boat). I was happy to navigate and helming generally prevented her from feeling seasick. However the captain of the Cruise ship declined Alex offer to helm his boat for him so here she was at the rail.
The most common question I get is, "How long did it take you to paint this picture?"
There is never a simple answer.Do you take into account the years of practice experience and mistakes?
Do you take in to account the preparation. Stretching paper or triple priming and sanding down boards.
Do you take in to account sketches and full size cartoons? I nearly always go through the mental process of painting the picture first to get the order and method of painting right before making a mark on the surface.
So the real answer is, it depends!  in Welsh Mae'n dybynu!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

British Summertime

Here it  is British Summer Time. Here are two pages form my A5 sketch book. We were sat in a queue  of traffic and I caught the above scene it was raining stair rods. You don't need to get all the details in a sketch like this just the essentials. Technically it is referred to synthesising the scene.

So what better than Super Tramp

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Big Fish

The picture above is the bridge at Nantcarredig over the Towy. I hadn't realised that a record was held for catching the biggest fish in freshwater in the British Isles there. The fish was caught in 1932 by Eric Allen on the River Towy at Nantgaredig and weighed 388lbs. It was a 9 ft Sturgeon.
Talking of Fish I do watch the Apprentice TV Program when its on. I remember a real put down on a super smart contestant. He had described himself as a shark I believe. When interviewed in the final he was told he wasn't a big fish in  small pool in fact he wasn't even a fish. His ego took a real dive (probably deservedly).

Friday, 6 July 2012


Not a particularly flattering sketch of Alex siting drinking above. It is only half finished as she moved.

Children can be I find quite noisy. Well for the most part our grandchildren are. They can be at their most dangerous when quiet however as Alex found out to her cost. She was driving the car the other day in Carmarthen (and she is a very good driver) when she was cut up by another driver. A minute later a little voice came from the back of the car.
"Nanny whats a knob?"
She had quite forgotten the little grandchild in the rear who had been quiet as a mouse but obviously full of attention to the goings on.

This afternoon I hope to finish a watercolour.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

South Haven Skomer Island

The above painting is of South Haven on Skomer Island. I did this from the cockpit of our old yacht. South Haven was a favourite anchorage. Sheltered form most winds except directly southerly. You had the company of seabirds and seals. Generally puffins would be landing clumsily around you .
I was always amused by the young gulls who tried the patience of their parents.The young gull would constantly bob up and down in the water making a never ending squeaking noise to be fed. The parent would fly off a few feet to get away from the pesky youngster only to have them follow them. Eventually the parent would discipline their child with a peck. (Not really PC these days I am sure but gulls haven't banned corporal punishment yet).

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Cattle Study

Here is another study of cattle I did in Harlech. All good practise and I enjoy doing it.
Today I have done a watercolour and gone for a good walk with Alex.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Two Tugs

A real quick sketch from the rail as we were passing a couple of tugs moored up is shown above.
I am always interested in working boats, tugs ,trawlers, tankers ... I have done a number of large paintings mainly for my own pleasure. Although I have sold a few there isn't a big market for them. I do have several good examples in my own collection though.
I have been asked about paintings for a board room but it meant a lot of travelling and to be frank I wouldn't have enjoyed that.

Monday, 2 July 2012


Here is a painting of Cwnoernant Reservoir Carmarthen, that sold during the last exhibition.The reservoir is directly being us and is a constant source of wildlife.However I am always careful to avoid the reservoir in the winter. Jac is not too bright and will happily run across the thinnest ice.I therefore keep away to avoid the possibility of him going through it.
A quietish day today, a couple of walks with Jac and a few sketches.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Working in the rigging

I caught this in Southhampton. Two sailors were working in the rigging of STS Lord Nelson. From what I could see they were rigging a block to lift life rafts ashore. Rather them than me as I am not a great one for heights. Alex has been hoisted up masts to do work and seems quite happy about it.
I started a watercolour today.