Wednesday, 27 July 2016

View of Carmarthen and the River Towy

The above painting of Carmarthen sold this week. I enjoyed painting it and am glad it is going to a good home.

The last commission was finished and picked up a few days ago so I have a clear slate currently.

On a more sombre note Alex and were in Rouen not 12 months ago. It is a sad world with hatred and disregard for the lives of others seemingly spreading at an alarming rate.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


I like going to to steam rallies and vintage events and occasionally I paint something that takes my fancy in this case it was an Alvis. Through a circuitous route the owner of the car eventually bought the painting.  A friend having spotted it at an exhibition.

We were out for dinner last night at Florentinos with friends and Alex spent some of the time trying to blag a ride in their vintage sports car so hence the post today.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Willow Pattern

I very occasionally do a still life painting. It can be a bit hard on the eyes if there is a very detailed pattern like Willow Pattern. The key is to give the impression of detail without actually doing too much, but enough! One thing about painting still life it doesn't move! The above painting is sold. The silver knob thing is a sugar shaker before you ask.

This week I needed an large oval dish for serving a meal. I called into the antique centre in Carmarthen and found an  F&Son, Art Deco "Carlton" Oval plate. It was probably worth about £30 but got it for £2.50. Unmarked just the job!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

St Phillips Cathedral - Million to one chance

Today Alex and our youngest daughter Rhian ran in the Race for Life in Swansea. It looks like they finished as well, so a good achievement. Trouble is they have now gone shopping!

Anyway the little painting I did a while back is to remind me of the time I met Alex for the second time. I first met her at Edgbaston County Cricket Ground in 1972. The following day I bumped into her while I was working in Birmingham City Centre apparently by pure chance, literally one million to one (although I have a sneaky suspicion she was stalking me). That is her in her long black coat and boots by St Phillips Cathedral.

So a chance meeting led to a family and a lot more.

Saturday, 23 July 2016


Borth is where we used to take the children when they were small. It was our nearest bit of seaside as we lived in Mid-Wales. Its been a while since we were there (and the painting is an old one that is sold) but I still have fond memories of it.

Last night we went to an exhibition of work by students at the local art college. Some very nice work too. I was of course drawn to the paintings. I also popped in to King Street Gallery yesterday to see the Josef Herman exhibition which is well worth a visit.

Last night I sat down to watch something on BBC i player and Alex said to me,
"Oh is this that king thing?"
"You mean Versailles ? Yes." What can I say?

I have been interupted twice writing this once by someone wanting to replace my gable ends! Once by Jehova Witnesses. Its going to be one of those days.

Friday, 22 July 2016

River Usk at Brecon

The above painting is of the River Usk at Brecon. It sold a few years back and we did some prints of it as well.

We started a comprehensive catalogue of all my framed works from 2006 but things are a bit vague before that. Since then I have sold around a thousand original works along with prints and sketches and can have a pretty good idea of where they are. This doesn't take account of paintings  that were never framed or offered for sale. So I have kept busy.

This year I have decided to mainly work outside although I am doing the odd studio work and commissions. I enjoy the challenge of painting en pleine air and it has given me a real lift in my work. So I have gone from painting 5 days a week to five paintings a month. Next year who knows?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Vitamin D Deficiency and sunray treatment

I noted that there is a recomendation today that people take vitamin d pills in the winter to avoid any definciency caused by lack of sunlight. When I grew up it was quite common to have thick sulphurous smog for days in a row. It would be so thick you couldn't see the other side of the road and getting to school with a scarf wrapped over your face was a very strange and unpleasant experience. Anyway to get to the point it was so bad many children including myself were regularly sent for sunray treatment to make up for vitamin d deficiency. The sketch above is of me, Albert and Nobby being subjected to this.

The treatment involved going to a "clinic" stripping down to your underpants and sitting in a room with other children all wearing goggles. A strong light (ultra violet I guess ) was then turned on for about 20 minutes.

I don't know if there were any long term consequencies of this treatment but they stopped doing it after a couple of years.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

On Days Like These

We no longer have a boat but on days like these when I do have the odd moment of nostalgia thinking about those great sunny days with a friendly wind allowing us to skim over the water. The painting above is of our last yacht Saphire in the Milford Haven Waterway. Jac was alwasy happy sailing although he did give us the odd heart stopping moment as he slithered about the decks, being captain fearless.

We are less adventurous and more sedate these days but then well just the smell of the sea can stir something.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Mist in the Towy Valley

This is a view of the morning mist in the Towy Valley from the garden of our sons first house. It was done a long time ago and as a present for them.

Last night my sister took Alex and I with 2 of the elder grandchildren to watch badgers coming out of their set at dusk. It was a delightful experience for them (the children not the badgers!) as well as us.

 I  have no plans to do a painting of them but who knows I may do one day.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Lady in the Mirror

This is one of the paintings in my own collection. It is a homage to Manet and of course to my wife Alex.
The reference to Manet is of course "A Bar at the Folies - Bergere, 1882". It is in no way referenced to the painting by Picasso, Girl in the Mirror although I have actually done a painting of that years ago.
I rarely do portraits now and when I do it is of my own family. I made one exception last year, and that was a one off.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Nobody said it was easy.

The above painting of sunrise on the Gower went this week. It was actually Port Eynon and I was up pretty early with Jac to catch it. Sunrises can be and this was spectacular. I suppose the essence of painting this is not to overcomplicate it and to blend the colours (and of course avoid green!).

I mentioned I had my piano exam the other day.  I managed a perfect practice before I left for the exam. I was strangely confident and was okay until I sat down.

The piano was obviously made for persons of a smaller stature than me. Perfect for the 7year olds I was competing with I suppose. I couldn't get my legs under the keyboard and when I played the sustain foot pedal I can swear I was lifting the entire piano off the ground with my knee. Anyway thats my excuse. I started badly and managed to maintain that level for the whole exam.

 I can't blame it on anything other than me to be honest and I couldn't have got this far without a very patient teacher. Cheers John.  I suppose I should sum it up by saying ,"Could have, should have done better! Will do next time"

Link Coldplay

Monday, 11 July 2016

Why does it always rain on me?

So summers back. I can guarantee as soon as I get 100 yards from the house to walk the dog or like yesterday to go to town and get the food shopping, it rains! Alex was in Cardiff yesterday and it was sunny all day there apparently.

To be honest I don't mind the rain but a few days warmth and dry would be nice.

I have my piano exam this morning, no real pressure I am not going to be a concert pianist but progress would be nice.

Link Travis

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Bits and Pieces

 I saw a contemporary artist's work  today which reminded me I had given one of our granddaughter's paints to play with on Tuesday. Unfair comparison really as she has more technique and control. I was tempted to make a comment but desisted on the grounds that,"If you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all." Anyway not for me.

I was cleaning today when I came across an orchid in a little vase that had seen better days so I threw it. Ten minutes later:

"Mark what have you done with my orchid?"

"I threw it they only last about ten days and was looking a bit wilted."

"Yes well its been there 3 years and its not real.Where is it?"

Ah okay so my powers of observation seem to be not what they should be.

Last night Alex had a text from a relative. "My mobile isn't working."
"Yes it is you just texted me."  Anyway don't you just hate mobile phones worst ever invention.

link Dave Clark Five

Friday, 8 July 2016

View of Llangunnor

The studio painting I have been working on this week. I had to run up a full sized sketch before starting the painting.

From that I marked the main shapes in with a brush and put in some underpainting of highlights. The rest was straightforward.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016


I suppose its that time of year when people are going off on their holidays, unless they are tied to school holidays under threat of being fined for taking their child out of class for a week or so. We tend ot take the camper van but do get away abroad occasionally although the options seem to be reducing. Venice is a lovely city and we have been a couple of times. The quick impressionistic painting above was quickly undertaken. It is sold.

I am currently working on a commission. It is not straight forward as it involves producing a view that cannot be see! The view is obstructed by house rooves ( this was correct spelling when I went to school) and trees but it can be put together by working out where everything would be if you could magically remove the obstructions. So all is not straight forward and the preliminaries are more complicated that the painting but all very interesting.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Towy Valley

The above painting has an obvious ground of burnt sienna. It was put on roughly before I stared putting in the main boundaries. It can be scrubbed on or wiped on with a rag using oil paint and pure turps. It dries quickly and you dont have to wait to carry on. The ground which shows through over the painting holds it together and breaks up larger areas of colour adding interest.

The painting which is of the Towy Valley sold to a lady who had no connection to the Valley but just liked the painting.

If you were to come to our house at the present you would be forgiven for thinking we had been burgled by a very untidy offender or visited by a marauding band of Goths, which is closer to the truth.
Yes we have grandchildren for the weekend. To be fair they have been good but I don't think Alex is up to reading another "Secret Seven," book and Jac has been hiding in the garden. So today halelujah in the words of the immortal Elvis its "Return to Sender." After all you can have too much of a good thing!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Painting by degrees

I was trawling images of my old paintings and came across this one done for my degree. It was about 3ft by 2ft and I have cropped it for this post. It was done in acrylics due to the size. At the time I was very interested in portraits and was in tending to specialise in them. I did have a dedicated website and had some commissions but decided it was a very niche market with limited chance of commercial success. I now only do portraits for the family.

Friday, 1 July 2016


I am a bit lazy these days when it comes to keeping up with my drawing. I used to draw anything from life or copy other works such as the one above of Marie Vigee le Brun I did some years back.
I do draw with my brush when laying out a painting, preferring not to use pencil on canvas and now generally only do sketches for my own amusement.

On a seperate note I see a group of MPs are calling for solicitors to be decriminalised.