Tuesday, 30 November 2010

David Lloyd George




David Lloyd George a famous Welsh Prime Minister and also a steam engine on the Ffestiniog Railway. We went on this train in the Summer. I admit being a sucker for steam engines and traction engines... I am not a fanatic but I did as a child collect railway engine numbers..

Anyway by way of a change I painted the above yesterday and today.

The setting is generic to the hills around Blaena Ffestiniog and the engine details I got using my photographs as a reference. I then did a drawing to sort out the composition and engine details before getting on with the painting.

The image is pretty poor due to the light when I finished painting today.

Other than paint I haven't done anything else today really taken the dogs out twice and an old friend called around for half an hour.

Alex is on her way back from Sutton in the snow this evening which is a relief we are two extremes of culinary ability. I can't, she is wonderful.

Tomorrow I am painting in the gallery.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Christmas Charity


The painting above is of Whitesands near St. Davids and was sold today. It is a lovely spot in the Summer well actually it is a lovely spot at any time of the year. You can see Ramsey Island in the background. There is a very strong current running through the Sound (the gap beween the manland and the Island).
Today Alex went to see her mother in Sutton. She also dropped off some paintings on the way.
Unfortunately when she came to deliver them the boot wouldn't open! It turned out the fuse had blown. She did manage to get the paintings through the back seat.
I walked to Town and delivered posters to most of the private shops. As the exhibition involves raising money for Macmillan I had no problems.
All the shopkeepers were happy to put up posters, except one. The really ironic thing was that I have been a really good customer of this small shop and bought many expensive items over the years. I am not saying I wouldn't go back there but I certainly won't be rushing back.
Still 99 out of 100 isn't bad and the 99% were very supportive and happy to oblige.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Reservoir Dogs


One of our regular walks is around the reservoirs in Carmarthen and strangely although I have many collected images when I saw a scene and thought "Look at the reflections or light. I must paint that." I never had.
So today I put that right the scene is of the lower reservoir. I added the tree and branches in the foreground to give it some depth. The colours are quite muted and seasonal. I did toy with the idea of putting in some bank in the foreground but in the end decided it was fine without.
I had got up to watch the Ashes earlier but bad light had stopped play. So I did have an early start to the day although I couldn't paint until it there was reasonable light.
Alex has been framing paintings to drop off tomorrow and then she did some posters and invitations for the exhibition.
Tomorrow Alex is off for a couple of days and I am left to look after the two dogs (one is a boarder on temporary stay). I have all sorts of meals planned none involve anything remotely to do with cooking! I just remembered I forgot to buy fishfingers in Tesco's. Oh well I did get eggs and bread.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Scarlets


A quiet day today played with the central heating and got some hot water through the pipes and then watched England play South Africa at Rugby. I will shortly be watching the Wales v. NewZealand game so I thought a rugby painting would be suitable. This is the last game at Stradey Park home of Llanelli Rugby Football Club and later the Scarlets. I did the painting last year and it is sold.
Well back to the televisioin and the rugby and a cup of tea. Tomorrow a bit of painting I think.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Brechfa Winter


I chose Brechfa in the snow because that is what has arrived today. Snow and cold. The watercolour above is several years old and has sold . I still use the image for cards. The Pub in the picture alas is no more, it has been empty for a good while. The old coach house at the centre has been sold and I believe has been converted into a house.
Time moves ever forward!
Today I spent sometime doing press releases for our exhibition. It is a time consuming job but one I find generally always pays off. It is a matter of look ing for what is the hook for the media you are sending it to.
I also got up early to watch the Ashes only to find that play had been abandoned due to rain! This afternoon I spent sometime with the central heating which is not working as efficiently as it should be. I quite like ice on the inside of the windows (Alex is less keen). You get lovely patterns on the glass. It also reminds me of our house when I was growing up. We had to climb into the loft to shovel out the snow which blew through the tiles. All the windows iced up in winter. You just got used to it.
Alex has spent all day preparing for a dinner tonight she is without doubt the best cook I know so I am looking forward to the meal and if our friends cant get here I will be well fed.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Christmas Turkey and Ashes


The painting above is an oil of Llansteffan and was sold today. I was pleased because it is going to a very nice person who I have known for a good many years.
Today I didn't get the chance to do any painting although Alex managed to frame a couple of paintings. I spent some time last night and this morning sorting out the computer. It is very important to the business. Mainly to have a web presence which does bring in work and for e-mails. Most importantly our records and business information is also on it.
I thought we had a virus despite comprehensive security protection. However it turned out to be software malfunctioning. The printer though is now dead and has been superceded by a new one.
Fortunately it was only our small printer as the large one is fine (touch wood).
We went to Crosshands to order Christmas turkey etc this afternoon and strangely the sky was very close to the one I had painted yesterday. There were brown and blue greys with a yellow tint and a snow flurry in the middle of it.
Tomorrow I am not sure yet what I am doing but I am sure it won't be a day of watching cricket. ( To tell the truth I was up early this morning to catch a bit of the Ashes!).

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Llansaint


The painting above is a commission which I finished at the weekend. It is a watercolour and is a nice composition. Hopefully I have done it justice. It shows Llansaint Church and the start of the Village. Llansaint is a small village in Carmarthenshire overlooking the Three Rivers which run into Carmarthen Bay at the Carmarthen Bar. As such there are tremendous views of the Bay across to Tenby and Caldey Island to the West and Worms Head and the Gower to the East.
Today I did a painting of The Preseli Mountains and then had a photo-call for the Carmarthen Journal. This was in relation to the next exhibition.
I then tried to print out some posters but the printer is dying a slow death and now refuses to accept paper. To make matters worse for some unexplicable reason the computer went on strike for half an hour!
Anyway back in business now (touch wood).

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

WInter in Towy Valley


Its getting colder so here is a painting I did a couple of weeks ago which is now sold. It is one of my favourite views down the Towy Valley from Penllanffos. I often stop and take in the view when walking the dog. On the left is Merlin's Hill and in the far distance are the Black Mountains (although there are very much white in this picture).
I primed some boards today and then did an oil painting. Then Alex and I sorted out what paintings we were going to exhibit in the next exhibition. We have between 50 and 60 paintings dependent on framing. We had the pleasure of grandaughter number 3 and grandson number 1 today. Actually they were quite well behaved!
Tomorrow I am painting in the gallery and in the afternoon there is a photo for the Carmarthen Journal with Macmillan Members. (The next exhibition we are donating 25% + to Macmillan Cancer Support).

Monday, 22 November 2010

Painting stroke by stroke


Okay well the day started not too well. Jac pictured above was sick on the carpet just as Alex called me for breakfast. I also had to go to the dentist with a root canal problem.. On the bright side I did a painting which turned out fine and Alex got a couple of paintings framed.
That being said I just heard Alex questioning Jac about having rolled in something?
Anyway the painting above is pretty unusual for me. I don't paint pets. In fact I generally don't paint anything I don't know. I do however know Jac therefore I am happy to paint him.
It is infinitely more difficult to paint anything well if you don't understand it. It is all very well seeing a picture of something and then painting it, but if you copy it and don't understand it then it will show.
In China there are whole villages copying paintings, brush stroke by brush stroke. Production line painting. There are obviously some excellent artists but it is, in many paintings all too clear that they have no idea what they are trying to represent.
For example there are paintings of Galleons which look totally wrong. Now I do paint sailing ships occasionally but I do have a working knowledge of the rigging and I have built and studied accurate models as well as having sailed a yacht for many years.
So what am I trying to say ?
Its better to stick to what you know.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Vignettes



Well here we are again. We spent the last week in Moreton-in-Marsh. The vignette above is of the Redesdale Hall in the centre of Moreton. The hall is not that old (1887) but is eye catching. A vignette in painting is where the focus is concentrated on a definite object and there is a fading away from the subject. In essence an incomplete painting although this may not detract from the painting itself. I hope that is clear? Anyway I managed a couple of little vignettes while away. It was actually either a bit cold or wet for painting outside.

I did read a book a day and have some good walks. The Cotswolds are lovely for a visit. However the last time I was there was when my father took us in an old Lanchester like the one below, and we had a picnic near Snowshill. The car was pretty ancient then. That was probably 50years ago.
Today its back to work and I painted a watercolour commission. Alex is very busy framing and printing. I have primed some boards and tomorrow I intend to do an oil and fit in the dentist!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Day of the Match


The painting above is of West Gate St. Cardiff and shows "The day of the Match" - Wales v. South Africa. Now I am a fast painter and we did go to Cardiff yesterday for the game but I didn't paint that overnight. It is in fact an image of a painting I did following the game last time. It took me about 4 weeks to do.
I quite often get asked what the lady is doing in the black. It was a small incident of no real consequence. She had been bumped into, and had dropped her umbrella. It caught my eye and I painted the scene. It wasnt exactly like that but it captured the atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed the game but I thought Wales could and should have won the game. I am no great expert but I thought several decisions by Steve Walsh the referee were pretty odd.
Still there were many positives. George North was great and the whole team played well.
I am taking time out from blogging for a few days now.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Shop Window


This morning was spent surfing . Dont get excited it was surfing the net unfortunately. Hence the painting above which was sold, last year I think. Although we keep a record of sales and Alex catalogues everything I have a reasonable idea of what is where and what sold. I should look it up really.
Last night I had an enquiry about a painting from a lovely lady and I said I would put a painting on my website for her to view. A website is a window for your work and I find it really effective. Well anyway the website took forever to load. There was clearly too much dead wood and it all needed clearing out. I sat for ages while it chugged away making little pattering noises like my dog on laminate floor. It then crashed!
What happens is that I put images on my website when I paint them and then replace them when they sell. What I don't do is take them from the site library. This effectively means they are still there but not on view. The end result was a massive file of images.
Today then I weeded two thirds of the images and files off the site. So everything is pretty streamlined and working now although I do need to translate a few Welsh titles for some of the paintings.
I went to Town with Alex this afternoon and we visited the Carmarthen Sketch Club Exhibition. It was a really good exhibition with a great deal of variety.
The Club itself, I believe was founded by B A Lewis a prolific amateur artist (known as Lewis the Gas, he was manager of the Carmarthen gas works).
His son was the famous artist Edward Morland Lewis who tragically died in North Africa during the second World War.
I also took the opportunity to buy some Cotman Paper for my watercolours.
Tomorrow will be spent watching the game ~ Wales v South Africa.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Druidstone


Well quite a day and not yet over. I started off at 8 am going to Towy Works a genuine old style ironmongers and builders merchant's to get a new valve for the header tank in the loft. I have actually painted the building and it also plays a cameo in some of my paintings as it is adjacent to the quay and Carmarthen Bridge. Anyway I finally got the tank and valve dismantled after a lot of problems and fitted the new valve only to drop a fibre connecting washer. There must be a black hole up there because it never re-appeared. I put it back together with the old washer (not a good idea) and of course it leaked.
I gave up at that point and settled down to doing the painting above. The colours aren't quite right in the image because it was going dark when I took the photo. The painting is of horses on Druidstone Beach.
Alex is in town at the moment delivering posters, tickets, and also getting me a new washer!
When she returns I will hopefully finish the job and turn the water back on. That will be nice because at the moment I am itching from the rock wool insulation out of the loft.
A shower beckons.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Hotch-Potch


Here is the small painting of Ferryside I did yesterday. Its about 8ins x 5ins. I painted it small because I had a few small primed boards left over. It is a bit testing painting that size and I wouldn't want to do it all the time.
Today didn't go to plan. I had intended to do a painting. I started to do a bit of decorating first which went fine then I found the gutters were blocked so I enjoyed a precarious hour at the top of the ladders clearing the guttering. I then noticed the overflow for the central heating header tank was running . The problem with that is that the tank is in an almost impossible place to work on! It has to be done but its going to be tomorrow now.
I did work out what I was going to paint next. I previously saw horses on the beach at Cefn Sidan and mentioned I would do a painting of them. Well I think I will but it will probably be horses at Druidstone Beach instead.
Strangely Alex showed me an image off the internet today it was from an email off Carmarthen Tourism and it had a photograph of the Black Mountains the exact same location as the painting of the Red Kites I posted yesterday. How's that for a coincidence?
Alex has made five frames and cut glass so the exhibition work is progressing. So today was a bit of a hotch-potch. (I believe this originally meant a pudding in the 12th and 13th centuries).
Teaching tomorrow and sort out the header tank!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Flying


I rarely paint birds but a trip to the Black Mountains ensured I must include these magnificent birds in a painting. I fiinished this painting today. I then went on to do a small painting of Ferryside for the next exhibition.
This morning I had to go on the roof as there was a small leak coming in the central heating pipe.
This meant climbing out of a velux window over the pitched roof to the top where the pipe comes out. It is three stories high and I do not like heights. Now I believe that you should confront your demons and many, many years ago I left the ground in a Dragon Rapide biplane. Although this plane had been built in 1934 and was basically wood and cloth and not much else by the time it got to 2,000 ft I was firmly attached to it. I could see absolutely no good reason to leave it with a parachute strapped to my back. I did however climb out onto the wing, hold onto a strut, and then throw myself off. It was probably a defining moment in my life as although I had previously been afraid of heights at that point I was seriously terrified. Despite all the training (jumping from a box in an empty hanger) I managed to hit the concrete runway, land in a heap and cut my tongue, and knock myself senseless.
Maybe climbing on the roof isnt so bad on reflection.
Alex has been out all day with one of the grandchildren (she's a hero, okay heroine).
Tonight we have a meeting at Origin Dyfed an arts and craft co-operative we belong to.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Christmas Shopping


I spent part of the weeekend sorting out and I came across this painting. It is several years old. It was part of a pair and I sold the other and forgot about this one. It shows the tug Anglegarth off Milford Haven.
Today I didn't get any painting done. We did a bit of Christmas shopping.
Funny how things have changed. As a boy my father made me a train for Christmas. It consisted of the end of a telegraph pole and a set of castors off a piece of redundant furniture. It was well built and painted bright green. I had that train for years and gave it my son when he was young. I also had a red fire engine made from pieces of our fence. Well not exactly our fence, as the house was rented but it was the fence from the garden. Actually my dad also made a set of shelves from the fence which we still use. I can't imagine there was much of a fence left.
Both train and fire engine are now gone but they are still living in my memory. Was life simpler then or is it just viewed through hindsight?
Anyway, this Christmas I would be happy for some watercolour paper or a book. Just a hint! Tomorrow I have a painting still to finish. I am not happy with it yet so one final go, I hope.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A day for Reflection


I received a phone call this morning with some sad news. A long time family friend had passed away. Ernie was 100yrs old and was still quite fit. I remember him with his stick and old hat walking the lanes around Knighton not ten years ago. He had farmed all his life and would joke that the ER emblazened in the hillside forestry above Knighton were his intitials (and not Elizabeth Regina). Ernie had apparently decided a few days ago that it was his time and told his family that he was going, although he was not ill. He passed away calmly with dignity and what more could anyone wish for after a long life. He will leave behind a bucket full of memories to those that knew him.
I do not have a painting of him but I thought the painting of Red Street in Carmarthen was quite suitable. This painting is in my own collection. There is something both poigniant and dignified in the way the older generation carry themselves. I find that they are a good subject and although not particulalry sale worthy I enjoy doing them for my own enjoyment. I have spent a couple of hours completing two paintings this morning and then had a trek around shops with Alex looking for a new rug!
Now Alex is placing Satin Wood on the scirting board with the same precision she cuts a 45 degree mitre.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Dinefwr in the snow

After a late night and a bit of a lie in I was woken by the delivery man with a parcel of books. After walking the dog I set about doing a painting. I felt like doing something different so the painting above is of Dinefwr Castle in the snow. It is more impressionistic than some of my works. I do tend to flit between realism and impressionism. I also added a little to one of my previous paintings an oil painting of Mwnt.
Now I am going to give the dog a second walk and then watch Wales play Australia. Alex is out with one of our daughters and grandchildren.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Convoy


Today I went to Brecon to take five paintings to a Gallery. Ian and Clare run the Ardent Gallery.
In actual fact they have recently opened a second gallery there. There are some lovely works and the lighting is really good. So if you are in Brecon they are a good place to visit. On the way down I was stuck behind a convoy of infantry coming off excercise. It was a miserable day and I bet they were glad to be heading back to the Infantry School in Derring Lines, Brecon.
The convoy reminded me of a commission I had done of an army officer, pictured above.
I had also stopped on the way to look at the village and church in Llywel on the edge of the Ranges. It would make a good painting and is added to my list of images I keep in my head as must do. Llywel is famous for an Ogham stone which was found there and is now in the British Museum. Apparently Ogham is an old Irish ? or Celtic language.
Alex has been very busy printing cards and framing.
Tomorrow I may get to start a painting before the rugby comes on!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Merlin's Hill


Here is the winter scene I did the other day. It is looking down the Towy Valley with Merlin's Hill on the left. The hill has an Iron Age Hill Fort not surprisingly as this would have been a gret vantage point to overlook the valley. According to Gerald of Wales writing in the1100's Merlin was born in Carmarthen. Hence the name Merlin's Hill.
We are now going pretty well flat out as I am taking work to Brecon tomorrow, we have a meeting about our next exhibition tonight. Alex is framing a painting for someone to collect today and last night she was printing bilingual invitations.
I did a watercolour this morning of Dryslwyn and this afternoon I am teaching.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Burry Port


The painting above is of Burry Port Lighthouse with the Gower in the distance. The painting was sold yesterday.
Burry Port Harbour was originally built between 1830 -32 to handle shipments of coal from the area. It was re-vamped recently with the siting of a marina and housing. The lighthouse is no longer part of Trinity House lights but I believe it still functions. I have painted the light house and harbour several times in different compositions.
Today I felt a bit of a chill wind while walking the dog and that prompted me to paint a winter landscape of the Towy Valley. Tomorrow I am in the gallery. I am not sure what I will be painting.

Monday, 1 November 2010

What's in a name ?


The painting above is one I did today of Kidwelly. You will note that I have signed it in the left hand corner. I am often asked if I will sign a painting or print when in fact it is already signed its just that it may not be very noticeable.
I firmly believe that the painting should sell itself figuratively and literally. The name is really of no great consequence. I am not one to flourish a large signature across a work athough I have no problem with others doing so. I am content to mark it as genuine with my initials and record and catalogue it in a database.
Obviously names do sell paintings a superb painting by an unknown provincial artist may be worth nothing whilst a very poor daub by a well known artist might sell for tens of thousands.
Not every painting an artist does can be successful but some will regretably sell all their works of whatever quality relying on their name.
I have also been asked if I have any connection with David Cox. My family history is somewhat clouded on my fathers side but I do know that my family did live in Heath Mill Lane in the 19th century. This is the same place David Cox lived. So who knows, and what's in a name anyway!
So today I did the painting above and Alex spent the day mounting paintings ready for framing.