Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bar Meals



I have said before Alex never stays still so you have to be very quick to sketch her as above.

I posted about Mike yesterday there were many incidents we were involved in for the most part ones I can't go in to here. I do recall one particular evening when there were a crowd of us having a drink after a good clear up. Mike had for some reason picked some odd dishes off the menu, frogs legs and snails. This  was at a time when soup in  basket and prawn cocktail was the height of sophistication. We stood and watched Mike demolish the plate of frog’s legs and then go through the snails. On finishing he said,
“Frogs legs tasted like chicken but the snails were like grit.”
Someone then said, “Yes Mike but your not meant to eat the shells.”

Today I did a couple of sketches. Alex was busy with household chores.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Walking the dog



The painting above is called taking the dog for a walk and sold during the last exhibition. One of my happiest and certainly most interesting periods of my police service was being teamed up with Mike. We were Detectives. He had been a PTI in the Parachute Regiment. Big and full of fun he could also be a handful. Every day was an adventure working with him. He had a little terrier that looked pretty incongruous when he took it for a walk as you could hardly see this little tuft of hair on a lead beside this large barrel chested being.
One evening Mike was apparently sent to deliver a package to the Superintendent at home. He took the long wheelbase Land Rover and drove to the Superintendent’s House. He pulled up on the drive outside the house and delivered the package. He got back in the Land Rover reversed back and drove back to the police station. Arriving back he found to his dismay he had the remnants of a standard rose attached to his rear bumper. He had obviously caught it in the Superintendent’s garden somewhere and dragged it back to the station.
He recovered the bits of it and returned to the Superintendent’s house. Driving up to the house he saw in the headlights tyre marks and ruts all over the perfectly manicured lawn. He realised he had reversed over the lawn and pulled the sole standard rose out of the central flowerbed.
 He was apparently quite humble when he returned the rose stick and fortunately the Superintendent was lost for words as Mike beat a hasty retreat.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lions Led by Donkeys




I sketched the  gentleman above watching a dance class. He didn't look too interested but it was probably preferable to taking part.
It was said of the British Army that it consisted of Lions being led by Donkeys. At times in the police I often felt like that. Now don't get me wrong there were a number of very good and even inspirational senior officers. There were also a number that sat in their office reading the paper waiting for five o’clock. I recall being sent to see the Superintendent by my Inspector on one occasion in a Suburban Division in Birmingham. I was given a dressing down by the Superintendent because I hadn’t had an arrest in the last month. I was told,
“It isn’t good enough. I won’t stand for it and neither will your Inspector.”
I replied reasonably respectfully, “The Inspector has put me on security duty for the last 6 weeks and I have been walking around the outside of the station for 8 hours every shift. How am I supposed to have an arrest I haven’t been out?”
“That’s not the point. Do better.” Replied the Superintendent. Donkey!
Fortunately I was moved to another Division a week later where there was plenty of work and an Inspector with a brain. I never saw the Superintendent in my new Division.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Stavanger



The sketch above didn't come out that well on scan, probably light getting in the fold of the sketchbook. Anyway it is the Guards Tower in Stavanger. A pleasant enough place but not somewhere I would want of stay for more than a couple of days. I always get the impression Norway is empty or more likely nobody bothered to leave the house because they were bored. The same goes for wildlife. You may see the odd bird or duck on a pond but Britain is teaming with wildlife in comparison. Don't get me wrong the scenery is spectacular and a must place to visit if you can but the Gobi Desert has more going on in it.
I was talking to a young man yesterday who has just returned from Indonesisa , Malaysia and the Far East.
He is preparing to go back having been inspired by the rain forests and different cultures. I have no great desires to travel far now. (I went to Coventry once and I think that cured me of any desire to travel). I admit to liking my creature comforts. I get cramped on an airplane and dislike the hastle of airports. The slow pace of a ship is fine but at the end of the day I like to get home to Wales, scenery, wildlife, family, studio and slippers.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

St Michael's Llanfihangel Abercywyn


The watercolour above is of a lovely little church outside St Clears. Yesterday we went to the Gate in St Clears to finalise arrangements for the exhibition starting on the 19th July. Although quite a small town, it does have some history. The Normans built a castle there which had I believe the largest motte in Britain. A motte is the raised earth work bit! Ships came up the river to a small port below the castle and there was some boat building.
Nelson stopped at the Blue Boar in St Clears with his good friend Emma Hamilton and her husband in 1802. The town saw action in the Rebbeca Riots.
Today I spent the morning sorting out a puncture in our daughters car. Many modern cars like this one don't have a spare or a car jack. Is it me?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Brecon Cathedral


I went to Brecon this morning to take my paintings for the Small Picture Show. Always a pleasure to see Geoffrey the dean and his wife Hazel. Regretably I was unable to accept the opportunity to be introduced to Prince Charles as we are away that day. I have met him before and he is a genuinely nice person.
Off to St Clears this afternoon to measure up for the show at the Gate.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Wurm


The painting of Worms Head from Rhosili sold a couple of weeks ago. (Apparently originally named by the Vikings, "Wurm" meaning dragon because of its humped appearance). It was painted on a stain of sienna mixed with turps and built up wet using a medium of linseed oil, turps and damar varnish in the appropriate proportions.
I have to make some packaging this morning for paintings I am taking to Brecon tomorrow. I also need to go on the roof as there appears to be an influx of water okay a leak! Good job I hate heights.(irony)
Alex has a million things to do including framing 2 paintings.
I like silly jokes, 
Chris Evans,"What's brown and sticky?" 
"A stick."

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Aberaeron


The watercolour of Aberaeron sold last week. It is a pretty little harbour but it gets very busy during summer months. Of course I am not sure when summer is happening this year!
Today I was stewarding in the Origin Gallery this morning and Alex took over in the afternoon. I watched Wales play again and inevitably lose. So near yet they can't finish it. Oh well one day.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Towy Valley View West


The painting of Towy Valley sold on the last day of the exhibition yesterday. It was a good exhibition and we both enjoyed it but now we have a chance to get back to normal and arrange the next ones.
Today is about sorting the paintings and storing them while Alex catches up with the admin and a couple of frames.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Pearl one


The little watercolour is from my sketchbook and shows Alex sleeping about the only time she is still.
The other day Mr and Mrs Powell came into the Exhibition to have a good look around. They always show an interest in the work and turn up to all our exhibitions in the area. Well Alex greeted them but didn't notice at first the odd look she was getting. Eventually she realised she had a knitting needle stuck in her hair while she was walking around with them. In fairness neither Mr nor Mrs Powell had mentioned it. She had previously been sat knitting and had parked one of the needles in her hair to do some sewing up and then forgotten about it. Consequently it looked like a cross between a  minimalist fascinator and a Geisha's hair pin.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Grey Ferguson Tractor


The oil painting above of a little grey fergie was one of the paintings that sold yesterday at the Exhibition.
It must be a boy or man thing. I am always fascinated by mechanical things. Steam trains, traction engines, stationary engines all appeal to me. Consequently I am happy to paint them. Know your subject is a primary rule for me. 
I was asked yesterday to do a commission. It was for the proud owner of a race horse. I declined as  I knew I wouldn't do it justice to my satisfaction anyway. Yes, I could paint it. Yes, I can paint animals and include them in a scene but that is totally different to doing what is in effect a portrait of a horse. I can paint my own pets, I know them but I don't study horses. The greatest artist who painted horses was without doubt Stubbs and he dissected them, studied the skeleton and tissue of horses over a lifetime to properly understand how they were put together. 
There are no short cuts. In the 1960's Bert Weedon brought out a book for learning the guitar called "Play in a day." How many people bought that book and were disappointed I can only guess at but you can't play a guitar in a day and you cant learn to paint in a day. Like everything else it takes time,  practise and hard work.
Anyway I said, No.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Harlech



A watercolour of Harlech Castle sold yesterday at the exhibition. We know the view well as we stay in Harlech at least once a year to walk and paint. On at least two occasions I have set up my box easel to paint the Castle and having done a sky wash and started the middle distance found small white clouds appearing in my blue sky. Yes rain. One of the hazards of painting en plein aire in this country.
David Cowdry and Erika yesterday he is working hard on his new work for an exhibition the centre piece being a series on otters I believe. It was good to have a walk in shirt sleeves this morning and it looks promising for the rest of the day. Much to do today so  I am dropping Alex off  at he exhibition and then doing a few jobs before picking up the grandchildren this afternoon!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Winter Towy Valley


The above painting of sunrise in the Towy Valley was sold yesterday and is going to make its way to York.
I often use a palette of cool greys, particularly for winter scenes. I was pleased to sell the painting but in another way sorry to see it go. It is a sight I have witnessed on many mornings when walking Jac during the cold part of the year.
This morning it was nice to have the sun on my face before 7 in the morning. There was mist over the valley, and Merlin's Hill was just poking its top above it. A sunny day is forecast, well maybe.
Robert and Sara came in yesterday to pick up their painting after framing by Alex. A lovely couple and I was happy they were pleased with the result.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Criccieth



Another really wet and windy day at the Exhibition but yet we saw a lot of people who were in good spirits and we had a good day ourselves. The painting of Criccieth above sold yesterday. A really nice painting, one  that I was really pleased with. It all came together first time and gave a sense of space and depth. 

When we got home we watched the rugby. Wales so close but really bad decision at the end. Should have run the clock down. Line out didn’t function either. So a disappointing result. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Rain Wind and Sea



It was and has been pretty wet and windy over the last week not really ideal to persuade people to visit the exhibition and on some days we have seen less than 6 people. Nevertheless things have been going okay.
The weather reminded me of our days sailing. Our holidays were such that we had to take them when arranged irrespective of the weather. So there have been occasions when we have spent a week at anchor sheltering from the prevailing wind in a bay under a cliff.  This was quite pleasant being snug and cosy spending the time reading by the light of an oil lamp or sleeping to the sound of the howling wind and rain outside bouncing on the deck above us. At times however it could be quite hairy was when I had to leave the safety and shelter of the boat and take our dog ashore. Generally it was possible to wait until the tides were most favourable i.e. slack. Clambering down into a little tender going up and down like the “Galloping Horses” at the fair was always precarious on a boat swinging in the wind. Lowering the dog in to the tender sometimes had to be done with the aid of a halyard and winch.
Heading to shore out of the lee of the boat was an added excitement I could generally do without. In fairness I only had one incident and that was in the middle of the night in wind and rain. The dog needed to go and I set out in the dark only for the dog to inexplicable jump overboard. I did manage to catch up with him being swept away in the current then haul him back on board but I had a few heart stopping moments.
So although the wind and rain can be a nuisance on land they can definitely be a real hazard at sea.
The sketch above shows Luke and I in the tender on a fairly calm day. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Willow Pattern Still life.


The painting above of still life with Willow Pattern is one that sold last week during the exhibition.

I caught a bit of David Cameron being interviewed in the Leveson Enquiry yesterday. Well at least my mother should be reassured. Although she is in her nineties and is suffering by comparison her recall doesn’t seem that bad after all. It does worry me that as Prime Minister his memory appears somewhat vague.

Well another day for the ducks today. All things considered the exhibition has been going about on par. Talking of animals I took Alex out for a meal last night. Now she can be a bit self-conscious about her apparel and acting her age unless she is wearing fluffy boots a shawl and pulling a shopping trolley. So when she was dressed up and looking very classy last night I was in hysterics when she said in all seriousness, “You don’t think I look like chicken dressed up as lamb?”
Followed by,"Oh shut up you know what I mean".

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Avro Lancaster



A few people came through the exhibition today. I sold mainly prints and cards but everyone was in good spirits. I had a nice chat to a man about my painting of a Lancaster. He had worked on them during the war and after. His main job was looking after  the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.

Alex stayed at home to frame some work and then take it off to be posted.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Line Dancing


A few weeks back Alex said to me are you coming to line dancing class. "Yes," I said,"But I will be sketching."
I had learnt my lesson before. A year ago on a cruise Alex persuaded me to go to a class of Latin American Dancing whatever that is.  I felt I ought to indulge her as she is occasionally good to me. I was heartened when we arrived in the theatre and saw a nearly a full capacity sat waiting. When the dance teacher turned up and asked those going to partake to come forward only four people came down Alex and I included. The rest had come to watch/laugh. Well in for a penny. I did my best although I have two left feet. Now I didn't mind the 200 people grinning at my continual embarrassment at being in the wrong place doing the wrong thing but Alex couldn't stop laughing for the whole forty minutes. No wonder I didn't want to go to "Line Dancing".
Anyway I did some sketches and had an embarrassment free line dancing class.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Red Kite


The painting of the Red Kite at Dinefwr was one of the paintings that sold today at the Aberglasney Exhibition.
It was one of two going to a new home in Hertfordshire.
I was told today by a Dutch couple that I must originate from Holland
a because I can paint and
b because my surname is Cox which they assured me originates from a district of Holland. In fact they were quite animated when they read the exhibition notice and I could hear them repeating my name. (I think the fact that I was wearing clogs gave it away).

Monday, 11 June 2012

Llangenith


The above painting is on the Gower. It shows Llangenith Beach form Rhosili. The cliffs are impressive and it is a lovely spot if not a little too busy. I stained the board before painting this, using burnt sienna and turps all over. Anyway the painting sold today at the Aberglasney Exhibition.
Although I was by myself most of the day because Alex had other work to do the day went quickly as there was a decent footfall through the exhibition and I met a lot of interesting people.


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Tenby


The watercolour of Tenby sold today at Aberglasney. It was actually one of my favourite watercolours so I was really happy it went to a good home. A lovely family and Scarlets Supporters as well.

Around lunchtime a gentleman came in whilst Alex was out. He initially asked about one of the paintings but I should have seen the ruse. He actually wanted to tell me his life story day by day, minute by minute and everything he knew to boot. (I am sure he is a very nice chap but I notice his wife went around separately).
Anyway after 10 minutes I was on the point of some sort of drastic action whereupon Alex returned.
I confess I chickened out introduced her and said it was time for me to go home and walk the dog.
When I got back I suffered something of a tongue lashing. He had spent 30 minutes talking despite Alex's best efforts to finalise the monologue and eventually  ignore him.
The funny thing was he came back later. Alex and I saw him coming and both left him to Alex's Mom who had just arrived. Like a saint she took him outside and showed him the garden shop. Thanks from both of us.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

A Medieval House and Gardens?


Here is one of the paintings we sold today at Aberglasney. It is a watercolour of the Mansion which dates back to Medieval Times.(Not the painting the Mansion).
We often get asked questions about the gardens and mansion when we are with the  exhibition. Having been there for some years we do have a reasonable idea of its history and future work. Today a couple came into the exhibition and started asking Alex questions about it. She told them we weren't anything to do with the House but were exhibiting the paintings. She also informed them that there was a video playing in the next room telling the story of the The Estate. The couple kept asking her questions until she was asked when it was built.
Alex said, "In the 1920's."
I nearly choked on my tea and gave her a strange look.
The couple didn't seem to pick up on this but left shortly after. She tells me that she was just joking but I have my doubts.She also said,"If this is in your blog..."

Friday, 8 June 2012

Triumph Trident


A while back I posted about how Alex and I had been to the TT in 1976 and watched Percy Tait riding the Triumph Trident production racer "Son of Slippery Sam" so called because of it penchant to leave oil over the back wheel with interesting results. Anyway Percy crashed a couple of miles down the road after this position at Badden Bridge.
The story didn't end there as I have now been contacted by John the owner of Son of Slippery Sam who has something of a collection and interest in Triumph motorcycles to purchase the picture.
I include the link to his blog if you are interested in motorcycles and Triumphs in particular. We had 2 Triumphs over the years a Daytona and a 750 Tiger. Often think it would be nice ..but no I'd only fall off.
http://crombiesaccountants.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Burry Inlet and the Gower


The painting above sold yesterday and shows the Burry Inlet and the Gower/Worms Head.
It is one of two paintings I did from the same viewpoint.
Alex and I are making last minute preparations for our exhibition. She is also framing for the next one and for other private orders.
The day started off a bit damp and my walk over the top was done with the assistance of over trousers,wellies and an inshore lifeboat. Jac has started building an Arc.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Ferryside from Llanstephan Beach



Here is the painting I have been working on this week. It is pretty well finished now. It shows Ferryside from Llansteffan Beach.
Today I did the final touches and paid a visit to the dentist. I then put together how many hundred cards, envelopes and signed them etc.
This afternoon I caught the sight of a falcon coming through the trees behind the house carrying his dinner underneath him.



Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Man's Best Friend!



I normally wake in the morning to the sound of a blackbird outside the window. This morning it was different. I awoke form a deep sleep with excruciating pain. I had cramp in my calf muscle. Jac came into the bedroom to see what was happening and started pawing me. Alex showed her concern by waking up and saying, "Stop being a wuss." She then rolled over and went back to sleep. Meantime I was trying to massage my calf at the same time as doing an impression of a beetle in spasm.
Alex and I watched the Jubilee Concert last night which I thought was excellent (apart from Cliff Richard).
Logically there is no real argument for a monarchy but in reality I can't think of a better head of state than the Queen. I have taken an oath of loyalty to her on two occasions.
Today I am still working on a commission. Alex has made half a dozen frames.

Monday, 4 June 2012

St Maria d Angeli


I am not sure why I chose this sketch but it is of St. Maria d Angeli in Rome. I am not a particularly religious person but I do like churches. They are all different but they all have an air of calmness and tranquility about them. Many have works of art in them or are great works in themselves.
Today I have been working on a commission. It took a good while to get the drawing and format right before I started to paint but then time sped away quickly and the painting has made good progress.
Alex has got a lot done and all being well we will be ready for the exhibition on Friday.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Sunday ~ A Day of Rest


The above is a sketch I did in N. Wales of a collapsed wall that appealed to me on one of my walks with Jac. There was  real contrast of textures, moss, bark stone...Jac didn't seem that interested and wanted to carry on so it was a very quick scribble and splash.
Yesterday I was interviewed by Sophie Bennett for work on her Phd. Anyway it was nice to meet her and I hope the information I gave her was of some assistance. She is a ceramics tutor in Aberystwyth and is involved with the International Ceramics Festival. I have tried my hand at ceramics and enjoyed it but to be honest I was absolutely rubbish. So I stick to painting.
Later in the day the "whole" family arrived so it was a pleasant chaotic dinner and evening. Perhaps a quieter day today?
Tomorrow I have to make a start on a new commission.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Duncan and Karen Browning


I know it is slightly unusual for me to show a photograph but there is a nice little story here. When I go to do a painting I make myself a large mug of tea. I then drink this over the course of 2 or three hours while painting. It starts off hot, goes lukewarm then stone cold. I am happy to drink tea at any temperature, well I am used to it. A large mug means I don't have to take a break and can just carry on.
Until recently I used an old white pint mug I believe of RAF origin. It actually wasnt completely white, (not surprising considering I am painting). Anyway unfortunately Alex dropped it and broke it. Not a problem in itself except I had a real job trying to find a replacement. One day I was discussing this with Duncan Browning a lovely man and a potter. The next thing I know he makes a gift of not one but two bespoke hand thrown pint mugs. What a lovely guy. 
So there is one of the mugs above in action chilling nicely. It is all more the special as it was made for me.
Duncan and Karen Browning's work can be purchased through Origin at 53, King St. Carmarthen.

Friday, 1 June 2012

John Nash


The painting of the Old Oak sold last week. I listened to a program on the radio this morning at 5.30 about  John Nash whose family were from Carmarthen although he was born in Lambeth.  John Nash would have known the Old Oak as he lived in Carmarthen for a while, although the scene above is from a later period. He was responsible for re roofing St Peters Church and also did major works on St Davids Cathedral before going back to London and making his fortune. Nash was much influenced by the theories of the Picturesque. He did major works for the Prince regent including "Regent Street " and the major work on Buckingham Palace.
I have been crating paintings today and cataloging them.