Saturday, 29 August 2015


                                    Carmarthen one of my from my personal collection.

Dreadlock Holiday

Its been a busy year for us with not too much us time. I have been flat out and that means Alex
has as well. Life is a balance and we are going to  have a quiet couple of weeks at home so probably no painting or blogs (okay I might do a bit of sketching).

Carmarthen was in chaos yesterday heavy traffic at the two main roundabouts backed up to make going anywhere tedious. Of course many people live with this sort of thing fortunately I am not use to it. Anyway the misquote of the day from Alex on the phone to our son:

"The traffic is awful the whole town is dread locked."

I blame Bob Marley. We both love reggae. So what's the link? Plenty to choose from, "The Isrealites", "Liquidator", but I go for Dave and Ansil Collins .

Friday, 28 August 2015


The above painting hangs with several more of mine in an extensive residence in the Middle East. Admittedly its not a great photograph but as I say you get the picture.

The Pines are actually on the Downs and I saw them when taking Jac for a walk one day when visiting our daughter. I had nothing to jot down a sketch on and painted them from memory. I recall I omitted a bench.

I was paid a modest price for the paintings but its not all "about the money money" although it always helps. I like to think of myself as amongst other things a creative person.

To quote the late Linds Redding:

"Truly creative people tend not to be motivated by money. That’s why so few of us have any. The riches we crave are acknowledgement and appreciation of the ideas that we have and the things that we make. A simple but sincere “That’s quite good.” from someone who’s opinion we respect (usually a fellow artisan) is worth infinitely more than any pay-rise or bonus."

I am lucky in that I am by now quite secure and confident in my work. I enjoyed my Fine Arts Degree course some years ago but was confident enough to ignore the creative "advice" that would take me away from my natural direction. ("Be true to yourself and nature" Graham Sutherland).

All that being said we all need that acknowledgement and the real moments of pleasure are when I hand a painting over to a delighted recipient who occasionally may shed a little tear or a fellow artist gives it a,"That's quite good." I am also fortunate that I value my wife Alex's judgement. She has a good eye and always gives the final nod of approval before a painting is allowed to leave the studio. 

Link; plenty to choose form Jesse J, Beatles but I go for this one

Thursday, 27 August 2015

7 Oystercatchers

This is about my fifth painting of Oystercatchers. They are likeable little chappies always busy on the sea shore. I like doing simple paintings like this as they are quite loose and appear out of your minds eye effortlessly whilst recalling days along the beach.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015


The above painting of Llansteffan sold today. Meanwhile I have been pondering (nice word comes from the Latin Pondus to weigh up deliberate) what to do for a Christmas card this year and have now come up with an idea which I will set about this afternoon all being well.

I must also shower Jac as he has rolled in something and whilst he may appreciate the odour I certainly don't.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A Family Day out at Cefn Sidan

I have finally  finished the above commission I have been working on since the end of last week. The beach is Cefn Sidan with Worms Head the Gower in the distance. I am pleased with the finished painting and hope the customers will be too.

We have two of the grandchildren today and I am entertainment director  so I am scratching my head how to keep two youngsters occupied.

Alex is making pancakes with them at the moment. Apparently the last pancakes they had were made with goats milk and they weren't that impressed so they were a bit reluctant until Alex assured them this was real milk. Anyway best be off I hear my name being called.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Barents Sea

Not everyone's cup of tea this but one I am fond of. It is a painting of Barents Sea on the old Texaco Jetty. I was asked a long time ago if I would sell it by the curator of the national maritime museum but nothing came of it and I am happy for it to remain in my own collection. It is a reminder of our days sailing out from the Milford Haven and watching the shipping and work boats.

Saturday, 22 August 2015


Pretty miserable morning Jac and I got soaked and event he bird table was only half full most birds were sheltering in the trees opposite. We did have a good assortment of garden birds though a dozen long tailed tits, three nuthatches, green finches,  a couple of  goldfinches plus all the usual suspects.

I am getting on with my commission today.

Friday, 21 August 2015

What's on my easel?

Okay so what's on my easel today. I have started a commission for a lovely couple. It is of Cefn Sidan with Worms Head the Gower in the background. I have put down the first layer of sky along with the skyline. The light has just gone so it is an appropriate place to stop for the day. The painting is 29 inches by 16 inches so it gives you an idea of scale.

The studio is at the top of the house and is not large but quite sufficient for my needs. It has to large windows  which cover  the whole outside wall and provide really good light in average weather. I work on up to three easels at a time and may start another painting tomorrow allowing for some drying on this one. I keep the place tidy and have carpet on the floor. Jac normally sleeps just outside the door when I am working (he's not keen on the smell of turps. or linseed oil).

I am hoping the painting will be complete by the end of next week.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


We went to Saundersfoot yesterday afternoon with our daughter and two grandchildren. It is a lovely spot albeit somewhat crowded on a sunny day. The painting of the harbour above was one I did a good few years ago and I think I skipped it if I recall correctly.

Alex and I bought one of our yachts from Saundersfoot. It is a crowded little harbour and getting to know a boat can take a little while so we were a bit apprehensive about taking it out of the harbour and sailing it home across Carmarthen Bay. The wind was force 3 - 4  so we were in for a brisk sail.
we had a friend who owned a similar yacht so he volunteered to come with us. All went well Alex as helmed it out of the cluttered harbour without incident.

 As we got out into the Bay we really caught the wind and Alex was having to hold the tiller hard with both hands. She suggested taking a reef in the sail. Our friend laughed and asked to have a go at the helm. She handed it to him and as he took it the tiller nearly threw him overboard. At that point he readily agreed to reefing the sail (reducing the size of the sail to reduce power). The sail home after that was fast and fun but without further incident.

To be honest although a lovely traditional boat with plenty of teek and mahogany she was a real pig to sail with a mind of her own. The boat really needed a bowsprit to balance the sails. We never did add the bowsprit but eventually sold her for a real pedigree sailing yacht which we gave up with reluctance when we had to stop sailing.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Upstaged by a dog

Last night we were sat out enjoying the last of the days sun. Jac was lying down on the decking. Alex got up went inside and brought Jac's bed out and put it down for him.

He got up looked at it, got hold of it and dragged it back inside the house into the kitchen. He came back out looked at Alex as if to say,
"If I wanted my bed outside I would have done it myself!" and promptly lay back down on the decking.
Honestly there's no pleasing some people (or dogs).

Monday, 17 August 2015


For a number of reasons we haven't been able to get off in the camper van much this year so I have posted a painting of Snowdonia to remind me of our stops in North Wales.

I have primed a board this morning for a commission and am off out now to visit the coast for another commission that has come in over the weekend.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Rooks on Bird Table

I reckon we could pay off the Greek Debt with what Alex spends on bird seed. To be honest I don't mind we get immeasurable pleasure from watching the visitors to our garden. Sitting at breakfast watching the birds feed only feet away is a great start to the day. It fascinates Jac he only gets wound up if a squirrel joins the party. Occasionally I will grab whatever is at hand to draw them. The above sketch was a done this morning using a biro on a piece of duplicating paper.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Tenby Harbour

Well here it is finished. Tenby Harbour showing two fishing boats in the foreground. Not much more I can say about it.  I have a couple of paintings to start next week, but I am taking today and tomorrow off to do the garden and a few domestic jobs.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Tenby Harbour

Here is the start of my painting of Tenby Harbour. Quite straight forward really. I have done the outline of the a skyline in pencil and the near boats in pencil. I am not keen on doing this because the graphite can smear in the oil paint but occasionally it is the best of options. I have done this by eye and left out what I consider unnecessary clutter.

I have worked methodically top to bottom on this one. I will post the finished painting tomorrow hopefully.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Cardiff on Match day

This is the painting I have donated for auction to raise money for the George Thomas Hospice in Cardiff. It is a painting that I did to try and capture excitement in Cardiff on the day of a rugby international. It shows the packed streets around the Queens Vaults opposite Gate 3 in West Gate Street.
It took me about three weeks to complete. It is a large painting and hopefully will realise a reasonable amount for a very worthy cause.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Fruit- finished painting

Okay so here is the finished still life commission. As I said yesterday there wasn't a piece of fruit in the studio when I did this.  On the plus side it prevents over elaboration, challenges the mind and speeds up the process. On the debit side its always good practice to paint from life.

The photograph of the painting has come out  a little too green on this monitor. Anyway you get the idea.

My next painting is probably going to be of Tenby as I don't have any smaller size left.

Monday, 10 August 2015


Alex came in to the studio looked at me and said,"Can you see through those glasses?"
To be fair when I took them off there was a fair collection of paint on them. Anyway The above is the start of a commission for a still life. The beauty of this is you don't even need fruit to paint it just a few outlines from made up from your head and layed out with turps and sienna and your ready start blocking in. 

I am doing this in one go "alla prima" in a Victorian style influenced by painters like the Clare brothers albeit they were not as loose as I am going to be in doing this. You can see I am using big strokes and a couple of hogs hair brushes. I don't want to go over the fruit too much or you loose the freshness. So a couple of colours lightly blended will do it. (Hopefully!). 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Hamlet and Benedict Cumberbatch

It was Alex's birthday this weekend and our eldest daughter managed to get front row tickets for Hamlet at the Barbican with Benedict Cumberbatch. Apparently the hottest show in town. So we were naturally delighted when she asked us if we would like to ... babysit while she went to see it.

To be honest it s not really my sort of thing but they had a good time although our son in law fell asleep and woke with a start when there was a loud noise in the production. Apparently he woke up and started clapping which would have been fine except it was a quiet bit and they were at the front.

So we had quality time with the grandchildren who were surprisingly quite well behaved.

Monday I start a new commission..

Friday, 7 August 2015

Figures in watercolour

I was talking about watercolours yesterday to an old colleague. For me the most important thing about watercolours is to keep them simple. Reduce a picture to a number of shapes. I tend to only do simple sketches like this to which they are highly suited but even lovely finished works should have the freshness and spontaneity about them.

The painting below by Winslow Homer is a fine example. His work done in the Caribbean during 1884/85 was in my opinion the best.

Winslow Homer Sloop, Bermuda - 16" x 24" Premium Archival Print traditional-artwork

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Study of Cattle

The above study of cattle is one of the many that went in a major clear out of my watercolours last month.

We have been dog sitting this week so Jac has had good company. Thing is with two dogs in the house its like having a pack of them. Anytime I am cooking they are under my feet hoping for any little titbit or something to drop on the floor.

Last years paperwork is done now so that's a good job done.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

At Sea

I want to finish our paperwork today and then hopefully start on a series of paintings. The commission was collected yesterday and I may have more work lined up. All went well with the grandchildren except one child lost their comfort blanket. This could have been a bit of a disaster but I retraced our steps back to the Leisure Centre and found the well worn item in a corridor. I have decided on a painting for our next charity auction donation which is in Cardiff.

The painting above is an old one, my take on old fishing boats off St Anns Head.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Goosey Goosey Gander

This is the first year we haven't had geese  on the reservoir. I don't know why we aren't on their visiting list. Is it a decline in numbers? We see a lot less of garden and migrating birds than I used to as a child We always used to have house martins nest in the road and on our house in particular but they stopped coming about 8 years ago. All part of the expansion of mankind and climate change I guess.

(Apparently the old nursery rhyme dates back to the 16th century and the hunt for catholic priests who were executed by having their legs tied  and thrown down stairs. A "goose" was the name for a lady of the night).

Anyway we do have a bird table and a good number of visitors which keeps us and Jac happy watching through the window.

Today we are grandchild sitting so although I primed three boards yesterday I may not get a chance to start them. One commission is being picked up today.

 Yesterday Alex was on line submitting an application for her mother. She was entering the details and was reading out the questions to her mother.

Alex, "What is your date of birth?"
Her mother replied ( I won't say her age but its only two digits).
Alex,"What town were you born in ?"
Mom,"Why do they want to know that?"
Alex puzzled."Its a standard question."
Mom,"I don't know. Its ridiculous."
Alex still puzzled,"What town were you born in?"
Mom, "Oh, I thought you said what time was I born."

To cap it all the final page froze and she lost it all and Alex gave up.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Misty Morning on the River Towy

I have only done three paintings since I finished the exhibition. Two were commissions and this is the third. Misty Morning on the river Towy. This is a lovely spot and typifies the river views as the day begins.

The other night we watched a charming film about a family birthday in Scotland. The film made me smile and laugh quite a bit too. Anyway unbeknown to the adults the children decided to give their grandfather a Viking burial when he died suddenly. They made a raft and sent him out to sea in a blaze of glory. Not a bad way to go and I can imagine our grandchildren doing the same for me, (but hopefully please wait until I am dead).

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Dryslwyn Castle standing on the river Towy

I was told the other day that the following painting had sold for a goodly amount raising much needed monies for Ty Cwm. The painting is of Dryslwyn Castle standing on the river Towy.

 It is a large painting and was a real paint to frame due to the size of glass which needed to be cut from a full size sheet.

Alex didn't thank me for this. A sheet of  2mm glass is quite difficult to carry and handle in large sheets which is why we normally have it in split sizes ie. 3ft by 2ft. Anything over that size can break under its own weight very easily when turned onto the horizontal. Once it is supported in a frame its fine.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A day out at the seaside

Yesterday Alex and I decided to take time out and go to Pembrey for a relaxing day. We arrived at 10 am and walked Jac on the beach. Is there any time that this place isn't spectacular? I would be happy just painting Cefn Sidan every day. The sea, reflections, birds a big sky - painters heaven.

Anyway we took the camper van to a parking area which was a huge grassed field. There were a few cars in it and we decided to go to the far side by ourselves. We got out the deck chairs and I made salad lunch. Well we must have had our social magnet on because the next thing a car comes into the near empty field and parks 6ft from us.

"I don't believe it!"

The family got out and the two children start playing football. Now I have nothing against children I was a child myself a long time ago but  I could see where this was going to end up. There was a whole field and the two boys were playing football next to our van. Alex was gripping the edge of her chair and when the inevitable happened and the ball hit our van I grabbed the cutlery while she jumped up and said,

"Hey Pal can you go and play that somewhere else?"

She then gave the two parents the look, "Would you like to contribute to this conversation?"
No they didn't, quite wise I thought.

A short time later another car decided to join us happy band of campers and parked next to us on the other side. At this point we decided to say goodbye to their new found friends pack up and find another spot free from National Lampoons Vacation. (I expect they thought,"Goodbye Victor and Margaret!").

I can add that we found a nice empty car park and were undisturbed for the rest of the afternoon.