Sunday, 31 August 2014

Boathouse 6inch version

I am virtually snow blind as all I can see at the moment is "cotton white" not an artists colour but the main colour for the walls in my sister's house which we are decorating. I have managed to get in a small 6 inch painting of the boathouse (see above) in between breaks.

Last night I had an unusual dream in that I was back in Bob Baggs Dojo doing karate. I was involved in kumite (sparring/ fight). I launched a roundhouse kick which ripped the bedclothes off and woke me up. Fortunately I was not facing Alex as I don't think she would have been best pleased and I would have ended up being black and blue.

Link a bit obscure but there is one or mabe two Chicago

Friday, 29 August 2014

Sandpiper - Laugharne

I reworked the above painting yesterday. It shows "sandpiper" dried out in Laugharne. I felt it could benefit from a bit more light in it contrasting with the overcast sky.

I also delivered a painting yesterday. I now have to do some decorating over the next couple of days prior to my sister moving into a new house so I probably won't be doing much work in the studio.

Link Gunatanamera not to be confused with Guantanamo !

Thursday, 28 August 2014

17th Century Animal Painters

During the 17th and 18th century provincial painters were often commissioned to paint a landowner's prize animal. The style tended to be on the naive side and animal painters were low down in the list of genre artists. They were also prone to exaggeration to enhance the animals perceived qualities.

Anyway for a bit of fun a few years back I did the one above in "that" style. I am not sure where the actual painting is now.

I was asked the other day at the Exhibition I had in Aberglasney what I thought of artists using projectors. (Some artists project an image onto the painting surface and then trace/paint it).

Artists have used many varied means of achieving their aims over the years. The most obvious comparison to a projector is the camera obscura ( a pin hole which projects an image onto a screen or wall). Now this was used by many artists including, Joshua Reynolds, Canaletto and probably Vermeer. Others have used a glass screen to trace out their outlines. Photographs are now commonly used for reference purposes by pretty well all painters.

As for me I don't have a projector and have never used one but I think that each artist chooses the best method that works for them. Whether using a projector or not a great deal of skill is required to produce a good painting. A projector or camera obscura .. are just other tools for an artist to use. The means to the end are not an issue in my opinion.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sheep in the shade

The above painting of sheep in the shade sold yesterday when I was in the gallery. I met a lot of interesting people (and probably bored quite a few talking about painting techniques and trends). I have quite a bit of work to do now as my painting stock is pretty low.

Yesterday Alex looked after two of our grandchildren. The eldest grandson is quite keen on cooking although being only 9 he is equally keen on eating good food, so my sister made a nice crumble with him and Alex made a steak pie.

Apparently he went out with our daughter and son in law for a meal recently.
He looked at the menu and said,

"Can I have the lamb shank with a side order of prawns wrapped in prosciutto ham and extra chips?"
The answer was no but he did have the lamb shank which was apparently huge. He ate the lot and had dessert.

On another occasion our daughter made him an omelette and presented it to him.
He took a mouthful, looked up and said,

"So where do you think it started to go wrong?"

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Spitfire in the clouds

The above painting was collected yesterday by a nice couple from Hampshire. I felt a bit sorry for them having to travel all that way on a Bank Holliday Monday. Anyway they were very happy with it.

You know when you were kids how you would take off a hub cap of a neighbours car and put stones in it before putting it back? Well okay maybe you didn't.

Anyway the saga of our wheel trims continues.  We got new springs for the 2 wheel trims for the camper that had not been supplied with them. We easily fitted one wheel but the other was very tight. I finally got it on but heard a snap as I did it. One of the plastic prongs broke. Never mind I thought at least its on and seems tight. Of course when we moved there was a lovely sound coming from the front left wheel.

Today I am stewarding in the gallery in town.

Monday, 25 August 2014


Well the exhibition at Aberglasney was a great success. The watercolour of the mansion above is one of the paintings that sold. I would like to think we left our mark on the place. Well I know Alex did anyway.

The lawns are immaculate and Joseph does a fantastic job of looking after the gardens. We had to move a lot of my work and needed the car and our large camper van to transport it. Having packed up the vehicles Alex drove carefully up the drive which is so narrow we have to put the wing mirrors in. I was in front making sure it was clear. For some unknown reason a lady decided to walk out in front of Alex. Alex pulled over and stopped. Unfortunately she had pulled on to the wet  lawn and when she started up the van skidded everywhere. There is a saying about ploughing your own furrow well Alex did just that. Sorry Joseph.

We went to Pembrey yesterday for a night away. We had a pleasant time and picked about 5lbs of blackberries for the freezer. Today we have a couple coming up from Hampshire to view a painting so we were back early.

Link well " it has green grass in the lyrics"

Sunday, 24 August 2014


The above painting of Broadhaven sold last week. It portrays a family group on the wet sands.

Yesterday we bought new hub caps for our camper nothing earth shattering about that.(?)

We had bought some new ones a few months ago. They were polished steel and very expensive (well in my mind anyway). They looked great but I had a hell of a job trying to get them on. I tried one and couldn't get it on.
I phoned the company and they said, "its just a knack, give it a tap." ( I think they had a mental picture of an old decrepit feeble pensioner) ( okay, okay).
I tried one. I gave it a tap, nothing so I gave it a harder "tap". It went on but had a rather obvious dent in it now. I thought "maybe I have the hang of it now. Maybe they do fit."
Should I try another?  I stupidly tried another it went on but had an even larger dent in it. NO! They clearly didn't fit although they were the correct size for that size wheel.

I then had to get them off. I did get them off ...eventually but I  sent back two pristine hub caps and two pre-loved bent pieces of polished metal sculpture.
Understandably the company were not best pleased, but credit to them they did refund me in full.

Anyway after this drama we left it for a while and then yesterday we saw a set in a local dealers which we liked and bought. These however were plastic and would avoid the unpleasantness of fitting them. Alex fitted two and then found the other two didn't fit. They had no internal spring to hold the prongs out so they just fell off!

Maybe we weren't meant to have hubcaps? Or is it us?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Gower from Cefn Sidan

The above painting of the Gower from Cefn Sidan sold last week. One of my favourite beaches and is different every time you go. I did have a photo of me doing a study of this in oils on the beach but I must have deleted it.

Two of the grandchildren are stopping with us at the moment so we are having a good dose of "Frozen". To be fair its not a bad film but I have seen enough of it now to know some of the songs, not a good sign. Talking of frozen there is a new online "thing" called ICE raising money for charity, Macmillan I think. A good idea where people nominate friends (?) and pour a bucket of ice/water over themselves and text ICE to a number raising £3 a time. One of our daughters has done it and Alex is dreading being nominated! Anyway a good cause that we have raised a reasonable amount of money for in the past.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Stannier Black Five crossing the Bascule Bridge at Carmarthen

The above painting of a Stannier Black Five crossing the Bascule Bridge at Carmarthen sold yesterday. Like me it didn't get out much. After I painted it it mainly sat on my lounge wall.
Anyway its gone now.

Spent a few hours this morning unpacking work. Alex and I have had an interesting discussion on pricing, always an awkward subject. Basically we have decided its time to put our prices up again. We still want to have some small originals available for a modest price with the larger works getting  a more realistic price for the time and effort going into them. So for the time being our lowest priced works will be at £135  (6"x 6" size). I am also taking the opportunity for a clearout of works and sketchbooks.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

LLansteffan in moonlight from the sea

The above painting was one of those that sold yesterday at the Exhibition. (I was surprised it had not gone before as it was one of my favourites and in all modesty I was happy with the way it was painted).
Anyway it has gone to a happy home.

So the last day today. It has been a very hectic time especially as we have had a lot of other sales and commissions going on. Fortunately I got some done during the exhibition which created interest as well. It also kept me occupied. We will probably have a real quiet patch now but who knows its been a very good year. That is the thing about being an artist you never know what work is around the corner.

Link I could have linked to Bobby Darin but Robbie is a great entertainer so ..Beyond the sea

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

An odd day.

The above painting of surfers on the Gower sold at the exhibition this week. It was a funny day yesterday a couple of people were very lucky and we had a few friends call in.
It was nice to see you Geraint, thanks for dropping in. Erica called in and had lunch with Alex. It was really good to see Wendy Powell Jones and her friend Sian. Wendy is a fine artist and one of the best watercolourists I know.

We also had a few interesting visitors:
I watched as an immaculately dressed woman approached Alex sat in the Exhibition.

Alex looked up, smiled and said, "Good afternoon."
No reply
Alex again thinking maybe the lady(?) was aurally challenged. "Good afternoon."
No Reply.

The woman stood over Alex, looked down her nose and said in a very annoying voice,
" Do you give back cash and pointed to the card machine?"
(Well even if we had she wouldn't have got any). I watched with interest and slightly hid in my book. Two things both Alex and I hate are bad manners and snobs.Amazingly in the event all Alex said was,
"Where would I get money." I could see a few tempting options for Alex to reply but with relative good grace she replied .
"The bank in Llandeilo."
The woman turned and stalked off.

A few minutes later Alex was still steaming when a man walked up to her.I won't say what he was wearing but he looked like a knob.
Alex smiled and said,"Good afternoon."
He ignored her her pleasantry looked down his nose like he had trodden on something and said,
"Nympharium." (This is a rather splendid indoor greenhouse with a made up name).
Alex looked at him and said nothing. I was creeping out of  the door by this point waiting for the explosion.
"Where is the nympharium? " he repeated like he was talking to his lowest footman.
To Alex's credit and my incredulity she said,"If you would like to go out of the door through the hall and take the door on the right."
With that he stomped off looking for his nymphomaniac sorry nympharium.

Where do these people come from? On another day Alex would have wiped the floor with them. (If my children had behaved like that I would have ended up being arrested for using corporal punishment).

On a lighter note I did a painting in the exhibition of a shepherd and his sheep. A few days later an elderly lady came over and saw it and spent some time looking at it. She said she loved it and how much was it. I was quite moved and gave her a very nominal price. She said she couldn't afford even that and a bit upset she left the room.  A while later she came back just to stare at it. When she left I just gave it to her and seeing her reaction was more payment than I could have ever asked for.

Link remember this?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Girl with Geese - On our way home

The above painting sold this week at a local gallery. It was  6"x 6". I have done a few paintings in this format. Where it gets a bit more interesting is when you do landscapes on this scale. Far easier on a large scale. In fact I have just done a landscape commission this week in this scale which was a bit of a challenge.

While at the exhibition I have also been working on another commission which must be going okay as I could have sold it several times over.

Pretty poor link but this singer has always given me goosebumps!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Red Kite over the River Towy

The above painting of a red kite over the River Towy was one of those that sold yesterday.

This morning I was up to take Jac out and then wrapping and packaging a painting. At the moment the Post Office seems to be my second home. Mind you it is quite hilarious what you can and can't post and what is not covered by insurance. From what I can see you are only covered for something that is totally unbreakable which kind of defeats the object. Anyway touch wood we have never had a problem so I can't complain its a pretty good service.

Actually thats not quite right. We did send a painting to Canada a few years ago with full tracking. In that case though the tracking only extended to showing it had arrived in Canada.  It didn't arrive, and after 3 months we got a cheque for the value of the painting. A result. So guess what, within a week of having the cheque we had an email to say the painting had arrived! I know they have harsh weather in winter out there but over 3 months to deliver a parcel? Oh and Yes, we did return the cash to the Post Office!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Without Question - Winter Morning Dinefwr Castle

Winter morning Dinefwr Castle. The above painting sold during the exhibition in Aberglasney Mansion. I have generally got on with painting while I have been there basically because I have still got commissions with a deadline. So while I am stood there in my smock and paint brush in hand I get some pretty interesting questions.

" Are you him the artist Mark Cox?"

"What is the name of the red flower outside?"
"I am sorry I don't know I am just exhibiting here."
"So how old is the Yew Tunnel?"                                          errr

"Are you a painter?"                                                             

"I see you have a degree in art did you learn anything at college?"
Ha priceless funniest question yet

To be fair (as my sister would say) most of the questions are very sensible and the comments embarrassingly nice.

Most asked question 

"How long does it take you to paint a picture?"
Depends on size and complexity but from one day to five.

Second most asked 

"Do you paint from photographs?"
I paint from life, and use reference material from sketches, from memory and from photographs.
It all depends on the subject and the Great British weather. 

Third most asked question

"Where's the tea rooms?"

Link it had to be Moody Blues

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Llansteffan from Ferryside

The above painting of Llansteffan from Ferryside sold yesterday. Its a good view of the Castle and village with Wharley Point in the background.

I had a good chat with Gareth Morgan yesterday. He trained as a stained glass artist but can often be found doing watercolours. Yesterday he was doing a very nice job of a large painting of the Yew Tunnel at Aberglasney. 

Last night we sat out under a clear sky and watched the stars come out. First Vega came out high in the evening light and then Saturn appeared over the horizon and at about 9.30pm the International Space station came over. A nice relaxing way to end the day.

Off to the exhibition again today.

Friday, 15 August 2014


The above painting of Solva sold this week. A lovely spot that we used to sail into. The other day my sister took two of the grandchildren to Newton House where they had a wonderful time trying on servants clothes, sharpening knives (?) and other activities. The same two are coming to stop with us next weekend.

Apparently the youngest who is five years old asked her Mom:

"Do Nanny and Grandad like us stopping with them?"
Mom, "Yes of course."
"Well Nanny says she likes having us. Grandad says "Hello Worm."" Err.. okay guilty.
They then explained to her it was probably a term of endearment. She apparently then went around saying "Hello worm!" to her elder brother all night.

(Oh.. by the way of course we love having them!)

I have visit this morning regarding another commission and then on to the exhibition.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Walk away

I had to laugh. I was in the exhibition yesterday and sat by my easel where I had been painting when a woman came over. She was looking at the paintings next to me when she saw the above picture. She looked at it for a while then rushed out.

A short while later she returned with her husband - partner in tow. I caught some of the conversation, "I love it," being her contribution.
I looked at the man and thought he was going to have a panic attack. I swear he went carmine red. I am not sure what he said but I can guess.The next minute he put his arm around her and escorted her straight out as if she was in protective custody. I think if he'd had a blanket he would have thrown it over her head.

It did put me in mind of being in shoe shops with Alex so I was not without some sympathy for the man.

Link this kind of ties in with a quote by Dodinsky that John Cox shared the other day Walk away

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Red Kite over Kidwelly Castle

The above painting of Kidwelly Castle sold at the exhibition this week. It had been hanging on the wall at home for most of the year so I will have to find something else to go there.

I had an interesting chat with an artist yesterday at the exhibition. It was obvious from the start that he knew what he was talking about and was a genuine person. Thats two out of two for me and a reason to listen. Unfortunately like the vaccant vessel my head can sometimes be it has failed to file his name in the right place. I know his name was Graham  .....berie and he was a teacher and examiner. I was going to look up his his work. Anyway if you read this Graham I am sorry and please get in touch.

I have to rush off to post a painting now before going off to the exhibition.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Salty Air

The painting above is one of a series I once did of cliff faces. They were large pieces 5ft x 1.5ft. flat and tending towards abstraction.
I am not sure why I did them they were not for any commercial purpose but I was inspired by the rocks of the Pembrokeshire Coast I guess?  Anyway the above one is of a section of Chapel Beach Bay. The works all disappeared in a clearout and I found this image which reminded me of days pottering around the coast under sail with sun and salty air.

I had an unexpected present yesterday from my brother. He sent me a cook book through the post. He is an artist, writer who lives abroad speaks Czech, medieval english, latin and anglo saxon. I suppose you could call him eccentric or I suppose "artist" pretty well sums it up. I haven't seen him in years but we have the occasional exchange of greetings on the internet. So when you read this Tony thanks!

Must get off to the exhibition now.

Link at the river  Sand dunes and salty air bear with this if you haven't heard it before Patti Page has a lovely sultry voice.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Lucky Charm

Well what a difference a day makes. We have had three days without hardly seeing anyone and then David Cowdry turns up and the flood gates opened. A very good day. Must be a lucky charm. Anyway always great to see him.

The painting of our old Morris 1000 pick up sold today. It is shown in its original colour. We did it up and resprayed it electric blue. This was in the early 1970's. On the first trip out in it after doing it up we were hit head on by a stolen car on the wrong side of the road. Alex had minor injuries and went to hospital they were less fortunate and had some injuries. It was a family from Birmingham that had stolen the car to go on holiday! The Morris 1000 was a write off. We were 3rd party insurance and got nothing for the vehicle.

I was however given the pleasure of ecorting 2 of the offenders to HMP at a later date so maybe God does have a sense of humour.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Flying Boats

One of the nice things about exhibiting is that you meet some every interesting people. I decided to do a bit of painting yesterday in the exhibition and for a change plumped for doing a bigger version of a painting I did  a couple of years ago of a Sunderland Flying Boat in the Haven (shown above).

I have mentioned I have some connection with them in that my father flew in a flying boat during the war and my uncle Jack was in the Royal Flying Corps. We have also sailed every inch of the Milford Haven where they were stationed during the war. There is still evidence of their presence now including a large hanger at Pembroke Dock.

I digress I was painting the Sunderland when a very elderly but spritely gent came over and regailed me with stories of his war time adventures in the RAF. At one time he had been stationed at Felixstowe and had been servicing Sunderlands. He delighted in telling me one of his jobs included pumping out the toilets, a somewhat messy job! He told me how they were pulled out of the water up the slip using an old road tanker as a counterbalance weight.

He then told me about one even larger flying boat that was there, a "Shetland". I hadn't heard of that (not that I am any aviation expert). Apparently it was a larger version of the Sunderland but according to him it was destroyed on its moorings. Apparently the crew set fire to the plane by accident. They had been cooking in the galley of the Shetland at the time.

This was the only Shetland at the time, another one was built but was never put into production and it was scrapped.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


Well the Exhibition is all set up after a few hiccups and we are looking forward to a nice day today. Unfortunately after that it is looking like the wrath of the gods is descending on us. (Hence the painting of the tug Anglegarth battering through seas off St Annes Head).

Heavy rain and windwarnings forecast until at least Weds? That will bring the crowds in. Still they could be wrong and in any case I am pretty philosophical about these things.

To sum it up that wonderful word now used to cover most situations "Whatever!"

Link Eric and Ernie

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Aberglasney Exhibition - 8th August to 21st August 2014

Okay so this is unashamed advertising. We are exhibiting in Aberglasney Mansion from 8th August to 21st August 2014. (Please note we will be starting to take down the work on the afternoon of 21st).

I will be there all the time other than if I have to go to walk Jac at lunchtime or unless the weather is good and I am painting out in the gardens in which case Alex will be minding the exhibition. We always enjoy exhibiting at Aberglasney. It is a lovely place and the food in the cafe overlooking the lake is pretty good too. 

We have cut right back from 4/5 exhibtions a year to just one exhibition and this is it.

If you feel like sharing this then thanks. Anyway hope to see you there. If you do come introduce yourself, say hello.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Llandeilo Church - St Teilo's

I was in Llandeilo on Monday and I had occasion to talk to a lady carrying a wicker basket. I asked her if she was carrying dried flowers. No she informed me she had been tending to a grave.

This is the story she told me. She had been to the grave of a German man who had enlisted to fight the Nazis during the Second World War. He was digging tank traps in Pembrokeshire in 1942 when he had been bitten by a rat. He subsequently developed Weils disease. He was taken to a small cottage hospital in Llandeilo but died there. He was then buried in the church yard (St. Teilo's above).

Monday being 4th August was the day he had died and she had been along to tend to the grave although she was not related to him.

A sad story but also an indication of some of the thoughtful people that are around us all the time.
What a lovely lady.

Today we are packing the paintings for the exhibtion not a quick task.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

View of the Beacons from Brecon Cathedral

The painting above is the one I started a week ago and I finally got around to finishing it. We used to live in Brecon and know the area quite well. A number of years ago I was asked by the Dean if I would exhibit in the Cathedral and I was in fact as far as we can ascertain the first artist to hold an exhibition in the Cathedral itself. Over the years we have exhibited there on a number of occasions. The view of the Beacons shown is quite unique as it is the view from the top of the Cathedral Tower. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Carreg Cennen Castle

I don't do that many watercolours as full paintings but it is nice to do one for a change and this one sold last week. It shows Carreg Cennen Castle in its grandeur.

We are now getting ready for the Aberglasney Exhibition starting Friday so we can expect a change in the weather!

I am in the gallery in Llandeilo today while Alex gets on with framing having made over 400 cards over the weekend.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Golden Memories - Abersytwyth

I have mentioned I have been very busy this week. One of the paintings I was working on was a commission for a couple who were celebrating their Golden Wedding. The proposal took place on Aberystwyth Promenade in the Bandstand. A lovely story and I needed to make sure that the painting reflected it. I wanted a nice sunny day with a sea breeze, a timeless painting that could be from any particular decade. I was up to my eyes in work but fortunately I have developed my own way of working which suits me and cuts out a lot of preliminary stages.

This is the first stage quickly roughing out of the composition in turps and burnt sienna /french ultramarine. The tonal composition is worked out here (darks and light values).

It is then a matter of painting in and sharpening detail as appropriate. With the greatest detail in the foreground. Putting the flag in at the end could be a problem if it went wrong as the sky would have to be completely reworked but it went fine.

Link Frank

Friday, 1 August 2014

Burry Port Lighthouse

The above painting of Burry Port Lighthouse was sold this week. To be honest it was supposed to be going to my Exhibition in Aberglasney (starting 8th August) but it went along with two others I had done for the exhibition. I have a few paintings to make up now and its a bit manic with commissions too. I hadn't even found time for the gym this week but this morning I thought I had to go whatever.

As for learning the piano, I have been struggling with Canon in D by Pachelbel maybe its a bit too advanced for  me but I seem to be getting it finally. (The only reason I mention this is its a lovely piece of music (or was until I got hold of it)  and a chance to put it on the link).
Link   Canon in D