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Monday, 27 November 2017

The End of the Line


I have deliberately chosen the above painting of Jac and I from my private collection as it is quite appropriate.

I have been very lucky in having had two modestly successful careers. Although I have been painting all my life I have only been full time since 2003. I have no idea how many paintings I have painted in all  but I have sold in excess of one thousand one hundred of them. This has meant painting 5-6 days a week. I have thoroughly enjoyed this and have been lucky to meet some wonderful people both customers and other artists. My paintings have been bought by all groups of people from some very well known personalities to a pair of children who wanted a painting for their mom at Christmas (not a profit in that one!). I have been supported in this by my good lady Alex who has done all my framing, run the business, exhibitions tax...

I have blogged on pretty much a daily basis for 7 years. I hope that someone has enjoyed reading them.

Anyway I will get to the point. We have decided to call it a day and officially finish officially at the end of the financial year. In effect we will be winding down up to that point. My paintings will no longer be available in any gallery.. I may do a bit of painting and sketching for pleasure.

I regret not being able to pass on what I have learnt over the years but there again I am a hopeless teacher and have little patience.

So I think this may be the last of my blogs. If you do want a painting I still have some stock and there is a small selection in Origin, King Street.

Appropriately my final link is Travelling Wilburys

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Mixed fortunes


We had a good day out in Cardiff yesterday. Taking the coach makes for a heavy day but all considered neither of us are too bad today.

We met up with our eldest daughter and bumped into a good number of friends including artist Helen Elliot who had a lovely display of her work in the centre.

Well Wales didn't manage it again but they did put it a good effort. I was very impressed by Scotland particularly as I had a Scottish Grandfather.

As for today a quiet day ....

Sunday, 19 November 2017

A Walk on the Beach in winter.


My post yesterday explained that I have been looking at a number of works and have decided to finish or take them back under the paint brush.

 This is another. I was quite happy with the start of it but felt it could happily take more interest. It has been sat in the corner of the studio until this week. I have now worked on the sky added the birds and the figures.


Saturday, 18 November 2017

Painting of the Nunney Castle visiting Carmarthen.


It is often said that a painting is not finished merely abandoned. Well it is quite true. I get to a point and think that's okay but I will look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow. I go back and look at it then I ask Alex. Alex is not an artist but I trust her views implicitly. She will often say this is wrong or it needs some work here ...or she may say perfect!

After that the painting is generally allowed to dry and during that time I may look at it and think, "If I started that again I would do this or that."It is a good way to improve your work in any case. I am my own harshest critic but not necessarily in a negative way.

To get to the point a few paintings have been around the house that I have been looking at and thinking I must alter that ...This is something of a big decision if they are framed. They are generally inset in foam mount board taped to a double mount. They are then put in a glass fronted frame and have waterproof sealed backing that is also taped. The tape is not your general masking tape and will ruin a board pulling it off. Now the biggest issue is that it is Alex that will have to re-frame it! I don't take these decisions lightly!

Anyway I decided I had a bit of work that could be done to improve the above painting of The Nunney Castle visiting Carmarthen. I moved the crowd away from the smoke box to give a clean contrast with the yellow of the shed. I improved the lettering on the smoke box ie. B80. I worked some glazes into the engine itself. I changed the colour of the sky to emphasise the smoke. The sky had been grey. I also added mor contrast in the ballast in the foreground. The painting had been fine but now I am very pleased with it. It is likely I will keep the painting.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Painting of Winter in the Towy Valley


I finally got around to framing this painting today of Towy Valley in the winter. It shows St. Davids Church Abergwili and Merlin's Hill in the distance.

I  enjoy looking at paintings and feel an artist should be paid their worth for the work involved. I have always been happy with what I have received for my work. However lets be honest how can a painting be worth £350 million pounds? Our values are pretty screwed really.  Leonardo da Vinci was a genius but is a painting allegedly by him worth that? I can't say I would want a print of it on my wall or even the original! Anyway I am sure he would find the funny side of it.


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Unwanted



This is an old painting of Molly at Hay on Wye. It has been around for ages, mainly on my wall. It is a bit unwanted and never found an owner. There is also a sad story about Molly herself which I won't go into here.

Anyway I decided ruthlessly that I needed the frame for another painting which has sold. Although I am fond of the painting, room dictates that eventually I will probably dispatch the painting itself.

Friday, 10 November 2017

A break in the clouds over Paxton's Tower


This is an old painting done in a slightly different style to my usual. It shows Paxton's Tower in the Towy Valley and is sold.

This last few weeks have been pretty quiet. That is not unusual at this time of year and I can't complain as it has overall been a good year.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Universal Colliery



The above painting was a commission.  It is a painting of the terrible mining disaster at Universal Colliery, Senghenydd where 440 men lost their lives, 14th October 1914.

I was commissioned to do by a descendant of one of the miners who survived the disaster. I struggled to find a view showing both pit heads but eventually managed to work out the relatvie positions. The image of the woman waiting for news was one taken at the time.

I have been down a mine and crawled along a coal face and I have nothing but respect for those who worked in those terrible conditions. It is not something I could do or could have done.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Howards End



We were watching TV last night when a preview came on stating that "Howards End" was coming on in the near future.

"Alex, Oh good that hasn't been on for a long time. They must be doing a follow up series."

I looked at her puzzled for a minute and then laughed,

 "You're thinking about,"Howards Way the boat business on the Solent with Kate O'Mara."
(this was last shown in about 1990!).


She then said, "Oh no you're not going to put this on your Blog?" 

Would I?
 

Anyway the picture above is of boats in Saundersfoot Harbour, seems appropriate. I can't remember if it sold or it went in a clearout.

Link Howards Way

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The Lesser of Two Easels





Just to frighten the children here is a photo of me in my "studio". It is not a large studio  but has excellent light. I tend to have three easels on the go at any one time and own 6 different types of easel along with two pochade boxes. Incidentally I am getting rid of the studio easel on the left in the picture to free up some space. So if anyone is interested and can collect £30 will do it.

 A pint mug of tea and the radio will keep me going for three or four hours. I should say it is probably not a good idea to eat or drink when using oil paints. I paint with the window open to reduce the fumes, even so Jac lies just outside the door and only ventures in to tell me it is time for his walk and then he tends to sneeze. You can see I am quite a clean painter but my jumpers are always my oldest and I have been known to answer the door or even go to Town with a blue or red streak of paint on my face or in my hair.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Wear your Poppy with Pride


I always buy a poppy. It is an outward sign of an inward feeling of respect and gratitude for those generations before us who sacrificed themselves in order that we can live in a free and liberal democracy.

There are those of course ( a few in number ) who try to misrepresent the meaning of the red poppy for their own ends. I am not sure whether this makes me sad or angry.

Anyway the painting above is my own tribute

Friday, 3 November 2017

To Blog or not to Blog


Last night I attended the AGM of our co-operative. A discussion ensued about the merits of Social Media as a means of marketing and selling.

For what it is worth these are my own views which are based on experience.

You need to know what you are trying to achieve when you undertake anything. What is your objective? How are you going to measure it and how do you know if you have achieved it?

If you take out an advert online or in a magazine how do you know if it has been a success. Have you had more visitors to your site, store, more sales? Could the money have been used more effectively?
Just sticking a finger in the air and thinking this is a good idea is not good enough and frankly unprofessional.

If you spend time on social media how much does it cost you. If you spend 40 hrs a year how many paintings or widgets could you have made in that 40 hours and what value would they be?

All this may sound like a lot of work but really if you are in business you should have this information to hand in any case. How much is a days painting worth? What do you sell? Where do the sales come from, online, gallery, exhibition, private...With a spreadsheet this is all pretty simple.

Now I have found adverts in papers, magazines have virtually no impact on my sales. My website does bring in sales. My Daily Blog has been invaluable over the years and along with exhibitions has been my biggest source of enquiries and sales. Twitter has and no significant impact but I still tweet because it is not time consuming. Selling cards has minimal profit itself, but it does generate sales up to 10% .

The painting above was the painting I used on my first Blog over 7 years ago. If you are tempted to blog I would suggest it is daily or at least weekly and make it interesting otherwise readers get bored quickly. It is a commitment and doing a few blogs now and then will be most likely a waste of effort.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

A day on the beach


We went to the beach yesterday and had a great walk. Jac can normally find a dead seagull or jelly fish to roll in but he outdid himself yesterday. He found a rotting seal carcase and before we could stop him was rolling around all over it.

Despite several dips in the sea and numerous wipe he stank appallingly. We had to virtually hold our breath until we got home. Then it was a full wash and shower! For him and us.

The painting above is of Cefn Sidan ( meaning literally silver or satin back) the long beautiful beach of sand running form the Three Rivers estuary to Pembrey and is sold.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Druidstone


We have had 2 grandchildren for the last five days so I am a bit shell shocked. To be truthful they were really good but I feel knackered!

I think we are taking the camper out tomorrow for the day, not sure where maybe Druidstone as in the painting above. I may take my easel or I may just sleep.

I did get to the rugby last night to watch the Scarlets and Blues, a good game.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

You lose some you win some


Not every painting is a success and the one above was consigned to the waste pile. It was an attempt to paint the City of St. Truro as it passed by. I had been on the engine as a boy so it held some interest for me. I think it went wrong from the beginning the composition is to my mind way out. The loco is too big and the front of the loco is too far to the right .   The canvas is also too square for the picture. Apart from that it was perfect!! Well actually the smoke box door is to detailed and well you get the picture ( pun intended). I did it a good few years ago but that is not an excuse. The main point is to be  objective about your own work and analyise it. If it is all wrong work out why and learn from it.


In the interests of balance here is a reasonable painting of a locomotive going under the rail bridge next to my old house. This is not for sale.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Its still life


 I pretty much like to paint most things in many styles. The above was obviously a still life I did  in the style of victorian artists.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Brecon Painting


The above painting is a view of Brecon. A painting that sold a few years ago when I use to exhibit in Brecon.

Brecon is a lovely little town in the National Park. It has changed a good deal since we used to live there but I think it still retains its charm.

I posted the other day about my old coat well I have now lost my favourite flat cap which was a dozen or more years old. Appropriately I think it was lost in a pub! Alex has bought me another so I will have to wear it in.



Sunday, 22 October 2017

Rail Bridge Carmarthen


A favourite painting of mine that is now sold of a Black Five crossing the Bascule Bridge at Carmarthen.

Jac and I were out earlier enough to catch Venus in the morning sky before dawn. Alex has been away at a wedding and is due back today so Jac and I will be on domestic chores this morning. I had two of the grandchildren yesterday and we were cooking for a few hours. I got them making their own pizzas albeit the yeast seemed a bit reluctant to activate all went well. Then it was fruit pie and carrot cake. A pleasant few hours with me relegated to skivvy and chief washer upper!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Riders on the Storm


Okay I have had what I believe are now called a couple of "clothing fails"!

Last night I went to the rugby. I got out of the car and put my coat on to find my son, son-in-law and grandson all looking at me.

"What?" I said.
"What is that you're wearing?"
"My coat. Why?"
"Whats that all over it?"
"Paint, its my coat I use when painting outside."

 Now I confess it is probably 20 years passed its sell by date and is splattered in oil paint but its warm, comfortable and I can't bring myself to throw it out.
They just looked at me laughing and we hurried to the game in abject conditions. As for the game itself the best thing to do is to just draw a line under it and forget it.

This morning I got up and dressed to take Jac out  into Storm Brian. I had my old coat on hood, cap, scarf, over trousers and wellingtons (which actually leak and do need replacing). I must have looked like an outsize Paddington Bear.

I walked out of the front door and was greeted by a calm, no wind or rain. I then met my elderly neighbour (okay I am no spring chicken myself). He had been to get his newspaper from the garage.

He looked at me and grinned,"Good morning Mark."

He was wearing a cap, cardigan and what looked like slippers although I think they must have been old Hush Puppies (who remembers them?).

I was almost grateful when ten minutes later the heavens opened.

Ah the painting above is I think appropriate for today and is sold.

Link to one of my favourite Bands the Doors that I did see.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Painting of the Preseli's in Winter


I read today that we are going to have a nightmare frozen winter ... but when don't we get these dire warnings? 
Anyway it reminded me of the above painting which is sold. It is a view of the Preseli's with snow showers. In the foreground are a field of sheep. 

I have painted this view using an easel at the beginning of winter. It was a good walk carrying the easel and paints. When I got there I was..** ..cold.. Nevertheless I did the painting despite having to hold the easel with one hand to stop it blowing over and keep wiping a cold red nose. Still it is character forming as they say. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Landscape painting of Cefn Sidan


The above painting of Cefn Sidan sold last week. Although it was a very small painting it was quite cute and I was partial to it, after all size isn't everything!

We have been away in the Cotswolds for 10 days and had a pleasant time meeting up with old friends and relatives too.

I walked to town this morning to do the shopping, twice. I got half way and realised I had left my wallet at home! I suppose it is some sort of Yin and Yan thing. I forget something but it is balanced by me having to do more excercise to improve my well being!!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Barge on the Brecon and Monmouth Canal


I have given the above painting to Nicky Piper for his exhibition to raise funds for Cardiff City Hospice. It is a very worthy cause and we are always happy to help with their annual exhibition.

Monday, 9 October 2017

David Cowdry Exhibition - Aberglasney


On Saturday I popped into Aberglasney to see our friend David Cowdry with his exhibition. He has as usual a superb range of paintings. It is only on for a week but if you get the chance get along and have a look.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Painting of boats in Angle


We used to have a mooring in Angle and this was a painting I did back then. It sold a long time ago. The execution was quite loose and suited the subject. The only bits of detail are in the boats.

We were on the moorings in Angle when I got a fish bone stuck in my throat. This was a quite unpleasant experience and I failed to move it with bread or water. In the end Alex took great delight in getting a pair of tapernosed pliers out of the toolbox and stick them down my throat to remove it. I didn't think it was possible to get a set of pliers in my mouth but it is.
Yes it was bloody uncomfortable and I wouldn't recommend it but it felt better when it was gone and of course I drank some alcohol to sterilise the area! Alex thought it was hilarious. After that I made sure we had forceps in our first aid kit.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Cleddau Bridge


The above painting is of the Cleddau Bridgea at Neyland. We used to moor our boat in the marina in Neyland when Alex was working as an engineer in Dale Sailing. (I can also add proudly she won marine engineer student of the year when in college).  The place we moored was in the upper basin, which although being cheaper was restricted because you could only get in or out an hour or so either side of high water.

It did have the advantage of a lovely walk along the old Railway built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Neyland became the terminus for the Great Western Railway in 1856. The railway fell into disuse after Beeching I believe. Anyway there is now a lovely long walk through nature reserves although you have to dodge cyclists.


“Jac” our cocker spaniel loves nature although he has a real thing about black birds. So we often took him long walks from the time he was a puppy. 

One day we took him along this trail and met a young couple pushing a pram. The pram contained a baby and unbeknown to us a picnic wrapped up under the pram. We stopped briefly to chat to the couple, and then I suddenly noticed “Jac” disappearing with a package in his mouth. I called him but being a young pup he took no notice and proceeded to unwrap and eat sandwiches at a distance. I finally caught him and handed the whole sorry mess back to the couple who were none to pleased. We then disappeared with as much grace and speed as we could, muttering apologies for our wayward dog.


Friday, 6 October 2017

Autumn Rain


I finished this painting "Autumn Rain" yesterday. I rarely use burnt sienna but I thought, well it is an autumnal colour so... Anyway a glimpse of Worms Head through the incoming rain. Its influenced by Edward Seago to some extent and is quite fluid with the exception of the relief of Worms Head.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Painting of Kidwelly Castle in the snow.


I was interviewed about an old friend of mine the other night. A book is being written about John Brown who I did my degree course with. John wrote a book himself before he died but now there is one being written about him mainly I believe for the American market.

John was a very interesting character who was  famous for his furniture making and in particular chair making. He was a craftsman who had lived life to the full. There is much I can say about him but sufficient to say he was a friend of mine.

The painting above is of Kidwelly Castle and is sold.

David Cowdry has an exhibition in Aberglasney for one week starting Saturday. Must be worth a visit.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Winters morning


There was a definite chill in the air this morning when I took Jac out. I suppose th eclocks will be going back soon and then we know dark days are coming. The watercolour above is one I did for a radio program a while back which I guess is novel. I had to use my best descriptive powers, but it all worked out okay.

I had previously undertaken an exhibition involving the visually impaired. This required doing maquettes for the paintings. These were 3D representations of the paintings that the audience could hold and trace with their fingers whilst I described the scene to them. All this was a lot of work.

 I asked the Arts Council for Wales if they were interested in helping to publicise the event. I didn't want any money. (I have never asked for any grant or monetary assistance). They were totally uninterested and were also unable to tell me what they had done to assist the visually impaired in the arts. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised given their poor reputation but this was the only dealings I had with them.  I had quite a lot of interest from England and was contacted by several people and groups wishing to know how I had arranged the event which was covered by the BBC.






Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Thomas Toft


Yesterday I went pottery painting with Alex! Although I did ceramics as part of my degree course and enjoyed it I was never very good at it. I always wanted to do practical things like the biscuit barrel above or a nuthatch...

Anyway Alex has been taking the grandchildren to Gwili Pottery to spend a couple of hours painting pottery. Yesterday she was going by herself to finish off a couple of items. I went along with her and spent a couple of hours decorating a plate to be fired. I can't show it as it is a present but hopefully it will turn out okay. It was influenced by the style of Thomas Toft a 17th century potter who I don't remember but Alex may well do.

I would recommend a visit to the pottery if you have a couple of hours to send with or without children. It was relaxing and I will have made a personalised present for the small sum of £16.

Gwili Pottery. Pontarsais, Carmarthen SA32 7DU.  01267 253449.



Sunday, 1 October 2017

Ferryside Beach


I spent the day yesterday preparing and priming boards. Today I am moving my work about in the Origin gallery.
The painting above is of Llansteffan Castle from Ferryside Beach and is sold.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Painting of a Yacht Angle Bay



The above painting is of a yacht at anchor in Angle Bay. As I recall I think it was called Sea Squaw.

It is an old painting which is still in my studio somewhere. I thought I would include the video showing how it was painted albeit the camera quality is poor, you get the idea.




Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Dinefwr Castle and White Park Cattle


The painting above is sold and is of Dinefwr Castle and their famous white cattle. The cattle have been associated with Dinefwr since Medieval times and are apparently distinctly different from all other breeds. I just like their long horns and inquisitive faces.

Yesterday I took Jac for his early morning walk and was lost in thought for most of the 25 minutes or so. We got back and I let him in the house and he promptly disappeared to be met with a lot of shouting. I wandered in and noticed a great trail of stinking mud along the floors and walls ending with a happy looking Jac and a not so happy looking Alex.

 I obviously hadn't noticed the state he had got into. 

He was easily remedied with a visit to the hosepipe.

 As for Alex and the house well  I kept a low profile for a while!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Cefn Sidan Oil Painting


The above painting of "A walk on Cefn Sidan" sold last week. It so happens yesterday I got the long distance view of Cefn Sidan as we took my sister to Saundersfoot for her birthday. It was a beautiful clear day and you could view the whole of Carmarthen Bay out to The Gower and Worms Head, with Cefn Sidan prominent with its sparkling sand.

I am carefully watching a batch of red wine that is fermenting. About 40 plus years ago we used to make our own home brew. Any fruit wine we could get hold of and sometimes beer. We were on a basic very income. We had no carpets, only a rug in the lounge.  A second hand sofa and chair we were given a bed and a table I bought in the auction for £5. We didn't have a fridge, washing machine, freezer, dishwasher (and still don't, only me). We had a second hand black and white TV we rented for £2.40 a month which meant watching all programs through a snowstorm. Anyway enough tears and nostalgia we brewed as that's the only way we could afford to drink.

One day a whole bucket of apple wine exploded in the bathroom. Not really an issue except the stains were impossible to get out and it got into the lights and fused all the electrics. I sorted the electrics and covered the stains with blocker, oil paint you name it but it still came back. As we were in a police house this was a bit of a problem. The police were very strict with houses and inspected your them regularly. When we got married they refused to give us the key to the house until two days before the wedding. Anyway when we were posted on I had to quickly use paint blocker on it the day before inspection. We decided to stop making wine then as to be honest we were drinking too much.

So this is the first batch since the 1970's. Fingers crossed.


Thursday, 21 September 2017

My studio


I have a small studio which means I must keep it in order. in any case I am by nature a tidy person and I like to have everything available and in the right place when I am painting, whether in the studio or outside.

I have three studio easels, one Jullian easel for painting outdoors and two pochade boxes which are a light outdoor paint box and easel. Plus a sketching easel and display easels. Sounds a lot, come to think of it is. They all fulfill different functions. An outdoor easel needs to be light and portable a studio easel can be solid and heavy.

Anyway I am missing out the most important part a studio needs good light and I am lucky to have good daylight throughout most of the day.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Watercolour of Brecon Deanery


I was flicking through some images and I saw this one. It reminded me of the time Alex and Iwere royally entertained by the then Dean of Brecon Geoffrey Marshall and his lovely wife Hazel who put on a huge spread. As a thank you I did this little watercolour sketch for them of the Deanery.

They are a delightful couple and were excellent hosts. Also present I recall was Father Richard Williams of Hay on Wye a real character who takes services with his dog (some sort of Large poodle) present. It was a very informative and entertaining afternoon and we didn't refer to religion once!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Boat scene in the Med


When undertaking a painting that it intended for sale I always consider who might buy it. It is generally not sufficient to produce a good painting it has to mean something to the buyer.

Take the painting above . I rarely do a full painting that is other than for the West Wales or Welsh Market because that's where I work and sell. I go around the country and Europe seeing wonderful subjects but I know for the most part they are only likely to sell in that area or to someone who has a connection to it. I always take my sketch book and pass the time sketching but I hardly ever turn them into a full painting.

I did the painting of boats in a boatyard on Corfu because it appealled to me. It is not likely to sell but I am happy to keep it myself. I did it in a fluid style that I thought suited the subject.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Bats at Dinefwr


Last night we went to Dinefwr (hence the painting above which is sold). We, of all things went for a bat walk! It was great. We had a talk on bats, not too deep and then a very pleasant walk in the duskdown to the mill pond to watch the bats emerging. We were provided with bat detectors that listen in and were provided with a spectacle of bats feeding off the midges and insects from the pond.

Yes a pleasant evening walk and the rain kept away untl the very end.

My website is now back on line but needs a bit of tweeking which I can do at my leasure.

www.markcoxpaintings.co.uk

Friday, 8 September 2017

Sunset


I have decided that after 15 years my old website had to go. I had set it up using  old (even at that time ) Namo web editor software. I have had to keep an old computer just to update it as the software is not compatible with anything after windows xp. Sounds like I know what I am talking about, don't be fooled.
Anyway I have had increasing problems uploading and updating so it has been trashed. I am starting on a new one but am having trouble transferring my domain name (its a mystery).

It will all work out in the end, and if not well whatever. The blog is unaffected.

So today I may be playing (torturing) the piano, finishing the garden for winter or sorting out my studio which is in more of a mess than I would like. I will not be sat in front of a computer!

Oh the painting above is an old one of sunset over Brechfa and is sold.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Country cottage


The above painting was a commission of a cottage, family home situated on a quiet country road. Doing a painting like this really requires a bit of detail for the customer as they know their own home intimately and putting a window in slightly the wrong place etc would likely be irritating or worse to the recipient.

Anyway I have always been happy to spend a bit of time getting things right on this type of subject whereas I am more concerned with the overall effect in an impressionistic landscape painted en plein air.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Rain and Jam


Its been a bit wet lately not that affects Jac he pretty much always goes for a swim and for me it just means putting on more weatherproof gear. My sister visited the other day and the sketch above shows her walking Jac in the rain.

The nickname for a police patrol car used to be a jam sandwich because of the red reflective stripe around it. 
Jam sandwich has another meaning for me. I have previously mentioned that when I was in the police in the early1970’s I was quite short of funds. Well occasionally I was sent to work in the lock-up in Steelhouse Lane.


The lock-up was the police cellblock for prisoners waiting to go to court. They could be held over a weekend or merely overnight. When I worked outside the City Centre I was occasionally sent to the lock-up to sit with a high-risk prisoner (someone arrested for rape or murder). I was also sent to work there on overtime when they were short of officers.

One of my duties would be to make the prisoners meals and feed them. This is absolutely true, for breakfast they had a choice of a strawberry jam sandwich and a mug of tea or nothing.
For dinner they had the choice of a strawberry jam sandwich and tea or nothing.
For tea they had the choice of a strawberry jam sandwich and a mug of tea or nothing.
I still recall the piles of white sliced bread, tubs of spread and the catering size tins of strawberry jam.(This was of course before human rights legislation arrived with an a la carte menu).

I have to add that I too always joined them and was very grateful for a strawberry jam sandwich for breakfast dinner and tea mind you that also meant it avoided me claiming expenses for a meal!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Painting of the Gower


When young I used to visit the art gallery in Birmingham weekly to look at the paintings which included works by David Cox ( incidentally lived in Heath Mill Lane along with my ancestors) and the Pre-Raphaelites. Not surprisingly these painters had a big influence on my work.

The painting above is one I did of the Gower and Worms Head probably influenced by the likes of Arthur Hughes and others of the Brotherhood. The painting is sold.

Yesterday we went to put several paintings in the window of Origin Gallery in Carmarthen as part of a display.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

A trip to the Scarlets


The painting above is of the River Towy with Merlin's Hill in the background. It is painted from the bend near Tan yr Rhallt. The painting is sold.

We had a great day yesterday. We went with some of the family to watch the Scarlets play Southern Kings. We nearly didn't make it though. As we got in the car to go Alex said,
" Have you got the tickets?"
" Err, no."
I quickly returned to the house and put them safely in the car door pocket.

We then drove to Llanelli parked up and walked to the Stadium. We took our grandson into the Barn watched some recorded rugby highlights and bought him some horrible pancake stuff with marshmallows ... He liked it. We then met up with our eldest granddaughter and her boyfriend had a chat and were on our way to get in to the ground before kickoff.

Our grandson then asked me if I had the tickets..........I looked at Alex,
"You are joking aren't you?" she said without a word from me and a look that could turn the world to stone.
"Err I think I left them in the car." I replied quietly.

I then had to quickly go back to the car to retrieve them. Fortunately I got there and back without having a heart attack and before the game started and were joined by our son.

Anyway a great game with fabulous tries and ball handling in the second half. So much so my omissions were not mentioned again.


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Aberystwyth Promenade


I mentioned commissions the other day. Well the painting above is one of two commissions i have done of the Promenade. This one was for a couple who were celebrating their Golden Wedding. The proposal took place on Aberystwyth Promenade in the Bandstand. A lovely story and I needed to make sure that the painting reflected it. I wanted a nice sunny day with a sea breeze, a timeless painting that could be from any particular decade. I was up to my eyes in work but fortunately I have developed my own way of working which suits me and cuts out a lot of preliminary stages.



Here is stage one roughed out in turps and burnt umber. from there it is a matter of building up the layers and adding detail. This method works very well outside.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Plein Air Painting of Dryslwyn Castle


Yes I finally got out to do some painting outside. It was a great day for it and I quickly got lost in the work. I went out to Dryslwyn although the Castle is much in evidence the tree and its shadow are the real subject here.




I started by doing a 60 second sketch and then a tonal value sketch 60 second on a piece of scrap primed board. Then I began the painting by putting a wash of burn umber and turps over the board. I then roughed out the shapes and values with burnt umber and ultramarine. I then started building up the painting with paint and medium keeping to mixing four colours and titanium white.



The location was a bit on the road for my liking but I survived and was a happy man at the end of the morning.