Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

A New Year is upon us. It is a time of reflection and commitment. It is a time to remember fondly times with family and friends many of whom are no longer here but to be thankful for their time with us. The painting above is a large portrait of my Mother who is no longer with us.

She was always an early riser and as soon as I heard her get up a as child I would follow. I would go out and she would point out the stars to me. I remember having to turn the great heavy mangle to dry the clothes and then going into light the fire. She always made me a breakfast of cheese on toast with marmalade. I have many happy memories of my childhood and I hope my children do to.

This morning I stood and pleasantly chatted to the old farmer in the mist on the top of the Valley. It broke up the walk which started in complete darkness but ended in half light.


Have a Happy New Year !

Friday, 30 December 2016

Painting of Llansteffan

This is a another commission that sold this month. I only did a quick photo on the easel but it came out ok.

I think a bit of a tidy up is required today. I have a couple of crates I use to transport paintings to get rid of along with card, wood and Christmas debris in order to get back into the workshop. Then shopping I think smoked haddock is in order if I can get it, my favourite fish!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Sunrise across the Towy Valley

I mentioned yesterday about the sun breaking over the valley. Well I remembered to take my camera this morning. So on the way back from our walk as we came to the top of the hill looking across the valley the sun broke. A glorious view on any morning whatever the weather.

I rarely get angry and have lost my temper twice (which is twice too many) but I do get irritated by people who leave rubbish in our beautiful countryside. However nearly just as bad are the people who just walk passed it. That is if they have some practical means to carry it.

We spent a week in the Cotswolds recently. The Bathurst Estate allow public access to walk and run their dogs in thsis wonderful parkland. At the entrance in the Park when we arrived I noted all manner of fast food containers and the like probably left by youngsters at night (yes very judgemental but true). I also noted this was exactly where the good people of the town were parking their 4x4's and letting the dogs out. Anyway everyday I collected a bagful of rubbish when I walked with Jac and dropped it off in bins on the way home. I don't expect praise for this it is just a matter of respect.

 Out of all those people parking there why couldn't one of them spend ten minutes with a couple of bin liners and take the rubbish home! With a car it would have been easy. I suppose people don't think. Winge over.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Carmarthen watercolour

This morning Jac and I had a great walk up through the woods and over the top fields back down Penlanffos. The scenery was spectacular. The sky was crimson in the east  with the sun just poking over the horizon. Groups of gulls were making there way across the sky heading inland. The grass was frosty and leaves crunched under foot and yet there were plenty of slippy places on the path to catch out the over eager walker.

Looking up toward the Black Mountain and pall of mist hung low. Back towards Brechfa the wind turbines were stilled by the lack of wind. Other than the distant hum of traffic in the valley all was quiet.

On Boxing Day we went for a walk in Colby Woods. It was more of an assault course with ropes strung out for the steeper stretches and I caused great hilarity sliding down the path on my backside having lost grip of the rope.

The painting above is one of  many that went in the clear out of watercolours this year.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

So its Christmas Day. Jac and I have been for our walk. Children are opening presents.  I found the above painting in the studio yesterday which I thought is appropriate. We had a nice time at our youngest daughters in Pontiets last night all the children were very well behaved.

I remember when we had Christmas Dinner at my mother and fathers Farm House in Knighton when the children were small. We had just sat down to first course when our eldest put wrapping paper on the fire and set fire to the large open chimney. 300 years of soot went up like a rocket. We abandoned dinner and the fire brigade joined us. They were least pleased having interrupted their dinner too.
It was memorable and only water damage and cold dinner so could have been worse and we laugh about it now!!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Love Actually

Its Christmas Eve and we watched "Love Actually" last night. Yes its a chick flic but its a great movie. Its all about Christmas, Love and Humanity. Pure corn but a great watch. Yes it got me in the mood for a festive season and watching "Elf" the night before was a good start. I have just about stopped laughing. They are both films you can watch over again and yes of course "Scrooged".

I am in the gallery today well until late afternoon anyway. And so yes Christmas is about love actually! Enjoy.

The painting above is Alex.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Stannier Locomotive crossing Lifting Bridge Carmarthen

I thought this painting was appropriate today. A painting of  Stannier Black Five crossing the Bascule Bridge at Carmarthen. I have posted it before but it is one of my favourite paintings and very Christmassy!

I had an interesting conversation with a young grandson yesterday. 

"Grandad why don't you believe in anything?" 

Was the awkward question from a young lad who still believes in Father Christmas. My first thought was who told you? The second was how do I answer this? I think I answered it sensitively without impinging on his beliefs. If I managed that then I wish everyone else in the world could follow suit as it would be a better place for it. Too many people are trying to impose their beliefs on others.


"Nadolig Llawen, Happy Christmas, Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia, Froehliche Weihnachten, Joyeux    Noel. Suksun Wan Christmas!"

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Michela Chiappa

I was looking to watching both episodes of an Italian Welsh Christmas and I wasn't disappointed.
Michela presented it beautifully and the food looked fantastic. When I came out of hospital having had pneumonia I suddenly decided I was going to cook having never had any inclination before. I started watching her programs and I was inspired. We later met her and had first hand tuition. So Alex owes her life of leisure to my pneumonia and Michela Chiappa.

Yesterday I fitted a 30m ethernet cable through the house only to find a problem with the cable!!
Still sorted now hopefully.

The above painting of Llansteffan sold this month.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Painting of Cefn Sidan

This is one of the paintings that sold this month. It is a painting of Cefn Sidan Beach on a misty morning with Worms Head in the background.

Quite a few little odd domestic jobs to do at the moment. We had a couple of days without hot water which was inconvenient. Sorted now. Alex is on the final run in to Christmas please let her lose her debit card.

We have little one's calling in today they are on their way to Thomas Santa 's Special. That's the Gwili Railway Special Steam Train with Santa.

I have decided to rework two paintings that are hanging about in the studio rather than let them go.

Now we pretty well always give to buskers (unless they are really awful) and donate to charity on a regular basis. I am however very careful what I donate to. I do not donate to RSPCA (after they spent all those hundreds of thousands of pounds  trying to prosecute a police officer who mercifully put an animal out of its misery having been hit by a car).  I also don't give to many organisations where I am unsure how the money is spent manily overseas. I note that Save the Children have 114 staff who are apparently paid over £90,000 a year according to a report I read this week. Chief Executives of many charities get paid hundreds of thousands David Miliband now apparently gets over £500,000 for being Chief Exec. of International Rescue. I think they should it for nothing. I am not going to fund their lifestyle. Here are two links to articles about their  pay pay

I do give to Macmillan, RNLI,  the local and Cardiff hospice on a regular basis, RSPB, Local charities, clubs and Alex gives to the Woodland Trust. I would like the Charity Commission to set maximum pay for staff.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Painting of Old Carmarthen Market

This is the old Carmarthen Market. I included a few members of the family in this painting. Alex and Sue her sister in law, our eldest daughter with her old dog and my mother are all involved. It took a while to paint this. The tower is still there. It was exhibited at the National Assembly in Cardiff. Our daughter has the painting now.

I did this post as "scheduled to post automatically " before last nights outrage in Berlin. It is with real sorrow I think of all the people affected by the attack on the Christmas Market.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Painting of Laugharne

The above painting is of the Strand at Laugharne. This area floods on high tides and occasionally people ignore the warning signs int he car park much to their later dismay. Anyway I post it as I bumped into George Phillips yesterday. George is and his good lady are old friends from Laugharne,
In fact on a couple of paintings I did of Laugharne his boat featured.

Anyway I went to watch Scarlets beat Toulon yesterday with Son in law and one granddaughter and had a thoroughly good afternoon.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Painting of Towy Valley in the Snow from Penlanffos

This is the view of the Towy Valley from Penlanffos. This is a watercolour I did a couple of years ago and is sold. The view from this spot is awesome and changes everyday according to the weather and light.

Yesterday I did a last minute watercolour commission. I don't do that many watercolours now and its good to keep my hand in. I forgot to photograph it before Alex framed it!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Vignette of Alex reading

Over the years I have painted or drawn Alex a good number of times. She is a good subject if a bit challenging because as soon as she sees I am picking up a pencil she moves. So the drawings are in the main done by stealth! Anyway the vignette above was done in while she was reading in our camper..

I note I have been getting more vists on the blog from France so "Bienvenue mes amies.,"

Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Welsh Italian Christmas

I note that on Monday night BBC there is the first of a two part program "A Welsh Italian Christmas" with Michela Chiappa. Not only is Michela a great cook but a lovely person and the program is a must watch for us.

We have had the pleasure to meet Michela and all her family including her talented sisters Emi and Romina along with Mom and Dad. We also had a great Italian meal with them.
Anyway if you want easy to follow great Italian food recipes I would recommend their books and blogs.

Yesterday we braved the Post office to post a last minute painting today I am on my way to escape with my Pochade box of oils down the beach.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Classic car for Christmas ?

A neighbour and friend of ours has an interest in classic cars and has just bought a new one (okay an old new one?).

Alex is quite jealous to be honest I am more for comfort and reliability in a car. Time was when we did our own servicing repairs .. Alex even changed the head and parts on our old Landrover to convert it to unleaded. We could strip a motorbike down to the crankcase in a day. I hav egot rid of my metal working machinery lathes etc as I am no longer likely to use them. I like mechanical things but cars now ..well I prefer to paint them..
Anyway its Christmas and I was thinking  maybe Alex would like a classic car ...
painting?  Okay maybe not.

The painting above was a scene I caught at a local show and is sold.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Painting of winter in Brechfa

Will it be a white Christmas ? I don't know I suspect not. Anyway the painting above is of Brechfa in the snow and is sold.

We picked up one of the little ones today and Alex is looking after another tomorrow whilst I finish the dining table I am making. I am keeping an eye on the weather as there maybe an opportunity to get out to do a painting. I have a couple of views in mind depending on the time available.

I was looking through the studio today and I think it is due for a clear out there are a number of paintings I am tripping over that have never been framed maybe after Christmas.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Now I do like Christmas and one of my favourite songs is "Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas" by Bing Crosby (although I believe Perry Como did it first).  I think it captures the true meaning of Christmas and the lyrics:

"A pair of hop-along boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben,"  

say it all. Yes I like a Christmas Carol Service ( although I haven't been to one for a long time) but I am more into the goodwill and giving particularly to the grandchildren.  I also get the lyrics:

"And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again!"

The last few days we have been in Ludlow where we met up with old friends from Newtown and had a very convivial time. Alex has bought a CD (yes we still buy CDs) its like the Italian four Amigos or something anyway they are singing opera about Christmas I think? Anyway its just.....interesting?

Link  Bing Crosby

Wednesday, 7 December 2016


It was another beautiful sunrise this morning as Jac and I came back from our walk.  The above is a photograph but could just as easily be a painting.

I got around to making mince pies last night and was quite good I only ate two. All the decorations are now up although Alex is put out that having taken so long to hang one set of lights they decided to turn themselves in to toast. Alex went to two of the grandchildren's Christmas shows yesterday. In one of them the youngest grandchild was a bit out of hand and was throwing his toy rabbit in the air during the performance which wasn't too bad until it landed on the piano keyboard during a song much to the astonishment of the teacher playing it.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

St. Peter's Carmarthen Painting

This is pretty seasonal. I like Christmas although I am not particularly religious. The above is a watercolour of St. Peter's Church Carmarthen.

If you like watercolours and are looking for a stunning original believe it or not you can buy an original unframed but mounted watercolour by Wendy Powell Jones for as little as £15. I am a great admirer of Wendy's Watercolours and consider her to be one of the finest watercolourists in West Wales. Anyway she has a small number of paintings priced at £15 as well as larger works in Origin 23, King Street, Carmarthen.

This morning I spent 15 minutes looking for one of my shoes. Thanks Jac!!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Abergwili Painting

The watercolour above is a winter scene of Abergwili I did a few years back. It was a freezing day that day too. That being said the weather is apparently set to pick up a bit this week. So all being well I hope to get out next week with my oil paints and do some work outside.

Today is my elder brother's birthday so Happy Birthday Tony. We have some silimarities. Tony is an artist, lecturer, writer, intellectual and all round Bohemian. He hasn't been in this country for a good many years. I aspire to be a competent artist but am not an a writer, Bohemian, or by any measure an intellectual.

Right!  Alex is up and breakfast calls and then off to steward in the gallery.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Brecon Painting

After Christmas I have a bit of work to do. I have paintings of Brecon to do for an exhibition and already one new commission to start. I finished one commission yesterday and another painting was sold. I am making good progress on the oak dining table. Tomorrow I am in Origin Gallery. We are just helping out for a couple of days in December. Busy times but planning a bit of r and r (not sure what that stands for but having a break!).
Ah yes the painting above is from the bridge in Castle Street. (There used too be a great little butcher shop on the corner when we lived there but its all gone now.) You can see the old Gaol and behind it the tower of Brecon Cathedral. The painting is sold.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Fordson Tractor Painting

The above painting was a commission. The tractor is a Fordson Dexta. I have always been interested in mechanical things. Motorbikes, cars, tractors, traction engines, aeroplanes, ships and of course I paint whatever interests me as well as landscapes/ seascapes.

The large oak dining table I am working on bit by bit with our son is coming together but will require a crane to lift it!! So it will have to be dismantled and erected in situ!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Happy Christmas

Well it is the first of December so Seasons Greetings to you. Alex put the tree up last night and worringly seems to have an awful lot of lights. I am wondering if we are going to end up with lights all over the house and garden! I have visions of cars full of children coming down the road to view the illuminati house with flashing l.e.d Santa and reindeer.

Ah well lets have another mince pie and sherry, take a breath, relax, and enjoy life.