Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Winter Spring or Summer

Spring is late never mind summer but I think it may have arrived . It was a lovely sunny day today. Jac was mental  more like a cat on a hot tin roof. Alex is now into cleaning, everything is sparkling and I mean everything.

We had a visit from Sam Tan, the Fire Brigade who inspected the house and changed a couple of smoke detectors (which were working but were old). A very good service and a good scheme.
I asked them about the scheme and they said we go  around the "elderly" and check for faults and advise on fire safety. Thanks, so I now know what category I am officially in!

I spent most of the day finishing a commission. It isn't exactly how the customer described it but I am pleased and I think she will be too.

 The Link a bit of a tangent but I like it.

Monday, 29 April 2013

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"

Alex and I looked after one of our beautiful grandchildren over the weekend. I took the opportunity to do a couple of drawings.
Children are not great at sitting still but there again neither is Alex, so it is always a challenge to get a drawing done. It can be a bit like doing a hundred drawings in different positions and putting them all together in your head. If you really have to do a drawing of a fidgety child its best to do lots of sketches first. You can of course use a camera and work from an image (there is nothing wrong with that) but I personally think you can lose something doing it that way.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Frisky Cows

The cows were a bit frisky this morning. Although they are basically just curious it can be a bit unnerving when they run at you, and when one does the rest follow. By turning and waving your arms they generally stop but they seemed quite persistent today and Jac was quite concerned. They eventually stopped about 5 yards from us.

We watched a fox across the fields whilst having breakfast and the kite came across the back valley.

I am currently reading Carmarthen Underground by Gaynor Madoc Leonard so I have an idea of the series for when I do the book cover for the next one. I am about half way through.  It is very different an enjoyable read especially for someone from the area.

Friday, 26 April 2013

All at sea

It is I note time for the yearly dose of insanity that is the Turner Prize nominations. I generally don't take much interest and this year is no exception. So I suppose logically it is unfair to be critical. On a positive note I did see one of the nominations was a painter. Anyway I still cannot come to terms with people being rewarded for coming up with the most obscure or most outrageous idea and calling it art. "You can call a wheelbarrow a Rolls Royce but its still a wheelbarrow." Or maybe not even a wheelbarrow!

Now for me the painting above by Stanhope Forbes is, Art.

Stanhope Forbes trained as an artist first at South Kensington School of art, Lambeth College and then  the Royal Academy under Millais. This sums up why he can paint. All the odd ideas in the world cannot make up for a lack of knowledge and experience. Unfortunately we live in a time of instant everything and people want to be artists in an instant without putting in the ground work. I am afraid in my view rewarding these pretentious ideas merely encourages more of the same and does no great service to the development of Art at all.

Anyway I just put myself back in the dinosaur class! (Not that I ever left it.). As a point of fact the dinosaurs ruled the world for quite a few million years until an unkindly asteroid came visiting.

Speaking of dinosaurs here is my link

Thursday, 25 April 2013


I finished the above  painting of Broadhaven today. You can just see Rickets Head in the background. The painting of Newgale shows it from the other direction. One of the joys of painting is that you can have a blue sky whenever you want (or snow or rain for that matter!). A bit of blue sky wouldn't go amiss just now.
Time for lunch now.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Following our trip to Pembrokeshire yesterday, I started  a painting of Newgale. I finished it today shown above. The outcrop in the near distance is Rickets Head beyond which is Nolton Haven and Druidstone.

Today we received 3 postcards from Lanzarote. Nothing unusual in that. They were from one of our daughters and her family who were on holiday. Its just they have been back about 6 weeks! Anyway nice to know they are having a good time.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Picton Castle

Alex and I went down to Pembrokeshire for a change this morning. Had a look around Narberth and then had lunch at Picton Castle.  I sat on a bench and took the opportunity for a 5 minute sketch. When I got up I realised the bench was damp! There was a display of paintings by Paul Martin in the gallery which were well worth the visit.
Back to Carmarthen then to pick up two grandchildren.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Bull

Yes well there he was this morning larger than life in the top field. Mr Bull. Fortunately he was surrounded by cows and there was an electric fence dividing the field. Oh and I was on the good side of it. He is a magnificent beast, its just I don't particularly want to share a field with him. Anyway the painting above has just been put in a frame and seems appropriate.

As I came down the lane I saw again the remains of someone's lunch or evening festivities. There is a pull in on the lane and all sorts of people visit it for, different reasons. They often leave debris behind, as I found today, sausage roll wrapping crisp packets..etc...  How could people do that?  "Eat something tidy!"
So I picked up the rubbish and dropped it in the bin at the bottom of the hill. Annoying but predictable I suppose.

I thought about putting a link of Ghost Riders in the Sky or even Little White Bull but settled for
Gregory Peck and

Sunday, 21 April 2013


This morning when Jac and I were out I came across what I at first thought was a  domestic dispute between two magpies. When I got close I could see it was in fact a magpie and a thrush. The magpie was giving his distinctive aggressive call and the thrush was mimicking it. They were also having something of a stand off. I assume the thrushes' nest was nearby. Here is a sketch of the brave little fellow (sorry got a bit of a fold in the middle!)

Apparently a thrush can mimic many birds and by listening to one it is a good way to tell what birds are in that area.

Alex and I went to the rugby last night with son, son in law and 2 of the grandchildren. A good game with the Scarlets coming out on top.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

River Towy Merlin's Hill

The above painting of River Towy and Merlin's Hill sold today. It matched the weather it could have been painted today, blue skies and the odd bit of cumulus.

As I was in the queue for the checkout in the supermarket today a lady in front was putting back shopping. She hadn't enough cash to pay for what she had. She had a number of children with her. When the crisps and things went back I wasn't too fussed but when I saw her having to give back the bread and value chops I could see her shopping was not enough to feed me for a couple of days never mind a boot full of children. I felt quite sorry for her but I really did feel sorry for the children. Some people are experiencing hard times and it can't be easy.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Dawn Chorus in the Towy Valley

It  was a beautiful sunny start to the day as Jac and I went for our walk through the woods and over the fields this morning. The dawn chorus was particularly noisy so I thought I might record a bit of it as we made our way through the woods. As we made our way through the avenue of trees with alternative sunlight and shadow it was possible to hear:
A woodpecker
A robin
Moorhens arguing in the reservoir below
And many more.
I put the recording with a painting I did of the woods this time last year.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Friesian Cattle

Today I was asked if I had any paintings of Friesian Cattle. I said, "No." In actual fact I had a framed painting I had forgotten about. Here is a watercolour of Friesians as well. Not easy to define with their strong markings. Still there we are as they say.

This morning I caught a jackdaw merrily hopping down my rows of onion sets pulling them out one by one.
I was between spitting feathers and laughing. Anyway they are now back in the ground!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Red Kite over the River Towy

I was browsing through some canvases I hadn't done anything with when I came across a painting of the River Towy I had done earlier this year. It still needed work so I spent a couple of hours finishing it. It needed  an infusion of light and work around the trees. So there it is, a red kite over the river looking east towards Merlin's Hill.

Alex and I went to the gym this morning then she went off to lunch with a friend.

The link slightly obscure,  is from 1967 and one of my favourites from my youth.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Painting Demonstration - Children flying a kite

I am painting on a 15cm x15cm canvas board using artists quality oils. The small brush is a very "knackered" no.1 watercolour brush. All the drawing is done directly with the brush.
I am afraid the camera work could be better as the easel moved as I was working on it.
I added the sailboat afterwards to give and escape for the eye.

Monday, 15 April 2013


The little watercolour and ink painting shown above sold today. I pass the scene quite often as it is on the way to Pontiets. The cattle are nearly always in the field under the Bridge at Pontantwn.   The view however is slightly changed from when I did the painting due to new building work.

There is a very interesting garage in Pontantwn straight out of the 1960's and would make a great subject but  I am not sure I would find a buyer so it will probably go unpainted. Alex has been framing today and we are pretty much up to date.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Watercolour of Carreg Cennen

I haven't done a watercolour painting for a while so I was glad to do the one above yesterday.
It is of Carreg Cennen Castle near Trap.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Canada Geese

As Jac and I walked across the top fields this morning looking down on to the valley we spied our pair of Canada geese. They were 3/4 mile from the reservoirs grazing on the field as we walked passed. So here is a quick oil sketch on paper.

"Goose I think its time to buzz the tower"


Friday, 12 April 2013

Gaynor Madoc Leonard - The Carmartnen Underground

As I walked passed the Cwmoernant Reservoirs (shown above) this morning with Jac we were treated to the sound and sight of a pair of Canada geese coming over our heads and landing in the water. I have never seen Canada geese here before this year. We have all varieties of water fowl visiting but until this year never Canada Geese.

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet with Gaynor Madoc Leonard, the Carmarthen author. She is the author of "The Carmarthen Underground" series. Her next book in the series is due out later  this year and she has asked me to do the cover for her which I am pleased to do for her.

Links to her;

I have another commission to start today but first off to the gym!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Kite Flying

I said I might get around to doing a painting of the two children flying their kite I had seen on the Burry Inlet.
Well here they are. I added the sail boat to balance the picture. I hope you get the impression of the bright breezy day it was.

I got my potatoes and onions in the garden yesterday and as Alex gleefully pointed out to me the birds have been pulling the onion sets out already!
Great excuse to use the link for Booker T and the MG's Green Onions.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Alex and I have had varying numbers of grandchildren for the last couple of days so a bit out on our feet. The kids are pretty good to be fair. Jac has just come in from the garden and returned Alex's slipper. He has obviously buried it somewhere and recovered it full of soil and stones. Life eh!

You know I am pretty lucky avoiding colds and viruses. I didn't have a day off sick during the last 17 years  I was in the Police (other than a week when I was  hospitalized).  I get a cold occasionally maybe once a year although I don't think I have had one for the last couple of years or so.

I do have a strategy for this.

I eat healthily. I walk at least twice a day. I am out in all weathers but getting cold and wet is no problem and you don't catch a cold by being wet. I am fastidious about washing my hands. I don't pick up magazines in the dentists or waiting rooms. I use my own pen. I am not a huggy, kissy type of person and I keep snuffly children at bay with a sharp stick. Not quite Howard Hughes! Anyway it all seems to work .
Hang on is that a tickle in my throat?
No just kidding.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Aberglasney exhibition

Alex and I went to the Private View of David Cowdry's Exhibition at Aberglasney on Friday. A queue to get in and hectic inside. I had to go back today to have a good look it was impossible with so many people milling around on Friday.

A great exhibition, fantastic work as usual. It finishes Thursday so not many days left to catch it.

We were blessed with the ninth grandchild this morning. Not quite a full rugby side yet but well on its way.
Mother and child doing well. Thanks for all the good wishes.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Morning Constitutional

The painting above is by a very underated artist, Edward Moreland Lewis. His life was tragically cut short during the Second World War. He was the son of B A  Lewis of Kidwelly and Carmarthen. B. A. Lewis also known as "Lewis the Gas" was  a fine amateur watercolourist. The painting is a view I have done before of Llansteffan from Ferryside beach. E. M Lewis work can still be bought. I believe The Martin Tinney Gallery has a couple.

I had intended to do a painting today but I decided I had to get on with another project that may or may not pay off.

I went for my early morning constitutional up through the woods and across the fields with Jac today. I had got half way around when I caught up with someone else. Now I am probably just selfish but I like to keep my early morning walk to myself. It is a good half hour walk and gives me plenty of time to think things through and plan the day as well as stop to watch a lesser spotted woodpecker or a pair of goldfinches. I tend to find if I walk with someone else they feel the need to talk all the time, generally about things I am not really interested in, if at all. So call me selfish but if I see someone ahead I slow down and let them go on, as was the case this morning. The trouble was they kept stopping and I had to stop as well. It was probably pretty obvious I was trying to avoid them.

I like meeting people going in the opposite direction I can chat and then move on when we have run out of interesting things to say. Okay, I admit it, I guess I am just anti-social.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Oil Painting Demonstration

Here is a video of me painting the yacht at anchor it isn't great camera work and a few seconds were lost in the upload but fortunately I am a better painter than photographer. You may find it interesting anyway. It is one of a variety of ways in which I paint in oils.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Yacht at anchor

I was asked the other day if I painted boats. Yes I do but it reminded me I haven't done many for a while. The one above I finished today it is of a yacht at anchor in Angle Bay. I don't recall the name of the yacht something like Chieftan?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Canal Scene

I did the above painting as a demonstration today. Its a nice scene I have painted before. I chose it because it lent it self to the technique I wanted to show. Starting off with tonal values then adding the colour.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Martin Tinney Gallery

It has been a busy day and I am late in getting to my blog. Walked Jac a couple of times, got to the gym, walked to town to see the estate agents, went to change some books, got petrol for the lawnmower and cut the lawns, went to Tesco's and in between managed to photograph a dozen paintings in frames for a catalogue. The photography is the worst as it is too easy to get a reflection off the canvas or shadow where you don't want it....
The painting above I finished yesterday it is of a wet night in Cardiff outside the Martin Tinney gallery.
A great gallery with first class artists. I try and get there for a browse whenever we go to Cardiff.

Monday, 1 April 2013

The shore

We have had family here over Easter and yesterday Alex did the full Monty. A huge Easter Dinner, the pork itself was 15lbs all washed down with the odd alcoholic beveridge. So Ia ma up for a quiet day today although I a worrying/ considering  cutting my lawns. The neighbours have all done theirs and our front garden resembles the savanna. You could lose a car in it.

I did get a painting done yesterday and it is shown above. Anyway Happy Easter.

 Link  Mr Acker Bilk - Stranger on the Shore. I really like this. My father used to play it on his clarinet  and it seems appropriate.