Thursday, 30 April 2015

View of the Towy Valley

I started a new painting yesterday. It is a view of the Towy Valley looking towards Llanarthne on the left and Llanegwad on the right with Carmarthen being in the far distance.

You can see that I started the painting by using a brush for a few outlines to give me some boundaries for the composition and then on this occasion filling in from top to bottom. It should be finished today as there is plenty of good light and I have a pretty free day I think.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Here is the finished painting of Tenby from the Harbour. It is a charming little town with the pastel coloured houses and hotels. I don't usually worry if I have to change the colour of houses but in this case I pretty much stuck to the original hues. They all seemed to work okay together. I am now working on the next painting of the River Towy.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Back in harness.

Bit of a hit and miss day today. I intended to start early on a painting of Tenby. I then found the portrait board I had prepared needed another coat of primer. Then I had to run an errand. So it was 11am before I got going. Anyway it is now making progress. The painting above is a watercolour I did some years back. This afternoon we have the grandchildren.

Hoping to finish the oil of Tenby tomorrow and get started on another painting.

Monday, 27 April 2015

The smell of turpentine and linseed oil returns.

We have had a couple of days away in the camper van in the Cotswolds. Very nice it was too.
But now its back to work. I am in the gallery this morning I have a couple of commissions to sort out and another dozen paintings to do.

We watched Poldark on tv last night. I have been told I bear a striking resemblance to Poldark. No Not Ross, his dead Uncle Charles Poldark!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Still life

The above painting was a largish still life about 30ins x 56ins. I did it quite a few years back. Both the jug and pot belonged to my mother and were available to paint. 

I am having a bit of a break from painting for a week so I likely won't be doing any posts for a short time. I have a number of images rolling around in my head that need to get down when I start again so plenty to do. I

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Burry Port Lighthouse

I did the above painting of Burry Port Lighthouse yesterday. I used a palette of cool greys and it gave the effect I wanted of a fresh clear day.

I had a bit of a surreal experience yesterday morning I had walked into Carmarthen Town to get a couple of new books. I baulked at paying £9 for one book in Smiths and bought a couple of good ones for £4 in the charity shop which served two purposes.

When I was in Guildhall Square a man came up to me with a microphone and asked me if I could whistle.

He told me he was from Radio Wales and I told him I could.

He asked me to demonstrate and then I gave a whistle. He asked what it was for.

I said, "I use it to control my dog."

"Does it work?"

"Oh yes he's pretty good."

What I didn't say was that I also use it to call Alex. If she is going away from me or lost in Tesco's I will whistle her. It works well but I usually get the cold freeze hell over stare as well.

Anyway he asked me a couple more questions and I wandered off slightly bemused or more bemused than usual!

Monday, 13 April 2015

River Towy and Paxtons Tower

This is the view of The River Towy and Paxtons Tower I have been working on. It is now finished.
The river is tidal up to the Carmarthen Bridge and this is about 6 miles up river and just passed Llanegwad. There is a deep pool here and last year a large seal made it his temporary abode. Paxton's Tower is in the distance on top of the hill overlooking the valley.

Anyway its a nice view and I was pleased with the result.

Sunday, 12 April 2015


The painting above is a watercolour of St Mary's in Newport.

Alex and I spent a week in our camper there a few years ago. We tend to take time off out of season due to exhibitions and other commitments. We camped on the cliffs overlooking Cardigan Bay. There were periods of sunshine but mostly steely grey skies,rain and a couple of full blown gales. We even had to get up one night to move the camper around to face the wind to stop the van rocking from side to side.

Anway it was a beautiful spot with plenty to sketch although the weather meant painting was pretty much out of it. I got through quite a few paperbacks as well.

Some subjects like churches are quite awkward as they can be surrounded by large trees and or encroaching houses making a view difficult but not necessarily impossible for an artist.

St Mary's has a large northern graveyard which is overgrown but picturesque allowing for a good composition.

Newport Pembs. is worth a visit if you haven't been. This weekend I have been doing apainting of the Towy Valley.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Running free

This is one of the commissions I did earlier this year. It is set overlooking the Towy Estuary.

I was contacted the other day to ask if I was interested in being placed in a magazine with articles on Carmarthenshire. My initial feeling was no but I thought I would consider it even if briefly and told the young lady to phone back. I looked up the magazine and in fairness the quality of the previous editions and artistic content was okay and the cost wasn't prohibitive. I was not certain that it would gain me a great deal however as the target area was not really relevant and to be honest I am not sure I want a lot more work. Anyway I rang  a couple of the artists who had previously subscribed and they suggested that it would be better not to do it. So to cut a long story short I declined.

There are better ways to reach your target customers, well certainly as far as I am concerned. When I started out I had 10,000 leaflets printed and delivered them door to door myself, across the area. We held exhibitions across South and Mid/West Wales. I set up a website very early on and later set about a daily blog. This has given me a reasonable local and web presence at virtually no cost. So generally I don't advertise through magazines or papers although I have tried it in the past. I wouldn't rule it out maybe for an exhibition who knows never say never but I would go into it in depth.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Jac has acupuncture!

I have mentioned that Jac has had a bit of an issue lately. He did in his cruciate ligament before Christmas. Since then he has been to the vet and been rested walked on a lead at all times and restricted to the ground floor of the house. After 3 months we were left with the option of him having an operation. This meant very invasive and very expensive surgery (fortunately he is insured). Basically this meant cutting the top of his bone off and screwing in a metal plate and then extensive recovery time.

I was quite prepared to go ahead with this but Alex was doubtful. Anyway I read up as much as I could on the subject and found there is strangely little scientific research into the effectiveness of this or any type of surgery for dogs with this ailment. In fact there were instances of the surgery going very wrong albeit there were many instances of the dog fully recovering after. Additionally 30% of dogs having this surgery then have the same problem with their other back leg.

We were then told about acupuncture for dogs, I was sceptical but having been told by a friend that it had worked for their dog decided we had nothing to loose. If it didn't work we could still opt for surgery, albeit reluctantly.

It turned out the person doing the acupuncture was a qualified vet and would come to the house. To cut a long story short. after five sessions Jac is now walking and trotting on an extending lead and I defy anyone to tell me which is the injured leg. We are working up to letting him run free and fingers crossed he won't undo the good work but if he stays as he is he is 90% back to his former self. This is a major transformation five weeks ago he was moving on three legs only.

I don't know how it works, I don't really care but I am considering asking her to fix my hip! Thanks Jo.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

View of Rhossili Bay - Gower

I finished the above painting yesterday. It is a view of Rhossili Bay from the headland above Worms Head. Looking down there is the beach and Burry Holms (a small tidal island) in the middle distance with Pembrey in the far distance. If you look carefully you can see figures on the beach.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


I have done the above painting of Broadhaven this week. I originally posted a pretty poor image of it but decided I had better remedy that as the colours were pretty way out literally and figuratively.

I love this stretch of coast with the coastal path letting you view the cliffs, beaches and the activity out in the bay.  With this weather we should be off in the camper van but we have a lot on and I have a way to go to finish all the paintings for the exhibition. Anyway we are making progress!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Cottages Newport with Mynydd Carningli.

Okay so I didn't read a book in the garden yesterday but I did get on with painting. The above is the cottages above St. Mary's Church in Newport Pembs. I could have put a few gravestones in the foreground but I don't think the painting needed them. The background shows Mynydd Carningli.

Today we have a couple of the grandchildren so I doubt much will get done but I expect we will have a nice day.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Boathouse Laugharne by Moonlight

I finished this painting yesterday of the Boathouse Laugharne in moonlight. Moonlight has a special quality about it. I don't do that many nocturnal scenes but its nice to do the odd one for a change.

I am not sure what I am painting today I have several options. I guess I will pick up the brush and see which one comes out on top. Mind you I may just sit in the garden with a book?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Morning mist Three Cliffs Bay

I always get up early well at least before 7am. So when we stopped at Three Cliffs Bay we were down on the beach as the mist was lifting. The painting above shows a couple walking across the beach with the sun breaking through the mist. Getting the atmospheric effect relies on scumbling. This is a technique as old as oil paints. It basically involves putting, dragging, stippling opaque paint over a darker one generally when it has dried to some extent.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Newquay Harbour

This is a little painting looking down on Newquay harbour. It is the end of the season and most yachts are craned out on the harbour wall but one yacht is still enjoying the fresh winter morning.
There is only a gentle breeze with waves lapping the shore.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Bank of the Seine

Here is another little vignette from my sketch book I did last week. In itself it is nothing just a passing moment as we went down the River Seine. The picture will eventually be disregarded but it was not a waste of time. It interested me and hones your skills to draw and paint very quickly.

I entered into a discussion the other day about the need to learn the fundamentals about any art or craft. Specifically I was talking about watercolours.

The discussion arose because we had been looking at a nice piece of work that was spoilt (in my opinion) because the artist had not stretched the paper and the result in the frame was a cockled surface like the North Atlantic. I couldn't sell anything in that condition. It was a pure waste in my eyes as obviously the artist had a great deal of talent and had spent a good amount of time on the work which was truthfully unfit to sell. Learning the basics may be boring and it understandable that people want to just get on with...painting, playing music, turning wood or whatever but there are basic technical points that underpin all these skills that should be learnt from the beginning. It rarely pays to cut corners you end up cheating yourself.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Les Andelys

I mentioned we had been to Normandy for a few days. I didn't do much other than walking but I did do the odd sketch. The little vignette above is of  the church in Les Andelys. This is the town that was built for the workers who constructed Chateau Gilliard.

Chateau Gilliard was King Richard (Lion Heart) 's Castle. Although he was King of England he left England when he was 6 years old and never came back, not even to see Robin Hood! (Please note Hollywood). His heart is buried in Fontevraud Abbey and his heart in Rouen Cathedral.

I have started working on a painting of Newquay and should be finished tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Not to be missed - David Cowdry Exhibition Aberglasney

Yesterday we managed to find time to take our eldest grandson to see David Cowdry's current exhibition at Aberglasney. (No I can't explain why Alex is talking to David holding a cabbage!)

What I can say is the exhibition is not to be missed. Stunning winter scenes and some wonderful atmospheric works. David is a very modest man who seriously underestimates his own talent. Anyway don't take my word for it go along and enjoy the gardens as well.