Thursday, 31 October 2013

White Park Cattle

I had to take my computer to the repairers this week so we were without the PC for a while.
It is now back (statement of the self evident!).

When we went to see David Cowdry's exhibition I was taken by pretty well all the paintings but the one that really caught my eye was of a Newton House White Park Cow. He really is brilliant at painting wild life.

I have never undertaken a painting of White Park Cattle but I have thought about it and even gone to Newton House to sketch them (examples above). Having seen his masterpiece I am not sure if I am inspired or intimidated. Maybe I will have a go.... but there again probably not.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Boathouse Laugharne

I finished the above painting of the Boathouse Laugharne today. It is a small oil painting measuring 6 ins x 6 ins and will be framed in 3in wide moulding to give an overall size of 12ins x 12ins. This size has sold quite well this year. Its a bit of a squint to paint this small but no real problem.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

karate competition

Yesterday one of our grandsons was competing in his first Karate competition. Alex and I went along to watch. We were interested from the point of view that it was our grandson but both of us having done karate for a good number of years were interested anyway.

I was impressed with the organisation and discipline. I feel that karate is an excellent way of teaching young people self-discipline as well as a strong mind. Anyway I found myself really enjoying the competition and even had the odd stupid life crisis moment thinking,
"Yes I wouldn't mind having a go at that again" reality bites, err no perhaps not.

Anyway we were all very proud as he won a silver medal in his Kata ( a series of movements mimicking fighting an imaginary opponent). He then won a bronze medal in Kumite (sparring with another competitor). I would have been proud if he had just competed but to win medals in his first competition was great.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Dryslwyn Castle and River Towy

I have finished the painting of Dryslwyn Castle and the River Towy shown above. The painting is about 36ins x 18 ins. I did place a heron in the water under the left bank. It looked okay in isolation but drew too much attention for my liking, becoming the subject as opposed to part of the subject of the painting. So I got rid of it. There is a red kite over the castle and some sheep in the fields in the background. I am pleased with the painting which gives a great sense of space, and autumn sunshine on an iconic landmark in the valley.

My next painting may well be a moonlight painting as I haven't done one in a while and the other morning I was out with the dogs at 6.30am and we had a fine walk under the light of the moon. I was prompted to think yes thats what I will do next.

Link be patient and wait for add to clear

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Last chance to see David Cowdry's Exhibition.

You can see that the painting is now coming together (well I hope you can). I have detailed the forestry or at least I have given that impression. I have added to the clouds and put in shadows.
I have yet to decide on the foreground. I could put in a heron or a large tree on the left or I could leave it. Any of the options will probably work ok. I have yet to complete the river and the finishing touches.

I forgot to mention Alex and I went to see David Cowdry's exhibition at Aberglasney. Brilliant as usual a real treat. If you get a chance go but it finishes tomorrow so a last chance really.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Stage 4 Dryslwyn Castle

The next stage of the painting of Dryslwyn Castle is shown above. I am starting to detail different areas of the picture. The contrast for the shadows is being added. It may not look a great deal of change but there are several hours work there from the previous stage.

I mentioned yesterday that Alex and I had visited one of our daughters the weekend. I didn't say that after we left our son in law's parents were coming to stay there. Now I did some of the cooking when we stopped and so had good reason to visit the fridge. I noticed a large white jug in there containing some sort of liquid? It had a rather nasty heavy green crust on it. To be truthful I did think about throwing it away but decided it might be taken the wrong way.

Anyway I gave it no more thought.

However after we left and our son in laws parents arrived. Our daughter was out but left a note to say she had left soup in the fridge for them that only needed warming up. You can guess the rest.
Yes they warmed up and ate the contents of the jug (which was actually homemade soup at one point in its life cycle but that had been well over a week ago). The actual soup was on the lower shelf. Fortunately they suffered no ill effects well none that I am aware of.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Quick vignette

When we were at our daughter's I caught this sketch of her relaxing in her dressing gown. It is always easier to catch people when they are reading or nodding off!
These type of sketches are hardly portrait material but quick and loose vignettes. Nice to capture the moment.

Sunday, 20 October 2013


This weekend Mike our son in law was going away for some do or other so we decided to visit our daughter. The sketch above is of our grandson. Now obviously on Saturday I wanted to watch Scarlets in the Heineken Cup. As they dont have Sky I was a bit stumped but managed to get streamed coverage in French online which was a bit confusing.

Talking of confusing, while the girls (Alex and daughter plus two grandchildren) were out shopping the phone rang.
I answered it and the conversation went a bit like this. (Now bear in mind that for some unknown reason I tend to take on accents and Mike is Irish. So if I speak to him on the phone I take on a weird Irish accent  I know its sad!).

Caller, "Hello, Mike."
Me, (thinking its Mike calling), "Hello. Mike. How are you doing there."
Caller, "I'm great."
Me, "I'm just watching the rugby."
Caller, "Whats on?"
Me, "The Heineken Cup of course, what else. Whats the matter with you?"
Caller, " Oh right."
Me, " Are you having a good time Mike?"
Penny starting to drop.
Caller, "I was thinking of coming around for a coffee Mike."
Me, " I'm not Mike he's away."
Caller, Penny obviously begining to drop that I'm not Mike and neither is he!" Err when's he back?"
Me "Tomorrow (Sunday)."
Caller, "Right I'll call him then."
When the girls got home I related this to them. They rolled their eyes and then Alex said, " So if he wasnt Mike who was he?"
Me,"Err I didn't ask."
Another roll of the eyes.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Third Stage of Painting Dryslwyn Castle

Now we are getting on I have blocked in the background and castle area moving forward blending where necesssary as I go to the bottom of the painting. The area is now covered in paint and I am happier. I can see the finished pciture in my minds eye and touch wood all is going as it should be.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Second Stage of Painting Dryslwyn Castle

The next stage is to get the sky and river filled in. This can be done quickly but smoothly painting thinly. I have added some cumulus into the sky painting in the white while the sky is wet to get a feathered effect. I have also put some greys into the background trees. It is not a snow scene (but equally it could be). I may yet put a tree, a heron, or a figure in the foreground that can be decided at a later stage.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Painting Dryslwyn Castle

I have started a painting of Dryslwyn Castle. I cut a board to size (33ins x 17 ins) and have triple primed it rubbing down in between coats.

I then used a small brush to layout the composition with turps and burnt sienna plus a bit of blue.
This works well for this type of scene if you want to alter anything use a bit of turps and a rag to wipe it. It will mostly be painted over anyway but it is quite a free quick way of doing things, saving you getting bogged down in detail.

So there it is above first stage completed.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Breathing new life into a painting.

The two paintings above are the same. The bottom one was done last year and was framed. However after looking at it a while I saw it differently and eventually conceded that it had to come out of the frame. 

I have now reworked it in to the painting above. It isn't difficult to rework a painting and many artists do this. Fortunately it doesn't happen often with me. I like to get it right before framing. Looking at them together I am not now really sure which I prefer.  

Anyway the top one won the day and is now going in to a frame as I speak.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Universal Colliery, Senghenydd

Today is the anniversary of the terrible mining disaster at Universal Colliery, Senghenydd where 440 men lost their lives, 14th October 1914.

Shown above is a painting I was commissioned to do by a descendant of one of the miners who survived the disaster. I struggled to find a view showing both pit heads but eventually managed to work out the relatvie positions. The image of the woman waiting for news was one taken at the time.

I have been down a mine and crawled along a coal face and I have nothing but respect for those who worked in those terrible conditions. It is not something I could do or could have done.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Stavanger sketch

The sketch above is from our visit to Stavanger. I had originally postioned myself on a concrete bollard facing the docks while Alex went in to a Christmas shop. However as virtually every passenger off a German ship decided to come and stand in front of me one after the other. If they had been any closer to me they would have been sitting on my lap. I eventually gave up and moved getting a less interesting view but enough to keep me quiet for a few minutes. 

This morning I was in the gallery moving paintings around. I took in a few more originals and the display looks good.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Close Encounters

So at half past seven this morning Jac and I had gone throught the woods across the field to the top gate. Directly on the other side of the gate in the lane were about 30 Freisians. I thought we could go back the way we came but some macho instinct said we should just go through them. I opened the gate held Jac on a tight lead and we made our way through them. They were a bit skittish but no real problem.

As we cleared thelane they started to follow. I turned around held out my arms and they stopped. We continued on without any further problem.

I was admiring the view down the Valley passed Merlin's Hill as we dropped down over the brow with about 200 yards to go to the cattle grid. All of a sudden I heard bellowing and looking behind I saw the heads of the cattle appearing over the brow of the hill. Then they came fully in to sight.
They were running at full tilt and towards us. I swore I heard someone shouting, "Stampede!"or was it my imagination. Anyway you can't out run cattle and our only options were to go for the hedge or turn and face them. A cow can weigh about 1500lbs, nearly ten times my weight and can do some serious damaage to the body work if they decide to collide with you. I didn't fancy going for the hedge so Jac and I turned and faced them down. I shouted a few words and held my arms out. I swear a couple of the cows rolled over laughing but in anycase they stopped long enough for us to quickly walk to the cattle grid.

Close encounters. I blame Jac talking of which it is time for his next walk.

Link ? You have to be getting on a bit to remember this

Friday, 11 October 2013


I was talking to a couple of friend the other day who had been out on tour to watch the British and Irish Lions in Australia. It sounded like a great experience. It was terrific just watching it on the television.
I was a bit envious though I confess. I am not sure I could take the flight though. All that time on an airplane might be just too much.

Anyway I did have some connection to the tour. At least two of the British and Irish Lions have my work. ( I am not really name dropping, well okay maybe I am, but on this occasion hopefully you will forgive me or at least understand!).

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Cheap Charlies - Charlies Newtown and Welshpool

We went to Charlies Store new in Carmarthen the other day. This is a large super store with gardening,  outdoor clothing, tools etc. It has a number of stores in Wales and a large one in Shrewsbury.

Why I am telling you this? Well I remember Charlie 40 years ago. He had a shop in Newtown and a shop he opened in the top of town on Market Day in Welshpool. It was always known as "Cheap Charlies" in those days because of the bargains you could get.

 Pictured above is Charlie as I remember him in Welshpool. He must have been in his sixties then with his long coat and white hair. He sold mainly ex WD (War Department) things in those days ex army, tools, pots, pans and blankets... I used to rummage through his shop and buy drills and reamers for a few pence. It was always good to have a chat with him and bargain for these odd tools.

His son I believe took it on and now it is obviously a large company. What a great success from small beginnings.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Fordson Dexta

Here is the completed painting of the Fordson Dexta I have been working on.  I am pleased withthe result as it all fits together and doesn't look contrived something that is always a danger doing a painting in this manner.
Had a busy day today with all sorts going on including picking up the grandchildren this afternoon.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Fordson Dexta - Stage 1

Here is the commission I have been working on. It is of a Fordson Dexta tractor. I have been working from photographs. Not ideal but I have painted tractors before and drawn them so it is a subject I am familiar with. The commission involves placing the tractor in a particular setting. I didn't have a photograph of the tractor at the angle I wished to use so I had to do a number of drawings first to get it right.
Here it is after a couple of days work. I have worked in the background first and then put in the tractor. The foreground and some details to finish it off.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

A good night out.

I took one of the grandchildren to watch the Scarlets last night at Parc y Scarlets. I don't know what he had done to deserve it as he is a very good boy. It wasn't a great game and Scarlets lost. Still ever the optimist I live in hope that things will improve.
Now little grandson was sat next to me during the game very well behaved, quiet as a mouse when suddenly during a lull in the proceedings he shouted,"Come on Scarlets!" in a voice that belied his stature.
I nearly had a heart attack there and then. People in front of him just about held on to their drinks. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to change the fortunes of the home side.

Anyway today I have done some more work on a commission which I hope to finish in the next couple of days.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Look through any window

There is always something to draw. Here is a page from my sketchbook. It was a "look out  of the window what can I draw?" type of sketch and better hurry as dinners nearly ready. So it was a quick ink sketch for no real reason other than personal pleasure. We don't have a caravan we have a campervan. Both have advantages and disadvantages but you can get around the country cheaply and easily with either.

We are still having problems with our phone. The latest information Buzby (for those of you that can remember him) provided was that we may get someone dealing with it on 1st November as the fault is in their cabling!
The hilarious thing is you cant ring in on our phone and every time I speak to someone from BT about it they say "I will ring you". No you wont I cant get incoming calls which is why I am speaking to you. Anyway I confess it is nice and quiet without the phone ringing.

Today I have been working on a commission. It is fairly detailed and it will take me longer to do than the price warrants but it evens itself out as some paintings are quicker.


Friday, 4 October 2013

Gwen Beynon

I finished the above painting yesterday. It was a commission, bit of a rush job but I didn't hurry the painting. I had used alkyds to speed up the drying time. Amazingly Alex framed it before I could photograph it.
Anyway there it is a little oil painting of the Boathouse. Its all Laugharne this week.

Today I was stewarding in the gallery. I bumped into Gwen Beynon in town. Gwen is a very fine artist/printer. She was also taught me printmaking for a short period in Trinity.  She was a good tutor. I enjoyed the process of printmaking and could have taken it further but you (I) have to stick to one goal. As someone once said,
"The hunter who chases two rabbits gets none!"

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Laugharne Boathouse

The above painting of Laugharne was sold last week. It is a view I really like. It captures the Castle the inlet, Dylan Thomas writing shed and the Boathouse.

Yesterday Alex and I treated ourselves to a visit to Cwmderi Vineyard,  great food, good wine. Couldn't really afford the time but whatever. Its was a lovely afternoon.
I have a commission to sort out now.

link not Sunday but

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


This oil painting of Laugharne  (Talacharne) went last week. The dinghy in the foreground gives the composition depth and the eye is led diagonally through the painting to the boathouse in the background. Pretty much any view around the foreshore in Laugharne in worth doing. 

Anyway haven't got much painting done so far this week but a lot of things that needed doing.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Slip sliding away

The above watercolour sketch was undertaken at a fairly rapid pace whilst waiting for the dinner to cook. It shows two caravans being placed on their respective pitches at Cirencester Camp site earlier last month.
The really good thing about the site is that it is adjacent to Bathurst Estate and there are good walks in the Park. One such walk takes you in to Cirencester itself.

On one occasion we were returning form Cirencester with our food shopping. I had Jac on a lead and a bag of groceries in the other.It had been raining for about a day on and off and the ground was wet. I opened a field gate at the top of a hill and bent down to release Jac. I started to slip on the wet grass and mud. My foot went one way and Jac the other. My arms did one or two rotations backwards, my feet decided to go aerial and I ended up flat on my back in a mud bath.

 Alex ran to me looking very concerned. She retrieved the shopping basket opened it and said,"Thank god the wine is okay." She then looked at me and burst out laughing!
Well I didn't expect sympathy, and I didn't get it.

Today I finished priming a large board and also got the tax returns done so a good days work. Now to collect the grandchildren form school.

Link a few choices but