Thursday, 31 January 2013

House for sale Carmarthenshire - Sea Views

I don't normally allow adds on my blog but this is a special case! My daughter and son in law are selling their  old house in the lovely Welsh Village of Llansaint. (Llansaint has a lovely old church and two pubs, so ideal for retirement). Gwermont House was the original farm and goes back centuries. It has spectacular uninterupted views over Carmarthen Bay to Tenby and Caldey Island. I have sold quite a few paintings of Llansaint and the area. If we were retiring  I would be more than tempted myself.

It is going for a ridiculous price any enquires to

Today I finished my painting of the City of St Truro it was too late to photograph it so I will probably post it tomorrow.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

City of St Truro

Yesterday I mentioned was a bitty day. I had intended to do an oil painting of City of St. Truro. This was a train I saw and "cabbed" in Moor Street Station, Birmingham with my brother. I intended a small simple painting emphasising the locomotive at speed. However I made a slight misjudgement and made the subject slightly toooo large. I may be able to deal with this by adjusting the tonal values but maybe not.
No time for painting today though so hopefully tomorrow. It gives me time to dwell on my error.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

John Mayall - The Bear

Here is the commission I have been working on all finished. It is of Bwlch Farm Abergwili, with Merlin's Hill and St. Davids Church in the background.

I have started another painting today but to be honest its been a bitty day with plenty to do and I haven't been able to get more than an hour at a time into it.

I did  spent some time with one of our grandsons today which was nice. He is 7 and he did an oil painting of a bear catching a fish in a stream. I don't think it was a scene from around here but there again it is pretty wild in Pontiets!
Only appropriate link has got to be The Bear, I love John Mayall well okay his music. So here it is from his album Blues from Laurel Canyon.

Monday, 28 January 2013


The watercolour sketch above is of Brechfa a little village outside Carmarthen in the Cothi Valley. It used to have a pub called the Foresters Arms. This is shown on the right hand side. It is now a private house. The old coach house in the background is also now a private house. So this is how the village was up until a few years ago.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Theory of Time

The painting of Llanstephan above is just about dry and ready for framing so it is going onto the list that Alex has to do.  I also finished a commission this week that must be done. It is a miracle that we and particularly Alex get as much done as we do in a 24 hour day. Whoever invented time, (was it Steven Hawkins?) should have done a better job and given us at least 36 hours in a day. Einstein said, "Time is what you measure with a clock." Maybe it should be measured by what we get done. How would that work? The more you did the longer you would live. Interesting thought. Anyway I am in danger of being philosophical or even worse a post modernist!

I mentioned yesterday how we walked our 3 year old grandson with reigns. I actually remember being walked with reigns myself. I was about 2-3yrs old and on holiday in Porth Towyn. I had a set of blue reigns with bells on (cute). It must have had an impact on me to remember them, I can't remember where I put my slippers these days.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Lundy Island - MS Oldenburg

Here is a watercolour sketch I did of MS Oldenburg at Lundy Island. I have said before Alex and I used to do a fair bit of sailing when we could in and around the Bristol Channel and Pembrokeshire. Unfortunately
we had to give up due to family commitments. Anyway we have a lot of good memories.

On one occasion we anchored overnight at Lundy Island and The Oldenburg came in. She is the supply and passenger vessel owned by the Island. I believe the name "Lundy"is from the Norse meaning Puffin?
I remember the passage back to Milford Haven was a bit fraught as we didn't have radar and there was  a thick sea fog. The fog lifted when we approached the entrance to Milford Haven but we were also met with large rollers breaking on the way into the channel. It was exciting to say the least.

This weekend we have our daughter and family staying. We took our grandson to town as we had some work to despatch. We use reigns on the little chap who is 4. He may look like a dog on a lead but at least you have control over him. I haven't got him to sit at the side of the road yet but in all other respects his obedience work is good. Seriously he is a good kid and frighteningly intelligent, ( I don't know where that gene came from!).

Friday, 25 January 2013

Bathurst Estate - Longhorn cattle

Last year we stopped in Cirencester. In one of the fields off Bathurst Estate were a herd of longhorn cattle. Always a pleasure to draw ( interesting but also helpfully slow and ponderous). What I found fascinating was that a magpie seemed to enjoy riding on their backs. I couldn't resist doing a watercolour sketch. I suspect he was debugging them. Nature chooses some strange bedfellows.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Chew Valley Lake

We stopped in Chew Valley last year as I might have mentioned. Here is an oil painting I did of The Lake on a windy day. It is just as much a cloud study as a painting of the lake. I was taken with the sun breaking through the clouds and illuminating the surface of the water

It was a lovely spot but not for dog owners. They are either banned or banned from being exercised. Even the public footpaths are  unfriendly. Next to our camp site there were two footpaths and both gates had beware of the bull signs permanently attached. We had booked in there for a week but left after 36 hours.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Feeding the Birds

The painting above is by a fine Victorian Artist called James Sant. He was a member of the Royal Acadamy and Queen Victoria's appointed portrait artist.

We had a busy day yesterday between Alex and I we managed to, walk the dog twice, take Jac to the vet for his jabs, get a painting finished, steward in Origin all day, collect the grandchildren from school, cook a meal for our daughters family, sort out and visit my mother in hospital... So I thought I would offer a change today on the blog, someone else can show their work and a fine artist he was.  Sant was a superb technician and showed a great depth of feeling in his work. He is everything most contemporary art critics hate and everything I love.

Anyway the girl is shown feeding chicks. We used to get House Martins nesting under the eaves of our house for many years. Occasionally a nest would fall down. On one occasion a fledgling fell out of the nest onto our balcony and Alex ran out to see to it. The fledgling took fright fluttered over the balcony and dropped onto the lawn below where it was promptly swept up by next doors cat. On another occasion a nest fell down and Alex took to feeding the one survivor. She put it in a little box and fed it off a match stick. Unfortunately she didn't keep a grip on the matchstick and the fledgling swallowed the food and matchstick. The result was a foregone conclusion. Alex often says she would like to have been a vet. I am pretty sure the animal kingdom are grateful she decided to take other options.

You can see more of Sants work and other fine artists on this link

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Church Parade

The watercolour above is of outbuildings at Rhywernen Farm in Brecon. We lived in Brecon for a couple of years and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves it is a lovely market town.

Many years ago when I was a constable I attended the last Church Parade of the Birmingham City Police. I am not a particularly religious person but have no issues with other persons choices. So when I was told by my sergeant  I was going on the Church parade I said  I was not particularly religious. He just gave me that look that said, " And your point is what?" (Communication is a funny thing sometimes the most effect can be when nothing is said). So of course I went. The Force formed up in divisions in the Old Market in the Bull Ring and then marched to St. Martin's for a service. I had several friends of differing religions and I am sure several of them attended too.

The next time I went on a Church Parade was in Brecon. The military have a strong presence in the town and there parade is organised with military efficiency. The Parade was to be led by The Officer in Charge of the Brecon Police Sub Division and a Senior Officer from the Army HQ Wales.

The Officer in Charge of the Police kept on about this Parade all week before it was due to happen and I could see he was not happy about doing it. Why I don't know it was a matter of walking in step through the town, no great hardship. I was not to be involved in the Parade in any way. However come the Sunday morning the Officer In Charge didn't appear, he was apparently ill. Twenty minutes before the start I was asked to step in which I duly did. It was no problem and it all went off well, although I confess I did feel a bit like "Major Billy " the Goat of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Billy no mates

Yesterday I walked around the reservoir with Jac and the Mallards were all perched in branches over the waters edge. I guess the water was cold even for them. There were a couple of moor hens chasing each other and you could here the spluttering splashes as there feet and wings hit the water as them skimmed across it. In the middle of the reservoir was  Billy a lonely goosander. He has been here on and off for a while.

I felt a bit sorry for him no room in the branches and no companions.

Today I am hoping to start painting my next commission.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Dylan Thomas Boathouse by moonlight

The painting of the Boathouse Laugharne in moonlight sold this week. I like to vary the settings for my paintings and moonlight scenes can be quite atmospheric.

I have to start a new commission this week in fact I have started to go through it mentally and will probably get the drawing done today. I also have a large commission to do but that is  more reliant on the weather.

The other night I had just got in the bath when the phone rang. I heard Alex talking to someone. She then told me it was my mother's carers and I was needed. I hopped out of the bath to confront Alex laughing her head off. She had rung the home number herself and caught me perfectly. Well I guess I deserved it the number of times I have caught her out.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Wales Scrum - Ryan Jones packing down at 6

Well it is nearly time for the Six Nations and it is time to forget about the Autumn Internationals. I finished the above painting yesterday (in the end I didn't have to steward as Rob beat me to it)..Ryan Jones is shown here packing down at number 6 against South Africa. (It is one of my 6" x 6" series I am doing). Anyway I am hopeful Ryan will be fit for the first game.

Still I am in the gallery today so no painting. I had to laugh yesterday. I walked the dog first thing. Then in the morning  walked to town and back. When we were having lunch Alex said:
"Its bitter outside."
I said, "How would you know?"

"I took the dog out." she replied
"Oh good where did you go?" I said in surprise.
"Well actually I only opened the door to let him out." she said!

Friday, 18 January 2013


I sold the above painting yesterday. (Well to be truthful I didn't but I sold a similar view. I omitted to photograph the painting, very careless of me must be getting old or older!).

Its snowing here and there may be a problem with the gallery. Most of the co-operative members who steward in the gallery live outside Carmarthen and the snow is blocking roads. I have tried ringing the steward who is on today but the mobile phone signal is useless too.

Talking of mobile phones our daughter in law is a  teacher and travels from Carmarthen to her school. Yesterday she couldn't find her mobile phone in school. She got in the car to drive home at 4.30pm and was driving along the dual carriageway at 60 mph when she needed to clean her windscreen.
She put on the windscreen wipers and saw her mobile phone being ejected into space across the windscreen and disappearing into the traffic around her. Some kind soul had obviously found her mobile phone by the car and put it on the windscreen wiper. She is now in need of a new mobile phone!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

David Lloyd George

David Lloyd George, Prime Minister and Chancellor, the famous Welsh Politician  was born 150 years ago today on the 17th January 1863. What I didn't know was that he was born in England, Manchester in fact. He was well known for his oration. He apparently had many illicit affairs along with keeping a wife and a mistress! A bit of a dark horse.

The Locomotive pictured above is the "David Lloyd George" on the Ffestiniog Railway it is a Double Fairlie 0-4-4-0.i.e. it looks like two engines stuck back to back. So which is older the locomotive or the politician? Despite appearances the locomotive was built by the Ffestiniog Railway Company and completed as recently as 1992.

Anyway Alex and I took Jac for a ride on it up to Blaenau Ffestiniog a couple of years ago and I felt it would make a nice painting.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Contre Jour ~ Against the light

Although I have done life drawing and painting I rarely do now so its a nice change to do one. I finished this today. It is a study of a larger painting I did in silhouette years ago. In fact that was 4 ft x 3 ft and used to be hung in our lounge. This is more petite 6 " x 6" or 15cm x 15cm to be precise. To be honest its harder to paint the smaller size than the larger!

It is done contre jour - French meaning against daylight. Many artists paint purely or mainly  in this manner. One exponent who I admire is Ken Howard who I have had the pleasure of sharing wall space with on one occasion.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Dolwyddelan - Bryn Tirion Farm

I have been doing the final detail on a couple of oil paintings this morning. The picture above is a little watercolour sketch I did of  Bryn Tirion Farm at Dolwyddelan, North Wales. The farm lies under Dolwyddelan Castle which we had stopped to look at.

It was pretty cold this morning and it didn't help that we and a downpour of rain before the temperature dropped so icy roads. We do have a grit box on our road so I went to it to put some grit down. The salt and grit was frozen solid and it took me ten minutes to break off half a bucket full to cast around the road.
Still vehicles seemed to manage ok afterwards.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Alvis - Speed 20

I did this painting today maybe as a reminder of warmer days. It is an Alvis Speed 20 Vanden Plas I believe.
I have left out some details. I have a couple of odds and ends to finish it off when it has dried a bit. I actually saw the car at the Pontargothi Show.

The other day our son came around to watch the rugby. Alex and I had been finishing off a few nibbles from the previous night when we had been entertaining. So we had a couple of little bowls out on the coffee table. My son came into the lounge carrying a glass of Magners picked up a bowl and grabbed a handful of the contents.
"Hmm what are these?" he said.
"Err, olive stones!"


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Girl with Geese

Its not the best photo as there is some reflection off the canvas but anyway there is the finished painting from the sketch I did yesterday. I changed the wellington boots for bare feet and also dropped the position of the girl slightly.

Our daughter was telling us yesterday about our 7 year old grandson. He apparently asked if our daughter could make him an omlette like Nanny does. He explained Nanny (Alex) cooks the eggs in the frying pan then puts in the cheese and filling folding it like a sandwich. Okay says our daughter and made him an omlette.

 He was sat at the table when she put the plate down in front of him. He looked up at her, smiled and said, "Okay, When did it start to go wrong?"

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Wild Geese

Working under a slight hangover today. Last night Artist David Cowdrey came around for a meal and a pleasant night was had by all. David and I talked about art and Alex put on a spectacular meal.  I probably ate too much and although I don't have a bad headache I am taking things easy!

I notice on my walks that the farm geese somehow evaded Christmas so I thought it would make a nice subject for a painting. I have been carrying the image around and this morning I got it down in rough above. I started by putting the board on paper and drawing around it to allow me to draw the picture to actual size.
Putting a girl in the picture adds interest and height to the composition joining the painting foreground and sky together. There are actually 4 geese on the farm but I have only included 3 as I think that is sufficient. Of course I haven't painted it yet but I should get around to it tomorrow.

This afternoon I think I will be watching rugby quietly.

link to David Cowdrey

Friday, 11 January 2013

Urban Roots ?

I am not a big fan of the City, I don't like travelling much and I don't like crowds. An odd weekend to London to visit the National Gallery is fine but I am quite happy when I come out of the Severn Tunnel on the train and see the Bristol Channel on my left. All this is a bit odd or maybe not for someone who was brought up in a large city.

Now Alex is a big fan of the X factor and goes with our daughters and some of the grandchildren to watch the X factor tour. So I was quite amused by one of the judges who keeps talking about "Urban Roots"
and James Arthur " feeling the pain"! Now I do watch there program and I thought he deserved to win but unfortunately whenever I hear Alex playing the record (okay its a CD) I can't help thinking about this judges comments. To be honest he does sound like he is in pain and I am sure he does have "urban roots " whatever they are but after a while I would rather hear something a bit more cheerful. (All this criticism from someone who is tone deaf).

Now I am not sure I can claim to be true to my urban roots whatever that means but my link is not James Arthur but someone more my generation.


Thursday, 10 January 2013

River Towy

I finished the above painting of the River Towy today. The photo doesn't really do it justice.
As an aside they say the camera never lies, well it does it flattens things out and takes colours/ tones to a common denominator. When a person does a painting copying directly from a photograph it is usually obvious.
If the photograph is used only for reference purposes to capture details and proportions then the artist is on a winner.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Changing Track - Haulwen

Here is the finished painting Is started yesterday. I may make a couple of small adjustments later?
Anyway it turned out fine. The engine is actually in the process of changing tracks. It has come from behind and is now going around the front to rejoin the carriages. The man on the right is operating the points.

Had another busy day with the gym, dog walking, typing up the minutes from an Origin meeting, an appointment about mom and the grandchildren to pick up. So a miracle to get the painting finished really.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

INSET Day - Don't you hate acronyms?

After walking the dog and going to the gym it was just light enough to start on a new painting.

 I thought I would share this process with you. I first used a very wet solution of Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine to draw the basic outline using a rag to rub out/amend if necessary.  I then blocked in the darker tones. Next I scrumbled in underlying colour with an old brush having noted mentally the final colours of the train. So I used a red base to lie next to the  finished green of the train etc. (Green and red are complimentary colours.) This process didn't take long and any minor errors (such as the perspective lines on the side of the locomotive) will be addressed in the next stage.
It all looks a bit odd at the moment but it is important to keep a visual image of how I want it to look when its finished.

Trust me it will be fine.

Yesterday Alex and I took the grandchildren and our son to the beach. Apparently although nominally the first day back at school it was an Insect Day, whatever that means. The teachers have some sort of training according to our daughter in law who should know being a teacher.?
I think back to my school days. I disliked school and was happy to leave at 16 but as I may have said before despite myself they gave me a wonderful education. I try to imagine what an in service training day would have meant for my teachers. "Slasher" would have spent the day honing his skills at throwing the board rubber at a dummy head. Taffy Thomas who had apparently played for Wales at Twickenham with a fractured shoulder would spend the day good naturedly slapping boys on the head unaware that he could fell a tree with his hand. Yes I owe them and all the rest  for educating me. I had no choice in the matter and I don't recall any of them requiring additional training.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Dylan Thomas in the Boathouse Laugharne

I received a very nice email yesterday from a lady who had bought my painting of "Dylan Thomas in the Boat House" (above) before Christmas.
With the upcoming events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas 2014 will certainly make his work centre stage and do a lot for Wales and this area in particular.

Alex and I have a busy week scheduled with one thing and another many domestic related. Yesterday we were cleaning the gutters when a lady stopped smiled and gave me some mild chastisement:

"Typical of a man standing around watching a woman work at the top of a ladder."

Whilst it was Alex who was cleaning the gutters up the ladder, in my defence I was watching the bottom of the ladder a very important job not to be trusted to anyone!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Trees in Pembrey

I said yesterday that the little painting I did in Pembrey Country Park would never grace a frame. Well I felt a little sorry for it so here it is shown in a frame.

Today I have been sorting out the workshop and Alex has been cleaning the camper van. Now its time for Jac to have another walk and then shopping for tea.

Saturday, 5 January 2013


Today Alex took Jac and I to Pembrey Country Park in the camper van. A nice relaxing day. Although it was grey and slightly damp it was warm enough. We took Jac a good walk along the sands. The surf was quite agitated and there was an onshore wind. There were dozens of little Sanderlings on the water's edge.

After boiled eggs I did a sketch of Alex reading (above) then I took off with my easel. I settled under the shelter of some trees and spent a happy hour doing an oil painting. Nothing special just a clump of trees with a Scots pine in the foreground. It will probably never grace a frame but it was a pleasant way to pass the time. I will post it tomorrow.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Views of Carmarthen ~ Bad Hair Day

Shown above are a selection of drawings of views around Carmarthen. I have sold this as a print in the past.

Today I have been out walked the dog, had breakfast, been to Tesco's to do Moms shopping and am now off to Origin to do the stewarding. So a bit short on time.

I do rush things. I tend to be of the persuasion its better to do a hundred things and get a couple wrong than do a couple of things right. Well it works for me although I do have to suffer the consequences if/when things go wrong. I have recently started redoing my website, in the end I decided it needed tidying up rather than a complete overall. When I change the images of paintings as a shortcut I cut and paste images rather than redo the whole line. This works okay except on occasions I have changed an image but not the price of the painting, so a new work is shown with the price of a different painting, oops! This can be embarrassing and is not very professional I admit. I have now cut down the numbers of pictures on the site so I can be more accurate and in some respects less is more on a website.

Talking of mistakes last night our son came around with his family. They had a bad hair day well actually our grandson had a bad hair day. My son had decided to give him a hair cut! It was bad. It was funny too, unless you were the victim.

Anyway Alex who is very good at cutting hair ( I haven't paid for a haircut in nearly 40 years), soon made it look 100% better, apart form the bald patches!

Have to go now.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

0-6-0 Saddle Tank ~ Haulwen Gwili Railway

You may recall the watercolour sketch I did of Haulwen off the Gwili Railway well I thought I would do an oil painting from it. I have changed the composition slightly  and emphasised the standing water. I finished it this morning.

Yesterday we went to Bristol to take back our daughter's dog who had been lodging with us. The motorway was wet and visibility poor to hardly any in places. Fortunately most drivers were driving sensibly. There were however a couple of cars with no lights on whatsoever and were pretty much invisible in the fog and spray. In my opinion the police should be able to stop these drivers and cut up their driving licences on the spot.

Today I also have to change some paintings in Origin and get in a trip to the gym.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

National Lampoons New Years Day

Alex, her mom and I went over to visit one of our daughters family yesterday. Alex did a bit of wallpapering and I sat and drew a grandson (above). Not easy drawing children as they constantly move but you get there in the end.

 They have just had an extension and I visited the new bathroom which has a hook and eye lock on the door.
Yes, you guessed it. I forgot about it.  I opened the door to get out with my usual subtlety and found the wooden door stop ( the strip of wood that is fitted inside the all around the door frame) had come away from the frame and was following me out of the bathroom! Yes a bit embarrassing having to ask my son in law to stop playing "elf me" on the computer and fix the bathroom door frame.

I was later treated to some karaoke by our grandson and he is actually good. He must take after our daughter who is really good, unfortunately Alex felt compelled to join in. To be fair she's a lot better than me but then so are 99.8% if the population.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Haulwen ~ Gwili Railway

Here is a little watercolour sketch of Haulwen from our day at the Gwili Railway last week.

Last night we saw the New Year in with friends and had a lovely evening. (Well I didn't actually see it in with Alex as she popped out to a neighbours and started talking so inevitably she got back after 12).

2012 was a good year for us and I remember it just like it was yesterday.
If during 2012 I have annoyed or irritated you I just want to say I plan to continue in 2013.

Happy New Year.