Saturday, 30 November 2013

I don't get it

Now this is obviously a good artist. No its not me! He is successful and has his work included on internatioinal  galleries etc. But let me give you my own personal take on this type of work.

According to the accompanying statement to his work,

Senada's "Theory of Obscurity" states that an artist can only produce art when the expectations and influences of the outside world are not taken into consideration.

Well forgive me but that is either a wholly naive idea or he expects people to accept this concept and swallow this.
In order not to be influenced by the world you would either not have to be from the planet or dead, which may actually explain a lot.

I have no personal axe to grind with the artist good luck to him if he can get people to pay for his work and appreciate it, but for me, I JUST DON'T GET IT.

There again I dont get:

People who wear their trousers around their backside without a belt
Making cars that do 120mph when the speed limit is 70 mph
Having 24 opening for licensed premises when we have problems with alcohol related events
Strictly Come Dancing

Its probably an age thing. What don't you get?

Friday, 29 November 2013


The other day Alex wanted to go to the factory in shop in St Clears to get something. As we pulled up I saw this puppy in the back of  a pick up outside. Now I don't usually draw many animals other than our own pets unless they are part of a scene but even I was taken by this puppy and had to let Alex go inside by herself. The sketch is done with a ballpoint pen on the back of some typed paper.

I had to readjust the head as you can see but you get the picture the scene was, to coin a well worn phrase,"very cute". Maybe I will do a painting of the scene one day, but I doubt it.

Link - sorry

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Gower from Cefn Sidan

We have been away for a couple of days this week relaxing reading walking etc. All good to charge up the batteries again. I finished this painting today of the Gower from Cefn Sidan. You can see Worms Head in the distance. To be honest the painting looks better than the image for me (that isn't always the way). I was trying to capture the strong sunlight on the sea and reflecting off the beach with a limited palette of colours. Quite happy with it anyway.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Sir Billy Butlin

The watercolour above is of, "Sir Billy Butlin". Originally this was a range boat off Aberporth. It is now in private ownership adni painted it when it was on moorings near Llansteffan. This was a summers day with strong shadows and contrast. I like painting or drawing boats the shapes and contours are interesting giving plenty of opportunity to go astray if you have any preconceived ideas. Observation is key to everything in drawing.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sailboat in the Towy estuary

Here I have a watercolour of a sailboat going seaward in the Towy Estuary. We often sailed small boats in the estuary and out over the Carmarthen Bar. It can be quite tricky with short steep seas particularly when there is a Southerly / Easterly wind. The seas break on the shallow sandbanks that claimed many large ships over the centuries.

The earthy colours of the palette give the picture a warm feeling. The reality would be that it would be cold and damp in those conditions but quite exhilarating.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Paxton's Tower - watercolour

Here is a very loose interpretation of Paxtons tower which overlooks the Towy Valley.
Not everyone's cup of tea but I like the little watercolour. Sometimes these little sketches have more charm and substance than a "finished" work.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Pecking order

Today I am in the gallery and so no time for painting. I did however manage to sketch our resident collared doves while having my breakfast. These two are adults as can be seen by the black collar which the juveniles lack.

The bird table is about 4 feet from the kitchen window so we can enjoy watching them feed. Both the collared doves and the wood pigeons will surprisingly stand up to magpies and crows and are pretty much top of the pecking order on our garden table although you notice they cock their heads to one side to allow a skyward glance every so often. I have previously witnessed one wood pigeon taken from the table by a sparrow hawk so I guess it always pays to keep your wits about you.

Link not doves but another constant visitor

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Winter near Brechfa

These winter mornings have inspired me to capture the spirit of the season. I know we don't have major snow yet.

Anyway the painting above was finished yesterday. "Winter near Brechfa". A loose impressionistic style suited the subject and hopefully captured the moment.

I don't dislike the cold and have been used to working or being outside most of my life. The other day we pulled up in front of the house and Alex asked me what it meant when there was condensation on the window. I said that it meant that one side of the glass was warmer than the other and that the water condensed on the glass of the warmer side.

She said, "Is that why there's condensation on the outside of the house?"  and pointed to our windows.
I said, "No that's on the inside," and then went and ran my finger over the glass to prove the point. As I did so the water gathered and I realised she was right it was colder in the house.

I have now relented and we have the heating on first thing in the morning, but not for long!

Link a bit cheesey but

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Snow showers in the Preseli's

I thought I would do an appropriate seasonal painting yesterday. It is a view of the Preseli's with snow showers. In the foreground are a field of sheep. I had thought about putting a shepherd and dog in it but decided it didn't need it.

I have painted this view using an easel at the begining of winter. It was a good walk carrying the easel and paints. When I got there I was ..cold.. Nevertheless I did the painting despite having to hold the easel with one hand to stop it blowing over and keep wiping a cold red nose. Still it is character forming as they say. Yesterday I did it in the relative warmth of my studio (no the heating is not on yet.).

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Angle dried out

I was sorting through some old folders yesterday and came across some forgotten watercolours. The little scene above is of East Angle dried out. We had a mooring there and would often sit waiting for the tide to come in to return to the boat from the pub, The Point House. The bottom is quite muddy and walking out in to the bay can be a bit tricky if you don't know where you are going and it is generally better to wait for water to row out to your boat.

I have been trying to resolve the isssue of the thumbnails being posted on facebook. The wrong thumbnail is going over to facebook which is no real help. I have added some HTML code to my blog and maybe this will work? Well this one has lets hope its not a fluke.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Junior Banksy

I posted the other day about Sir General Thomas Picton. Well the sketch above shows his monument in Carmarthen. I suppose you should judge a man in his time if you are going to judge him. He was Governor of Trinidad where his rule was considered brutal and as I mentioned before he died at Waterloo (the battle not the station).

Today I have spent most of the day updating my website (well at least starting to). It was woefully neglected and only had about 3 paintings left on it that weren't sold.

I have also been trying to sort out the issue with facebook not publishing the correct image from my blog. Apparently it is not uncommon and next to impossible to fix? Maybe it will work on this blog?

I was asked last week in a talk (incidently my last talk) whether any of our numerous grandchildren had the "Art gene". Well I can confirm that at the weekend we had 8 of them visiting. On departure we discovered that at least one of them was following the path trodden by "Banksy".

We discovered we had a lovely mural on the wall paper upstairs! Still nothing that blocker and a can of paint couldn't sort out!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Remembrance Day

I am not one to do direct copies of photographs as a rule. There are man y good reasons why you shouldn't do it. However last weekend one image caught my imagination that of Her Majesty The Queen at the Remembrance Day Ceremony.

Today we have visitors coming and I am doing lunch then there is the rugby so no real time to paint. I thought well okay I have 40 minutes to do something. I got out the paints and started on the painting. I painted the canvas black all over then blocked in the image as below.

To be honest it could be quite enough to stand by itself as a finished item but  I carried on to a more detailed finish above and amended the shape of the mouth and chin. Okay it took me an hour but not bad in the time. I captured what I wanted of the image. I doubt it will ever see a frame but I enjoyed doing it.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Ministry of Food Christmas Pudding

I made our Christmas pudding a few weeks back and it is sitting eagerly waiting for 25th December.

Today I have put the Christmas Pudding on to steam that is going to take about 8 hours so I haven't been painting as the inevitable consequence would be that I would forget about the pudding not top up the water and the pan would run dry!

I have my grandmother's "Mrs Beeton Book of Household Management" which is 98yrs old and has been well used. It is stuffed with recipes and miscellaneous odds and ends. The recipe above for Christmas Pudding is from the Ministry of Food when rationing was still in force. I confess I didn't use this recipe nor actually my grandmother's I went for Delia.

I was sorry to hear that Jonathan Davies is leaving the Scarlets for Clermont. I can understand why and don't blame him for taking the opportunity. He will at least have a painting to take with him to remind him of home.

Now I better go and check on pudding!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Christmas is coming

Well I decided to do a watercolour of Ty Cymorth as well. Not really a lot more you can do with a building to make it anymore interesting. I have added a few people.

Its getting nearer to Christmas and Alex always goes way over the top. Not that I am complaining her Christmas's are perfect if a little too much food. (If she reads this having too much food won't be a problem). Anyway a delivery came today. A large box containing wait for it.....Christmas toilet rolls complete with decorations! Err okay...

Last night I gave a talk that had been arranged about 12 months ago. (It was my last talk as I have decide not to do any more). It was in a church hall just outside Carmarthen. It was a horrible wet night which really helped when loading the car with examples of my work etc. I wasnt one hundred percent certain where the church hall was although I knew the church itself as I have painted it for several people and painted from there as there is a good view of the valley.

We arrived in good time climbing the hill in the car. The lane is single track and I had been told to turn off  before the church. It was near the farm and there was plenty of parking. We drove into the farmyard. It was dark and we couldn't see any sign of a church hall and there was hardly any room for parking. At the rear of the farmyard was a single track road. I thought it must be down here. It was totally dark and the single track road was in good condition so we started off. Gradually we started going down hill and the track got narrower and narrower. Weeds began to appear in the middle. At this point there was no going back. I was afraid it was going to end up in a muddy field. The lane got rougher but we had to go on and eventually the lane came out onto a B road. So much for my navigation skills and Alex wont let me forget it.

Anyway the talk was a success. The audience were very nice and we were made to feel at home well and at least no one fell asleep. (They also insisted on giving me expenses which I have never accepted for my talks. I will donate them to Ty Cymorth).

Link well just because Christmas is coming

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Ty Cymorth ~ Hospice Carmarthen

I have been asked to do an artists impression of Ty Cymorth the Hospice/ Day Centre in Carmarthen which is moving. I have donated to the charity from the takings of 2 exhibitions previously and was quite happy to do this work for them.

The building currently exists but is being extended and refitted. Anyway I had to get there this morning before 8am as it is impossible to see the building with all the cars parked after 9am. It was quite cold.

I did an ink drawing and from that I spent the day doing a digital drawing shown below. I don't know if this is what they want but I am hopeful it will be okay even with minor tweaking.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Josef Beuys

To continue my theme from yesterday. I once went to see an exhibition at the Tate Modern of the work of Josef Beuys. My little tribute to him is shown above. To quote the Guardian:

Twenty years after his death, Joseph Beuys is regarded by artists as a giant of modern art. As a new exhibition proves, his reputation has never been higher.

Well I am sorry but not in my opinion. The highlight of the exhibition consisted of a VW camper with a load of sleds arranged behind it. Its probably me but all I felt was, "What a waste of a VW Camper!" Incidentally he was responsible for the quote,"Everyman is an artist." A fairly absurd statement you could equally say everyman is a dentist.

My giants of modern art include the three "H"'s  David Hockney, Barbara Hepworth and Edward Hopper talented substantial artists whose work will stand the test of time.

Monday, 11 November 2013


The above oil painting of Ferryside sold today. Always picturesque Ferryside sits ont heTowy estuary and is overlooked by Iscoed Mansion the home of General Sir Thomas Picton who was killed at Waterloo. Not a pleasant chap by all accounts but there again he gave his life for his country.

I was chatting today to a fellow artist. We happened to be discussing modern media in the context of art. She was doing her Masters Degree a few years ago when a tutor told her films will no longer have a begining a middle and end, they will just have random imagery. (Oh yeh?) This explains why the art clique sit around watching a film of a flapping sheet for hours and later discuss how liberated it was. Personally, and call me old fashioned, I like a story or at least interesting scenery!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Stradey Park ~ Rugby Weekend

On Friday night Alex and I went with our son and grandaughter to watch the Scarlets. It was a good second half but the first half was pretty dire. Our grandaughter fell asleep and to be fair I think most of the others present did the same including the 30 players on the pitch. The second half perked up however adn we had the result. I enjoyed the game but I still look back to the old Stradey Park (shown above) which had more atmosphere and a history to go with it. I also prefer Saturday afternoon games not 7.30pm on a Friday night. Still you cant have everything.

Yesterday I watched the Wales game. It was a real pity J Davies had his shoulder injured he was looking really dangerous for us. Wales are getting close to the Southern Hemisphere Nations and maybe they can beat Australia this Autumn.

After a weekend off its back to painting next week.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Life's cycle of renewal

The old cottage and smallholding behind us has been pretty well derelict since old Mr Davies passed on. We now have to get used to machinery and building going on as the old place is being renovated. The big old apple tree has gone as have the pigsty, barn and wash house. To be honest I am happy that the work is being done and new life is being breathed in to the place. It will never be the same but that is the nature of things. Life's cycle of constant renewal.

I am not sure what Mr Davies would make of it all. I dont believe in ghosts but sometimes I have this vision of him standing watching the machinery working, an old woodbine in his mouth, cap pulled down tight on his head and his long overcoat pulled up around his shoulders.

Link I was going to use "Holy Holy" but changed my mind to this  dont know why seemed to fit?

Friday, 8 November 2013

Sunset Llansteffan beach

Alex and I decided to go down to Llansteffan Beach last evening to take Jac a walk along the sand.
It was a beautiful evening and the sun was going down behind the castle. I know I have just done two paintings of Llansteffan in a row but I couldn't resist replicating the view we had last evening. I chose to use a large board to do it justice so it will be a reasonable size when framed.

Talking of Jac he is pawing me now indicating he is due for his second walk and then his dinner!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

An autumn shower on Llansteffan Beach

I said I had to finish a couple of paintings of Llansteffan, well here is one of them showing a couple on the beach and an autumn shower.

I have mentionied before we have a fault with our telephone on incoming calls and in fairness it has only been going on since the begining of September so whats the hurry BT. Well a couple of days ago Openreach opened up a trench in the road and apparently yesterday they were laying new cable? Well I was more than pleased to note that the internet, which had previously been fine had now gone down to dial up speed. So I sent a suitably acerbic email to BT only to find an hour later that the internet was actually fine and if anything better than before. I seem to remember that once disconnected on the cabling it needs to reset itself and takes a short while? Anyway it will teach me to be too quick to criticise. But our phone is still faulty!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Jac # Magician

I finished the above painting of Llansteffan today. In fact I have another couple to do of different sizes.

While I was working I decided to treat myself to some almond cake I had made. I made a cup of tea and got the cake out of the tin. At that point the door bell rang. I went and answered the door with Jac. I was talking at the door when I realised Jac was no longer with me (most unusual).
When I returned I found that Jac had turned into a magician. Yes he had made my cake disappear!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Slide show of Holidays snaps!

Yesterday Alex and I went to see our eldest daughter's family. We had been looking after their dog while they went away on a cruise.  They had a a great time albeit that the Bay of Biscay was a tad rough on the way back. We took the cool box with us as they don't use milk and I live on tea. The coolbox is one of those that you plug into the car cigarette lighter socket. A few months ago it stopped working. Now I never have needed an excuse to take apart anything mechanical, purely for the challenge of putting it back together and to see how it works. So when the coolbox packed up I stripped it down replaced some wires and Hey Presto I smugly announced, "Look Alex I have fixed it the little fan is going around!"

So when we went to pick up the dog we took the coolbox and some other provisions. I plugged it in and it merrily purred away during the car journey. However when we got there and opened the "Cool" box we found the contents had been cooked. The coolbox had been working in reverse and the large aluminium sink was hot and the fan was sucking in air. It seems I had mistakenly crossed the positive and negative wires! Oh how the Gods laughed!

Anyway for yesterdays journey I swapped the wires around and all was well.

When we were there we were treated to a slide show of photographs taken on the cruise. (Jen you would have loved this). Now this was not the usual holiday album. Our four year old grandson had been appointed (or appointed himself) official photographer. So the slide show entailed about:

47 images of his Mr Men Collection,
Several photographs of the toilet,
Several interesting pictures of the stained glass ceiling in the reception when he apparently lay on his back,
Numerous other images taken with no flash showing human legs and other body parts from the perspective of a 46 inch four year old.

I am not sure if there is a minimum age limit to the Turner Prize (judging by the entries I doubt it) but his collection could surely win it. If he could come up with a suitably pretentious artists statement it would be a cert!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Llansteffan Contre Jour

The painting of Llansteffan above sold this weekend. Hardly a reflection of recent weather. Anyway it was a nice painting withthe castle contre jour (against the light).

 I have to get on with my work as I dont have a huge amount of stock at present.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Little Grey Fergie

I painted this little grey fergie today. It is a very loose painting with no preliminary drawing other than a few blocks done with a brush as I went along. It was first painted all over with a ground of burnt sienna and  alizarin crimson intially. A quick impressionistic style of painting that I occasionally break into when the feeling suits. It is a quick charming style that is fine for painting outdoors (weather permitting).

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Carmarthen and the River Towy

I finished the above painting today of Carmarthen and the River Towy.
It is again one in the 6ins x 6ins series which ends up 12ins x 12ins when framed.

As you get older you naturally start to declutter and Alex and I have been doing quite a bit of that lately in the house adn in the business.

In the business we have made a few decisions to streamline what we do and give us more time. We are only doing one (possibly two) exhibitions a year. I will no longer do demonstrations or give talks. We are finally getting rid of our card machine which eats money and to be honest is not really necessary if you are not doing many exhibitions. I have cleared out a lot of work and a bit more to go. All these things should help the finances, reduce the tax bill and give us more time to enjoy the business.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Palma Castle

I have been having a bit of a clear out this week and a good number of sketches and sketchbooks have gone. I scanned this one before it went. It shows the Castle at Palma. Alex and I have had a few good holidays starting from Palma so it was quite nice to be reminded of them.

I think pen and ink alone are very effective for sketching, being quick, simple and the added advantage is you don't have to carry much around with you (a pen in your pokcet and a small sketchbook that can fit in a pocket or bag).