Saturday, 28 February 2015


I haven't done a blog for a couple of days. It has been quite busy with a few changes happening.

Painting wise I have now finished all outstanding commissions. It is the first time in 5 months I haven't had one outstanding. Prior to Christmas I was so busy I ended up selling a dozen paintings I had done for our annual exhibition. I am now beginning the process of replacing them. I quite often paint the same view but always try to make it different either a different size,season, angle or light. The one above is a point in fact. This is a similar view of Rhossili Bay to a painting that sold before Christmas but I have done a larger version this time. 

We have again decided we have too much to do and not enough tie so we are now pulling out of the gallery in Llandeilo to reduce our commitments. The gallery is fine and we sold okay but something had to go. The internet is the main outlet for us nowadays. We are now down to one physical outlet that is Origin in Carmarthen and our yearly exhibition.

On the home front Jac has still got a bad knee (ACL) and after a lot of heart searching and research we have come to the decision not to have it operated on if we can help it. My mother in law tripped yesterday banged her head and broke her arm, bless her. Fortunately she is made of stern stuff and is getting over what must have been a nasty experience. Then last night Alex decided to remodel the front of my mother in laws car as well so a double whammy! Alex is fine if a little embarrassed.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Heulwen Gwili Railway

The painting above is of  Heulwen on the Gwili Railway. I have this on the wall at home for the present and expect it to remain there until our exhibition in July. The Gwili Railway is a nice friendly little line and is being extended to Abergwili Junction just outside Carmarthen. There are plenty of subjects for me to paint but demand isn't that high so it will just be the odd one from me.

I have just finished a commission. I am off to Steward in a gallery in Llandeilo tomorrow so off the painting now until Thursday.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A nice day out

The above painting of Kidwelly Castle went this week. Quite seasonal.

We had a great day yesterday. We had been given a table for ten in the hospitality suite in Parc y Scarlets by a very thoughtful customer. So we took some of the family to watch the Scarlets Munster game. Lovely occasion good food and not a bad game if the ref hadn't spoilt it! In particular it was a treat for one grandson whose birthday it was. He was really spoilt. He was presented with a signed ball from all the Scarlets and had his photo taken with Ken Owens, Rhys Preistland....A great day.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Llandeilo from Ffairfach

This is the finished painting of Llandeilo I have been working on this week. If the bye pass ever comes the view will change forever.

The last week one of our granddaughters won the Welsh tumbling championship in her age group.
 Also on the same day one of our grandsons got to the final of the Welsh Karate Championship. We are naturally very proud of them. Alex went to watch the Tumbling Championship and also bought an official personalised photograph of the presentation. When she got it home she showed it me.
It was a very good photo of our granddaughter but had another girls name emblazoned on it.
Apparently there was a mix up with the photographers. Alex had thought the name was the name of the Trophy being presented in fact it was another competitor. Oh well.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Cefn Sidan

The above oil painting sold of a misty day on Cefn Sidan this week. Quite appropriate considering the weather. I used to do a lot of watercolours in monochrome and like the effect.

I have finished the commission I have been working on and must get on now with the next. Jac is a bit better today. I took him back to the vets yesterday and they put him on antibiotics which seem to have done the trick, touch wood.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Tug off St Annes Head

I have always had a fascination with machinery, work boats, tractors steam engines etc. I enjoy painting them too. I have to say though it is an extremely niche market and in practical terms one that is not for me. I was once asked if I would consider painting a series of tankers in a board room in London but to be honest I knew it would involve travel and spending time in London (no thank you) so I quickly declined. I now  occasionally paint these subjects for my own pleasure and the odd sale. The one above is of the tug Anglegarth off St Anne's Head. I like painting the sea but don't waste much time in detail, just getting the effect. The main thing I find is not to overwork it.

Poor old Jac (our cocker spaniel) is in the wars. He has done his back knee in. He went to the vets a week ago to be kept in for an xray. He came back home and has had diarrhoea ever since. He has been back to the vets but is no better and will be going back again today. He is very subdued.

Today I am getting on with a commission (as well as taking Jac to the vet). I was discussing commissions with another artist Wendy Powell Jones yesterday. Its funny how we all have differing views on them. Some artists are not that keen on doing them whilst others find it quite stress less.
I take the view I am going to be painting something I might as well paint something where I know there is a customer waiting for it. Anyway check out Wendy's Gallery she is a fine artist and teacher.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Llandeilo stage 1.

Here is the first stage of  the painting I am working on at the moment. It is a commission of Llandeilo from Ffairfach. I started this with some pencil work to get the houses  and bridge in the right place and then did some work with paint and turps. I have now begun to apply paint and medium. So far so good.

Last evening Alex and I went bowling with a few hundred of the grand children. As we were all putting on our bowling shoes our youngest daughter confessed to a white lie she had made to her now husband when they first met.

She told him she was a size 5 in shoes. In fact she is a 7. Why she did this who knows but she says she thought her feet might be a bit big! Anyway all was well until he took her bowling and she had to cram her feet into a size 5!! She declined to go bowling again.

Then to make matters worse he bought her a pair of expensive trainers for Christmas "size 5".

Yes things can get out of hand from one little white lie, but we all saw the funny side of it last night.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Whistlers Mother

I did it again I somehow missed photographing a couple of paintings before they went out! Anyway not to worry. Last night our eldest daughter was here and she picked up something Alex had crocheted. It was a bonnet for a teddy bear I think?  Anyway she put it on Jac's head and there it was "Whistler's Mother". That's the painting that Mr Bean was involved with if you have seen the film.

Our two daughters were talking today and the younger reminded the elder when she pulled a stick from the middle of her lawn.
"Well it looked like a stick." said the elder.
"It had roots on it. It was Jed's new Acer tree."replied the younger.

I have told this story before but it bares telling again. Mike was a PC and later DC in Newtown. One evening he was told to deliver a message to the Chief Superintendent. He took the long wheel base Land Rover and drove off to the house.

He pulled off the road up the drive and parked in front of the house in the dark. He delivered the message then got back into the Land Rover. The drive wasn't that wide and he had to do a three point turn to get back out. All was well until he got back to the Police Station.

 He got out of the Land Rover and noted with some panic that he had the Chief Superintendents prize standard rose attached to the bumper. He had dragged it all the way along the road removing pretty much anything other than the trunk. He drove back to the house to return it and as he went up the drive he noted in the headlights that not only was the standard rose missing but there were large tyre marks all over the lawn where he had turned around.

Handing back the remnants of the rose the Chief Superintendent was fortunately speechless.
(Not a normal state of affairs.)

Sunday, 15 February 2015

On the beach

We have little visitors coming today so I am getting some painting done early. Lovely light so no complaints here. Alex was off early (7.15am) to take a "little one" to a gymnastics competition in Haverfordwest.

The little watercolour above is one of Alex and a "little one" with one of our daughters on the beach. I like this style of watercolour, loose and quick or should it be quick and loose?

Its still strange to see our children grown up and dealing with their own children. I still remember them as they were. Like the time the two eldest put the youngest in a suitcase and pushed her down the stairs. You would have thought that might have inspired her to take up the luge or bob sleigh.

 Anyway have to get back to my painting before the peace is broken.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Miss Claudia

Well I confess I did. I forgot Valentines Day. Well not entirely true I remembered to get a card well in advance a Jon Shipton one.  (He does really quirky funny cards.)

Having done such a good job as getting the card weeks ahead it wasn't until I had walked Jac and done a bit of practice on the piano today that Alex presented me with a card and present. "Ah yes, Valentines Day!"I thought and rushed to find the card and write it.

The painting above is of Miss Claudia on the Texaco Jetty about 12 years ago. The painting hangs on my wall and Alex always jokes Miss Claudia is the other woman in my life. I do like it and it reminds me of days sailing in the Haven and Bristol Channel. I have started work on two commissions today. They have different stages so I can plan working on them alternatively this coming week.

Friday, 13 February 2015


Its been one of those unsatisfactory days when you seem to get very little done. I had to take Jac to the vet this morning. He has done his back leg in, likely cruciate ligament which isn't great news.

The light was too bad to paint this morning so I went to the gym. This afternoon I have been preparing boards. So not really a productive day.

Alex is off to a crochet class tomorrow. I know, but whatever. You have got to hand it to her she certainly jumps in with both feet. She is always enthusiastic about every new project. Our 6 year old granddaughter was around the other day and Alex said to her,

"I know you love orange so I am going to crochet you some orange squares to put in your bedroom."
Our granddaughter was beside herself with excitement. She looked at Alex then looked at me, rolled her eyes, smiled and went off in search of Sponge Bob.

Now if anyone wants a crochet toilet roll holder?

Thursday, 12 February 2015


The above painting of Laugharne went this week. Always something to paint there.

I got up this morning and Alex said to me," What's the date?"
I said,"I don't know. February?"
I said ,"Why."
Alex,"You've had a shower and washed your hair!"

I picked up another commission this week so no let up. Not that I'm complaining. The best thing about commissions is the feedback and of course a pretty much guaranteed sale. I am giving my eyes a rest today. We are taking Jac for a walk around Dinefwr with my sister. I might find more painting material as well.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Ferryside - Glan y Fferi

I finished this painting of Ferryside from Llansteffan this week.  I love this bit of Estuary. It reminds me of the days I spent dinghy sailing with Alex in an old heavy Wayfarer Dinghy. It was very forgiving and with Alex always sailing her flat out I spent a good deal of my time hanging over the side balancing the boat as we bashed through the waves.

We used to trailer the boat around the country. One of the hairier sails we had was when we sailed the dinghy down the river Tamar out past the great breakwater and out through  Plymouth Sound. We disappeared between the troughs of the large waves but with a steady wind we had a great sail. Later coming back in we raced a large yacht for a couple of miles.  It was great fun but I think I make a better spectator now.

I bought some clean spirit the other day instead of white spirit to clean my brushes. Take my advice don't repeat my mistake it was useless with oils. I use genuine turps and linseed oil as a medium sometimes with a little added damar varnish. I clean my brush between colours in turps and at the end  of a session with white spirit and then under the tap with cheap washing up liquid. System works for me and the brushes last a good time. I only got clean spirit as it was less toxic and odourless (to keep Jac happy). Anyway I won't buy it again.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Praying for time

Although I am not a religious person I enjoy looking around churches. A fascination with history I suppose. I did the painting above when we were exhibiting at Brecon Cathedral a few years ago. I got to know the Cathedral pretty well as we exhibited there a number of times all very successful but it travelling every day and the time involved outweighed the financial gain and in the end we stopped exhibiting at all except for Aberglasney once a year.

I have been working on a commission the last 3 days. It has taken a bit longer than I expected and I am hoping to start another commission tomorrow. I have a number of other paintings I have in mind to do as well. There never seems time to do it all.

When Jac was a puppy he started to tear up the letters coming through the door. We cleverly thought we would teach him to bring them to us instead! This has worked well for a few years. When the post comes through the door he trots off, collects it and brings it to us. He then gets a biscuit as a reward.

He is obviously getting smarter as he gets older. He has now started to pick up any scrap of paper lying around and duly awaits for his reward. Now he has taken this to a new level. If there is no paper lying around he will find it. He will pull notes off the fridge held on by magnets or if Alex leaves her bag on a chair on the floor he will stick his nose in and bring us some of the contents. Of course this could be anything, from receipts to her purse.

This does have the added benefit that Alex now puts her bag away so a result really.

link George Michael.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Dryslwyn Castle and Sheep.

I have had a bit of a problem with my PC (computer) it decided to crash completely. I think it is now in some sort of working order and I had backed up my work. All a bit frustrating as I really don't enjoy sitting in front of an electronic puzzle for hours. Anyway job done.

The painting above is a quickie of Dryswlyn Castle with a slightly different palette to my normal one as it has a few cool greys. Bit of a disaster with Wales on Friday. I personally thought Scott Williams and Liam Williams should have started but what do I know? Under 20's did well last night.

I have two commissions to work on currently having spent a nice day up in Ceredigion on Friday getting material for one of them.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Gwili at Carmarthen

Well I did do a painting of the Gwili. It is a subject I have overlooked a bit and have been meaning to get around to.
Here's how I started.

Not very inspiring but I was pretty happy in my own mind although I did move things around a bit after. I removed rock in the foreground and added more underwater rocks. The buzzard well lasat time we went down there a heron was sat on the bank but I decided a buzzard would lead the eye out nicely.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Another close shave

Yesterday I picked up the grandchildren from school and made my way home. I was driving down a short dual carriageway in the outside lane following another car. Suddenly the car in front shot to the inside lane.

"Now there's something you don't see everyday," I thought as a geriatric flat cap was revealed driving towards me in my lane oblivious to the world.  A second thought crossed my mind which I will omit here. I managed to pull across despite having another vehicle on my inside and the car sailed passed at a closing speed of about 60mph.

This has actually happened to us three times. The first time I was in 1973 on a Triumph Daytona 500 motorcycle with Alex on the back on the Aston Express Way. Two dears were chatting to each other completely oblivious to the fact they were aiming at us in the fast lane going in the wrong direction.
The second time we weren't so lucky Alex and I were in our Morris 1000 pick up when we were hit head on by a stolen car on the wrong side of road.

Today I am starting a new painting. I haven't decided what yet but it may well be a painting of the Gwili near Carmarthen.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Busy little oyster catchers

The other day a customer asked to change a frame to match another painting of ours. Not a problem but we were left with a very nice empty frame.  What would go on a 6"x 6"board ? Ah, oyster catchers ever popular (well I like them anyway), busy little birds on the seashore. Eh voila and now time to collect the grandchildren form school!

Sunday, 1 February 2015


I finished the above painting of Solva this weekend. The photo actually shows fractionally more blue saturation than there is on the painting.

Much to do at the moment and am glad to say my chest is getting a lot better. I don't have to sleep sitting upright now which is a blessing (sorry just playing the sympathy card if anyone is listening!).

Off to make Sunday dinner now.