Monday, 31 March 2014

Sketching Quickly - Barges on the Rhone


Over the years I have developed a technique for sketching quickly. There are a number of reasons for this;

I often sketch from a moving boat or vehicle and you have to be very quick or the subject is gone.

The light can change quicly and the shadows will move around, although you may wish to change them anyway.

Alex is patient but not for long and a "Can I just do a quick sketch?" is always met with "Yes of course." But it has to be quick, minutes or I am pushing my luck.

Anyway the way I do it is to mentally access what I want in the picture and lay down a few guidelines in 2b pencil. Then I get my travelling Cotman watercolour box and an aquabrush. I block in a few colours not being too careful about going over guidelines. I then block in the shadows. Lastly I delineate and emphasise some shapes with a drawing pen. Whole process 5-10 minutes maximum. The crucial step is getting the picture in your head before starting. I had moved the barges shown nearer the bridge than their actual position for my composition. Of course there are numerous ways to do sketch and this is just my own quick method.
The sketch is on the Rhone at Avignon.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Petanque


Well a longish day. On a boat this morning in the south of France. A coach ride, two airplanes and a car journey and we are home.
Yes we had a good time on the river Rhone going from Marseilles to Chalon on the Saone. I will detail more in future posts with some little vignettes like the one above.
Alex and I sat to watch a game of boules or as they refer to it in the south petanque. It was all very Gallic with shrugs cries of anguish and humour. I got my pad out to capture some of it, including the little dog who wasn't that much interested.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

North Wales


I did this watercolour of Snowdon from Porth Madoc a few years back. It makes for a good composition with the river taking you into the picture and a few cattle to in the foreground to give you some idea of scale. Unusually it was a fine day and I was uninterupted by rain showers!



Friday, 28 March 2014

David Cowdry Exhibition Aberglasney


So pictured above is a drawing I did of the outbuildings at Aberglasney.
On the question of drawing I feel these days it is very much underated as: a pastime, basic excercise for an artist, or an end in itself.
Drawing contains most of the requisite skills for the artist:
The ability to frame a decent subject.
The ability to draught an image in proportion to reality.
The ability to identify the relevant values(tones).
The skill to put this together.
I admit I dont draw as often as I should but I do undertake numerous sketches from some of which I produce paintings. A sketch to me is a short hand form of recording information allowing me to use it at a later date if required and may take anything from 2 -10 minutes. My drawings may take anything up to 3 hours and are generally a finished article in themselves although I rarely sell them or even keep them.

It is the opening of David Cowdry's Exhibition at Aberglasney tonight. if you get the chance to go to see it this week do so its not to be missed.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

On the beach


Alex and I often go down to Cefn Sidan. It is a fabulous beach and very few people on it. The sand seems to go on for miles. Jac loves running on the beach and then hunting through the dunes. I have done quite a few paintings of the beach and view of the Gower in different conditions. I suppose it is inevitable that you paint what appeals to you. The painting above shows some brave souls trying the water. The painting is sold.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Exhibiting in Brecon


Some years ago I was asked by Very Revd Geoffrey Marshall Dean of Brecon Cathedral if I would like to exhibit my work in the Transept of the Cathedral.

The Cathedral dates back to 1093 and I understand that I was the first artist to exhibit his work in it. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time and met some lovely people including, Geoffrey his charming wife Hazel, Richard Williams, Father Richard and his dog "Jimmy", Pat, Jackie, Karen in the Office and many others. Jac had a good time as was well looked after he was very welcome in the cathedral even during service.

Following the first successful exhibition I was invited back for further exhibitions. Shown above is
"River at Brecon".

Following our decision to cut back on exhibting we haven't been there for a couple of years which is a shame as we had a great welcome. Who knows may be one day in the future.




Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sketching


I mentioned recently that I had been a Detective Inspector at one time this was when we lived in Brecon. That was a lifetime ago.  Anyway the little sketch above is of a lovely little church just outside Brecon in Llanddew. 
The sketch was done on cartridge paper which for the most part I prefer to carry when out sketching as it can be used for drawing or watercolour.


Monday, 24 March 2014

Oh Well


At one time I used to have a stand at  Boat Shows selling marine art. It was okay and we did reasonably well but now we restrict what we do. Anyway the stallholders ranged from people selling sailing books, and accessories to expensive motor yachts.
One day a man came to our stall. He had a good look at the paintings and chose one.  Alex saw he had an exhibitors badge took his money and gave him back ten percent saying, "As your an exhibitor we'll give you a bit of discount." He gave a wry smile but was very polite.
When he had gone I explained to her he had just sold two large motor yachts worth over a million pounds and he had come to buy a painting to celebrate.

Link Oh well

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Galleries


It is always a job to know where and when to put work in galleries. It should be a no risk, easy win all around. It’s very tempting to offer work in a variety of locations. It’s not that easy however. Firstly there is the distance to consider. You have to transport any work and that involves travelling costs and time that could be spent painting i.e. another cost. Then there is the issue of replacement after a sale and the reliability of the gallery. We have found that although an agreement may be made regarding payment after sale. That may not happen in reality. For whatever reason you may not receive notification of a sale and no money either until prompting or a visit. If a gallery is some way away it can be difficult to keep on top of this. At the end of the day it is a matter of trust and I am afraid to say we have been let down in the past. We tend now to stick to galleries where we know and trust the owner or where we are part of a co-operative.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

On Days Like These


It's on days like these that I do miss sailing particulary the old dinghy we had. Yes it was a beast to lug on and off the trailer. Yes I did have to stand in the water up to my waist to launch her but oh the joy of being powered by the wind and fighting the tide. We knew if she capsized we could never right her as she was old patched and heavy but she never let us down.
We took her down to the Tamar and out into Plymouth Sound beached her for lunch and had a hairy sail back up the Tamar. We took her up to the Lake District camping and sailing. We spent endless days around the three rivers that run into Carmarthen Bay.
Yes great heart stopping moments full of joy.

Link yes its obvious 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Never go back



Never go back it will always disappoint. It is not always true but things never stay the same.
About 35 years ago, maybe more Alex and I stopped in a hotel overlooking Tower Bridge it was expensive but we got a good rate for the room (courteousy of Norma who knew the manager). Nevertheless we didn't have much money to spare for anything else. 

The views were great from our room and I did  a sketch of Tower Bridge. We spent the day going to the galleries and then dressed up for dinner as there was an expensive restaurant in the hotel with a view of the Thames. We were both a bit nervous as we weren't used to dining in a "posh" place. More importantly we weren't sure how much it was going to cost and we didn't have much to spare. 

We sat down for a pre-dinner drink and then the waiter came to show us to our table. There was a bit of confusion as I had to fight him to stop him taking my drink as I explained I had only had half of it. It transpired he was only going to carry them for us to our table!
We carefully ordered 2 courses of what we thought was the cheapest on the menu (although more than we would pay in a week for food normally). 

We had a great view, there was a pianist playing something quite pleasant and the dining room was full of well attired people. We relaxed and drank our drink waiting for our first, (main) course.
The waiter who I think was French brought us a starter of something. Again confusion.
"No we didn't order a starter, take it away please."
"But Sir..."
Finally the restaurant manager came over and explained it was a complimentary course. Which we obviously consumed.
Anyway we had a nice meal although with the underlying worry that we might not be able to afford it. We didn't have to do the washing up as it transpired as it was just within our budget.

We had a lovely time overall and many years later (although still years ago) we decided to go back there. 

Mistake, big time.
The hotel was now a cheap stopover. Nothing wrong with that but we were expecting the same swish 4 star hotel of our memories.  The dining room was now a cheap buffet split between smokers and non smokers with the smokers having the tables by the window. Our room had no view...etc..etc.  We had to eat out at night and worse Alex caught something from breakfast and was ill in the National Gallery.



Thursday, 20 March 2014

INSET Day


Harlech Castle

Normally we go to North Wales for a couple of weeks around this time of year. We generally stop in Harlech. It has a great beach but the town itself has seen better days. This year we have decided not to go. We will be off somewhere with the camper not sure where yet. Jac loves going in the camper he gets lots of walks and is spoilt rotten.

We only have  one pet Jac  (when we are not a boarding kennel for the family) but we have had cats in the past. 

Some years ago just before Christmas I heard a noise and went to the front door with the dog. I opened the door and a black cat ran past me and shot into the living room making himself comfortable on the sofa. He had come to stay. No amount of persuading would move him and he was quite wild although of a tolerant disposition. That is he would allow you to feed him and shelter him but wasn’t keen on being fussed. Although he would sometimes jump on my lap when I least expected it. Merlin (as we called the cat) paid him no attention whatever to our dog. One look from the cat would send the dog to sulk in the corner.

It wasn’t so much that we had a cat but we had a lodger.

Our neighbours also experienced Merlin’s idiosyncrasies. One night Wendy our neighbour was in bed when she was awoken by something. 

She said, “Mike what’s that on the bed?”

He replied, “It’s the cat.”

Wendy, “But we haven’t got a cat.”

Merlin had climbed on their roof and got in through a velux and made himself comfortable on their bed.

On another occasion Mike ran out into the road to stop another neighbour driving up the road. Merlin was on the car roof facing forward apparently enjoying the ride.

Merlin stopped with us for two or three years and then moved into a house at the top of the road ~ just like that. We would see him from time to time but he largely ignored us. He didn’t write and he didn’t call!

Tomorrow we have some of the grandchildren. Another!!"!! insect day for the teachers. I think it is just an excuse for another day off for them. Of course I am always pleased to have the grandchildren for the day!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

On the mend


Well Jac is a lot better today. He didn't have a walk yesterday afternoon and I only took him a short meander this morning. He is on anti-inflamatory medicine for a swollen"wrist" joint.

Our builder has finished which is good news. The weather held while the roof was being done and now I can start putting my studio back together. Alex can also get in the workshop to frame as that was storing all the materials and new windows. It will take a couple of days but at least we can see daylight (and not through the roof).

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Poor Jac


Poor Jac is a bit under the weather this morning. Alex got up to him during the night and he is struggling to walk or to go far. He couldn't climb onto his favourite settee last night (yes, he has his own settee, which he will sometimes share with visitors). So the priority of the day is getting Jac to the vets.

PS.  He doesn't really smoke a pipe. He just sometimes looks like he ought to.

Monday, 17 March 2014

In the doghouse


The watercolour sketch above is of part of the Cleddau Bridge over Neyland Marina in Pembrokeshire.

This morning when we were out for our early morning walk Jac put up a couple of ducks. My guess is they have a nest nearby so I will endeavour to avoid the area for a while. “Jac” our cocker spaniel loves nature although he is a working breed and it is in him to flush out birds.  We have taken him for long  walks from the time he was a puppy. Anyway for some reason it made me recall an incident that occurred when he was a puppy. 

We used to moor our boat in the marina in Neyland near to this spot when Alex was working as an engineer in Dale Sailing. The place we moored was in the upper basin, which although being cheaper was restricted because you could only get in or out an hour or so either side of high water.
It did have the advantage of a lovely walk along the old Railway built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Neyland became the terminus for the Great Western Railway in 1856. The railway fell into disuse after Beeching I believe. Anyway there is now a lovely long walk through nature reserves along the path of the old railway although you have to dodge cyclists.

One day we took Jac along the trail by Neyland and met a young couple pushing a pram. The pram contained a baby and unbeknown to us a picnic wrapped up under the pram. We stopped briefly to chat to the couple, and then I suddenly noticed “Jac” disappearing with a package in his mouth. I called him but being a young pup he took no notice and proceeded to unwrap and eat sandwiches at a distance. I finally caught him and handed the whole sorry mess back to the couple who were none to pleased. We then disappeared with as much grace and speed as we could, muttering apologies for our wayward dog!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Tenby Low Tide


I like Tenby but not so much the traffic so we tend to go there out of season. We have actually sailed there and dried out on the beach which was a far more civilised way to travel there. Sailing across Carmarthen Bay around Caldey just for the views then anchoring in shallow water waiting for the tide to go out.

We also had one memorable weekend there when I was a Detective Inspector. A weekend away was organised and the squad had some downtime. Alex and I had a room overlooking the bay which was fantastic. Arrival started with champagne, drinks, a pool tournament,drinks, dinner, dancing (of some description) and the rest of the weekend fades into mist. The police tend to work and play hard.
To be honest it is a good release valve considering everything they have to deal with and is to be expected.

The watercolour above is of Tenby at Low Tide. It is a simple painting suited to watercolour. I did it a few years ago and it sold not long after.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Pet Hates


I have a few pet hates. Some are quite logical some are just down to my personality I guess.
One of my pet hates is seeing a watercolour for sale that has cockled. A cockled painting is effectively wrinkled to some extent due generally to the fact it wasn't stretched properly before the painting started.

Unfortunately a while ago I chose a board with an already stretched piece of paper on it. The tape had started to lift but I thought I would risk using it.

The result is shown above. Oh well. The painting had cockled, not much but enough for me to see it.   It is possible to reduce the cockling but this one was relegated to the bin. At the end of the day it pays to do things properly and if you have any doubts don’t waste time start with good paper that is properly prepared. I had to start again with a new sheet of paper and all went well. The painting sold.





Friday, 14 March 2014

These mist covered mountains



With all the work going on at home it has been impossible to do any painting. So yesterday being a glorious day Alex and I decided to go to Llansteffan. I could do a painting, Jac could go for a run on the beach and we could finish off by going to visit friends.  A simple plan, what could go wrong?

Well we hadn't accounted for the mischievous gods. As we approached Llansteffan we could see........nothing. There was a huge bank of sea mist covering the estuary. We got on the beach and visibility was less than 50m. We couldn't see the castle, the sea, the green, or the car park. We were even a bit concerned with Jac getting lost (yes he's a bit dumb, my side of the family I guess). So we went to visit friends instead.

The painting above is an old watercolour. I used to do mainly watercolours but now I mainly use watercolours for sketches done outside for reference or just pleasure.

I have been watching David Cowdry's work coming on for his exhibition at Aberglasney. It looks to me to be his best work ever. The man is a true master of his art. Have a look yourself:
https://www.facebook.com/davidcowdryart.70

Link I was going to do These Mist Covered Mountains but couldn't find a decent video but this is a good old one

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Old Brecon Gaol


The above painting is of Brecon Cathedral from the bridge by the Castle (the painting is sold). The old gaol is the building in the centre in front of the cathedral tower. There was another gaol down in Llanfaes which is also dissused.

I have been to a number of prisons in my time fortunately not as an inmate. I was always glad to get out. They are cold forbidding places. You always received abuse or banter from the occupants which you were obliged to return. Probably the worst place I went to was the Main Bridewell in Cheapside, Liverpool in the 1970's this was an old Victorian Lock Up with brick arches, dirty, dark and bleak. It housed all sorts from drunks to violent offenders and smelt of urine. It was used up until the 1990's but is now I believe fashionable flats !

When we lived in Brecon there used to be a good old fashioned butchers next to the bridge, the sort that new all the customers by name. Whenever we went in we were always greeted by,
"Hello Mrs Cox...What can we do for you today.?.."
(I noticed I was never included in the ritual.  I suppose they knew the right pecking order. I just carried the bags). The butchers is gone now and there is a supermarket up the road.
I like Brecon and enjoyed going back there to exhibit. We always saw lots of people we knew and as it happens we sold well. It is a shame we have cut down on our exhibitions in many respects but it was a decision we had to come to.
Work is still ongoing with the roof and I still can't get in to my studio so unfortunately I have had no excuse but to start digging the garden over!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Time on our hands


I am not sure how many paintings I have done in the last ten years, some thousands, a lot. I have filled watercolour books and cartridge field books and done studies along with full paintings. I have painted most days. However I only catalogue paintings if they are framed. Those that are chosen to be framed are generally the ones we believe to be most saleable and mostly from this area. I paint when we go away but these are for my own pleasure and don't see a frame.

If paintings dont sell after being shown for around two years they are generally scrapped along with others that are not framed. About 86-90% of catalogued paintings sell so either we are choosing the right ones or more could sell if we kept them longer.  Who knows? (In any case we are very fortunate).

A very few we keep for ourselves that I will not sell. The painting above is a case in point I guess it was my birthday during the last few days that prompted me to think about this painting. (Note to self must get my free bus pass). Anyway I painted it quite a few years ago. It is not for sale as I am quite attached to it. The setting is in Red Street Carmarthen.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Family


If I had been any good at rugby I could have chosen to play for either Wales, Scotland or England.
I have a somewhat mixed geneology. Following my family history has been both interesting and frustrating. We had a clergyman who ended up in Bedlam lunatic asylum and a grandfather who went to South America under a false name (I still have the passport he used). He had been working for a jewellers at the time whether the two things are related who knows? He ended up propecting for gold.
Anyway my painting above was done years ago from an old black and white photo of my mother's grandfather. He was a Thomas Brown from Ayrshire.The painting was about 36ins x 24 ins? It was as I recall painted freehand using the brush to make initial boundaries and then blocked in. The whole thing was done in a morning when I was working in the Lounge Gallery, Carmarthen. At the time I was specialising in portraits and did quite a few of peoples ancestors for them. I no longer do portraits, well only family members as and when I have the inclination and I can find someone to sit for a good while.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Blue Sky


The above painting of Mwnt sold last week. My stock is getting fairly depleted. I must get more work done. I imagine Mwnt looks like that today with blue sky and the "sun" out. It feels like spring even if it hasn't officially arrived yet.

Alex and I are recovering from a busy few days in particular she has been running around arranging a surprise 60th Party for me. It all went "swimmingly" as they say. It was really nice to see so many family, friends old and new all in one room at a beautiful location. I felt quite emotional, (not a common event for me).  Anyway a great weekend and now Alex is flat out (literally).

At eight o'clock the builder turned up. I may have mentioned we have suffered a series of leaks in the roof over the winter storms. It all needs sorting, the roof of the studio will be coming off along with replacement flat roofing, tiles, velux windows, flashing felt etc. A big job which will disrupt my painting but all very necessary.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

My Favourite Painting


Whistlejacket - George Stubbs 1762

Having recently looked at and been very impressed with the work of Lisa Frodo Miller it is worth me re-stating my view of horses in paintings. I have a bit of a background with horses.

In the 1970's I was seconded to the Birmingham City Mounted Police in Birmingham in Duke Street.  This entailed cleaning out the stalls!, cleaning the leatherwork and chains until they were like a mirror, and excercising horses in the yard. Now I should mention at this point I had no interest in horses, I did not volunteer but being a young PC I had no choice in the matter. Excercising the horses involved throwing a blanket over them putting on a bridle, then riding them around the yard. No mean feat as it was also the main garage and traffic department. Getting on the horse was hard enough but staying on with no saddle was also a slight problem particularly with vehicles coming in and out all the time.

On one memorable occasion I heard screams coming from the stables and ran in to find a lady clerk had entered a stall to feed a large police horse an apple. The horse had gone as they say, "clean off", bucking and kicking out. Having little choice I went in and retrieved the lady without her coming to any harm. Unfortunately I was kicked with both rear horshoes on my upper legs! I was absolutely delighted both with the horse and the clerk. I was not badly injured but was in a lot of pain for several days and my legs changed colour wonderfully. For me this was the icing on the cake. I had nothing more to do with horses until the children were growing up.

Out of some misguided idea I decided to take the three of them pony trecking. I turned up at the stables having booked their session. The lady kindly found three little ponies for them and then said in front of everyone,

 "And I have this for you", bringing out some large fire breathing monster.
 I said, "No it's fine I wasn't going, I have just brought the children."

I was then subjected to mental blackmail and chicken sounds. I eventually relented and got on board. All went fine until some clever kid decided to gallop off. My horse decided to follow. I was hanging on for dear life pulling shouting and occasionally swearing for this equine devil to stop. It did but only when the young tearaway had had enough and brought their little pony to halt. Of course my children thought it was hilarious.
Needless to say I never took them trecking again.

The point of all this is my favourite painting is strangely enough,"Whistlejacket" I fell in love with the painting the first time I saw it in the National Gallery. Despite being a "horse"( I am sure you may understand why I say that now)  it is the most wonderful piece of work I had ever seen and it still is to this day. Stubbs knew his subject and it shows. Do I ever paint horses? Only occasionally as part of a landscape. Anyway have a look at Lisa's beautiful work on the link below.

http://www.thepaintedhorse.co.uk/

Saturday, 8 March 2014

River Towy at Tan yr Rhallt, Carmarthen


Here is the painting that I did down by the river yesterday. You can see Tan yr Rhallt Farm beneath the woods and the River Towy as it sweeps right in a large bend. I guess its obvious but the prime colour (not primary colour) is green and the second colour is umber. So a deliberately limited palette.

 I was keen to show the ridges in the hill I am never sure if they are a geological feature or caused by sheep. The river was pretty mucky and a few things went passed as I was painting including a large tree and a lorry wheel/tyre. I think the foreground could be improved (lightened) but I will probably leave it. It was just a nice morning's painting.

This morning I was awoken to Mal Pope greeting me on Radio Wales. Thanks Mal. I have walked the dogs now for a busy family day ahead.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Llangunnor Hill


It was a nice day today and I had nothing planned so I thought I would take advantage and go off down to the river. The underpass under the road was 9 inches deep with standing water so I had to walk carefully to avoid filling my wellington boots. Once out onto the fields it was fine if a bit soggy. There were new born lambs on the field so I kept away to the one side. I found a view of the Towy before Llangunnor Hill with Tan yr Rhallt Farm underneath. So I set up Bertie my pochade box and spent a pleasant morning painting. To be honest the composition was a bit too complicated for a small pochade painting. I should have simplified it a bit more but hey ho, I didn't.

Link Annie

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Hafod Wen


Typical weather in the Towy Valley at the moment. This is a painting of Hafod Wen a farm near Carmarthen.
Not doing much today its my significant birthday ( I won't see 30 again, or a few higher numbers either) so thanks for all your nice thoughts and good wishes.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Three Blind Mice


I am getting on with learning to play the piano I am just about at the "Three blind mice" standard now, hence the little sketch above. The thing is, it isn't nursery rhymes these days its,"Berny the slug" or "Tuna Fish"...etc !!  Still progress is being made, I enjoy it and its a challenge. Its also safer than going back to my youth and getting another motorcycle.

(Incidentally Pat I hear Clive is taking up the keyboard good for him let me know how he gets on).

I have cut and primed boards today ready for the next paintings. now its time to take Jac for his next walk.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Holy Cross Church Mwnt


I finished the above painting today. It is of The Holy Cross Church in Mwnt.
I think this is a special place as yet unspoilt. We used to bring the children here when they were young and I still have a soft spot for it. The sky is titanium white, french ultramarine with a minute trace of a high croma yellow. The grass is mainly a base mixed using yellow ochre and a black. The top is mainly chrome yellow and french ultramarine and varying degrees of titanium white.

Last night we watched Silk a TV program about barristers /and senior barristers called QC's -Queens Counsel. It reminded me of an incident I dealt with many many years ago. At that time officers were encouraged to use their discretion. (This is something that was going out when I came to the end of my service as a police officer).

Anyway I caught a young lad breaking a shop window. He was pretty drunk and very upset. I took him to the police station. I didn't charge him but spent some time trying to talk to him and finally established his father had died suddenly and he had come home from university and the funeral had been that day. This was no excuse for his behaviour but it did explain it to me. He had no previous convictions. He was in his last year of studying for his degree. I went to see the family who were doubly distraught and then the shop owner and explained what had happened.  I managed to get the shopkeeper the money for his window. He was happy and declined to press charges. The boy was released and went on to have a productive life. The last I heard he had a successful career as a criminal lawyer and apparently had just been accepted as a barrister. For me this was a good result. Anyway things didn't always turn out like this.  Still you can't win them all.




Monday, 3 March 2014

Carmarthen Market


The painting above is of the old Market in Carmarthen. The clock tower still stands but it has all changed for the better or worse I cannot say. It was exhibited at the National Assembly of Wales for a short period. It found a good home years ago.

Today I am painting the Holy Cross Church at Mwnt, that is I have started doing a painting of it.
The light is good and I should get 8 hours in.  I expect to finish the painting tomorrow all being well.

I am a bit concerned about Alex of late she has taken to speaking like a character out of a Jane Austin novel, saying things like,"indeed" and "how agreeable". Not that it is a problem as such but the bustle and bonnet are going a bit too far!

There are actually some quite good quotes from Jane Austin's novels. Such as:

"One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we like our own best."

and

"I have not the pleasure of understanding you." 

(The latter is always worth remembering for the odd occasion you are on the receiving end of a monologue from some pompous chump).





Sunday, 2 March 2014

Scarlets - Stradey Park


I just love rugby, watching of course. I did play it at school and up until I was about 21 but I was pretty average (if that). I remember the one playing field we used to play on was also used by the sheep to graze and it was a real disincentive to tackle anyone but inevitably we all came off covered in sheep.... One incident I do recall was the cross bar falling off the posts and hitting one lad on the head and laying him out much to everyone's amusement!  I guess these days the school would be sued and you wouldn't be allowed to play in animal manure. What is the world coming to?

The painting above is an old one and is of Stradey Park. It is as I recall now hanging in the home of a retired Scottish International.

Last night I went with our son and one granddaughter to Parc y Scarlets to watch Scarlets play Munster. It was a great game that had everything including importantly the right result. During the game my son told me that he had arranged a special surprise for me. (I have a significant birthday this week). When people tell me they have a surprise I tend to get apprehensive. I have had a few surprises over the years some out of my comfort zone but all really good. Anyway he told me he had arranged a firework display. I thanked him and asked when.
"After the game." he said and laughed.
Well there was a display of fireworks but of course they were nothing to do with him or me but well regardless of that I was happy to take it as a nice gesture from him and the club!! At least it wasn't a balloon trip or another parachute jump!!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Laugharne - Dylan Thomas


Here is the finished painting of Laugharne. It took me a little longer to do than expected but I am already thinking about the next painting.

It is the anniversary of Dylan Thomas this year. I have spoken to a few people that knew him. It is strange he made it in USA and was hardly recognised here for his work until much later. I suppose as the Bible says,

 "I tell all of you with certainty, a prophet is not accepted in his hometown."

We have to deliver some work today and then the Scarlets are playing Munster at Parc y Scarlets.

Link kind of  appropriate if you listen to the lyrics. Day after day alone on a hill