Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Burry Port ~ Inner Harbour


I did this painting of Burry Port today. We have got quite a few things to do over the next 10 days so Alex is pretty busy trying to finish things off as well as keep on top of the paperwork. Next job will be tax returns.


We still haven't received the money owing from a gallery from January, which is a bit disappointing. We will have to make a personal visit but that will cost a day’s work and travelling.

I recall one dark wet windy night when we were in our bunks on our boat at anchor when our old dog decided he needed to go ashore. I got up and put on oilskins pulled the tender alongside and got in with the dog. It was quite a lumpy sea which was going up and down and the rain was nearly horizontal. It wasn't really ideal conditions to row ashore. Anyway I had no choice and we set off with a strong outgoing tide. The tide was dragging large islands of seaweed with it. All of a sudden the dog leapt out of the dinghy onto a patch of seaweed and disappeared beneath it in the water. It was a worrying minute or so but although it was pretty dark I did manage to get hold of him and grab him back into the boat. He had probably mistaken the seaweed for land in his need to get ashore.

I suppose it shows that things are not always what they seem to be. This applies in respect of the art business as well. You can only go on your own experience not impressions.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Show Ring

I have put another little watercolour sketch of Pontargothi Show above. I was talking about horses yesterday. Probably the greatest painter of Horses was Stubbs and the reason is simple he knew his subject. He literally dissected them drew their muscle and tissue. His home was literally full of horse parts so probably an invitation to dinner would not be quickly accepted.

To paint anything in depth you have to understand your subject.

Copying a picture off the internet or from another painting without having ever seen the subject is asking for a poor imitation. Believe me this does happen and it doesn’t take a trained eye to see it.

A really good example is the thousands of paintings coming in from China, which include galleons, and shipping. The paintings are totally unconvincing because the artist doesn’t understand what they are trying to paint. I have painted 18th century sailing ships but I have been on sailing ships and have a good understanding of their design and rigging. Incidently I have also been privileged enough to have been wined and dined by the Royal Navy in the Captain's Cabin on HMS Victory. If I were asked to paint a Chinese Junk I would decline because I don’t know enough about them and haven’t even seen one. Strangely I rarely paint sailing ships these days.

We have had a very good month this month and are now looking forward to our Exhibition in Aberglasney next month. My eldest daughter and her family have gone home now and it is back to work.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Pontargothi Show


Yesterday Alex and I took one of our grandsons to Pontargothi Show. I can’t say I am very knowledgeable about the different breeds or what makes a champion but I can appreciate the spectacle and enjoy watching the animals. The watercolour sketch above shows a foal being led into the ring.


I haven’t had a great deal to do with horses but what experiences I have had have not been altogether successful.

Many years ago I worked for 6 weeks in stables mainly mucking out and cleaning equipment along with exercising horses. Exercising the horses was done bare back, that is using a bridle along with a blanket for a saddle. What I noticed was that the horses were big and had a tendency to kick or bite whenever you weren’t looking.

Nevertheless all went well until the last week of the time there. A lady went into one of the stalls without seeking permission to feed an apple to a fairly temperamental horse. I heard screaming and went into the stables to find her trapped with the horse rearing and kicking out. I had to go into the stall to get her out which I did successfully but in the process got kicked and caught an iron shoe on my leg. I was extremely fortunate not to get a serious injury but it was extremely painful and the bruising was a sight to see.

I never went near a horse again for years until my children decided they wanted to go horse riding. I was happy to take them and booked the ride for them. We arrived and got them kitted out then the lady owner asked if I was going I said, “No”. I was then subjected to all the usual abuse from my children from flapping wings to chicken noises. I saw the ponies the children were using and eventually gave in and was kitted out. Then they brought out this monster. I needed to use the mounting block to get on it. All went well until the lady leading us decided she was bored and went for a gallop my horse bolted after it and no amount of pulling, cursing, or praying would induce it to stop. I held on somehow and got back safely but I have never been near a horse again. I am happy to draw them and consider them magnificent creatures but feel that we are best left to plough our own furrows.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Yellow Rose of Texas


I have been mainly working on the one painting this week. I am not sure if I have put this painting on before or not. It is of Carew Castle and sold a few years ago.

We are off out to a family gathering this afternoon so I hope it stays dry. We went to Pontarcothi Show this morning. There were plenty of worthwhile subjects for a painting.

I walked past the bowls club the other day and was reminded of a character I knew in Newtown. Ron was a real gent and I think he was for a time chairman of the Bowls Club there. He had like many of the men I knew in those days been in the war. He was with the 8th Army in North Africa as I recall and had been in the artillery attachment. This had a significant affect on his hearing but not his sense of humour, which was excellent.

Anyway when digital watches were first arriving on the scene he bought one off the market and wore it every day. He had asked the trader to demonstrate it for him and put the time right.

This was all fine except that every day at one o’clock the alarm on the watch would go off and play the “Yellow Rose of Texas”. It was just below Ron’s audible level but of course everyone else could hear it.

For whatever reason embarrassment or mischief no one told Ron. Consequently for the best part of a month Ron went around attending meetings and at one o’clock the “Yellow Rose of Texas” would accompany his conversation much to the amusement or bewilderment of those present.

Eventually we did tell him and being the man he was he thought it was hilarious. Sadly I understand he is no longer with us.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Fine Art Prints ~ DOT Foundry


The sketch above is of a thatched cottage in Merthyr Mawr near Bridgend. I did the sketch while waiting at the DOT Foundry. I may do a painting of it one day? The DOT Foundry is where we have our prints done. They have justifiably won an award for the best fine art printers in the UK.


Fine Art Prints come in all shapes and sizes and of hugely varying quality. As an individual artist it is not possible to compete with a set up that spends up to an hour photographing one painting and then colour matching it with tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment. The DOT Foundry has all the equipment and Sian has spent time in America with the manufacturers learning how to be an expert with it. Hence we rarely produce our own prints. We have three printers and use high quality light fast inks but now only use them for making cards.

At the end of the day you get what you pay for.

Some artists do invest time and money in expensive equipment and produce excellent prints but I find that it is nearly impossible to compete with the clarity and quality of bespoke fine art printers.

So what do you look for when buying a print?

Well there should be information with the print about the materials and inks used. Most fine art prints are printed using inks that are lightfast for 99 years when not hung in direct sunlight.

Look at the resolution of the print. Are the outlines hazy/ indistinct like looking through frosted glass? What are the colours like? Often prints can be predominantly over saturated with one colour for example normally purples and blues.

You can of course rely on reputation. A good artist is unlikely to risk their reputation with poor quality prints, but beware there are prints out there that are little better than colour photocopies.

I have been painting today and Alex has been making frames and preparing for a fish extravaganza with all the family tonight.

I have provided a link to our prints and the DOT Foundry below.

http://www.markcoxpaintings.co.uk/newfile_17.html


http://www.thedotfoundry.co.uk/

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Tears of a Clown ~ apologies to Smokey Robinson


Now I don’t know if there was a reason why I had been left next to a cliff but I can perhaps understand it if I had been crying. Yes the picture above is me in I believe Porth Towyn, Cornwall quite along time ago
Now crying is a great subject and many songs have been written about it including,
 Crying over you ~ Roy Orbison

You don’t have to be a baby to cry ~ Caravelles

Cry me a river ~ Julie London and many others.

Now I have I admit made people cry over the years. Now don’t jump to conclusions, Alex didn’t cry when I accidentally hit her full on her chin when we were practising Kumite (sparring) many years ago. She did have to sit down for a while but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a grown man out cold with a blow like that. It says something about her or me I’m not sure.

I have however made people cry even at a distance. For example I sent a painting to Australia of a public house in Llanelli. The recipient a previous Landlady told me she "weeped" for 15 minutes when she opened it, (and I thought it was good!). She was delighted and sent me a lovely email. It is not unusual for people to get a tear in their eye when getting their painting and for me that says it all. They are happy I am delighted.
So making people cry can be a good thing.

I have been painting this morning and teaching this afternoon.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Desert Island Discs


The painting above is of Amroth a pretty little spot in Carmarthen Bay.

Following the post I did yesterday about Cliff Lloyd the Traffic Warden in Welshpool I received an email from his daughter Pat. She told me there is a bench in the churchyard dedicated to the memory of her father and mother.
 The inscription reads:
“In Loving memory
 of Cliff and Bett Lloyd
 Park yourself and rest a while
 Think of us and maybe smile
 Park here at anytime”

What a wonderfully appropriate sentiment.

I have noted that Desert Island Discs is celebrating its anniversary this week with more than 500 shows since 1942. I am not sure what music I would take with me on a desert island. I have such a wide taste in music I would struggle to choose eight. If I had to choose 8 paintings one would be Whistlejacket by Stubbs and probably several by Edward Seago.

Anyway I should say congratulations to Leanne the producer of Desert Island Discs who is a very nice lady and is also a customer of mine.

Today I have been painting in the gallery in town this morning and working on a commission this afternoon.


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Shrimping


The painting above is one I finished yesterday. It shows three boys shrimping at Saundersfoot. I like the composition, which is unusual. Today I started on a drawing for a commission. Alex has been away to our daughter’s and is home later


I was watching a traffic warden the other day sauntering up the street in an anorak and reflective vest and my mind went back 30years to a real character Cliff TW16 in Welshpool.

Your modern day parking attendant/traffic warden I am sure do a good job but how I would like them to have spent a day with Cliff. Everyone in the Town knew him. He was a man of presence. Six foot tall, ramrod straight, smart serge uniform, bulled boots moustache and the bearing of an ex-military man.

There was no arguing with Cliff and he had no favourites. It didn’t matter who you were.

He was once heard to say to a rather flustered octogenarian in a Triumph Herald,

“I don’t care if you are Lady Powys you can’t park here.”

There was rarely a traffic problem if he was about and he was well respected by everyone. Of course underneath his tough exterior he had a real heart of gold.

They don’t make them like that anymore.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Knitting and the Martial Arts


When we went to Pembrey Country Park yesterday we walked the dog and I dozed while Alex knitted. I also finished off my book. It was a day for relaxation but I did feel the need for a quick watercolour sketch. So there it is above. It is in some ways influenced by Japanese Woodcuts, which is quite appropriate really.


When Alex and I were first married she worked for some time as a typist for a National Trade Union. She got on fine and for the most part enjoyed it. Until one day a National Official called at the office. He was well known and very full of himself. For whatever reason he apparently treated her very badly to the point that she came home extremely upset.

So much for workers rights. I consequently spoke to them and made my feelings known to them. Shortly after she resigned and took up another job.

Alex and I both did Karate for many years and I only gave up at 40 because I felt I was getting a bit past it and was also concerned it may be affecting my fingers and my painting.

Karate in my experience is more about the mind than the body although others may differ. There is no doubt that it builds confidence in all aspects of your life.

Alex later went on to train and work in a boatyard as a marine engineer. She was the only female. Her experience in working in a very tough all male environment was totally at odds with her work for the Trade Union. She was treated with total respect by all concerned and when she finally left they did all they could to try and persuade her to stay with offers of more money and her own team.

My point is I would like to see her reaction to that Union Official now.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Let there be light


The painting above is of washing in Venice. I was disappointed with the painting and it is probably living in a pile of old canvases awaiting its fate. It lacks something probably quite a lot of something and I couldn’t be bothered to rescue it. Anyway we took the camper to Pembrey Country Park today for a relax as Alex in particular has been at it none stop. So a couple of walks and a siesta and a read in the van was very nice.

I once studied statistics and still have a general understanding of them, however I couldn’t tell you what the statistical chances of the following incident are.
One night I was driving Alex home from a friend’s house where we had enjoyed a pleasant meal. I was driving because I hadn’t had a drink. We were coming into Carmarthen when I saw blue lights behind us. It was a police car and we were pulled over. Now I am not a villain and am very supportive of the police who do an excellent job. So I was a little surprised but not too bothered to be stopped.

I got out of the car and was met by a female constable who asked if I knew why they were stopping me. She was accompanied by a young male officer whom I assumed she was “showing the ropes”. I told them I had no idea. She told me my front offside headlight was out.

I walked around to the front of the car while she pulled out a pocket book. I saw that the headlight as she stated was not lit. I held my breath and struck the bonnet above the headlight praying, “let there be light”, and lo there was light, it came back on.

I looked at the police officer who was still holding a pen and pocketbook and said,

“It’s a hell of a coincidence isn’t it?”

“What’s that?”

“Your front offside headlight isn’t working either,” and pointed to their police car.

Both officers walked back to their car and proceeded to gently tap the headlight, which refused to rise from the dead. Fortunately they saw the funny side and eventually one of the officers walked back to me and said, “We’ll let you off this time.”

We got back in the car and made our getaway. So what were the chances?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

River Teifi


Alex and I went to Mwnt the other day and stopped off on our way back at Cilgerran to let the dog have a run and a dip in the river. It was very tranquil with still water and the trees coming down to the waters edge. I couldn’t resist doing a painting so here it is above.


Last night we had visitors and I was suffering a little bit this morning. Nevertheless it soon cleared when I started painting. Alex has been writing cards today and we have family over tonight. My next job is to take Jac out again.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Mwnt ~ Church of the Holy Cross


The painting above is one I did today. It is of the Church of the Holy Cross in Mwnt.

Apparently the Church itself is 14th century but the site dates back to the 6th Century. It was built as a Pilgrimage Church on the main route to Bardsey Island and St. David’s.

Although I went to Mwnt yesterday to gather references for a commission this is neither the commission nor the view. The commission will take about a week to do and is a large oil painting.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Day out



Up early this morning after checking the forecast. Alex and I then went off to Mwnt. I have a commission for a large oil painting and the weather seemed perfect with the sun in the right direction as well. On the way we saw a lot of grey clouds drifting from the North and were a bit concerned that it was going to spoil it.


Anyway it was fine, literally. The clouds stayed inland and I had plenty of time to get enough reference material for the painting.
Many years ago we went to Mwnt with the children and our old dog. I remember a lady lost an engagement ring on the beach and offered £5 for anyone who could find it. I have never seen the children put so much effort into a task. They kept at it for hours. In the meantime I read and shared and ice cream with Luke (the old dog) while Alex sunbathed. Unfortunately as I recall the Lady never found her engagement ring.
On the way back today we stopped in Cilgerran a lovely little spot to let Jac have a run and dip in the river.

Later on I did some one to one tuition, which went well. The painting above is of Carmarthen Quay.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Padstow ~ fishing boats



The painting above is one I did today. Although it is finished there is a good chance I may go back to it after a couple of days or maybe not as the case may be. It is of two fishing boats tied up in Padstow outer Harbour in May. I was struck by the strong contrasts of shade and light. It may or may not end up being framed for sale. I have to guess the likelihood of selling a painting of Padstow in Wales?
Last night I spent a couple of hours working out how to get my latest works on a slide show on my blog. I finally got something I was reasonably happy with. You can see it by clicking the “My Latest Works “ tab at the top of the page above the date.

No gallery for me today as it was being used by a group. Alex is stewarding in Origin Dyfed. I am teaching tomorrow and will have to cut the lawns so plenty to do.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Aberglasney

 
Phew and the day isn’t over yet. Took the dog out twice, we went to Aberglasney to check on details for the exhibition, did a painting of the Mansion shown above, collected one grandchild from nursery, took the dog out, collected second grandchild. Went to Tesco’s and sorted out a couple of problems for my mother. Now its teatime and then a 15-mile trip to take the kids home.



Monday, 16 May 2011

Paxton's Tower and the Beer Tent.


The painting above is one I did this morning of Paxton’s Tower. I did a sketch first and then did the watercolour. Most watercolours today are mainly painted wet in wet that is watercolour is added to a damp or wet surface. This painting is painted wet on dry and leaves a harder edge. This sort of style was more popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s. I personally like the style although I do use wet in wet technique as well.

Alex and her mom went to the Food Fare in the National Botanical Gardens yesterday unfortunately her mom fainted in the beer tent and scared the hell out of Alex. I think Alex is on first name terms with all the ambulance men now.She is fine now so that’s good.
Today I had a visit to the dentist at one thirty so it kind of messed up the day a bit. Fortunately we have a great dentist.
Alex collected postcards that had been printed by Andy and Adrian in Pro-Print A very good job too. She then spent the rest of the day making cards.

I am checking the weather now for the next 10 days for a trip up Ceredigion to do a commission so fingers crossed.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Heroes


The watercolour painting of Dinefwr Castle above is one I did earlier this month.


I don’t have a great sense of smell due to an operation I had as a child. I was in hospital during the Christmas period when I was about six years old. Later in life I had a job for a short period as a hospital porter. This was at the Orthopaedic Hospital in Selly Oak, which dealt with many types of condition including hip replacements and amputations. There were a large group of children in the hospital with many genetic complaints and accidental injuries. What was absolutely amazing was the attitude of these children.

Despite months of confinement and numerous operations they were the most positive group I have ever met. They were always ready to make you the butt of their jokes and were a real pleasure to deal with. Of course the staff also made a big contribution to this environment. The doctors and in particular the nurses were totally dedicated to them. This was all despite pretty poor facilities and a building that was originally built as the local workhouse in 1870.

More recently of course many other heroes were treated there when injured soldiers were transferred to the hospital from both Iraq and Afghanistan. I will however always remember the attitude of those children and how they dealt with adversity and the kindness shown by the staff of the hospital.

Today I am helping hang paintings in the gallery of the local co-operative in Origin Dyfed.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Talley Abbey


Blogger has been doing some work on the website so there has been a bit of a hic-up the last couple of days.


Anyway the painting above is of Talley Abbey, which is a former monastery of the “White Canons” near Llandeilo. The Order was founded in 1120. It like many other monasteries was closed as a result of the dissolution by Henry V111.
Today I did a watercolour of the “two sisters” a small gaff rigged yacht. I had not really planned out the painting although I had done a rough sketch of the boat. If you fail to plan a painting you run the risk of it all going wrong. Its not so bad if you are stood in front of your subject but in the studio it is a risk. Well on this occasion it was a pretty poor composition and it found itself in the bin. These things happen.

I once knew a Colonel in the Military and he told me this story. As a newly promoted captain he had been given the responsibility for arranging a parade through a North Wales Town with all the Dignitaries receiving the Salute on a podium. The regiment had to march from an assembly point about a mile away up the main road to the podium arriving at exactly 11 o’clock. He knew the distance and the speed his men could march and worked out what time they should begin the march from the assembly point. He briefed his officers and on the day was stood with the dignitaries and his senior officers on the podium. He could hear the band playing as they got closer and the time edged towards 11o’clock and was quite pleased with himself. He then heard a train whistle. The Regiment failed to appear at the bottom of the road and the clock ticked past eleven and he was the subject of some fairly hostile looks from his commanding officer. He had failed to walk the route of the march. If he had he would have noticed that there was a level crossing and this was the reason his men failed to appear as the gates were shut for the 11o’clock train. He learnt the lesson that failing to plan properly was planning to fail.

The same can be said of a painting. Even if it is an outline plan in your head. What colours are you going to use, what order are you going to do it? etc..

Thursday, 12 May 2011

St David's and John Sebastion


The painting above is one I finished last week and shows St David’s Cathedral in the early light of dawn with St David’s Head just visible in the distance.


Today I have been re-felting the garden shed which was giving up the ghost. This afternoon I am teaching.

This morning a CD arrived that I had ordered. Isn’t it strange how your memory can deceive you? Some 41 years ago I went to the Isle of Wight Festival and amongst those playing was John B Sebastion. I was quite taken with his songs.
Anyway by some quirk of my brain last week I suddenly thought, “ I wonder if I can get a CD of John Sebastion?” Well I did. The trouble is that having played it I much prefer my memories of him singing compared to the actual CD and Alex is not taken at all! I suppose that is the trouble with looking through rose tinted glasses.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Mini Minor .

The Painting above is one that sold this week to a very nice couple from Swansea. It shows Dinefwr Castle in the snow.


Thank you to those of you who passed comments about my contribution to Jeremy Vine’s Show today.
This morning I started a an oil painting that I have been meaning to do for a couple of years but have not really worked out the composition. Anyway it is 90% done and I think is going to be fine. It is slightly unusual in that the eye is taken into the painting and over it in an ox bow ending in the top right, it sounds odd but I think its going to work.

The meeting last night was good only a few people there which is a pity. My mother was going through some old photographs with me the other day and we came to one of a bright red mini minor motorcar.

“Whose was that?” she said.

I explained it was one that my brother and I had done up for Alex some 35- 40 years ago. We had put new wings and sills on it and re-sprayed it borrowing the use of a barn. It also had top of the range stereo tape player, pink carpet and leather steering wheel etc. To be fair it looked beautiful. The engine bits I got from Roger Ward at Motolympia. He was great to me at the time. He had a mountain of old cars going back to the thirties and he was quite happy to let me take any bits I needed for next to nothing. I used to keep our cars on the road and never bought anything new not even a bulb. Going back to the mini Alex had it a couple of years then we had to get a bigger car as the family expanded. My father had the mini then and didn’t seem to be bothered about the fluffy pink upholstery. Unfortunately my Mother and Father’s drive was at the top of a big hill near Knighton and one day he stopped the car to get out and open the gate. When he looked back the car was rolling back down the hill and eventually turned and somersaulted writing it off. Fortunately there were no other cars about at the time.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Newton House ~ Dinefwr Park


The watercolour above is one of Newton House in Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo and was sold today. The Park is run by the National Trust and is well worth a visit. We have postcards in the shop but we only sell them there because it is good advertising, we don’t make any money out of them as such.



Today we did a bit of a stock take as many of the paintings are in crates for safe keeping. It can be a bit confusing what is actually in stock and not sold. I know it shouldn’t be. Anyway we have a clearer idea now and it can be a bit like Christmas opening a crate to find a painting you had forgotten about. It also can bring back the time you painted it so a bit of work opening crates etc but quite nice.


Tonight I have a Co-operative meeting for Origin Dyfed. I tend to take the minutes, which I don’t find at all onerous although in general I am not a committee person. I dont like putting off things and endlessly talking about them:
"Prevarication is the thief of time" Wilkins Micawber (David Copperfield).

Monday, 9 May 2011

Robert Hastie ~ Pilot Boat


The painting above is of The Robert Hastie a Milford Haven Pilot Boat in the lee of a Tanker. I don’t very often exhibit my paintings of work boats but I was asked last year if I could show them so I will probably bring one or two to Aberglasney in June.


Some years ago my daughter and her then fiancée came to stop on our small sloop for a few days sailing in the Haven. The yacht was a Golden Hind with a lot of varnished wood and brass. It was a very pretty little boat and very seaworthy. It was a bit mischievous in that it had a tendency to broach. That is when the wind was behind the boat or moving around that area the mainsail could suddenly force the boat to turn at right angles. This could be very disconcerting or downright dangerous with a heavy boom swinging across the cockpit at head height. Generally we trimmed our sails to take account of this although it really needed a little bowsprit to sort it out.

Anyway the boat had 4 berths. Two of then were pipe cots. That is they were canvas sewn on to pipes like a stretcher and then hung on brackets in the bulkheads. When we bought the boat the brackets were missing so I made a set from some tough mahogany. My daughter and her boyfriend arrived and we had a great days sailing and anchored for the night. After a hearty meal and a bottle of wine we went to bed. My daughter was in a pipe cot above her boyfriend. In the middle of the night we were rudely awakened by a crash followed by a moaning sound. I was none to pleased to be woken but on lighting a lantern saw the cause of the moaning. The brackets holding my daughters pipe cot had broken across the grain and she had fallen on top of her fiancée. He had been struck by the one end of the metal pipe on his forehead.

He had a large lump and a gash above his right eye, which we dealt with. It looked quite nasty but to be fair he is a very tough cookie and made pretty light of it. He has a scar there to this day which I can’t help looking at and feeling a little guilty. Still as he married my daughter I suppose the bang on the head was small beer.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Clam and Linguine


We had a great night last night 9 adults and 5 of the six grandchildren along with a couple of dogs. Woke up this morning a little bleary eyed a mixture of drink and a shortage of sleep one little lad was teething and wanted the whole world to know about it.


So a slow clear up of a mountain of clamshells and bottles from Alex’s Clam and Linguine dinner bash. Then it was off to Alex’s mom to finish flat packed furniture. So it’s now 5pm and a welcome cup of tea awaits (and a doze in a chair)!

The picture above is from one of my sketchbooks and is one I did when we visited  Castell St Angelo in Rome.

Tomorrow I have an idea for a picture so hopefully a busy day.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Scarlets and Blues



The watercolour painting above is of a tin mine in Cornwall and was one I did down there last week.


Today has been about assembling flat pack furniture and putting up shelves for Alex’s Mom. I got to the rugby yesterday despite all the traffic problems and watched a terrific game between Scarlets and Cardiff Blues.

The family are all coming around this afternoon so it is going to be Mayhem but really great. It’s time to take the dogs for a walk before they all arrive now.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Tug Anglegarth ~ Milford Haven


I spent the morning re-working the above painting which shows the Tug Anglegarth coming into Milford Haven. There wasn’t a great deal wrong with it but I felt it could do with a bit more depth. So I did a bit of work on the sky and the Tug. I also finished a couple of paintings with the final glazes. Sometimes I use glazes on paintings other times I don’t it. It purely depends on the finish I am after. Glazes tend to make colours deeper and glossy. Without any glazing a painting tends to be softer. I them walked the dog and went for diesel for the car.


I am off to the rugby tonight, probably the last game of the season. Alex is staying behind and will be cooking for her mom who is coming around. Alex has been busy framing and sorting out some postcards, which are being printed.

The first day of our Exhibition at Aberglasney Macmillan are holding a garden party there. This is very good of them. I hope it is very successful. We have supported Macmillan for the last couple of years and it will be nice to see the committee members again.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Scott's Bay


The painting above is the commission I did the other day of Scott’s Bay on the Towy Estuary.


I have been keeping busy today I have done a watercolour and will pop to the library and vote later.

I have previously mentioned one of the reasons I am not keen on using too many outlets for my work. It is a pain keeping an eye on paintings especially if they are some way away. Travelling and more importantly travelling time can virtually wipe out any money you get for a painting. A day spent taking or replacing work is a day that could be spent painting i.e. time is money. You have to totally trust the gallery owner as well. You rely on them to tell you when you have sold a painting and also to forward the cash the following month minus commission. We have previously encountered problems in this regard.

Last month I accidentally found out that one of my paintings was sold before Christmas in a gallery. They didn’t tell me and didn’t forward any cash. They are a large gallery and I put it down to an oversight. Alex phoned them and pointed out that the painting was sold nearly 6 months ago. She received no apology or explanation from I believe the manager who just a promised to pass it on to the owner. Now a month later she has again telephoned and tried to speak to the owner, received no apology or explanation. Maybe times are tight. Anyway I hope that there is a reasonable explanation behind this but whatever the circumstances their customer relations is terrible. It is my belief if you are in the wrong you apologise and rectify any fault as quickly as possible.
Frankly this only reinforces our decision to deal personally with customers and by way for exhibitions in the main. Whatever happens won’t make or break us but nevertheless it is a bit irritating.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

|Aberglasney ~ Secret Garden


The painting above is the finished version of Secret Garden and is actually the gardens at Aberglasney. Talking of which there was a slight hic-up with our exhibition. Bryn Terfel World renowned Opera Singer is staging a concert there.
The dates of his concert and my exhibition clash which would not be a problem except there is a need to close the Garden to put up staging.

I said would be quite happy to have additional days on the end.

Therefore the dates of the Exhibition are 10th – 21st June and then 29th and 30th June 2011.

Today I did a painting in the gallery and then strimmed the garden, walked the dog, and finished the painting above. Alex has finished framing the still life series and is getting on well.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Cornish Tin mines


The watercolour below is of Tin Mines in Cornwall near Roche from last weeks visit.



Yesterday was spent helping Alex’s mother who has moved into her new home. We had to add an extension fro her telephone and broadband, which meant a bit of a torturous route through fitted furniture into the loft and down again 20 metres in all and then find it didn’t work. The new wiring and plug had a break in the plug! Anyway to cut a long story short we fixed it by cutting off the plug and wiring it direct and she can now read this blog.

Today I have to start on a commission, which is pretty tight to get finished due to the drying time. We also have three of the grandchildren today and have to collect my mom from respite care so it guarantees being chaotic. I have another big commission to do in the next couple of weeks and Alex still has a lot to do to get ready for the next exhibition so its fingers crossed

Monday, 2 May 2011

River Camel


With the news today about the death of Osama Bin Laden it is a reminder that like the Kennedy Assassination everyone can recall where they were when they heard the news about 9/11.


I was away from home for a few days and Alex was by herself. Our one daughter had been  living in New Jersey and was due to come home the following day. We had spoken to her and were aware that she and two of her friends were going into New York that morning to do her final shopping. She had mentioned going up one of the Towers.

Anyway when we heard the news it was obviously a worrying time for us particularly as we were unable to contact her mobile. The network was down due to the overload and numbers of worried people using their mobiles. We did manage to establish she had left to go into New York but it was two hours later that we found out she was fine. Her friends had been late and they were on their way into Manhattan when the terrible tragedy happened. She managed to get a flight home at the end of the week and we were very relieved to have her home.

The painting above is a little watercolour study done of the River Camel at Padstow.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Saundersfoot Beach


We have been away for a few days to Padstow, which was quite nice. Great weather and nice walks. To be honest I didn’t do much in the way of painting. I did do some sketches and I did a couple of watercolours of old tin mines.


It wasn’t that there weren’t any subjects, but they were not really relevant to the area I sell them.

It would be a waste to paint mount and frame pictures of Padstow with the idea of selling them in South or West Wales. So I did enjoy sketching but am unlikely to take them much further.

The painting above is one I did before I went away of Saundersfoot beach with the harbour in the background. While I was away I spent much time in the company of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. I did also read a short story by Jack London but they can be all a bit the same and I didn’t enjoy it much. While I was doing all this Alex was doing a course at Rick Stein’s on Seafood Cooking.