Tuesday, 31 January 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
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
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Monday, 16 January 2012
Sunday, 15 January 2012
Saturday, 14 January 2012
Friday, 13 January 2012
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
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.
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
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
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".
Monday, 9 January 2012
Sunday, 8 January 2012
Saturday, 7 January 2012
Friday, 6 January 2012
Thursday, 5 January 2012
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, 1 January 2012