Monday, 29 February 2016

A Painting of Broadway

We have been away in the Cotswold's in the van for a week. We had a very nice time albeit it was pretty cold. The main thing was there was no rain. I did manage to get in a couple of paintings and a few ink sketches.

We stopped in Broadway a lovely village but very expensive if you should wish to live there. I wouldn't as it would be too far to go to the rugby or anything else civilised but it is nice to visit.
The above painting was started with sketch in my sketch book. I didn't take much time on the sketch, something I later regretted.

It was minus two degrees and "cold" note woolly hat not my usual cap. It went "okay" but I should have got the composition sorted out better before I started. I wouldn't have done it like this again if I had the chance.

I don't do demonstrations anymore but am happy to chat with passers bye or have people watch. I had a few interested visitors and the time passed quickly. Anyway there it is a painting of Broadway.

Monday, 22 February 2016


The day hasn't started well. I got dressed and Alex said,
" Why have you got your painting clothes on?"
"I going to do some painting."
"No you're in the Gallery today had you forgot?"
"Yes.!!!" Mutter... go and get changed.

I have been making a new pochade box/easel the last couple of days. One that is light and will hold paintings up to 18" x 14". I have taken my time to make decent joints etc and yesterday I bought varnish. I rubbed it all down and carefully put on the first coat.
Today I find it is still wet and resembles a smear of sticky treacle. I guess (hope) it will dry eventually but 18 hours is somewhat excessive and it will need a really good rub down before the next coat of... treacle.

No not a great start to the day hence the painting of Whistlejacket by Stubbs my favourite painting to brighten up the proceedings.

I am not a great fan of horses (having been kicked by one) but they are magnificent creatures  (Also why I am very taken with Lisa Miller's wonderful work). I adore this painting which captures the power and character of this horse. It is in the National Gallery with many Turner Paintings but the first time I saw it I was for want of a better expression, blown away. I had never considered it as "special" but seeing it in life was ...extraordinary. We don't often go to London but whenever we do we go to the National Gallery and the first port of call is to see Whistlejacket.

Oh well off to Origin.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Barafundle Bay

Well the day didn't start very promisingly. There was a heavy frost when I got up and the temperature was -2 degrees but the forecast gave a clear sky around midday for a few hours. So car packed Jac in the boot with food and water and Alex installed as driver we were ready. Then a sudden snow flurry, oh well lets go.

We went down to Stackpole Quay and walked across to Barafundle Bay. It was glorious if a little chilly and muddy underfoot. I set up and painted whilst Alex and Jac went off to explore. After a while I heard a familiar yelp and later found out that Jac had been experimenting with an electric fence!

Painting completed I treated Alex to lunch, well okay a cup of tea and a scone. Then off home as the clouds came over. The completed painting is below. I included Alex and Jac on the beach.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Newport Sands

I have pretty much finished the painting I have been working on this week. It is of Newport Pembrokeshire with Newport Sands in the middle distance on the left. I put a ground on the board immediately before starting the painting. I did this to unify the palette of colours I was going to use.
I then got straight into painting while the ground was drying and no with preliminary drawing work. This is my preferred option along with a couple of quick boundaries of the horizon and major shapes done with a brush. Detail is then built into it as I go.

Anyway there it is. It's a lovely part of the coast with great walks.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Whitesands Bay

The above painting is of Whitesands Bay near St David's. A lovely but very popular spot. I really enjoyed painting this. Yes the sea was that colour, more Mediterranean than Irish sea. It sold at the weekend.

I have an exhibition at Picton Castle this year (yes I know I said we wouldn't be having an exhibition this year but we don't have to be there as they will sell it for us, so what the hell). I have had a busy start to the year and must set aside some time to do some more work of Pembrokeshire now.

Nolton Ponies

We had an overnight stay in Cardiff yesterday as we went to a Valentines night event at Cardiff Blues Ground. It was a fabulous night raising money for George Thomas Hospice with superb entertainment and great food not to mention the odd drink. Thanks Sian Gunney and Nicky Piper.

The painting above is of Nolton Ponies on the beach at Druidstone and is sold.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Valentines Day

Ah Valentines day. I gave Alex her card and present but found out I was in the dog house. Yesterday she spent the afternoon putting up shelves in our daughters house while I stayed at home and watched the rugby with Jac.
While doing so we found a lovely box of cantanucci biscuits in the drawer. Ideal to have with tea and watch the game!
Apparently it was my Valentines present.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Dylan Thomas Boathouse Laugharne

The above painting of the boathouse sold last month. It was one of a series of 6" x 6" that I have done. I prefer painting larger than that as you can get a bit bogged down being fiddly if you are not careful but it makes a change and provides orginals at a reasonable price.

Yesterday was quite busy in Origin and the time passed fairly quickly. Today is set aside for watching the rugby.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Tenby Beach

The above painting shows a couple walking their dog on Tenby Beach with Caldey Island in the background. It sold earlier this week. We like Tenby and have spent some happy times there so I naturally do a few paintings of different subjects of the area.

We are stewarding in the Origin gallery today. Its not too bad as we halve it between us. I do the first five hours and Alex does the last three!  I then get to go home walk Jac and have a bite to eat.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

River Towy in Flood at Dryslwyn

Here is the painting I did yesterday at Dryswlyn of the Towy in flood.  I may tinker with it yet but probably not much if I do. I haven't signed it yet. I probably won't have a chance to get out again for the next few days at least.

The other day I went to pick up two of the grandchildren from school. they are in different classes but they come out at the same time. It was tipping down with rain and I left it to the last moment to go and stand in the playground with the other parents and grandparents. The doors opened and the granddaughter was out in the first wave of six or so children. I grabbed her and ran her to the car where Mrs Cox sat in the dry. I then returned for the grandson. Chidlren were still trooping out of his classroom and I could see him wandering back and forth through the window. Grandually ther ewere on ly a few adults left in the playground and just a trickle of children. I could feel th ewater seeeping through my coat and water now running down my back.

I was now totally alone in the playground no other adults and the only child left in the school was meandering around in the classroom without a care in the world.  It now really didn't amtter Icouldn't get any wetter. Eventually he wandered out into the storm obliviously,

"Hi grandad!"

Anyway I have an idea on where he gets his time keeping from if its genetic.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Towy in flood near Dryslwyn

Today we went down to Dryslwyn and parked in the castle car park.  I was going to walk alongside the river as near as possible  but the style was inaccessible due to the river having broken its bank. In the end I found a good view from inside the fence. The rain had stopped and the sun was out. 

I quickly made some boundary lines with a bit of blue and turps and got stuck in with a large brush.

Before I knew it lunch time had arrived and a couple of large spots of rain had landed so I packed up quickly.
The painting was mostly done apart from some finishing touches in the foreground. I might also add some more birds. There were many gulls, egrets geese and a couple of swans in evidence. I had put in some gulls but may add something more yet. 

Alex was happy as I took her for lunch at Simon Wright's place in Llanarthne. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016


I read a post the other day about men looking after children and equality. Well I have always felt you should treat people as you would hope to be treated yourself irrespective of anything else. I am sure I haven't always been succesful in this but anyway...

I know Alex (painted above a long time ago with our first dog) hasn't got much interest in gender equality issues. She has worked in many environments including an all male one in a boatyard repairing and servicing engines. She never had any problems and has always been treated well. In any case does she want equality?
No. She is quite happy with the way things are. She sees no reason for men to be made equal to women. So you can see how things work in this house!

Well today is Tuesday so its a busy day driving grandchildren around for both of us.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Three resolutions

Well I made 3 resolutions this year. Number one, to have a dry January. Well that went well but I wonder at the wisdom of picking the longest month maybe a dry February would make more sense!

The second resolution was a challenge to myself to paint outdoors (en plein air) from nature using oils throughout the whole year. 

I have been painting five or six days a week for the last thirteen years. The majority of this has been in the studio collecting "references" from outdoors, sketches photo's etc. Although I have done quite a number of watercolour sketches and paintings outside I had done very few oil paintings outside. I felt the need to challenge myself. 
I can assure you painting en plein air is totally different to painting in a studio. So I decided I need to do at least one or two paintings for every month of the year. So far it is going well. I have done more paintings outside in January and February than studio works despite the weather. I am really enjoying the painting too.

My third resolution is to take my grade three examination for the pianoforte which I took up two years ago. Having absolutely no natural ability regarding music this has been a hard but enjoyable slog.

Oh the painting above is a dyptic I did as part of my art degree. It rests in the council land fill site now. And no it is not a self portrait.

Link Squeeze

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Llanddew Church

I mentioned I haven't done many watercolour paintings over the last few years well here is an old one that sold that I really liked. It shows Llanddew Church near Brecon. It was simple and quick and had for me a real charm about it. It was quickly executed in a loose style.

I have got quite a bit to do today before making dinner and settling down to watch the rugby so just a quick post.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Cefn Sidan

This is the painting I did yesterday on Cefn Sidan beach. I had to remove sand from it and sign it at home.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Brecon Cathedral

The above watercolour is of Brecon Cathedral from the Struet. I haven't done any serious watercolours for a while. Maybe I will get back to them. I remember the Cathedral fondly as I was the first artist to be asked to hold an exhibition in the Cathedral itself. We even sat there whilst services were on going, fortunately Jac was well behaved! We were always welcomed by the Dean and were treated to dinner at the Deanery.

One of my toughest commissions was being asked to do a commission of a choirmaster conducting the choir there. It was a surprise so he couldn't see me and it had to be done there and then on the day.

We haven't exhibited in Brecon now for several years.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Saundersfoot Beach

Yesterday we went off to Saundersfoot. Not the best of forecasts but there could be a window of opportunity. Anyway when we got there it was raining and it was also blowing a gale literally. there was a 30 knot wind gusting over the town. Note I am not wearing my cap! We had a walk and I found a couple of spots I could shelter from the wind and after half an hour the rain stopped although it was still pretty gloomy.
I set up under the promenade wall and got going. Aex and Jac had a good run down to Coppet Hall and back. Just after I finished the rain came again so it was good timing.

There is the finished painting. I didn't do anything to it after I got it home other than remove a couple of flies and some sand Jac had flicked at it!