Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Last Steam Train

This painting was done from memory. Well it is a product of my youth. I remember well the old trains pulling freight through Saltley against an industrial backdrop. (This was later the scene of Saltley Gate when Arthur Scargill picketed the fuel depot forcing its closure).

 Anyway that is how I remember it during the last days of steam and I called the painting, " The last Steam Train". It sold pretty much straight away.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Queens Vaults Cardiff on match day

The above painting is quite topical. It shows the Queens Vaults in Cardiff on Match day. I listened to a piece on the radio the other day about Chris Langley an artist who is doing a series of paintings depicting Cardiff Pubs. The are very nicely done in a totally different style to my own. (link Chris Langley ).

I did this painting quite a few years ago and it was hanging on my wall for a good while. It was changed and put aside a couple of years back. I came across it again the other day. I like the excitement of match day and the painting includes two good subjects rugby and pubs!

Oh and Italy Brilliant made me laugh for 70 minutes, pity about the result.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The morning after the day before

To be honest I lost a lot of interest after the last game. In truth the writing has been on the wall for a while Wales lack of ability to score tries despite a large amount of possession. Scotland's backs play exciting rugby and have an attack worthy of the name.  I could go on but whats the point? It's no concilation my grandfather's family are Scottish.

(The painting above was Wales v South Africa)

Saturday, 25 February 2017


At the present Jac and I have the freedom to walk across the fields at the top of the Valley by us as the cattle are inside for winter. I have never really had an issue with cattle until a couple of years ago when as previously posted they took exception to Jac on two occasions. I generally have a chat to the farmer in the morning and he says we have until April when he expects the cattle to go out on the land again. So we are making the most of it then change our routine for the summer. I did the watercolour of Friesians a few years ago. 

Alex was like a Duracell Bunny yesterday mowing the lawns, gardening and staining the side table I had made. I commented on this and she said,

 " A woman's work is never done."

I replied,

 "No but at least you've done some of it." I then made myself scarce.

A day for rugby today. An epic win for Scarlets at Munster last night and a good result from the Wales under 20's. So I will be tucked up today in front of the TV this afternoon. 

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Pub

I listened to an article on the radio this morning about disappearing Public Houses. When I grew up the local Public House was a place with a warm fire, warm beer, a tiled floor and good company. Domino's were allowed but gambling wasn't. A bar meal consisted of a pickled egg, scratchings, peanuts or a packet of crisps with a blue bag of salt at the bottom. There weren't any fruit machines although some Town Pubs had a Juke Box.

I don't like cold beer, crowds or so much noise you can't talk. I guess I am fussy but if I am going to pay a ridiculous price for a pint of beer I want to enjoy it. Beer used to be 1s 9d a pint then ( about 9p in new money). Maybe I'm getting old?

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Painting of Llansteffan

This is the painting of llansteffan I have been working on this week.  Although I have painted the scene a good number of times and they are always popular I always try to make them different in some way. I spent a while on the clouds in this painting.

It was a windy walk this morning with storm Doris blowing the trees and whistling through the wires. there werea good number of branches down in the wood. It reminded me of days sailing with winds howling in the rigging. It was always nice to get to a safe anchorage, go below, light the oil lamp and have a good cup of tea or maybe something stronger. On one occasion it was very windy for 5 or 6 days and we spent the time anchored off Landshipping Quay being blown about a bit but snug in the cabin reading and playing cribbage only venturing out at slack water to row the dog ashore.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

A Break in the Clouds over Llansaint

The above is a watercolour of Llansaint a small village overlooking the estuaries of the Towy,Taf and Gwendraeth which flow into Carmarten Bay. The painting was done about 7 years ago and is sold.

This morning I went for my early walk with Jac to find empty polystyrene takeaway boxes and wrappers on the lane coming down Penlanffos. Not really surprising but a bit disappointing as it was only yesterday I had filled a black bin bag on the way home with all the rubbish in the hedges, Oh well "fromage frais" as Del Boy would say!

Its half term and children abound, its a grandson's birthday today so cakes and musical chairs are on the horizon. I shan't say what he had for his birthday (Alex hasn't told me what we bought him yet) but I was content with a penknife and some marbles at his age. Anyway Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017


We are quite partial to fish and I regularly wander to the fishmongers. The other day I went to the fish counter and asked for a couple of mackerel. The young lady picked out two and then turned to me holding one of them up laughing.

"I don't think you want this one its gone all droopy."

Quite right.

I find most assistants are pretty good and have a sense of humour whenever I go shopping. I have previously posted about terms of endearment,"love, dear, pet," and the such like, I have no objection to any of them. I dislike the clinical sterilisation of political correctness that removes the warmth from language.

One term that seems to be in fashion at the moment is, "guys".
When we go to a restaurant it is generally," what can I get you guys?".... I have no problem with this I just find it a bit odd for a "couple" of bus pass holders to be referred to as guys.

Anyway... the sketch above is of two fishes I never caught but did eat.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Painting of Paxton's tower

This is the commission I was working on last week, a painting of Paxton's Tower. The tower overlooks the Towy Valley. It needs a bit of work to bring a solid grey stone building to life. I have done this with quite a bit of under painting.

I intend doing a couple more paintings to make up my stock next. I have finished the table for Alex so, happy days!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Professor Stephen Westaby and the Honours System

Yes I like old things, fortunately so does the wife! This is a painting of a local vintage show. It was done a few years ago and is sold. I had been intending to post my latest commission but I need decent light to photograph it.

This morning I listened to an interview of Professor Stephen Westaby. He is a heart surgeon. Now I confess it is an area that I have no interest in or much previous knowledge. Before I go further I will state my views on the current honours system. It is moribund. I believe that an Honours System should be non political and given only to people who have made an outstanding contribution to society and mankind. Not celebrities, cronies or civil servants. Here is one such genuine candidate for my Honours List.

Professor Westaby has undertaken over 11,000 heart operations. When he started in the 1970's only two in three patients undergoing heart surgery would survive. With medical advances this is now 98 patients in a hundred who are likely to survive. Professor Westably gave a breakdown of his average day:

Up at 5am to do his ward rounds.
Then in the Operating Theatre for heart operations
After surgery into the laboratory to work on the production of a new artificial heart

He was the first surgeon to fit a small impeller driven pump in  heart replacement surgery in a terminally ill man. This patient lived another 7 years before tragically dying of another cause. The cost of this heart made I believe in USA precludes the NHS from using it. Professor Westaby is now working with a team at Swansea University to produce an "affordable" artificial heart for use in the NHS.

This is just a summary but you get the picture. This is the type of person that should be honoured and people who dedicate their lives to raising money for charity or community service. Not personalities who use their wealth to try and buy recognition with photo opportunities using charity as a means to an end.  Maybe the odd exceptional sportsman (or woman). Richard Parkes comes to mind. Oh and certainly no artists!!

Sorry all a bit deep there today.

Saturday, 18 February 2017


Mrs Cox collects Mandalay crockery, well she did anyway and I have occasionally taken to painting it. The above still life is sold. The weird silver item is a sugar shaker.

I have just about finished this weeks commission subject to any changes the customer may wish.

I have a couple of doors to paint in the house now and finish making a side table Alex wants.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Lock on the canal

The above painting of a lock near Brecon sold a few years back. I have many happy memories of the canals having spent a lot of my youth navigating most of them in an old lifeboat. We got friendly with a fine professional painter who lived on a narrow boat. He had a pleasant life but eventually retired to Southern Ireland in his old age. I learnt much from him.

I got one of the grandchildren to paint a version of the above picture when he was six and he did a very good job too. Talking of grandchildren it is one of those dreaded Inset days today and either a herd of buffalo have arrived or we have a houseful of grandchildren to look after for the day!! No painting today.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Countryfile White Park Cattle.

We quite often watch Countryfile and it was interesting to see Dinefwr on Sunday with an interesting 10 minutes on the White Park Cattle. The painting above was the result of a series of sketches I did when visiting one day. This is the only close up painting I have of them, more out of personal interest than anything else. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Daffodils and Spring Flowers

I rarely paint flowers but here is an exception and appropriate for today. It is an old painting that sold about 10 years ago.

Daffodils are out its Valentines day and Spring is around the corner, well hopefully (and yes I know Spring doesn't start with a capital as its a common noun, but I feel it should).

Monday, 13 February 2017

Painting of Laugharne Castle and Boathouse

Here is the finished painting of Laugharne Castle and Boathouse. Not much more I can say about it. It is just one for my stock. I have a commission to start today or tomorrow.

Alex is in Spring clean mode so Jac and I are keeping out of the way.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

After the Rugby its back to painting

The above painting is of the Towy Valley looking toward Llandeilo from Dryslwyn Castle and is sold.

There were flakes of snow on the Valley top this morning as I went for my walk in a chill wind. I was disappointed/gutted  yesterday with the rugby but not surprised.

So back to the painting..

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Painting of Laugharne Stage one

I have been working on a painting of Laugharne today. You can see a lot of the under painting and if you look carefully some bits of light pencil work mainly around the boat. Its not often I use a pencil but I have done with this. We have two grandchildren so I have been beating them off with a pointed stick. Not really, in fact the grandson was very interested for a while and then wandered off to play with Jac. Thank you ever suffering Jac.

I am now going to sit down and watch several hours rugby. Next week I have to start a new commission.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Builder's Tea

The above is a watercolour sketch I did of our sons dog. I really like using watercolours in this way freely, kind of a controlled accident that can never be repeated. Anyway..

I was going to start a painting today but the builder turned up. He is a great guy, clever turn his hand to most things and do a very good job. He is worth his weight in gold. He turns up when he says he will and always in an emergency. We value him. He is no longer taking on new clients as he has work forever if he wants it. I always spoil him, feed him and supply him with endless cups of tea.

 So today Alex had to go out. I proceeded to make tea at regular intervals and potter about, not really getting around to anything. He had finished by lunch time and went shortly after Alex arrived back. I made Alex a cup of tea at which point she looked at her tea which appeared to have yogurt bits floating on it, she then smelt the milk making a funny retching noise.

"Could you not see the milk is off?"

Err no but now you point it out..

I just kept thinking of the cups of Builder's Tea I had made...!

PS. If you read this Mike I hope you were okay.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


I was talking to the farmer thsi morning and he is not likely to put the cattle out into the fields until April which is a relief for Jac and I. Having been chased twice by them 2 years ago we avoid them when possible. Odd really as I had no problems walking through them for 25 years. They seem to have taken a dislike to Jac, couldn't be me could it?  Anyway...

I am fond of many genre of music having seen manyof the greats from the 1970's including the Doors, Emmerson Lake and Palmer, Who, Moody Blues, Bob Dylan, T Rex, to Difters.... I also like some Classical music not so much the Romantic Composers such as Verdi or Wagner but more Mozart, and Haydyn.

The other day I decided to order a CD of Great Piano Concertos by Mozart. I was on the internet and was interupted by a call to breakfast. I later resumed the purchase online. A couple of days later Alex called me, the postman had been.

"I know you like Mozart but why have you bought two CDs exactly the same?" She queried looking at me sympathetically, "Bless, Trueni".

I had obviously already clicked the order and had then proceeded to repeat it when I went back to it.
Good job I wasn't ordering a car online! I am trying to work out which member of the family would like a Mozart CD for next Christmas. I am not even sure how many actually still have a CD player!

Monday, 6 February 2017


The above painting of Llansteffan sold last week,. I have to say it is not a great photo of the painting. If I was twenty years younger I would spend some time learning how to take photographs properly.
Anyway we had a good but busy weekend with grandchildren and am tied up again next weekend likewise..Enjoyed the rugby. Fingers crossed for next weekend. I think it is the first time in years we havent been to at least one of the home internationals,

My available paintings have been rapidly diminishing and I must start doing some to put aside.

Saturday, 4 February 2017


We haven't been to North Wales for a couple of years. We used to go regularly every March camping for a couple of weeks. We used to walk and I did numerous sketches. They were done for my own pleasure. I did sell some that I put on the Internet. The picture above is of Snowdon with a good covering of snow. I haven't got it now.

I have never climbed Snowdon or been up there. Maybe its something I should do? Maybe not? I am not good with heights. My brother loved mountain climbing and when we were younger got me to climb a 100 foot stack without ropes or any other gear. It was physically draining and I was more than a little concerned. Terrified is a better adjective.  I never repeated the mistake!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Watercolour of Caernarfon Castle

This is a large watercolour of Caernarfon Castle that sits in our hallway. I like the painting and yet it has been to several exhibitions and returned as the "Ugly Duckling" that couldn't find a home. If a painting fails to find a home after that length of time I normally bin them about 10% end up like that. I haven't had the heart to do that to this one.

Alex has taken the grandchildren to school and I have walked the dogs while their parents are on the plane to Rome to watch the game!

Thursday, 2 February 2017


There have been a number of days with spectacular sunrises lately. Today wasn't one of them. It was wet and windy and walking through the wood I was even accosted by a branch which fell as I walked under it. Fortunately it didn't have far to fall and the ends brushed me on the way down. (I should have bigged it up a bit and made a good story out of it but that might have been tempting fate!)

The painting above is a few years old and is sold.

I am looking forward to a weekend of rugby now. We have two grandchildren stopping and an extra dog but it promises to be entertaining.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Replacement Painting

This is the finished painting I have done for Alex of theTowy on a misty morning. It is the same view of the painting that she wanted on our wall but I sold..

I have to make a start on a table today for Mrs Cox so no painting I guess.