Friday, 31 August 2012

Guernica and Kim Phuc

I had a chat today with another artist about contemporary painting. There is an impression around that I don't value modern work. Well I value work of whatever age if it is honest. Unfortunately I feel there is a lot of pretentious drivel spoken about art. On that point we both agreed.
So to put the matter straight I have wandered into post modern works and abstract art at times. The painting above is one I still retain and illustrates my point. It is fairly self explanatory but is a fusion of Guernica by Picasso and a photo of a young girl, Kim Phuc near Trang Bang during the Vietnam War.
I now concentrate on traditional painting mainly landscapes and coastal scenes. "Be true to yourself", is always a good maxim.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


I finished the painting of a farmer on his quad bike yesterday. It is all a bit generic.  I just pictured the scene from a thousand images I had seen walking in the countryside.
Anyway it was a bit different and I enjoyed painting it. Our daughter and two grandchildren returned homw this morning. They had been with us a week which went quite quickly.
Alex is framing and then we have to go off to post a picture.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Red Barn Pembrey

For some reason I can only upload images in html to my blog. Anyway I am back in business it doesn't do to worry about things that you don't understand or can't do anything about.

I had a clear out last week every so often I go through my work.  Generally 85% of my paintings will sell within 18 months to 2 years provided they have been on show. Many paintings never make it to the public particularly watercolours. They tend to be filed for a while. I paint so much it would be impracticable to frame and show everything. About ten framed paintings were destroyed on this occasion.
When I have a clear out I ask Alex's opinion. I nearly always go along with her view as mine is hardly impartial. The one painting that has escaped several clear outs is that above. It is of the red barn Pembrey.
It has never been framed and sits amongst a pile of paintings in my studio.
Alex is not at all keen and I guess one day I will go along with her. I like the painting and have rescued it again.
Its not actually called the Red Barn but that's what I call the painting. I think its a bit of Steinbeck influence who I read avidly as a boy.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Okay so I have upload an image. I won't bore you with the detail but it is all pretty frustrating. I like painting not being sat in front of a new wayward computer. I am now going to have to uninstall a program and keep my fingers crossed.
Anyhow the painting above I finished this week and is of Ferryside. Image slightly too dark but hey its up. Alex and I took our daughter and family to Aberglasney for lunch and to see Jane Russell's exhibition which finishes on Thursday.

Problem with Blogger

Unfortunately I am suddenly having difficulty in uploading pictures for the Blog. I will have to see what the problem is so I may not post today.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Fergie ploughing

I finished the painting above today. It is of a farmer ploughing with his little grey Fergie. The colours are a bit out on the image well the blue is on my monitor anyway. I have mentioned before that many years ago I used a Fergie to do some ploughing. Great little machines that have stood the test of time.
We had the whole family over pretty well yesterday so I was a little surprised to have a clear head this morning.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Horses Druidstone ~ George Thomas Hospice

The other day I was asked by Nicky Piper MBE if I would do a painting for an exhibition in aid of George Thomas Hospice. 
I have every respect for Nicky a Commonwealth Boxing Champion is someone who I can't help but admire.
A real achiever and a person who has given a lot back to the community. I did a little boxing many years ago with the police. It was great for confidence building and fitness. My main drawback was that I kept forgetting to breath which is not a good idea. There was also the side issue that I didn't really like being hit that much.
We do a charity exhibition ourselves every year and last year we donated  money to Carmarthen Hospice. They are to be the beneficiaries again this year. 
How can you not support a hospice. I am blessed and am able to help so it was an easy decision. 
I am busy so I had to fit the painting in this weekend. So there it is above a painting of horses on Druidstone Beach.
 If you are in the Cardiff area on 9th November I hope you get along to support the exhibition.  

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Cattle Study

The last few mornings have been pretty wet and muddy underfoot as Jac and I have tramped around the fields and woods. I am not sure if the cattle have been kept in because of the weather or they are on a drier side of the farm. Anyway we have had the fields to ourselves.
The study of cattle above was done in Harlech earlier this year.
We have one of our elder daughter staying with us at the moment with her 2 infants. One as I have mentioned before talks quite posh. He is like a throwback to the 1950's, out of a Famous Five book.
He is hilarious but could probably answer more questions on Mastermind than the rest of us put together. I am not sure where he gets it from? My daughter is also threatening us with doing the family cooking for the week!
Today Alex and I are going to watch Scarlets play London Welsh so that should be a good afternoon out. The phone is still working (so far) a miracle?
The only appropriate link is Limmie and the Family cooking  A walking Miracle

Friday, 24 August 2012

Yin and Yang or Bill and Ben

Here is a smaller version of a previous painting I did of a Sunderland Short. It has a second flying boat coming in behind. This painting is sold.
There is much talk about balance, for every Bill there is a Ben. Yesterday was a bit of a three things go wrong day. Problem with the bank, problem with a purchase and problem with an order and the phone not working, sorry that's four.  That was the Yin day.
Today was a better day. A Yang day. I tried to ring the bank and waited 30 minutes talking to a very confused lad in a call centre somewhere. I gave up walked in to Town and spoke to someone in the local bank, sorted it out there and then. Got a refund on the purchase and also the order was sorted. The phone may also be working....!!!! (a bit too soon to tell yet).
I went to the gym,walked the dog and finished a painting for an exhibition in Cardiff. Oh and Welcome home Norma.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Dryslwyn Castle and River Towy

I finished the painting of Dryslwyn Castle on the River Towy this week. A large painting nearly 4ft by 2ft framed. Not shown in its best light here as I still haven't mastered Pixia. ( I might have to upgrade to photoshop 10). Anyway I was quite pleased with the final painting even a small kite in the distance.
I took on another commission yesterday although I am not quite sure how I am  getting them all done and am out seeing about another one this morning.
If I say it will be done it will be. I have always said there are only 2 categories of person in the world reliable and unreliable. I would rather deal with someone who do their best and is reliable than someone who is very good  at what they do but unreliable.
 Speaking of which guess what BT still haven't fixed our phone. I was told they would be digging new holes yesterday and phone fixed by Friday. Of course no new holes and phone still not working.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Trefgarne, Preseli's.

The painting above is of Treffgarne in Winter. Not to be confused with Trefgarne which can be a road in Libya or a Lord in the Houses of Parliament. I once sat in the House of Lords, (I had a tour around although I think it was supposed to be out of bounds). Treffgarne is an area in the Preseli's. There are a number of rocky outcrops which make for an interesting landscape. A bit Wuthering Heights.
Alex and I have spent a few weeks in the area in winter for a break over the last couple of years. So hence the painting above.
On the last occasion we were chased by horses crossing a field. Not something to relish particularly with Alex screaming in my ear. I had to really work hard to break her hold on my wrist so I could get away. Anyway we both survived.
Today I have been painting and this afternoon we are delivering a picture.
I hope you have a good day on Saturday Pat. Weather looks a bit "iffy", but I'm sure it will be a great day for all.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Future in the balance

I did the painting of Cadair Idris last week. It is a view from the west.
The thing about having a big family and we have a big family is that there is always something going on, birthdays, christenings....So we are always busy.
Yesterday I walked the dog early went to the gym and had half an hour to start a painting before we went off to Clevedon to take our daughter out for her birthday. A long but pleasurable day despite Jac going visiting across gardens in Clevedon having found a hole in the fence. The grandson who is three informed us that, "It was a rather splendid sunset." Talking like that where I grew up would earn you a good beating in fact you didn't have to talk like that to get a good beating anyway. I am not sure which side of the family he gets it from. He obviously has a great future in front of him.Oxbridge perhaps?  I went to Oxford but it was only for the day.
Talking of the future that may be in the balance with me at the moment. I have been looking after another 6yr old grandson while Alex is out shopping with another granddaughter. I was letting him mix different oil paints to find what colours they made. We became a bit engrossed and I failed to notice that the majority of the oil paint was going on his arms and clothes!
I could just blame him. Oh well I suppose I'll man up.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Turning the hay

I finished the painting above this week it shows a farmer turning the hay. I am not sure what the gulls found so interesting. I have seen them behind a plough before but not when the hay was being turned. The image doesn't actually do the painting justice and I am not being modest. ( I am still getting to grips with Pixia the replacement for photoshop as I have moved to Windows 7 with the new computer).
We went to a grandaughter's party today all very pleasant pity about the weather. More to do tomorrow.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Abstract art and Picabia

I had an interesting chat yesterday with Aaron Peterson son of David Peterson the well known sculptor. Now Aaron is a very talented craftsman and blacksmith  in his own right. Anyway we were talking about painting and the subject got on to abstract art. Now for those of you that know me you will know that I am strongly inclined towards representational painting. The words "be true to yourself" echo strongly in my head.
However that is not to say that I haven't done abstract or post modern works. I do admire the works of for example Francis Picabia an example shown above. For one Picabia could paint. He could paint anything in  any genre. You have to take an artist like that seriously.

                                                            Virgin with Child Picabia

Anyway getting back to me when you paint abstract or post modern works it is customary or a requirement to provide an artists statement explaining the work! I could not in all honesty do this. If I did I would have said something like, "Here is a painting using a palette of colours that works well. I hope the pretty patterns match your curtains."
So do not get me wrong I am not having a go at abstract art or modern and post modern works some of which I find interesting and thought provoking. There are many talented artists out there doing their own thing. I do enjoy looking at all genres of art including abstract art. I am just saying, "It is not really what I am all about".

Friday, 17 August 2012

Carmarthen and Paul Sandby

The watercolour above shows a different treatment for the subject posted yesterday. It is fortunately inevitable that artists in the main will use their own "style" within their works and some artists including myself have varying ways/styles of painting according to the way they see the subject at the time.
I would refer you to the painting by Paul Sandby of Carmarthen Castle link below. I wont copy and paste it for fear of upsetting the Tate who apparently own the copyright.
It is interesting for me as it shows the castle as it might have been from the Spilman Street end and also shows the way watercolours have developed from topography. Paul Sandby was employed  initially as a map maker and as such was concerned with accuracy so I think we can assume the picture to be reasonably accurate. It certainly fits in with what is currently present. He is not to be confused with Paul Sanby Munn his godson who travelled with John Sell Cotman. Together they painted many views including those similar to me of Barnard Castle.
At the time artists generally did their sketches outdoors and completed their paintings at home.
Today I am stewarding in the Origin Gallery.  Alex has nearly finished the accounts and is close to smiling again.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Winter Scene Carmarthen on the Towy

I have now finished one of my new paintings for the next exhibition. A winter scene of Carmarthen on the Towy. I am various stages of other paintings including 2 commissions.
Today I started another large painting in between walking the dog and catching bits of the cricket!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Snake Oil salesmen

The painting above is of a flower girl in Cueta, Spanish Morroco.   We called in briefly whilst  on a cruise a couple of years back.
I am quite a tolerant man really although Alex says I am an old curmudgeon. I do get annoyed when people try to take advantage of you. On  one cruise Alex went to some sort of keep fit class every day. That was fine but at the end of it she was invited to have a personal assessment and program for her to take away. Now there is not much wrong with Alex she is fit and excercises regulalry.
I decided to go with her to see the instructor for this assessment. Now immediately I turned up there was an issue. Why was I there? I could see from the start the instructor and I were not going to become bosom pals.
The bottom line was he wanted to hard sell a program of very overpriced "supplements " to rectify all Alex's "deficiencies".Yeh right. He was not very pleasant about it either. I asked simple questions about how he was testing for these "deficiencies" and why she needed them and his qualifications. Eventually Alex and I left leaving him without the sale and in very poor humour. I was tempted to complain to the cruise operator but let it go. However, we did warn other class members of the true purpose of the assessment.
Needless to say I don't go for snake oil salesmen in a big way now.
Finished one painting today and Alex is still buried in paperwork.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Laugharne ~ Bootstraps

The painting above of Laugharne is a large painting app. 4ft x 2.5ft. I have just finished it and it was meant to be the centre piece for the next exhibition. It has however sold. I am going to prepare a new board today to set about a new centre piece.
Last night I watched Take me home. (Not to be confused with  Take me home tonight).
Take me home is an Indie film with a simple story, a lady asks a taxi driver to drive her to California from New York. A road trip movie across USA. It was beautifully done, a bitter sweet script, stunning photography and brilliant music. Now I am sure anyone else watching it will be non-plussed and think I have lost it. I like simple and if it done perfectly what can be better. The music was by a band called "Bootstraps".
I had never heard of them before but they really caught my attention. I now have a couple of their songs on my ipod along with Percy Faith, Lulu, Bruce Hornsby, Doors, Savoy Brown, Jefferson get the picture.
Anyway if you haven't heard them or seen the film give it a go.

Link to Bootstraps and Take me Home

Monday, 13 August 2012


The painting above of Aberaeron sold last week. today Alex and I took down our exhibition in St Clears.
It was quite a good exhibition for us.  Today I have been working on a painting of Cadair Idris and Alex has been fighting with the years accounts. The place looks like a paper recycling factory with piles of papers everywhere. Good luck is all I can say.
Tomorrow we have the grandchildren.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Dryslwyn Castle

The painting of Dryslwyn Castle above sold last week. It is a favourite spot of mine with beautiful views in all directions. There is an unclassified road to the side and I have stopped in a farm pull in to paint the castle and Paxtons Tower on a couple of occasions. It is surprising how many people stop to chat even in the middle of nowhere.
Last night we had a family gathering and today there is an even  larger one with a Christening for one of the grandchildren. I did get a painting done yesterday but not much chance today. Tomorrow we take down our exhibition in St Clears which went better than I expected.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Coracle man

The painting of the coracle man sold today. Sorry to see him go as he was a bit of a character.
I have been helping Alex with a large frame this morning then getting on with a commission. managed to fit the gym in there too.
I saw a program on justice the other week and it reminded me of a policeman I used to know who unfortunately is no longer with us. He wasn't great on paperwork but he was very effective. His alleged method for dealing with boy racers as they were then, bombing around the local town in their Ford Escorts and Mini's was  perhaps unconventional and maybe fractured the odd regulation. He would issue an on the spot verbal disqualification. The offending driver would agree not to drive their car for example say a week or not at weekends if they had to use it to get to work. Being a small town it would be easy to monitor and you would not want to be caught defying the officer. It apparently worked very well and those young drivers learnt quickly to behave in a responsible manner.
That kind of initiative now would lead to a whole host of problems. Different times, different attitudes.

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Queen at the Waverley

I did the painting of the Queen at the Waverley Stores, Carmarthen for their window during the jubilee. It brought a great deal of comment and a lot of questions. Of course Her Majesty has never been to the Waverley but I am sure she would have enjoyed it if she had.
The painting is sold now.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


The painting above of a Lancaster sold last week. I have a commission to start today and Alex is going to start on our Tax returns.
As a point of information our telephone is only working intermittently and currently not at all. So please use email or mobile to talk to us as you may not even get the answer machine and if you do we may not be able to access it. In fairness to BT it was only reported on the 21st June and it is now coming up to Mid August. They have frequently told us the date when it will be fixed. The fact that all those dates have come and gone is neither here nor there. Great customer Service.  We don't live in the Outer Hebrides. We live in a Street in Carmarthen. At least the internet works (touch wood).

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Flying Boat ~ Milford Haven

The painting above of a Sunderland Short in Milford Haven sold last week. We spent many happy hours sailing the waters of the Haven before we had to give up our boat. Sack Rock Fort shown in the background was an old Napoleonic Fort built as part of the fortifications for the Haven which was an important waterway. My father was a radio operator in the RAF and had also been a gunner on a Catalina Flying Boat in the Indian Ocean.
Yesterday we had the grandchildren and I failed to do much in the way of work. Today we have a birthday in the family so a day of rest.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mr Crabtree goes fishing ~ A lock on the Brecon canal.

The painting above is of a lock on the Brecon canal. It is a larger version of a painting I sold earlier this year.
It is also the inspiration of my grandsons effort last week.
I have mentioned before, as a young boy I spent a deal of time travelling on the canals at a time when they were overgrown and had few boats on them. My brother and I spent time fishing with home made rods, floats and tackle. Our favourite books were a series called, "Mr Crabtree goes Fishing," and Other books by Bernard Venables.   Wonderfully written, old fashioned books featuring Mr Cherry and Jim and Tim. I include a snippet from," Mr Cherry introduces Jim to the splendid perch." Ah, nostalgia.

On one occasion I fell in a lock and was only saved by my father's efforts with a boat hook.
Anyway the point about this painting is the contrast of light and shade and the reflection in the water or it's just a nice scene.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Professor David Webb

The above painting of Llandeilo has sold this month. It was one of my biggest paintings.

I listened to Professor David Webb talking about pictorial cognition  a few weeks ago. I found it very interesting.  Basically it is all about how and why we react emotionally to different images or specifically in this case paintings. Quite important for an artist.  He is undertaking research at the present and although it is believed pictorial cognition is a development of a more primitive system we don't really know why different people are stimulated differently by paintings.

At the end of the day I will continue to paint what I like and how I see things.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Inner Harbour Burry Port

I was wrong yesterday when I sad that the painting of Burry Port Lighthouse had sold it was in fact the painting above of the Inner Harbour. Anyway yesterday I had to take some paintings to St Clears to replace those that had sold. The heavens opened when I got there and I had to wait to take the work in.
Today I got up early and started panting at 7.30 to finish my latest work. I have a lot to do today so I had to press on. I did watch the Olympics last evening. Excellent entertainment and you can appreciate the years of hard work put in by the athletes to achieve their goals. You get nothing for free and that includes painting you have to work at it.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Burry Port Lighthouse

The above painting of Burry Port Lighthouse sold this week. I believe the  lighthouse can still function but is no longer run by Trinity House.
The walk this morning over the top of the Valley was very impressive with waves of dark clouds rolling in. Then in one spot the sun was breaking through highlighting the edge of a cloud. I think the painting I am starting today will have the sky treated in a similar manner. I have pretty much painted it in my head now and have a clear image of it.
We had a good night last night and were treated to a meal by David Cowdry who is an excellent cook as well as a superb artist.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Grandson's first Oil Painting

The other day we had the grandchildren for the day. So I gave up trying to paint. Our grandson eventually asked if he could paint. Well here is his first effort in oils. He did a version of a painting that was on my easel.
I did help him asking what colours to use and why. I talked him through the shadows and I also helped him set it out. Still a pretty good effort for a 7year old. I think I'll give up now and let the next generation take over!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Carmarthen on the Towy

Had a bit of a strange day. The computer finally died and we have been installing the new one!
Problems galore it is 64 bit Windows operating system and of course nothing works with it, printers programs .... still making some progress.
The painting above is of Carmarthen on the Towy and has sold last month. It is a large painting and had been sat above our mantlepiece rather than in a gallery so I had got quite used to it. Another gap to fill.
Anyway I have to get on with this wonderful technology now!!