Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cilhwbert


The sketch above is of Cilhwbert Farm Brecon. Alex and I used to live in Brecon and have fond memories of the Town. We often visit or camp just outside the Town  for a weekend break or if we have an exhibition there.One house we lived in had a wonderful view of the Beacons from our lounge and back garden. We revisited the estate last year and found houses had been built on the fields ruining the view, still that's progress.

I have had a good deal of experience in planning. As an old Army Captain used to say to me, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." I have over the years had to plan many and varied things and been unfortunate enough to be taught both project management and program management.

Brecon although a beautiful town did suffer from visits by the less welcome residents of nearby Merthyr Tydfil. I had very good friends in Merthyr but there were quite a number of rogues, living there at the time too. It was quite possible to go out in the morning and come back at night and find your roof had been packed up on a lorry and ended up in a  salvage yard. Alternately your cocks and hens had mysteriously gone, Cocks and hens are the castellated dry stone walls that are abundant in the area. One day I went to the report of a burglary where a young man had been caught in side a house by the returning owner. He had managed to run off. Having a drive around the area I engaged in that felonious practise of stopping and checking a young man. Now the description of the wanted man was useless being extremely vague. Anyway I asked him where he was from and he said,"Merthyr". Now I am not about to judge him I can appreciate that many people would find themselves a long way from home in the middle of nowhere just happening to walk near a house that has been burgled.
Giving  the lad the benefit of the doubt I asked him how he got there.
 "I got the train to Brecon this morning." He said.
At that point I arrested him for burglary and I should have included failing to plan properly.
The Railway station in Brecon had been closed since 1962 about the time he was in junior school.
Today both Alex and I were in the Gallery again decorating so no painting today. Anyway he admitted the offence pretty well straight away after that as I recall.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Trainspotting


The painting above is of an old North British Diesel as it was before restoration on the Gwili Railway.
I guess we all collect  things . As a young lad I collected railway engine numbers. I was a train spotter.
I loved seeing the steam trains and hearing them pulling loaded waggons on an incline. Cabbing an engine was the highlight for a young lad that is getting on the platform when she was in steam. When diesels came in I lost interest. After that I have never collected anything tangible. I like reading books but once I have read it I am happy to see it go.  Alex collects lots of things, bags all sorts any type of shopping bag with Tesco, Morrisons or any place we have ever visited stencilled on it. She collects shoes, mind you Jac buries them in the garden at the same rate she buys them. Fortunately she doesn't collect jewellery.
Having said I don't collect anything tangible I do collect images. I sketch, paint take photographs and keep mental pictures as well. I don't have a photographic memory (Alex doesn't think I have a memory at all) but I can draw some places fairly accurately from memory. I suppose these images are also memories and I suppose we all collect these, it just depends on how we do it or what sensory  means we use. My memories are visual. My sense of smell is negligible since an operation I had as a child. I like music but am "apparently" tone deaf so its images for me.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Gareth


I haven't done any painting today. It has been a day of chasing up odds and ends for the gallery and an hour in the gym. Our son took Alex and I to the rugby last night. An excellent game where the Scarlets showed the talent that they are unearthing. There was a bit of a minor incident at the game but all's well that ends well and I am not going to go into details. However talking of rugby. We saw Clive Edwards on TV the other night. He was on Noson Llawen a Welsh program. Clive is a real character and was telling  funny stories. Fortunately he didn't relate one involving me. Some time ago Alex , our son and I went to Cardiff on Clive's coach to watch Wales play Italy in the World Cup. I never got there. One minute I was on the motorway and the next I wake up in an ambulance. I had a bit of a pull and ended up in the Heath Hospital for 4 days. Since then Clive has always threatened to ban me from his bus. I obviously caused a stir on the coach as there were numerous bids for my ticket while I was being carried away. Alex nor my son never got to the game something they never let me forget.

Actually everyone was great. As it was the Laugharne RFC contingent on the bus I am lucky I had the pull on the way and not on the way back when everyone was "in good spirits" as I hate to think what they would have done with me.

The photo - Well that of course is of the legendary  Gareth Edwards.  We were in a restaurant for a Home International and he asked if he could have his  photo taken with us. Well I am sure he would have done if Alex hadn't beaten him to it!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Old Oak Carmarthen



The watercolour above is of the Old Oak in Carmarthen which used to be at the end of Priory Street.
The remnants are now in the Museum. The picture is made up from several sources including what is present today although several of the buildings on the right have gone. It is a departure form my normal style but I  enjoyed doing it and finished it this morning.
Yesterday evening  Maria our daughter in law came around as I was examining Mare Crisium (the Sea of Crises) through my telescope. She breezed over, looked up at the large shiny object in the night sky, peered through the telescope and declared " Oh, is that the moon then?". You have to wonder at the marvel that is the Irish Education System.
The trouble is you don't actually know when she is pulling your leg or serious. A real mischievous and lovely girl just like her daughters.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Porth Madoc


The watercolour above is of Snowdon from Porth Madoc. This is or was a popular view in the 19th century and was the subject of many well known artists at the time. In consideration of their work I hope I have done it some justice. Anyway the painting was done a few years back on one of our annual holidays up North.

Today I waked the dog went to the gym did the drawing for a painting of Carmarthen Oak and started the work. I also went shopping for my mother with Alex.

Have you noticed how many men wander around supermarkets without a basket or trolley looking aimlessly around? They are having that draining experience of shopping with wives or partners. Alex for example will spend an inordinate amount of time looking, checking, considering  which is the newest, which is the best and then when she has chosen we will move away from the trolleys into the Supermarket. Nothing is done without complete consideration. I of course will go in and grab the first item I need and be queuing to pay having spent the minimum amount of time and money. Of course I invariably get something out of date or from the wrong region and have to suffer that withering look and slow shaking of the head.
No shopping is a serious business and one that men should not be allowed to partake in. ( Is that sexist or just plain fact?). Probably both!

Anyway rugby on tonight and off to watch the Scarlets tomorrow after finishing the painting.





Thursday, 26 January 2012

Ferryside


The oil painting above is one I did today of Ferryside from Llansteffan beach. There is a rock that sits in the middle of the main channel between Ferryside and Llansteffan. This is marked by the barrel post a navigation mark. It is just a pole these days but one would assume that it originally was a pole with an inverted barrel on top. The two village's were connected by a ferry boat until just after the second world war. This was a run from  Ferry Point up river from Llansteffan Village Green. Of course it was nothing sophisticated a good rowing boat.
Talking of rowing boats " Big Bill" the well known restaurateur (Yr Hen Dafarn Llansteffan) and fisherman used to keep his rowing boat moored off Llansteffan Beach. It was not unknown for him to moor it in the river and swim to the beach. He is quite a character and an excellent chef but you had better like eating a good meal,  great fresh food and lots of it. I print a sample review below.


5 of 5 starsReviewed 13 June 2011
Yr Hen Dafarn, or Big Bills as its called in the village, really is a find! A fantastic restaurant with amazing food. Fresh seafood, amazing game and beautiful home cooking. Its such a treat. Every time we go down to wales, its on our must go list. We always book a table and have never been disappointed. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

St David's Abergwili


The watercolour above is of St Davids Church in Abergwili. I know the church quite well. One of our grandsons was christened there. It is actually quite hard to get a good view of the church. This often the case with churches. They tend to be surrounded by trees which may or may not be in need of some good pruning.
This is where a painting has the advantage over a photograph as the artist can easily remove the odd tree.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Llanfihangel Abercywyn


I did the watercolour of St. Michaels Church at Llanfihangel Abercywyn this morning. It is a pretty little church 2 miles Carmarthen side of St Clears. It is not particularly old being built in 1847 but very striking nevertheless.
I have passed the church numerous times whilst going along the main dual carriageway and have thought it would be a worthy subject. So I finally got around to doing it, one less off my paintings to do list.  The trouble with that list is that it keeps getting longer.
Time to walk the dog now.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Blackpool Mill


Alex and I managed to get away for a couple of days. We didn't go far only as far as Canaston Oaks in Pembrokeshire. On Sunday we had a good walk through the woods and past Blackpool Mill sketched above. This is next to Blackpool Bridge built in 1830. This is the tidal limit of the Eastern Cleddau. Boats used to moor off the mill and transport flour down the CLeddau to Milford Port. The mill is in disrepair although it has all the original machinery as far as I am aware. Jac wasn't that interested and had more fun running through the bracken on the Slebech Estate.
We are currently working on getting the upstairs gallery of Origin open in time for St Davids Day.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

River Bridge Nantgaredig


The watercolour I did above is quite strong for me. It is of the River Bridge Nantgaredig. When I went there the overriding impression was of the contrast between the light behind the bridge and the structure itself. Hence I have used high and low values to emphasise this.
Alex has been to Bridgend to collect prints.We are pretty low on stocks of prints and cards. Hopefully we will get a few days free now to get on. Our first exhibition this year is in Aberglasney and then there may be one in Laugharne.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Carmarthen Quay



The above painting is not one of mine it is by one of Carmarthen's famous sons, Edward Moreland Lewis.
It shows the Quay which is currently undergoing some changes. I like the palette he uses and also the style which is fluid and easy going. He paints over a warm stained under painting.
Strangely he is very under rated which is a pity. There are a few of his paintings in the museum but other than that the Town hardly recognises him.
He was the son of B.A.Lewis a fine amateur painter and founder of the Carmarthen Sketch Club. He died in North Africa in the Second World War, had he survived he might have gained greater acclamation.
I hope that the work on the Quay doesn't spoil its character.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Carmarthen River Bridge



The painting above is the completed Carmarthen River Bridge. This morning I did a watercolour of the River Bridge at Nantgaredig near Carmarthen. I am teaching this afternoon.
I had a call this morning to see if I would be able to appear on a program on S4C. My Welsh is pretty poor and certainly not up to TV standards so no pressure there, decision made. In some respects I suppose it is nice to have publicity etc but there again it is a lot of pressure. I have stopped doing talks and giving demonstrations. I don’t enjoy doing them so why do them? Life is pretty short why spend any of it doing things you don’t want to? I would rather be painting, reading or walking.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Carmarthen River Bridge in oils




The picture above shows the first stage of the painting I am working on. Carmarthen River Bridge. You can see I have started form the top and am working down. This is a standard format for watercolour paintings but not necessarily for oils, it’s just that it is convenient when working this way. Some colours are mixed and laid on to be left whilst other darker colours are mixed on the canvas adding differing shades and lighter colours. All the colours are mixed none are straight from the tube. The second piece of advice I give to anyone wanting to learn to paint is read a good book on colours and learn how to mix them so you can replicate the exact hue and value when necessary. The first piece of advice is draw, draw and draw.

Tonight I have a meeting of the co-operative. Tomorrow I am teaching but I hope to paint in the morning.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Llanddew



The watercolour sketch above is of the little church in Llanddew near Brecon. We lived in Brecon for a number of years before moving to Carmarthen some 20years ago? We quite often return there to exhibit or camp in the Beacons.
Some very long time ago when I was a police officer I was sent to a Road Accident. When I arrived there I found that two cars had collided on a narrow hump back bridge. They had pretty well met on at the centre of the hump of the bridge colliding head on.
Both drivers had fortunately been wearing seat belts and it obviously hadn’t been a high-speed collision. If the cars had kissed each other though it had been a fairly passionate affair. Their bumpers were hooked together and both had some frontal damage. An ambulance had been called as both drivers had minor injuries and probably shock.
The traffic was on hold in both directions with long queues beginning to form.
One car was a brand new Rover the other was an oldish Austin 1100. I spoke to both drivers and saw them safely to the ambulance then concerned myself with the vehicles. I took a few measurements and details. A tow truck then had arrived and we needed to clear the bridge. As the vehicles had locked bumpers like a pair of stags it was suggested bouncing the front ends of the cars to release them. We energetically bounced the front ends until like magic them separated. Unfortunately we hadn’t taken account of the fact that it was a hump back bridge. The Rover which apparently was neither in gear nor had its handbrake applied started to roll backwards down the hill.
I looked on with increasing anxiety as it gathered speed towards the first vehicle in the queue at the end of the bridge. This was a Crossville bus. The bus driver was in a worse position as there was nothing he could do. I could see my vaguely promising career being cut very short. Fate intervened however or more probably the steering lock did and the car turned and collided rear first into the end bridge pillar making a horrible noise. The rear of the Rover had been  remodelled. The stone pillar had stood there for years and was unmoved.  It was the best we could have hoped for especially as the driver was no longer there.
I had both vehicles towed away and completed my accident report including the accident with the rear of the car. I wondered how the puzzled driver would react when he saw his Rover again. He had left it with a damaged front now it was equally mauled to the rear. How he would explain it to his insurance company? I waited for several weeks for an inquiry into the circumstances of the accident and its subsequent events but strangely I heard nothing . Being a small community I did get the odd barbed comment from the recovery men now and then, which I shook off with good humour. 
Yes I have started a painting today so things are looking up.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Old Oak Carmarthen



Another day in the gallery today. It was a bit quiet other than David Elliot working upstairs replacing plasterboard above the stairwell. Still we did some trade.
Alex (she’s a saint or saintess, have to be politically correct) spent most of the afternoon at home with a couple of domestic issues mainly relating to my mother.

As we came home Venus was bright in the sky over Carmarthen and was being joined by Jupiter so a lovely cold bright night. No painting to report hopefully tomorrow. The painting is of the legendary Carmarthen Oak. A watercolour I did as a commission. The Oak used to stand at the corner of Priory Street and legend had it that when the Oak fell so would Carmarthen. Well the Oak has gone and Carmarthen  is still standing.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Sheep ~ Harlech




The little watercolour picture above is of sheep near Morfa Harlech. We like to go and stay in the area when we can (which isn’t very often) for a change of scenery. We used to take the children to this stretch of coast for our holidays when they were young. We had a four-man ridge tent, which just about held 2 adults 3 children and a dog. It was about 8 ft by 5 ft so it was a bit of a squeeze but we had a great deal of use out of it.  Camping was the only holiday we could afford then. The area anyhow is a favourite of ours. I don’t do many completed paintings of North Wales, as there isn’t the market for them in West Wales. I do however do numerous sketches and little watercolours for my own interest. Sheep are a great subject probably because they are so much a part of the British Landscape. One of my favourite paintings of sheep is by William Holman Hunt link below:


I posted yesterday about our son’s last trip to Ireland with his family. He also told me about an incident in Tesco’s County Cavan. It’s funny how your tastes change, as you get older. I used to like whisky, brandy, rum, port not all together mind. Well now the only spirit I can manage is gin with tonic. Anyway my son has no such inhibitions (particularly if it is free). He went to Tesco’s and made two important purchases a bottle of gin and a bottle of tonic. He got to the checkout and was asked if he needed a bag. He declined having found an old bag. He placed both bottles in it. The inevitable happened the bag split he fortunately grabbed hold of the gin but the tonic escaped. It hit the floor exploded and then took off like a torpedo spraying its contents over all and sundry with two Tesco ladies chasing it down the aisle. He said they all saw the funny side of it particularly as he was the one that looked like he’d had an accident.
They gave him a new bottle of tonic although he had already paid and even mopped him down.
Life’s full of little incidents to make you smile (unlike the way the Scarlets played yesterday).

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Cwnoernant Reservoir Path



The reservoir this morning was beautiful with the sun breaking through the trees. The mallards and goosander were bobbing in the water, which had a layer of mist across it. The frost-covered branches were shimmering a grey purple with patches of light catching the tops. Very picturesque. The painting above is of the footpath around Cwmoernant reservoir but not the one I was looking for which has gone walkabout on the computer.
Anyway I was talking to our son last night and he was relaying his experiences over the New Year in Ireland. He took his wife and children to visit our daughter in laws family. They arrived at Pembroke Dock Port in their white people carrier and sat in a queue of cars waiting to board the ferry. Next thing he notices a hire car pull up 2 spaces away with other relatives of ours in it. It was our daughter’s mother and father in law a lovely couple who come from Tullamore. They were on their way back home. Anyway he got out of the car and walked around to the drivers side door stood over the car so they couldn’t see his face and then requested their passports, then tickets then driving documents and anything else he could think of until he couldn’t hold his laughter any further. They eventually realised who he was and they had a good chat. Our son returned to his car but in the meantime another white people carrier had joined the waiting cars in between them. At this point Phillip the father in law gets out of his car and walks up the driver of the people carrier thinking it is our son and continues a conversation with him. He gets out his mobile phone and passes it to the driver. It apparently it had a joke on it. Now Phillip the father in law is very softly spoken and quite difficult to understand particularly with a strong Irish accent.  Our son and family were in fits as they watched the driver of the people carrier pass the mobile phone to his wife and back. They obviously had no idea who this person was that had suddenly come up to them and enter a long conversation with them. The look on their faces was something to behold. Eventually Phillip realised his mistake and left them bewildered but probably impressed by the friendliness of the Irish.
Yes we have a very interesting but lovely large family!
Today I am off to watch the Scarlets play Northampton. So fingers crossed.  


                        

Friday, 13 January 2012

Binge Drinking


The watercolour sketch is of Shortland farm near Druidstone where we like to stop in our camper. The problem we have is that we like to go out of season and many of the best sites are shut. I like piece and quiet, to get away so the summer is mostly out and in any case we are generally exhibiting then or generally tied up.
We often camp in sub zero temperatures and the only problem we get is when the water freezes up.
Alex thinks we live in subzero temperatures as I am not too keen on having the heating on. Have you seen the price of oil?

I was listening to the debate the other day on Scottish Independence. I have mixed views. My grandfather was Scottish and a deal of my family are Welsh. At the end of the day I take the view it is up to them to decide, that is what democracy is all about. Anyway I was reminded about the book of Aneirin. An old Welsh manuscript in the University Library of Wales. It contains a story Y Goddoddin  about Celtic warriors from the Brythonic Kingdon in Scotland who along with their allies from Wales went South to fight the Angles and Saxons. Three hundred warriors met and apparently spent one year feasting and drinking mead before setting off to fight the invading Angles and Saxons. It must have been something of a suicide mission
as they faced and army of ten thousand. I suppose this explains the year of drinking beforehand. The warriors met at Catraeth (Catterick) and fought for several days. Only three of the Britains survived. To be honest I think the years feasting would have killed me off never mind the March and then a battle.

Today I have been in the Gallery again. Tomorrow its Rugby.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Carry On



Well what a Carry On. A very interesting 24 hours. Our sister in law arrived last night with our nephew and his Vietnamese girlfriend. They only stopped until this morning but it was very nice to see them as he lives in Vietnam and we haven’t seen them for some time. You can image we had a good meal and plenty of family, grandchildren. My mother was particularly pleased to see him although she was very confused about what relative he actually is. Whenever there is a lot of excitement or a break in her routine there is normally a reaction. So last night when we made our way to bed Alex and I were particularly pleased it had all passed off well and my Mother had gone off to bed without any drama.
I had to be off early today as I was constructing an office in the gallery with Martin our treasurer and also had to go out to check on a storage heater. All went well. I walked the dogs and left our guest sleeping. Alex sorted out breakfast for them, took them to say goodbye to my Mom and then got on washing bedding and cleaning ready for our daughter, grandson and dog to come on Saturday. In the afternoon she had several phone calls to deal with in respect of framing. She then had to take the dog out as I was working in the gallery. She only got opposite my mother’s house when she was called over. My mother had her meals on wheels stopped to go over to frozen meals, which her lunchtime carer prepared. She found my mother looking at a sandwich. The carer had got it all mixed up and my mom had no dinner other than the sandwich. Unfortunately my mom doesn’t like bread! Meantime the dog still on a lead is being coaxed by my mother to come to her with the soggy sandwich. Alex is trying to sort out food and then an ambulance pulls up. Two ambulance men come in. Alex is now part of some surreal play. It seems that my mother pressed her emergency call button before Alex arrived. My mother is lapping it up and talking nonsense to the ambulance men who are now seriously considering taking her in. Alex has to explain that this is normal and apologise for the call out and the dog who is now causing chaos. Witnessing this strange event is my mother’s cleaner who comes once a week to iron and clean.
When Alex picked me up she was convinced she had been in a Carry On Movie. I assured her I had a very pleasant and productive day even though I hadn’t had the chance to do any painting, again!
Oh the watercolour sketch above is of a small boat at Borth Y Guest in North Wales
With Snowdonia in the distance.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

A Childs Garden of Verses



The watercolour sketch above is from N. Wales near Trawsfynydd. It’s one of those weeks this week 2 days in the gallery relatives coming today and work in the gallery tomorrow.

I am not a real fan of poetry. I have said before Dylan Thomas goes straight over my head. I know I should say he is wonderful, but I am afraid I can’t because it doesn’t communicate anything to me. I have no vision of what he is talking about. I think Richard Burton has a wonderful voice when reading Dylan Thomas but he could just as easily be reading a shopping list for me. One book of poetry I did grow up with and love was,
“A Childs Garden of Verses” by Robert L. Stevenson.
That book for me is a projection of innocence. It is poetry I can follow to this day. I still have the volume although it is a little worse for being well thumbed and read to various generations of the family. The illustrations too are wonderful, black and white etchings by Charles Robinson. So maybe I am not quite a Philistine, but then again maybe I am.

Below is Bed in summer a child’s view of grown up logic.

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candlelight.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
 
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.
 
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Beddgelert



The watercolour sketch was one I did when Alex, Jac and I visited Beddgelert last year. A lovely spot with a heart-rending legend. Well it is if you are an animal lover like me. The legend is written on the "grave" of Gelert as below:


"In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, "The Faithful Hound", who was unaccountably absent.

On Llewelyn's return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant's cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood.

The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound's side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog's dying yell was answered by a child's cry.

Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but near by lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain.

The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here".

Today we dropped off our camper van and picked up paintings from the Ceri Richards Gallery in Swansea then came back to pick up the grandchildren. A meeting of the co-operative tonight.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Worlds Most Expensive email Address



The oil painting above is of fishing trawlers off a headland. They are actually Brixham Trawlers and were very popular around the South and West Coast at the turn of the 20th century.

Personalised number plates are not something that appeals to me. I have a good a reason for that well actually two. One is the cost and the other is that I wouldn’t want to draw attention to myself. I am not a bad driver but on the other hand not a great one either. It would be all too easy to remember that car with 
 ART 1 registration that accidentally cut you up or pulled out without looking. With an indistinctive number like our plate it’s just an other old man in a flat cap!
Now my email has been a pain lately. Not arriving where it should, refusing to send group emails…So I eventually decided to bite the bullet and change email to Gmail.
My old email address was markcox@…… and obviously I wanted something similar with my name and without numbers. The problem was they were all gone. So decision time you can buy personalised email addresses. They are very expensive. I didn’t want to do that.
I looked at my business card and found the answer. My Business card was Mark Cox BA. “Eureka” that was available. Finally I have found something useful to come from my old degree in fine art. (Actually that is a bit harsh, I enjoyed it but the course wasn’t much to do about painting, not as I understand it anyway.). Anyway the Degree cost me a fortune.
So I reckon at the end of the day I have probably got the Worlds Most expensive email address.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Bascule Bridge



The watercolour above is of the Bascule or lifting Bridge at Johnstown Carmarthen.
Bascule is French and means see saw. This I guess refers to the fact that a Bascule bridge has a large weight to counterbalance it at one end.
The Rail Bridge crosses the River Towy and was built by the Great Western Railway in the 1930’s. It is no longer in use and was apparently last lifted for Major Fisher- Hock to bring his yacht up the Towy to Carmarthen in the 1950’s. The Fisher-Hocks until quite recently were the occupiers of the Plas at Llansteffan. The Plas is the large white mansion next to the Llansteffan Castle overlooking the village. Not quite Downton Abbey but going that way.
Incidentally his yacht was called Pisces of Towy.

This morning the walk over the top was glorious. I set out as day was breaking and when Jac and I got to the top of Penlanffos the sky was orange and yellow in the East with light reflecting of the river in the valley. Later this morning Alex and I had a walk on the beach at Llansteffan with Jac and then tried to trace a short in the electrical system on the camper van (in vain I might add). We have found the circuit but not the cause although a relay is suspect.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Rocky Shore



The watercolour above sold a while ago but is an example of generic subjects. It is actually off the Pembrokeshire Coast but could be anywhere. Many artists in the late 19th and early 20th century made their living painting numerous scenes like these. Whilst I am happy to paint most things I wouldn’t want to be painting these repeatedly.  As I have said before I tend to paint specific subjects i.e. a recognisable (hopefully) place or subject.

Today I did a watercolour of the Bascule Bridge in Carmarthen. I haven’t taken an image of it so I will probably post it tomorrow.All the decorations are down and life is reverting back to normal or a more restrained form of chaos if you like.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Carreg Cennen





The painting above is the commission I was working on last weekend. There are some great views of Carreg Cennen Castle but it is probably most spectacular from this side.

Today was spent working on the business side and sorting out our print requirements so no painting done today. There is still a lot to be done to catch up in the office. So although Alex has made progress the fact that we have not been working fully the last month has meant there is a backlog.

 The last visitor left yesterday and Jac has now regained his status as top dog. We have to go to the gallery this evening and change a couple of paintings. So a quick cup of tea in to town and then settle down to watch the rugby.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

PC Problems

The watercolour above was done from the sketch yesterday. I am not wild about it but Alex likes it so who am I to argue. Alex has been catching up on paperwork for the business today. I have done the painting and working on the computer.

Cant live with them can’t live without them. I have heard that before anyway in this case it relates to a 6 year old Compaq with so many gigs? Recently whatever we have tried the internet has frozen at regular intervals at the most inconvenient times which causes more than the odd, “oh dear!”

The Pc has been scanned with every type of virus program and malware download available. It has had the registry checked and a nice man in India offered to fix it for a mere $350. A snip I thought.

Oh for the time when a PC was a large jolly man walking down the street wearing a blue serge jacket and pointy hat.

Anyway I finally junked internet explorer and tried Google Chrome as a browser. With the exception of a problem with the font size of emails it appears to be functioning very well (so far # not counting any chickens yet). No sign of a freeze on the horizon or anywhere else.

My mother thinks we are her parents, which means I am well overdue for a good number of telegrams from the Queen. At times I feel that old as well. Nevertheless fortitude and perseverance are the watchwords. I am looking forward to having another day of painting tomorrow (hopefully) as the walls are a bit depleted after a bumper end of year.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

2012

The sketch above is of the Towy Valley looking from Carmarthen towards Abergwili with Merlin’s Hill on the left. The Church is St David’s. I intend to do a watercolour from the sketch.

We still have our son’s dog as he and his family are stuck in Ireland due to Gales in the Irish Sea other than that we are resuming normal service. Alex is in Town restocking cards and prints in the gallery.

The year is booking up already with a couple of definite exhibitions and 2 probable ones. We are still planning our charity exhibition. Four exhibitions is more than enough with gallery and internet work.

So here comes 2012.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Picture Window

The watercolour above is the same subject (Merlin’s Hill Towy Valley) as the one that went awry the other day (cockled). Anyway no problems this time. I stretched the paper fully and used good quality Saunders Waterford paper.

Yesterday we wanted a quiet day after the grandchildren left. It seems that everyone and his dog wanted to visit or phone us. Individually not a problem but it was one after another. I ended up being extremely rude to the man from Dunraven Windows who phoned at 6.30pm awakening me from my fourth attempt to doze in the chair. He wanted to discuss double-glazing! I mean it was a Bank Holiday wasn’t it? The last call was after 9pm. I sometimes think a telephone is no great advance for the human race. I shall endeavour to leave it off the hook more in future. That can be my New Years Resolution. Alex has got straight into framing and mounting prints today. This afternoon she is going to paint a room for her mother.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Lazy Day



I don’t have the painting above it was I did when I was doing my degree in fine art. It was heavily influenced by the contemporary artist David Salle who is not only an interesting artist, he can paint. Something that can be a rarity in the avant garde.

Anyway I popped to the gallery today to do a couple of jobs then walked the dogs.
The grandchildren have gone and we are going to relax for the remainder of the day.

Try link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLexgOxsZu0



Sunday, 1 January 2012

Preseli's



The painting above of the Preseli’s sold yesterday to a couple from Lampeter. We had a very pleasant evening with friends and Alex’s mom around. Alex as usual did a wonderful job as a hostess and cook. So a good New Years Eve but we are both quite tired!


Alex’s mother stayed the night but has gone home now. We now have 2 of the grandchildren until tomorrow. Alex is playing with them now while I am watching the rugby on TV. (half time now).