Thursday, 28 February 2013


The other day I was down on the beach with my sketch book when I saw two boys flying their kite.
It took  me back to when I was a boy. On a number of occasions I made a kite from two canes, paper, and string. They looked pretty good. My brother and I would then go and fly them. Well actually no. It usually ended up with one of us running fast with the kite and the other tugging the string .The kite would rise a few feet then drop to the ground. All a bit frustrating, a good lesson for life!
Anyway these boys had a great kite that flew beautifully with no great amount of wind.

I may actually do a painting of the scene one day, add a few birds etc..

Link, no, not "Lets go fly a kite " from Mary Poppins

Simon Dupree with "Kites"

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Bacon and Yoghurt

The other day I was called in for lunch by Alex (above). I sat down and was presented with a plate and a strange looking fare.
"Its an energy boost," she said reading and yet not quite reading my mind.
"Bananas, peanut butter, and honey on toast."
I wasn't quite sure whether it was an energy boost or just whatever came to hand in the cupboard.

Anyway what was she trying to tell me? Why did I need an energy boost? I don't think I am getting to the Stenna Stair Lift stage. I can make all the stairs without stopping and change all the tv channels one handed.

So if you are in need of an energy boost I would like to recommend the above. I would like to but I can't. No individually they may be fine but together NOoooo.. its like bacon and yoghurt.
PS if your reading this Alex it was really lovely thank you.


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Morris 1000

A better day today. I had a clear vision of what I wanted the finished painting to look like.
Pictured above is our Morris 1000 pick up when we found her. She was being used as a hen coup in a corner of a field. Our first Morris 1000 pick up had been written off in a head on collision with a stolen car.

I was listening to Chris Boardman being interviewed the other day. He was saying how mental attitude was so important for him. He had been given good advice. One thing was he had to have a clear vision of his objective for the day. He needed to have closure at the end of the day to have realised his target or objective.  Also he told himself before a race or other event "I can only do as good as my best. If I can achieve that then that's all I can do." This allowed him to block out any pressure. I thought there were some striking similarities to my own philosophy.

Monday, 25 February 2013


The above painting is of Amroth. I no longer have it as it was sifted out in a clear out. It was not the intended painting today.

 Today I had one of those off days. Fortunately quite rare. I intended doing a painting of a gaff rigged yacht off Angle. I drew it out in rough including a man rowing out to it. I started painting then decide to leave out the rowing boat. I then found the painting was unbalanced and I needed to move the yacht. In the end it was easier to give it to the binmen and start anew sometime.

Have a clear vision of your finished work. How many times have I said it and yet I still occasionally ignore my own words.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


The watercolour sketch above is of our daughter in law. It was done with a number 12 sable brush. Probably not the most flattering painting but it catches her infectious character.

I finished a small oil painting today. Tomorrow I am in Origin. Alex has been a bit out of sorts lately so hopefully she will be feeling better tomorrow.

Yesterday Alex and I were passing John James new Piano Shop in Carmarthen. Somehow "Sparkies Magic Piano" came to mind. I haven't heard that for well quite a few decades. I wondered if I could find it on the magic of the internet.
Well sorry yes I did.

Sparkies Magic Piano.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Judas Priest

The drawing of a priest is another of my grandfather's drawings done as a boy. It would have been done when he was at Burford Grammar School. I am not a greatly religious person although I have a reasonable knowledge of the Bible and religion in general. (My mother had a falling out with the local church and I was never christened). I have met some very interesting figures in the "Church" and found them in the main to be good company and broadminded.

The link is tentative but you can't beat Bob Dylan

Friday, 22 February 2013

Sunset Burry Inlet

I finished the above painting today. It is quite a large painting being over a metre long. It is a view over the Burry Inlet from Machynys.
Sunsets are quite evocative and nature's paint brush has a habit of upstaging all mortal artists but its good to give it a run for its money.

I wanted to use "Sunset at sea" as the link it is a very old song I had on a 78 so maybe not surprisingly it isnt on the internet.
Anyway I settled for Robbie!

Thursday, 21 February 2013


I was going through some old albums yesterday and found some photos of me when I was young and we were going around the canal system on an old converted lifeboat. This was 1960's. I remember the Tipton Locks mainly because there were so many of them and you were close to the railway sheds with many steam engines going back and forth.
Anyway I thought the painting above was appropriate although our boat was nothing like as posh as that. I  have been on a longboat that was with Prince Charles (a man who I have found to be a real gentleman), forgive the name dropping but he probably does the same with me.
Today I did the majority of work on a dramatic sunset. Should finish it tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Playing football

Last weekend we met up with our daughter and son in law +  family. I did a sketch of our grandson playing football with his dad.
I was never that keen on playing football myself. I preferred cricket and also French Cricket ( which we played a lot when I was young. My efforts at getting the grandchildren interested in cricket seem to have been mainly ignored so I sit and draw.
I have finished sizing and preparing a board for a commission but didn't get a chance to start today. We had trips to the Bank and Solicitors etc.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Dog with a pipe.

Its funny what can trigger a memory. Generally with me it is not a smell. However the other day I walked passed a man who was smoking a pipe and it brought back memories of my father in his workshop. He used to smoke a pipe and although I don't smoke and dislike the smell of cigarettes and cigars I find pipe smoke is quite pleasant.

Then I was watching Jac looking out of the window. He had the air of Holmes about him being absorbed in the  scene outside and I imagined him sat there with a pipe. So hence the sketch above. ( I know, but at least I am not dangerous).
I spent most of  today mending another old pocket watch in between triple coating a board for a painting.

Link well I thought about Holmes and Hornpipe but ended up with the Hollies, I know, its sad!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Muddy Waters

I finished the painting above last week it shows the moorings at Pilglas looking out towards Ferryside on the left and Ferry Point on the right.

Yesterday Alex and I took Jac a walk in the Cotswolds. It was really muddy and wet underfoot but it was a nice day. So we set off both in wellington boots. Now we came to the first deep puddle and I confess I had to laugh. Alex discovered her left wellington boot had split and she was now wading in water. Whilst I was grinning to myself I managed to keep control and sympathise out loud. Two fields later we got to a real slippy bit and Alex did a full tucked pike and swallow dive full face into the mud. Now I am sorry but it was hilarious. Jac ran and hid and I stupidly stood with sides splitting. I felt the full force of her language and took a step further from her reach not before I had taken a photograph though.

Today we drove back and then popped down to Llanelli where I did a sketch for a commission.

Link maybe a bit predictable

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Gin House Blues

The diptych painting above one was done as part of my art degree. Technically or originally a diptych was a hinged object with two painted planes. It developed to mean two separate paintings on the same or close planes. The painting has as many interpretations as you like so I wont burden you with mine. I was fairly happy with the actually brushwork and the technical aspects of the work.

The link, well I wanted Gin House Blues by Amen Corner but could only find a live version which was.. .poor. I found A version by Eric Burdon and the Animals but in the end I chose

which to be honest has nothing to do with it but I like it.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Grandfather's drawings

Another of my grandfather's drawings of the same period 1901 when he was a schoolboy. Quite a sensual piece. He also did a lot of carving mainly in Oak everything from broaches to a full size crucifix for the Parish Church. He taught me to play chess and as a boy I played him every night until I was quite good. (Not however to the level of my nephew who is highly rated serious player.)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Abstract work

I am not sure if I have shown this work before. I do appreciate some abstract work and this is one I did some time ago. It is a large piece about 5 ft by 4 ft and used to adorn our lounge wall. I eventually got fed up with it and it is gone now.
Today I have been sketching and taking Jac for a good long walk.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Old Things

I mentioned I often draw people while watching the tv. Here is one form the sketch book. I am not sure of the name but he is on an antiques program that Alex likes. Alex say she likes old things, mainly me!

Yesterday Alex wiped down the walls in the hall and then predictably Jac comes in from his walk and shakes himself. It was like the splatter pattern from a murder on CSI something. Talking of murder Jac was nearly the victim and so was I for apparently letting him do it?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Yesterday when we had the grand children Alex said we must do something with them. I whole heartily agreed with her! I wasn't convinced that a picnic on Cefn Sidan was ideal at minus 17  degrees centigrade but who am I to question a woman's wisdom.

Alex set out the hamper on a picnic table and the children shivered while we ate our fare. I was fine having wrapped up for the arctic chill and laughed as I spied penguins waddling by. Anyway we then had a good walk down to the sea as the tide was out.  I snatched the quick sketch above before my fingers froze. Young grandson insisted on wading up to his armpits in the sea which seemed a little short sighted but then again I probably made the same mistakes as a boy. Life is for learning.

Back to the car to prevent exposure and frostbite. All very embarrassing to explain to anxious parents. Jac was a bit peeved as the only towel we had was his and he didn't seem keen on sharing it. I conclude by misquoting John Masefield:

"I must go down to the sea again,
 The lonely sea and sky,
 I left my vest and pants there,
 I wonder if they're dry?"


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pontyberem Memorial Hall

I am not sure why I did a watercolour of Pontyberem Memorial Hall, but I did and here it is. It is a nice building and has some history.

Today we have the grandchildren, God bless school holidays. I dropped Alex and the children off at Tescos while I went to visit my mother. I later discovered Alex had left her purse in the car. A real result in my opinion. That was going to be a cheap shopping expedition!

My mother fell asleep after I had been talking for about 5 minutes. Alex said that was a record I normally send people to sleep a lot quicker than that!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Grandfather's Drawing Book

I don't have much of my grandfather's work but I do have his drawing book of work from when he was 14-15years old in 1901. I thought the cover itself was worthy of an image.

Here is one of the drawings form inside. I am not sure who the lady was.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Aston Cross

I don't have a great sense of smell, something that can be a blessing or a curse. I think it is primarily a result of an operation I had as a child. I remember being in the Children's Hospital at Christmas. I had an operation on my nose and some bone was chipped away in the process. I went to school in Aston. The all pervasive smells there were from hops at Ansells Brewery and sauce form the HP factory. So maybe that has something to do with it. In any case it had an affect on me as I certainly like beer and HP brown sauce. I believe Ansells in Aston closed down in the 1980's after a union dispute.
The little sketch above is of Aston Cross in the 1960's where I used to catch the No 8 Inner Circle Bus, (seen in the distance).

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Mary Berry

Whilst watching the television I often grab a piece of graphite stick and sketch a figure. So the other night when a program was on with Mary Berry about cooking I did the above. By leaving the lines you can see how the sketch progresses. Now for those of you that know me you will be aware I have no interest in cooking. I am however very interested in eating so I don't mind Alex watching these type of shows.

Today I was down by the Burry Inlet in respect of a commission. Alex is out shopping!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Cotswold Scene

The watercolour above is of a scene in the Cotswolds. Alex and I enjoy visiting the area although it does tend to be somewhat busy, well in comparison to where we live  in Carmarthen. If there is a two car stoppage in the town that would be a jam.

Yesterday I was doing some sorting out when I came across an old toy from my childhood. I hadn't seen it in, well a long time and frankly thought it had flown south many years ago. Still here it is.

Sorry the camera work isn't up to much. I am no Steven Sealburg. It is an old clockwork bullfinch although some people think its  a robin. Survived better than I have!

The link I am afraid is very predictable.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Fishing Boats at sea

More rain on the way and possibly snow. Put me in mind of the above painting I did a while back.
It was inspired by a painting that had been in the family for some time.

We have had both my sister and sister in law staying with us overnight. This afternoon Alex my sister and I went off to visit my mother and my sister in law said her goodbyes and parted on her way back to Tamworth. When we got to St Clears we had a phone call from my sister in law. She had left without her suitcase.
"Where are you?" asked Alex
"That's the other thing I have taken the wrong road I am near Lampeter." She replied.

Later we met my sister in law back at our house.

 "Maybe there is a good reason women aren't allowed to drive in some countries." I said in jest.
I got the look. I then went to get her bag for her. I found it open with clothes all around the bedroom.

I shouted down, "You haven't even packed the bag."
"That's because your in the wrong bedroom, that's your sisters bag!" My sister in law replied in delight.

15 - All.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Death of a King

My mother is sketched above in one of her better recent moments.

I was reading her diary the other day for 1936  when she was a schoolgirl. It makes for interesting reading. Well it did for me. I would like to compare it to today's generation of schoolgirls diaries, okay well maybe I wouldn't. Anyway here it is recording the death of King George.

 29th January,
 "The King is weakening and his condition gives rise to the greatest anxiety.It is very windy tonight the snow has all gone. My cold is beastly. Mummie was horrid to me about it . Didn't sympathise when I was simply frozen.. Oh dear, what a life..."

21st January,
"Death came peacefully to the King at 11.55pm last night in the presence of her majesty the Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of York, The Princess Royal and the Duke and Duchess of Kent. The Prince of Wales in now King Edward the eighth and the first bachelor King for 176 years the last being King George 111."

28th January,
"Daddie and I went to Carrs Lane to hear the broadcast service from Windsor. It was supposed to be 1.15 but was more than 3/4 hour late. There were six Kings in the Procession. King Edward V111, King Boris of Bulgaria, King Haskon of Norway, King Leopold of the Belgians."

The Broadcast refer to the newly formed British Broadcasting Company who wished to broadcast the wedding of Prince Albert Duke of York in 1923 but were refused. They were however  allowed to do a radio broadcast the funeral of King. Of course radio receivers were scarce so my mother had to listen to a public broadcast.

(During the procession the Imperial Crown fell off the coffin into the gutter).

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Aberystwyth Promenade

I did the above painting of Aberystwyth Promenade today. It will need a couple of touches when it is dry. When the children were little we lived in Newtown and would quite often go across to Aberystwyth on a sunny day. ( I know the thought of a sunny day is a foreign concept these days). Apart from playing on the beach there was always a treat a visit to a lovely old fashioned toy shop that sold farm animals, tractors, lorries etc. Although money was tight we generally came away with a few little farm animals. The shop was very memorable as was the one occasion we had sausage and chips from a takeaway near the pier. I doubt the premises is open now as this was nearly 30 years ago. It was memorable for a different reason. I have to say they were the worst chips I have ever tasted in my life. None of us could eat them.

We used too take our sheep dog Pluto and walk along the Promenade looking down onto the beach below. Bathers would often stretch out against the promenade wall on the sand and pebbles. Pluto naturally enough would walk along the Promenaded sniffing the ground and railings occasionally marking them. We were walking along enjoying the sunshine one day when there was a sudden angry shout from below on the beach. Pluto looked a bit sheepish, ( if a sheepdog can look sheepish). I looked over to see a man jumping up looking very irate. It was obvious what had happened. We ran for the car which fortunately was not far away and made a quick exit.
Happy days.
Alex is getting over a bad case of womanflu and is only to be approached in full chemical  protective clothing.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Bear Fishing

Now I can't claim credit for the painting above.This was our 7 year old grandson. His paternal grandparents went to Canada and watched grizzly bears fishing for salmon. They also had a very close encounter with a large grizzly. Having seen the photos I think it was one of these stories that were better if you weren't there! Anyway these stories must have inspired him. I asked him what he wanted to paint. He did a drawing and then the above oil painting. Clever boy!
The only appropriate links:

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Towy Valley

I re-worked this painting today. It shows the Towy Valley and Merlin's Hill from Penlanffos, Carmarthen. The trees on Merlin's Hill needed some work and more light in the valley. I am fairly happy with it now.

I am firmly in agreement with Thomas Jefferson (The American President who wrote the declaration of Independence) when he said, "Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today."

 Having been in the Police Force for 30 years it was ingrained in you to get on with things and get them done, (no excuses). You never knew what was coming along next. I pretty well carry this philosophy anyway. I never really got on with committees although I have been on a great many. I always found a committee  slows progress down to a snails pace or the pace of the slowest person on the committee.

Anyway there are exceptions to everything. I have put off a job for a while, in actual fact over 40 years.
I was given a pocket watch to mark a significant birthday. It wasn't a really expensive one but it was of sentimental value and it worked , well for a couple of days. Then it stopped and I put it in a box thinking I would have a look at it one day. Well forty years later that day arrived, yesterday in fact. I got the watch out and took the movement apart. A very small screw had not been fully tightened in manufacture and it was rubbing against one of the cogs. Hey Presto, its working and ticking away merrily.

Alex enjoyed "The X Factor Tour" in Cardiff  yesterday with our daughters and one grandson, unfortunately Alex is now full of cold and dosed up with paracetamol. She is of a generous disposition and I feel she will probably share her cold with me eventually!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

White Bridge Carmarthen

Here is a watercolour I did of the River Towy by the White Bridge as it used to be called. The White Bridge is the Bascule (lifting ) Bridge that the railway uses to cross the Towy on the west side of Carmarthen.
The Bridge was built in 1911 by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company and is a Grade 11 listed building.

Alex surprised me a few weeks ago when she informed me that she was off to the X Factor show. It wasn't so much that she was going but that it was on today the first home international. Wales v Ireland. Okay so I didn't use my ticket maybe its a good thing. Still I will watch it on TV and hope for a good result. As James Arthur would no doubt say,"Impossible".

Dinner Dance.

I tend to wear mainly old or casual clothes these days. Its a practical thing really. When I spend half the day painting or take the opportunity to do an hours work when I can means old clothes are the logical choice. Also having spent 30 years having to press a uniform and bull boots means casual is a light relief.

Even so I occasionally make an effort. The odd dinner dance etc. On this occasion I was waiting for Alex to get ready and took the opportunity to do a quick sketch and scare the children. I should also point out that grey hair is a lifestyle choice not the result of 3 children and 8 +? grandchildren!

Friday, 1 February 2013

City of St Truro - Fastest Train

Here is my painting of the locomotive City of St. Truro on her record breaking run. Built in 1903 it is believed that she was the first steam locomotive to exceed 100 mph. She can surely claim to be one of the Worlds Fastest trains.This took place on a run between London and Plymouth in 1904.

Today has been busy again with plenty domestically to sort out, no chance of any painting. Tomorrow I may have time for a couple of hours. I have a painting in mind that needs working on. I still haven't started my large commission but the weather is at odds with that.