Wednesday, 31 December 2014


The above painting is of Borth, North Wales and was a commission a few years back. As we used to live in Welshpool we know North Wales pretty well.
Until last year Alex and I have had a break early in the year up there, normally stopping in our van in Harlech.

I have finished one commission this week, bar any minor changes or problems drying out. I have two more to do.

Monday, 29 December 2014

A day to remember

We don't eat meat a lot but when we do Alex always likes organic if possible so when we had spag bol. the other day with the family it was with  Longhorn Beef from Pembrokeshire. Hence the pic above.

So another Christmas has come and pretty well gone. We had a really nice Christmas day at our son and daughter in laws. It was a farmhouse kitchen Christmas with large tables spread with fabulous food, decorations, a real tree and children running around and my grandfather's clock overseeing it all. I have seen a lot of Christmas Days and this was one of the best, reminiscent of the days when Alex and I took the children to stay a my mother and fathers smallholding on the top of a hill near Knighton. It was an old stone built house with a large beam over the great chimney breast, low ceilings and plenty of character. Sherry and pork pie for breakfast, (yes it is a bit weird, but a family tradition!)  opening presents and then a good walk over the crisp white fields before Christmas Dinner.

On one memorable occasion we had twelve unexpected guests for dinner. In later years my father added a wood burning stove and closed off the large opening to the chimney with a stainless flue going into it. this kept the room snug in all weathers. On this particular Christmas day our son who was about six or seven at the time decided to put some wrapping paper in the burner. He was told not to do it again. Then just as the main course was being put out at dinner he did it again. There was a roaring sound and the stainless flue became cherry red as the centuries of wood tar coating the chimney caught fire.

We had to abandon our dinner and within ten minutes the fire brigade arrived. They apparently had been sitting down to their dinner at the same time and were initially a little out of sorts. The fire was efficiently put out with a lot of water and no damage other than smoke and a wet floor. We gratefully thanked the Firemen and began clearing up.The floor was red tiles so it was a matter of mopping up. Our son kept a low profile, for about ten minutes. Dinner wasn't quite the same cold but it was certainly a memorable day.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Rhossili Bay

The above painting of Rhossili Bay sold last week. A popular view of "Worms Head",  so named by the vikings so I believe, meaning Dragons Head.

Somehow recently I have either ommitted to photograph a couple of paintings or deleted the images of them. One was of Burgess the Jewellers which is closing down after a hundred years in the town. Still it was a busy period so I forgive myself.

I have a half finished painting on the go but have to do some shopping today then watch the rugby.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Gower Three Cliffs

The above painting reminds me of warmer days of the Gower at Three Cliffs. A stunning location where we camped at the top of the cliff looking into the bay. The painting sold this week. I have quite a lot of space on my walls now to fill. I have three commissions to do after Christmas and a fair bit of work for the next exhibition.

We had a lovely Christmas Day with our son and daughter in law. It was an old fashioned Christmas in the farmhouse. Plenty of good food and games including charades and the one where you stick a post it note on your head and have to guess  who you are. Two of the granddaughters gave a gymnastic display using the roof beams and doing every kind of tumbling routine on the floor from backward handsprings to one handed cartwheels. (They are excellent gymnasts).

So finally back home to relax and watch Downton. No thoughts of picking up the paint brushes yet but it wont be long. I am cooking today.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Winter Carmarthen a Black Five Crossing the Bascule Bridge.

The above painting was  a commission for Christmas. It is based on a painting I did before but had sold. It shows a Stannier Black Five passenger train crossing the Bascule Bridge at Carmarthen. It is not unusual for people to see paintings I have done previously and ask for a commission of a similar one. They all tend to be different, wanting something smaller or larger.. and of course they are never exactly the same and are not meant to be.

Anyway I think this is a nice atmospheric painting showing a bygone time. Having a steam loco on it makes it even more appealing to me.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Carreg Cennen and Happy Christmas

The above painting of Carreg Cennen Castle sold this week. A spectacular castle in a beautiful setting.

I was asked the other day who I would most like to meet if I could. Over the years I have dealt with and met a good number of personalities, royalty, politicians and media people.

I have also met a lot of interesting people. Sorry thats a bit unfair. I have a lot of time for Prince Charles ( I am not sure he feels the same about me!) also I couldn't hold a candle to a number of the others too. Of all of them I really liked David Blunkett.

Anyway who would I most like to meet. There are any number of artists who are now deceased Carravagio ( a real bad boy but a great painter),  Augustus John and Ford Maddox Brown to name but three. But I would kind of like to meet John Prescott. Why? Well he is a real character ( see link )
and I am sure he would be very entertaining and could give a very good inside account of British politics.

I am in Origin today Christmas Eve. To everyone who reads the blog, comes to our exhibitions may I wish you a very Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, 23 December 2014


The above painting sold this week. A favourite spot of ours. We used to anchor off the boathouse stay overnight and leave with the early morning tide.

The other day Alex went with her mother to The Botanical Gardens to the Food Show. They went to pay and the lady asked Alex if she was a concession.
"Well how old do you think I am?" Alex was to put it mildly very unimpressed and asked.
"Err, 60?"
Now to be fair Alex isn't and doesn't look anything like sixty. It is a good job it was Christmas as the lady escaped pretty lightly.

Today I have a couple of doors to rehang and a painting to deliver.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Winter sunrise Towy Valley

The above painting depicting the sunrise over the Towy Valley in winter sold yesterday. It is a spectacular sight on a winters morning standing on the top of Penlanffos as the sun breaks in to the valley. I was really tempted to keep the painting but I have the image in my head anyway.

Yesterday our eldest daughter arrived with two young children. They are staying with us for a couple of days and have a room in the top of the house. This morning we had to be up early. The carpet man is coming to fit new carpet.  I was out in the dark walking the dogs. I then came back to help Alex empty our wardrobes ( a never ending task in Alex's case). Then we had to take out furniture and lift the old carpet. So it was with some annoyance that we heard the phone ring at five past seven. Alex left me to answer it uttering words something like:

"What idiot is phoning us up at this time in the morning?"

I then heard her laughing. Apparently it was our daughter ringing from upstairs. The door lock had disintegrated and she was locked in with two small children. Probably something akin to waterboarding!

Anyway I did finally agree to let them out but had to remove the doorstop and drive a large screwdriver between the door and door frame. The catch which was only about five years old was in bits, cheap alloy!

Alex has given me a list of jobs to do including repairing the door and catch, so likely no painting today.

Sunday, 21 December 2014


The above painting sold this week. As I have mentioned I generally only do wildlife as part of a painting not the subject themselves. Occasionally I am so taken that I do the odd one. This is one.

I am off to the Origin Gallery this morning we also have visitors and I have to lift a carpet as we are having carpet laid tomorrow morning. Lots to do must rush!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Sailboat on the Towy

I came across this watercolour the other day when I was searching for a painting. It is a simple little thing showing a sailboat working the tide in the muddy water of the Towy Estuary. I like simplicity, particularly in a watercolour.

I am by nature a pretty calm person. I can only recall two occasions that I have ever lost my temper and panic is alien to me even when I have been afraid. I may be grumpy, well Alex says I am and she's a pretty shrewd judge of character but I am always calm. This has stood me in good stead over the years particularly as a policeman. Karate re-inforced this trait in me. Control is everything in karate. So either I am missing the flight gene or as the saying goes;

"If you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs, you have misread the situation!"

Where am I going with all this? Well I may be controlled but I am severely tested by the number of phone calls we get for, "Mr and Mrs Jones." Mr and Mrs Jones should be eternally grateful we are fielding all these nuisance calls for them. We actually bought the house of Mr and Mrs Jones 25 years ago. Its not just one company either it is consumer surveys and everything under the sun. We must have the most sold telephone number on the planet. And yes we are registered under TPS.

We bought a call blocker once but it didn't work. I don't get many problems with my mobile. Mainly because I often forget it or it somehow switches itself to silent. Alex has a nuisance call regular as clockwork 5pm to 6pm everyday on hers. Maybe its the North Koreans? I look back to the time when if we needed to call someone we went to a little red kiosk with a handfull of pennies and had button A and Button B to press. Yes all things considered it had much going for it!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas is upon us

Ah, Christmas is upon us. This morning as I opened the door to take the dogs out a pair of bright eyes looked at me out of the dark. The fox then turned and coolly trotted off down the road. The shell ducks have returned to the reservoir and we have long tailed tits and goldfinches on the bird table.

Jac is getting into the Christmas spirit as well. Alex likes to spend money at this time of year(and every other time as well to be truthful). Anyway she has placed the presents in a pile and has been steadily wrapping them each evening. The "little ones" ( 9 grandchildren) take pride of place in her thoughts and each present is carefully thought out. She has bought a little bear called "Oscar" in its own bag for one of them.

Last night Alex was heard to utter the cry of ,"Where's Oscar?"

I looked up to see her holding the empty bag and looking wildly around. Now I am not a genius but there were a only a few possibilities.

1. Oscar had done a runner rather than face his new life (possible but unlikely).
2. Alex had lost him. (Normally very likely but Oscar's bag was still there).
3. Jac had taken him out of his bag and abducted him. (Very likely as he has a habit of taking shoes and other items and burying them outside in the garden).

Alex looked at Jac and he seemed to wither under her gaze and sank further into his cushions on the settee (yes, he is a bit spoiled!). A search ensued and Oscar was located near the back door no worse for his adventure! Crisis over.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Our first Christmas.

This is a drawing I did a long time ago of Alex and our first dog. He was a Welsh Sheepdog cross and was pretty well behaved with the odd bout of devilish. We got him for nothing from a farm near Welshpool.

 When we were first married we had very little, a bed, second hand settee, a table and chairs from the sale room and curtains. No carpet, fridge, TV washing machine, wardrobe....We were also pretty scimpy when it came to food money so meat once a week in the form of sausages etc was always a pleasure. No doubt our dog thought the same.

Alex made a fantastic Christmas cake for our first Christmas and spent some time decorating it. So it was with some trepidation I told her that our dog had stolen it out of the kitchen and had consumed half of it before I could get to him in the garden. Anyway we still trimmed down what was left and re -iced it. The dog survived to steal a leg of lamb we had saved up for and had further adventures including jumping off the top of Montgomery Castle and falling some 60 feet with only a few cuts to show for it.

The old dog died many years ago. Alex hasn't changed much. She's still the boss.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Snowdon in mist

I came across this watercolour last night when I was searching for a painting. It seemed quite seasonal so I thought I would post it. It shows Snowdon in mist from Harlech. I painted it a couple f years ago when we were in our camper for a couple of weeks in early spring.

 I have started a new painting today another commission it will probably take three days to complete in total  as I have to wait for each layer to dry so it may be a week or so until it is finished.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Kidwelly Bridge

The above watercolour of Kidwelly sold this week. I have finished one commission this morning. It involved adding text to the work. I usually try to avoid text if I can as it can be problematic. It was fairly essential for this painting and was also in script and pretty small so it involved a lot of heartache painting over the previous layers  hoping not to ruin it. A steady hand and a feeling of misplaced confidence help.
Anyway it went well so a sigh of relief and on to preparing boards for the next two commissions.

Monday, 15 December 2014


The watercolour of MS Oldenburg in Lundy Anchorage went last week. It was a reminder to me of happy days sailing in and around the Bristol Channel.

This morning when I took the dogs out (we are currently sitting our daughters dog) the moon was out and Saturn was clearly visible. A nice time of day for a walk.

These days more of my work involves commissions I am not sure why it is going like that but it keeps me busy. One thing about them is the variety of requests you get. I get asked to do a view from a specific place or a place where a special event took place, wedding, engagement.. and also to do the painting depicting a time gone by. Anyway occasionally I get given a photograph and am asked to work from that. I am happy to work from a photograph,a sketch or from life (depending on the practicalities and weather).

However working from photographs is not straight forward and carries real problems for people learning to paint. My advice would be to use it for information only, the relationships and shapes of objects within a chosen scene. Trying to copy a photograph will generally be disappointing. The issue is to decide what colour palette you are going to use to depict the scene you want. What objects to include, and more importantly what to leave out and how you are going to represent that view. Are you going to crop it? Is it going to be a tonal painting?  Further on you may have to decide what to change to make the scene more natural. This is a complicated area so I will give a couple of examples.

Sculptures in the past have made allowances when creating figures as to where the work will be viewed from. A statue in a niche high up will be seen by the public from below. In order to make the figure appear natural they will change the dimensions of the figure to prevent it being fore shortened.
The neck and body will be lengthened outside the real proportions for a body but viewed from below it will appear life like.

When drawing or painting buildings the laws of perspective will dictate that as the height of the building increases so the external lines of the building will taper inwards. Often it is necessary to underestimate this to achieve an apparent natural look.

I can't give any hard and fast rules regarding this subject maybe Leonardo could, (da Vinci not DiCaprio ). It is a matter of experience and interpretation.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Towy Estuary

For obvious reasons I can't always show commissions on here particularly if they are presents. Well at least until they are given. The one above is a view of the Towy Estuary from the Cemetery in Ferryside and is particularly meaningful to the recipient.

The other day my eldest daughter turned up at school to drop off her son. A lady she hadn't met before approached her and said,
"Its nice to know someone else drives a skip as well."
Stunned silence.

It was very icy this morning first thing, so much so that for the first time in about 20 years  I didn't take the dogs out. I thought it would be pretty stupid as  knowing my luck I would probably break a leg or my neck . Anyway I must have annoyed Alex at breakfast as she said,
"Why don't you take the dogs for a walk but leave them here!"

Talking of doing stupid things. I saw George Phillips this week and he said I was always happy to poke fun at myself. Well that's true I don't take myself very seriously. Anyway getting back to stupid things my ageing brain sometimes lets me down. The other day I decided to make honeycomb to put with our ice cream pudding.

I boiled up sugar and golden syrup and added the bicarb. It was all looking good as I stirred the boiling sticky honeycomb with a wooden spoon. It was at this point my brain let me down as I decided to check the taste and stuck a blob on the end of my tongue. Children don't do this at home. A wooden spoon stuck to your tongue with boiling sugar is not for the feint hearted.

I didn't tell Alex as that would have been worse than the pain.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas Cheer

The above painting is one of the paintings that has gone in the last week. I managed to finish a commission yesterday. We also went to the post office to post two paintings and got to see our friends George Phillips and Julia at the Ferryman in Laugharne. Great Deli and a place to stop for a coffee.

Anyway always a busy time at Christmas. Must get on!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Prague Tram

Alex and I have been out in Prague for a few days to see my brother who is living out there.
It was cold but full of Christmas spirit. We had a good time going around the markets and being shown the sights. We didn't get to see the cubist museum which was closed (typical). The main museum and gallery was also closed for renovation which was also a pain but beer is 60p a pint so can't complain. Of all the beautiful buildings and sights I only managed a few sketches mainly of people or trams!

There were all nationalities in Prague and most seemed okay other than the odd British stag party. On one day I was a bit dissappointed when we saw a blind man stood at the side of the road clinging to a lamp post waiting to cross the busy road and being ignored by the passers-by. I crossed the road and brought him over and he said "Muzeum"  which I assumed was the underground station and we took him there and my brother put him on a train. My Czech consists of two words but my brother's is better so I hope we put him on the right train.

Anyway I really must get back to work I now have five commissions to do.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My bus

The painting above is one in my own collection. I did it to remind me of my time as a boy and youth.
The 56 was the bus route from my home the City Centre. The garage was the old tram garage at the top of our road by the Cross Guns Public House. Anyway I spent a good deal of my time travelling on these buses including to school and later college.

They were accompanied by conductors who were in the main humorous and friendly. They used terms of endearment, "Such as, "love", "darling" to opposite sexes and children alike. To me I find it sad that this practice is now forbidden by the politically correct. I was expected to give my seat for a woman or an elderly person and it was always accepted with a "Thank you love,". It was all very friendly and common courteousy was practiced by all.

Yes times have changed and even holding a door for someone now can result in any response from being ignored, to being given a withering look. Ah well different times.

Yes I like my bus. A safe haven. A reminder, as I look back from the ridge to that golden time in the valley of my youth.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Palette of Artists - Collective name for a group of artists

The above painting is of Cwmoernant Reservoir in Carmarthen and is one of the paintings that sold this last week.

The other day I asked for suggestions for the collective name for a group of artists.

Here are some of the suggestions:

A pretence of artists (mine unsurprisingly)
A virtuosity of artists
A concept of artists
But my favourite was a Palette of artists thanks to Nick O'Brien

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Painting of Gwili railway

The above painting is of the Gwili Railway and is sold. I have a real fascination with steam locos. originating from my boyhood and although I don't sell enough to warrant doing more than the odd picture I do enjoy doing them.

Ah nostalgia! To quote Franklin Adams "Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a failing memory."

Today I have been preparing my boards for two commissions. It may sound fairly boring but there is more to it. The surface you paint on greatly effects the final picture. Do you want a highly detailed painting?  If so you need a very fine finish and I will sand out the primer very flat. In any case I at least triple prime my boards.  I utilise the brush marks in the primer within the painting so if there is a lot of sky my final brush marks may well be horizontal. If it is a rainy scene they may be vertical. They may even be a combination of the two if for example there is sky and  reflective water in the lower third.

You can see why I prepare my own surface for each individual painting in general. As such I need to have already mentally painted it before I even start.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Winter morning Towy Valley

This last week there have been some beautiful mornings over the Towy when Jac and I have been out walking so I was inspired to do the above painting. The hill on the right is Llangunnor and the river bends around in front of the viewer into a large oxbow going back to Tan yr Rhallt.

I have completed most urgent commissions and have two to do with a couple more lined up. So I am pretty much on top of work at the moment.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Night Out

We are very lucky to have a friend who is not only an outstanding cook but he can paint a bit as well!!
Yes Alex and I went for a meal at David Cowdry's house last night with Andrew Evans and Miriam.
What is the collective name for a group of artists suggestions please, maybe a "Trouble of artists?"

Anyway a great meal, great company thanks David and Jill a great night. 

Thursday, 27 November 2014


I had a busy day today but didn't get around to doing any painting. I had a piano lesson this morning, poor man! Its amazing how different "Rudolph the red nosed reindeer" can sound when your not really trying. He must have endless patience.

I then made some lunch and went off to get some material for a painting commission. I took Jac with me as I thought I could stop off on Ferryside beach on the way back. I was blessed the sun came out at the right time and Jac had a great run on the beach. I had a short chat with a man doing a good job of a watercolour on the front. ( I regret I was in a bit of a hurry and didn't have more time to talk or ask who he was).

When I got back I made the Xmas mince pies. I didn't make many as they are quite calorific. And yes there are now less than the number I started with!!

Our eldest grandson was picked for school rugby and scored a try today, an omen for Saturday?

Link I was going to use Rudolph but could face doing it so Pogues and Kirsty Mc Coll

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Mumbles Lighthouse - Bracelet Bay

I finished the above painting of the Lighthouse at Mumbles today. I recall the lighthouse was the last we saw of land when we sailed out of Swansea a few years ago. We had bought a new (new to us) yacht and were sailing it around to Milford Haven.

Referring to the log I can say.We got out in to Swansea Bay at 0920hrs and the fog rolled in. We continued on for 5hours before the fog lifted for a short period and we sighted land at 1630hrs.

By Crow Rock outside the Haven we went into another Fog Bank. We went in to the Haven using Radar with Tankers coming out of the Channel. We finally came in to Angle Bay at 1845 hrs to find our mooring Buoy had been stolen and all our mooring chain was on the bottom.

Unable to pick up our mooring we then headed up river to Lawrenny only find 6 inches of water in the cabin. After a few heart stopping moments we discovered a leak in the fresh water tank. The log refers to this as an eventful maiden voyage.

Anyway Bracelet Bay and the Lighthouse make for a good subject.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Kidwelly Castle in winter

 This morning was a good fresh walk with Jac and the frost was covering the branches. Maybe winter has arrived. Anyway I have been asked for a painting of Kidwelly so inspired by the crisp morning I decided on a winter scene. I actually lightly drew in the skyline with pencil on this painting first to ensure I got the proportions right to start with. I then painted in the darkest areas with stain. It quickly moved on from there. So there it is Kidwelly Castle in winter.

I have another commission to be getting on with and have just finished another so I am keeping busy.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Enough to make a grown man cry

It was enough to make a grown man cry. Yes Alex and I went to watch the game yesterday.
Holding the lead until 11 minutes form the end and then well disaster! I have my own views on what went wrong but it doesn't help.  I first saw the All Blacks at Stradey Park I still hope to watch Wales beat them again. Its the only thing on my bucket list but its kind of out of my hands.

Oh Well!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Mr Moonlight

A few weeks ago we were out late in the evening watching the stars come out, accompanied of course by a small glass of wine. As we watched the International Space Station crossed from horizon to horizon. It was strange to think of 6 men up there looking down at us from space.

Anyway last night we went to a private recital given by a talented pianist. I was talking to someone there who had been out to Houston, Texas and he informed me that my work was represented in the homes of three NASA scientists ( all with Welsh heritage). Well thats the closest link to space as I will ever get.

Link could be fly me to the moon but I will go with Beatles

Friday, 21 November 2014

A Life time of learning

I often get asked, "Who taught you to paint?"

A simple question maybe but one without a simple answer. From an early age I drew and painted. It ran in the family and we had a good collection of paintings which I could refer to. That collection has now been broken up but it was probably an invaluable influence. My brother is also an artist but he did have the patience to teach, something that I find hard to do.

 I used to go to exhibitions in Birmingham as I grew up seeing anything from Salvador Dahli to Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. More particularly I would spend hours in the Birmingham Museum and Gallery looking at the  marvellous collection of pre-Raphaelite works. My influences and grounding was varied but deep.

I have got a degree in fine art but I was not taught anything about actually painting during that degree course. It was more about the history and theory of art. There were practical sessions in ceramics and printing which I enjoyed. Fortunately I could paint to an acceptable standard before in any case.

I spent some time with a very accomplished artist who is a member of the Royal Portrait Society who was extremely knowledgeable and fine tuned my painting.

Learning to paint is a continuous process and reading books on classical artists, colour, techniques, light, mixing hues are all subjects that are essential to the artist.

I always analise my work and consider how I would paint it if I had to paint it again to improve it.
I spend time looking at other artists work examining how they obtained a certain effect or how they chose a composition.

 I have bought paintings of artists to examine them in depth. Over the years I have had a collection of good quality paintings of 19th and early 20th century artists which I chose on the basis of their workmanship.
By choosing carefully I bought nothing for more than £70 and found they were all listed artists. I no longer have them having passed them on or in the case of one painting I have literally taken it apart. I scrapped the layers of paint back to understand the construction of the painting. Regrettable for it was a nice painting but the information gained was invaluable to me. The painting is shown above by Clive Brown who was an impressionist from Norfolk who has paintings in the National Collection.

Of course if you are not painting you are not learning so continuous work is also essential. I liken it to a boiling kettle you have to keep feeding the fire.

So at the end of the day I am self taught over 50+ years  I guess, with a little help from my friends and family.

Link  Beatles

Incidentally I have only ever bought one painting from a living artist, David Cowdrey. That gives you some idea of the esteem in which I hold his work.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Port Eynon Sunrise

Here is the finished painting of Port Eynon Sunrise. Not a very complicated work but care was needed in laying in the different hues. Anyway I am happy with the result. It brings back the atmosphere of that  morning and looks like the vision I was working to.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Here comes the sun

Shown above are the first stages of the latest painting. Those that have followed me will know that I have a preference of just getting into a painting without drawing it out if I can. Occasionally I will do a careful drawing first but not that often. This method could be worrying if you don't have  a clear mental picture and a thought out plan. The painting is going to be of a sunrise at Port Eynon on the Gower. When we were there Jac and I got up early to watch it from its first glow on the horizon to morning light. Well to tell the truth Jac didn't pay it much attention he was too busy chasing seagulls!

Anyway when painting like this you have to consider which are going to be the dark areas and what colour palette you are using. (In the case of a sunrise using red yellow and blue can be problematic if not thought out beforehand. You don't want green in your sky!) 

So anyway there is the start. I will post the finished painting tomorrow, hopefully!

Link Beatles

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Helen Elliott

So what Christmas Present do you get for the person who has everything? Well consider something from Helen Elliott a very fine artist who has captured the spirit of many Welsh Towns and scenes.

Helen has her own studio but also has work in the Co-operative at "Origin", 23, King Street Carmarthen. She has beautiful original works and prints to suit every pocket.

As for me I found the perfect gift for Alex a free Helen Elliott bookmark. (Please don't tell Alex). So there you have it if you go to Origin you will find free Helen Elliott Bookmarks (while stocks last), but please take the opportunity to look at her other works.

Link Beatles

Monday, 17 November 2014

Fowler Ploughing Engine "Anne Hathaway".

I have always been interested in anything mechanical. Whatever it is I want to know how it works.
Steam trains, traction engines, turbines, motorcycles, cars, clocks watches. Of course as a slight down side on occasions when younger I took some things apart and failed to get them back together or found I had a few bits left over.

Later in life I taught myself basic engineering and made a number of things from, boilers to hot air engines and stationary engines. I now content myself with admiring them at shows etc or painting them. The one above is a Fowler Ploughing engine and is currently available.

This morning I was stewarding in Origin. I texted Alex to tell her I was with James a new member.

She later came into the gallery to relieve me and walked up to the counter said, "Hello James and introduced herself to the man standing there. He was quite surprised as he was a customer! Oh well.

Link  FMac

Friday, 14 November 2014

Caught in the rain

I have got on with painting this last week. I have pretty much finished one commission and reworked a painting I wasn't entirely happy with. The trouble with having a painting hanging around is occasionally you think oh I could have done that bit: better, different, lighter, darker...etc.
Not a problem if its not framed but if it is mounted, framed with backing board and taped.. its a bit of a pain and Alex isn't too pleased as she has to redo it. So I did reluctantly rework one painting this week and I will have to speak nicely to Alex to reframe it when its dry..

Anyway I did the painting above today I looked out of the window and thought ideal subject a couple walking in the rain on the beach.

(For some reason I am having problems with my facebook thumbnails some of which are blurry when shared from my blog. Havetried different sizes and resolutioin without any result any suggestions appreciated).

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Thought for those who came before

It is a sobering time at present with all the recollections of the First World War and in many ways humbling.

I knew my grandfather well as a lad he often took me off school to watch the cricket at Edgbaston and meet legendary players like "Tiger Smith". He also taught me to play chess. He never spoke about the war. His elder brother had fought in the Boar War and had died in South Africa. His other brother Alec (my great uncle) was gassed during the war and although he survived long enough to have a daughter he died as a result of his injuries. Within a year Alec's wife died of consumption leaving an orphan child who was a great friend to my mother.

My grandfather was an artisan, cabinetmaker, painter but his most creative work was carving. I still have his boxwood paintbox from 1911.

So at these times it is a good thing to remember and realise how brave ordinary men/women can be.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


Following on from yesterday's blog the above is also a painting of a tanker on the Jetty in the Milford Haven. It was a very large painting I did for a wall in the house. After a few years we felt like a change and I took it up the landfill. 

We were in the Principality Building Society yesterday and there was something of a wait as only one person was behind the counter. I sat down in a chair and Alex waited in the queue. A gentleman came in a queued behind Alex. When Alex finally got to the front and was done the man asked if I was next.

I said "No, I'm with my wife thank you." indicating Alex.

He said,"I'm sorry."

I said "You're sorry.."

That earned me a turn to stone look and a kick in the shins.

Today I have been working on a commission.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Barents Sea Tanker against Texaco in Milford Haven Refinery.

The painting above is of Barents Sea an oil tanker. The painting resides on my wall. There are a couple of reasons for posting it. One reason is it is shown against the refinery in The Milford Haven which is now unfortunately for the workers being closed down. The second is I have today finally given up and decided to sell our sailing gear. For some reason I had kept hold of our gear despite selling our yacht some 6 years ago. I have finally come to accept we won't be going to sea again. In a similar vein Alex is selling her leather jacket complete with fringes & badges from the 70's. (Alex is shown below sporting the jacket at the Elephant Ralley in 1975. I have no idea who the horned weirdo was. Alex does look a little uncomfortable though.)

Talking of Alex I made a blackberry and apple pie last night for dinner. We had half and this lunchtime I thought it would be good to finish it... but ...No Alex and Jac had got there first, just like Goldilocks!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Three French Hens

I was asked if I could do  a Christmas Painting so I thought three French Hens. To be honest they are not French they are from Cwmderi Vineyard, Pembs. (incidently a good place for lunch and a spot of wine tasting). 

You can see how I started the painting above. Now off to the dentist!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Queens Vaults Westgate Street. Cardiff.

We didn't get to Cardiff yesterday to watch the Game but are probably going to one of the games.
The painting above should be recognisable to most rugby fans showing the Queens Vaults opposite Gate 3 in Westgate Street Cardiff. It took a while to do and currently sits on my wall.

I have been decorating all week and my painting has been somewhat curtailed but apart from the dentist tomorrow I hope now to have some "easel time"!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Three Cliffs Gower

I finished the above painting of Three Cliffs Bay this week. It is a lovely little bay on the Gower.
The picture below shows how I started. Just straight in with a brush.

The picture below is the second stage.

The painting is now available.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


The cormorant was back on the reservoir this morning when Jac and I went out. Good to see him after a good while. Mind you I suppose the fishermen are less pleased.

Alex and I are tied up decorating at the moment. I have finally decided to join twitter. Not sure why as I reluctantly do facebook but am happy doing my blog. Still the numbers seem to work for me as I get enquiries over the web.

Closing in on 100,000 views on blog and google + for me today has now passed over the three quarters of million 750,059 views since 2012 so I guess the effort has been worth it.

Oh yes twitter account is @carmarthnartist      note the missing e.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Abergwili Winter

This morning I felt the first hint of winter as Jac and I went on our morning constitutional hence the watercolour above of Abergwili with St David's Church spire showing above the trees. I actually did the painting a few years ago for a radio program/feature although for the life of me I can't recall how it went.

On Saturday we were out with friends at a murder mystery at Aberglasney and had a very good night. Today I am starting a new painting and Alex is taking out prints and making cards in between the gym adn meeting a friend for lunch.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Gower Rhossili Bay

More on the Gower theme. I finished this today of Rhossili Bay. We went to the Gower this week in the camper and I worked out a menu and bought the food. First day was fine. We were having porridge for breakfast on the second day. I had brought honey and fruit but forgot the oats! Come lunchtime I realised I had forgotten tomatoes for tomato soup!
Before dinner Alex asked, "Where are the pre-dinner eats?"
"Err I forgot but I have got wine."
Dinner time arrives I was making mushroom risotto err no risotto rice!
Perhaps not my finest hour.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Early Morning Rhossili Bay

I finished the above painting of "Early morning in Rhossili Bay", Gower today. It was meant to be a commission but I got my wires crossed (it happens!). Alex tells me it is the wrong size. Oh well it will have to sell somewhere else.

Alex is trying out some new frames and I am keen to see how they look but today she is entertaining two grandchildren somewhere.