Monday, 30 November 2015

Ferryside from Llansteffan Beach


Here is another commission I have finished. It shows Ferryside across the Towy from Llansteffan Beach.

I have been pretty busy the last couple of months with commissions maybe it will ease off a bit now?

I note I have only 4 thousand something views of my google images to pass one million views. No great thing in itself but my Internet presence has kept me going with work around the country and the rest of the world. So although the internet can be a bit of a pain to someone who would rather read a book it has been a very effective marketing tool (to date anyway!).

Alex is busy mounting prints and cards currently. I am now carefully examining my Jullian easel and measuring weighing and making new parts.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Rhossili Sunset


Here is one of the commissions I have been working on of a sunset at Rhossili. I have one more commission to finish at present.

I am now planning for next year and my outside work. I have several options in terms of equipment and none are ideal. I have a pochade box and tripod which work ok but only for small canvases or boards. I have a Julian Easel which is heavy but portable and can taken larger canvas or boards but is not the right height (ie. maximum height is not high enough). I am over 6ft and Iike the middle of my work to be at eye height. Standing painting all day with a stoop is a good recipe for a bad back.
The Jullian is a good design but obviously designed for smaller artists than me.

I could take a seperate easel or make another pochade box to fit on a photographic easel. I could also alter my Jullian Easel. There is no ideal answer everything is a compromise and I am starting to weigh items and consider the best options.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Christmas Window Origin




The painting I did for the Origin Christmas Window was put up yesterday. They have done a great job making a set for a fireside setting with armchair, chimney breast, tree, presents, and the outside scene through the window. Don't take my word for it have a look if you are in King Street, Carmarthen.

Talking of sets (yes you heard me right), one of our nephews is a very talented award winning set designer. He went to Cardiff and studied art and design and is now travelling around the world designing the sets for London and Broadway plays. A note for budding artists a practical outcome is always a helpful aim if you are wanting to make a good living from your creativity. Of course many people just wish to be creative for the sake of it which is fine too.

Friday, 27 November 2015

What a wonderful World


Well this morning was wet and miserable but nevertheless it was as always, worth it. Getting up before 7am and climbing up throught the woods and then plugging through the sodden fields gives you a view to start the day. Even if it does mean fighting the fields to retain your wellingtons. Since the cows have decided they don't like Jac I refrain from going through the fields with him if they are out.
The last few weeks however have been so wet they are in all the time, a result!

Anyway walking down Penlanffoss you get the view over the valley. Even when it is shrouded in mist it is worth standing and watching, listening. The water of the Towy breaking its banks spilling over the fields at Green Castle Corner. The mist hugging Merlin's Hill. The red light standing bright over Police Headquarters. The sounds of the blackbirds down in Bluebell Woods.

Anyhow nuff of this must get on I have a commission to finish.

Link  As you say it Louis

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Studio v. Plein Air


For the most part I work in the studio. There are good practical reasons for this. I generally work off sketches or a  photograph if necessary. I occasionally work outside, "en plein air" but not as much as I should.

There is a huge difference in painting inside to painting on site.

Firstly to paint from nature you have to simplify the scene before you. In the studio this has already been done by making a 2d image either a sketch or photograph.
Secondly you have to work very quickly because the light is continually changing. This is obviously not the case when working from a photograph.
Thirdly you are working with a minimum of materials with nature to contend with (wind, cold,rain etc.).
Different working methods are required when working en plein air. Large brushes to work quickly and in my case generally no preliminary drawing. Detail also moves back a place to become subservient to the general theme of the painting.

I have decided that I have been neglecting this part of my work and next year I have booked no exhibitions and fully intend to spend more of my time working outdoors from nature.
I will still do some work in the studio ie. for commissions etc.

Talking of which I must get back to work on one and I have another waiting.













Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Tenby



The walk over the top this morning before breakfast was nothing like the above. Jac and I disappeared in to the mist and came down looking over a damp dark Towy Valley.

I have a new commission to start today. First job is to sort out a good primed board of the right size.
Time is short so I can't afford to mess about. Paintings dry a bit slower this time of the year and Christmas is coming.


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Irish Sail Training Vessel


I post this for Dai Rees. It is the sail training vessel Dunbrody a replica of the ship that took Irish emigrants to Nova Scotia. The painting sold a few years ago.

I mentioned to our son the other day when he was on about coffee. I have never had a Latte or an Americana or any other form of the drink that is supplied in cardboard cartons these days. There are quite a few things I haven't done. I have never been to the Ballet despite having been to St Petersburg.
I have  never watched the Sound of Music I started to watch Les Miserables and gave up.

On the other hand I have done pretty much all I have wanted to do many I wouldn't repeat. I have gone scuba diving, jumped from a bi-plan having climbed out on the wing, sailed in the arctic, motorcycled over Europe,  and many other things so not much of a bucket list left  really.

I am content painting and learning the piano and watching the grandchildren grow up. (Sorry one  too many ands there.). Talking of which I have the grandchildren to pick up today.

My exhibition in Origin finishes on 5pm on Thursday so if you want to get a look please be quick. I will have a selection of paintings left there afterwards and I can be contacted through my email in any case. One of the 35 + paintings on display.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Carmarthen


Well it was a while ago that I painted the above but as I had a good walk passed the Towy this morning I thought it was worth putting up again.

Last night I went to clean my teeth and noticed Mrs Cox had bought a new tube of toothpaste. I put some on the brush and started to lean my teeth...ugh ah.
"Alex what is this toothpaste?"I asked.
"You fool its a tube of make up remover!"Was the reply.
I didn't say but thought, "Well why put it where the toothpaste normally goes?" Anyway I don't recommend it.

Got to just pop in and relieve someone in the Origin Gallery for a couple of hours now.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Winters Day


I have now pretty much finished the above painting. There was really good light today which was heaven sent.

Nice to see the lone goosander back on the reservoir again this morning. Now I know its winter, that and the fact that I wore gloves to go to the rugby last night.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Winter Towy Valley and Merlins Hill



I have had a good days painting today I have really got on with my current commission adn should finish it tomorrow all being well. The painting above is of the Towy Valley with Merlins Hill in the background and is sold. Seems appropriate as there is a bit of a nip in the air today.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Stannier Black Five


This is a painting of  a Black Five Stannier crossing the Bascule Bridge at Carmarthen. It is an old painting and is sold.

I have had an interesting week one way and another but still no painting. I must get on tomorrow unless the fates have another trick to play.                                    

Thursday, 19 November 2015

St. Peters Church Carmarthen


Now I am not a spiritual type of person but I do like painting and visiting old buildings and churches. They tend to be the centre of towns and villages and provide a good landmark in a landscape. All that said there are times when I can feel an inner peace, (like when the grandchildren go home).

Which reminds me I went to the Leisure Centre yesterday with my charge (two year old grandson) and paid the £2 for the soft play room. I then said to the girl on the desk,
"I will be back in an hour for him then. Here's his bag." And turned to walk away.
"NO,"cried the girl slightly panicking, "You have to stay with him, I can't look after him."
"Yes I know, sorry only joking." I replied with a smile. He was very good all afternoon to be fair to him.

The church above is St. Peters in Carmarthen. I have done a few views of it over the years.

Alex unlike me is very spiritual although I have to be careful what I say as she doesn't like me jesting about it. She is currently doing her Master Reiki Curse or is it Course. I think it involves levitation or some such thing. Maybe its just paper folding. Perhaps enough said or I won't be getting a visit from Santa or at any rate Mrs Claus this Christmas.

biblical link here

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Next


Here is how it should be Alex showing her grandmaternal skills. Not a grandfather in sight.

Oh Well


Somedays its like all your birthdays have come at once. Those over a hundred anyway. I had planned to start a commission today. But no. Ah a late arrival 24 months old to look after for the day. Now don't get me wrong I love families and children with all the "challenges they bring". In fact for the most part I see the one main measure of success as how people interact with others including how they bring up their family. But oh God why can't children be like ponies or other animals born ready to walk and just behave like little people. I get on okay with children (I think), that can talk say 4 -5 yrs. upwards but below that its is just a matter of heartstopping terror.

To make matters worse Alex has already made arrangements for this afternoon. What do I do on a wet afternoon with a very busy 2 year old. I think soft play at the Leaisure Centre is favourite if we don't get thrown out because he is destroying the place.

Spare a thought for a man getting a lot more grey hairs today.

Link

Just found out Jonah Lomu has died. Great Man, Great sporstman.



Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Druidstone


Alex and I love this part of the Pambrokeshire Coast.  I know David Cowdry is very fond of it too.
We spent a windswept night anchored under cliffs at Carreg Roads one night as an Easterly Gale blew across St Brides Bay.

Now I am content to look out to sea and paint the bays and coves. I have a commission to start tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Cows


Another wet day no sign of the cattle on our walk probably in the barn . I had one of those days yesterday I kept losing things as soon as I put something down it fell into a black hole. I still haven't found the USB I use to transfer photographs of my paintings from the old to the new computer. ( I have old imaging and website software on the old machine that is not compatible with the new one).

Alex says I am getting impatient. Just shows what she knows I have always been impatient! That explains why I can't work on committees. I don't want to talk about things I want to get on and do them.

Christmas Window


Okay well I have now finshed my painting for the Origin Display Christmas Window. I had a heck of a job photographing it due to its size and the poor light.  I had considerd doing Santa and the reindeer in silouette as it would be much easier and quicker but in the end decided to take my time and do it properly. Anyway it's done.

Friday, 13 November 2015

College of Policing


You couldn't make it up if you tried. I rarely comment about policing but on this occasion I felt I had to. I hear on the news today that the College of Policing say all police officers should be graduates and Superintendents should have a masters.

In my view there are definite qualities and skills police officer should have:

A degree yes a degree of common sense and compassion.

The desire to undertake the job for forty years and be out in all weathers 

The ability to take the abuse and bric bats and smile

And yes a good general knowledge  


By requiring police officers to be graduates you immediately reduce the pool of people who would wish to do this demanding role. You also raise the expectations of those joining. Not every graduate is going to rise through the ranks and find a comfortable office out of the cold to drink their latte.

What evidence they have or what research has been undertaken to arrive at this conclusion I don't know. 

To be honest I confess I don't have a great deal of time for academics in the police service.

I spent 6 weeks on one course at the Police College. I was forthright in my views of the course and the staff. I challenged them on their punctuality, tardiness, unpreparedness for lectures and their relevance. I felt it was a complete waste of my time and a huge waste of public money. Suffice to say I didn't receive a good report from them. Obviously this affected my prospects. My Chief Constable held the same view of them as me and promoted me 6 weeks after the course.






Thursday, 12 November 2015

Christmas Window Origin


I have been working on something a bit different the last two days. I have been doing the backdrop for the Christmas Window in Origin, Carmarthen. It is on a 4ft x 4ft board with supports. That is the maximum size I can put on my easels. I have done larger but it means working flat and I prefer not to.

Also due to size and cost of paint I am using acrylics for the first time  in at least 10 years. I did a quick sketch.

From that I just went for it. I have the Santa and Sleigh to do along with the stars and a bit more detail. I moved the church as I wanted the windows showing.  The window itself should be really good as usual and the ladies doing it are all very creative. Anyway I am packing and moving paintings for the next 2 days so I will have to finish it over the next week.

Link Crystals

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Here Comes the Sun


A nice summer scene now the days are getting shorter. That being said it was the warmest November night on record and Alex put the heating on! Its not even February yet. I don't know what the seagulls are after but I can assure you they follow the hay tedder.

I had a nice morning in the gallery the other day. I had a chat with Pat who stuck her head in the gallery a good start the day. Nick and Fiona waved as they passed. One of our old friends Tony popped in to pass the time.

 Jeremy John called in. Now Jeremy is a real character. He is involved in everything the fishing, the Gwili Railway you name it. Anyway he was telling me he was once asked to judge a painting competition. Which he did but considered it amusing as his only qualification was that he won five shillings at school for drawing a goldfinch, which he had actually drawn using government tracing paper (hard toilet roll).

To be honest he was probably more qualified then many emminent academics. I personally have never entered a painting competition. I was once tempted when asked by the organisers of the Bath Plein Aire Competition. I was tempted by the event itself as opposed to money fame or glory but in the end decided it was a Severn Bridge too Far.

Link Beatles

Monday, 9 November 2015

Exhibition of Paintings in Origin Carmarthen


Just a note to say I will be having an exhibition of Paintings in the Upstairs Gallery,  Origin, King Street , Carmarthen for 2 weeks starting Friday Afternoon (13th November). This will last until 5pm on Thursday 26th November 2015.

Chumbawamba



The painting of an Austin 7 above, was relegated to the scrapyard earlier this year having not found a home. We used to have a 1930 Lanchester when I was a boy which took us on trips to Cornwall and the Cotswolds. It eventually gave up the ghost and we upgraded to a Ford Popular.

Last night Jac and I had a bit of a scare as we heard a very load bang and discovered Mrs Cox had decided to throw herself down the stairs. We found her in a heap shocked and bruised but otherwise fortunately alright. Old people eh! She shouldn't be allowed out. Whats more she hadn't had a drop to drink, honestly!

Today I am in the Origin Gallery in King Street, Carmarthen.

Chumbawamba

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Trains planes or automobiles


My next painting is probably going to be one of : Trains planes or automobiles! No real reason just fancy a change. The one above is from my past, the bus I used to get from Town when I would often meet my late father in Union Street.

This morning's walk was wet and windy. In fact I really enjoyed it. I had bought a new pair  of wellingtons (the old pair had a hole in them and there is nothing as useless as wellies with a hole, well actually there is but I will refrain from listing them all), I was wrapped up in my coat which is over 10 years old and will hopefully last another 10. I had my hat pulled firmly down on my head. I felt like Christopher Robin splashing through the little rivers that had formed on what were paths yesterday.

The last two days have been spent battling the kitchen sink. I thought for what appeared good reasons at the time that we should change the mixer tap. A twenty minute job. Now Alex and I are both okay with plumbing having fitted bathrooms and kitchens before. However this was a two day battle. The sink wouldn't come out as a double glazed window and sill had been put in after the sink unit. We had to disassemble the unit and then when it was all back together there was a minute leak because one of the pipes had a slight dent near the join. Repeat process and then fit new pipe in impossible place..etc, etc. Job done back to sanity , I think.

No the new mixer tap is leaking at he base of the spout!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Red Poppy


Remembrance Sunday is approaching and both of us are wearing our poppies. I have been incredibly lucky to have missed two World Wars and the nightmares that were involved for the millions who did suffer.

On a personal note my Grandfather who's paint box I still retain made it through the trenches safely. His brother Alec shown above came home from the War having being gassed with mustard gas. He died shortly after as a result of his injuries. His wife died shortly after him leaving a young daughter.
My other great uncle died during the Boer War.

My father was in the Royal Air Force during the second World War and came through unscathed.

Anyway I wear my Poppy as a matter of respect to those who gave so much to keep us free.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Bicycles

Forgive the sketch but by way of illustrating my blog I just did a quick pic of a cyclist. Anyway I was out the other day walking to town and a swarm of fit looking guys swooped down the road in line on their cycles. I admire their fitness and stamina but personally wouldn't cycle on a road. The benefits of fitness verses risk of being knocked down by a car or lorry are too close to call for my liking.

I used to ride a velocipede when I was younger and roads were quieter. I used to have a job cleaning coaches from 6pm to 7am and in order to get to work cycled as it was about 4 miles. I made my first bike from bits I found on a scrap heap and it served me well for several years. No gears or anything fancy. I had a puncture one morning on the way home from work and rather than push the damn thing decided to abandon it in a garden and walk home. Maybe a bit short sighted but hell I was young and impulsive. I had to walk after that.

I didn't mind the job and had it for a while. Then a new manager came. He was short on man management skills and was in short, a knob. I complained about having to use ammonia (something that wouldn't be allowed now) inside the coaches to clean them. He said if you don't like it leave. Anyway I put up with him for a while.

The busiest time was once a fortnight on a Friday evening when the continental coaches had to go out. One Friday the other cleaner went sick and just as the coaches started to arrive to be cleaned out I walked up to the new manager and said,"You know you said I should leave if I didn't like it . Well I'm leaving goodbye." He was close to tears, begging me to stay. I smiled as I walked out, thinking every dog has its day.

My next bike I bought in Welshpool Sale for £6. I rode that to and from work. I eventually sold it for £8 a good return I thought. I also rode the police bike on duty about Welshpool but on the whole preferred walking.

Link KM

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Scam - Microsoft Technician - Brad


The above painting is of Newport Pembs early morning with Newport Sands to the left of the picture.
The painting is sold.

Yesterday Alex called me and put a call through from "Brad at Microsoft". Now not much gets passed her and despite the few seconds she had to talk to him she added,"It's a scam!"

I answered the phone to him and the conversation went pretty much like this;

"Hi Mr Cox my names Brad. I'm calling from Microsoft you have a problem with your  computer."

"Really your Brad and your really with Microsoft? I am amazed you can be bothered to contact me out of all the people in the world with computers." (I didn't add you don't sound like Brad or any other American I know).

"You have a virus and you need to let me talk through some changes on your computer>"

"Well that's not going to happen, Brad."

"If you don't I am going to have to block your computer."

"Well good luck with that." I replied.

No reply.

He had put the phone down. Clearly a scam and not a very good one especially as it happens my PC is working better than it ever has. Oh, No who's just cut me off?!!"

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Tenby Lifeboathouse and Harbour


Here is the completed painting of Tenby. I had a bit of a false finish. I had cleaned up washed my brushes cleared the palette when I noticed a small hair in the sky. I tried to lift it carefully but on this occasion part of the sky required re-painting, so I had to mix a match of the sky and do it again. Anyway all done now.

Next job pick up grandchildren.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Tenby Harbour and Lifeboat House -Stage one


I have started work on a painting of Tenby including the harbour and new and old lifeboat houses. here is the stage I am at presently.

Getting a clean light colour for the houses can be problematic if you aren't careful. Always work clean ie. clean brush clean mixed paint. Also if you are mixing with white to obtain a tint of the hue ie. a lighter version of the colour, this can alter the colour you want and will also alter/ reduce the chroma of the resultant mix. Titanium white is quite opaque and can be disappointing when used for mixing. I do use it and have not used flake white for at least ten years (it is highly poisonous being a compound of lead). I am not enthusiastic about mixing white although it is less opaque than Titanium white and I use it sparingly. Anyway enough technical stuff experience and a good book on mixing can sort out any problems.