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.