Sunday, 30 April 2017

Painting of a Mirror Dinghy on the Towy


I haven't done much painting in the last 10 days but I have done this little oil painting of a Mirror dinghy on the River Towy. In fact it shows Alex and our eldest daughter in the little Mirror we bought and renovated. It was an old wooden one and performed well single or double crewed. We also had a larger Wayfarer Dinghy that was pretty patched up but had great fun in it. We took it up to the Lake District and sailed it in the sea including a hairy sail off Plymouth. Those days are over but we enjoyed at the time.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Mumbles


The painting above is of the lifeboat house at Mumbles and is sold. We once sailed from Swansea to Angle Bay in Milford Haven and the last thing we saw was Mumbles Lifeboat House and Lighthouse until we were actually inside the Milford Haven. It was a little bit nerve wracking. We did have radar or we wouldn't have attempted it. As it happened there was a tanker coming out of the channel towards us in the fog bank as we entered the Haven but we only had to find shallow water to ensure we were out of his way.

A bit of a family get together today and then watch the rugby on TV. We don't watch a great deal on TV but we have watched Peter Kaye and Sian Gibson from North Wales in "Car Share". Its the sort of program that makes me smile all the way through. There is one exception I pretty well laughed uncontrollably all the way through the episode when they went in to the Safari Park!




Friday, 28 April 2017

Its all too Beautiful


Well the countryside is "all too beautiful " in the words of Steve Marriot and the Small faces. Bluebells are out in abundance and so I post this picture which I will probably put in Origin Carmarthen this weekend.

I received a letter yesterday informing me a Dame had purchased one of my paintings. I was naturally pleased however I also received a lovely card from the recipient of a commission. The commission was particularly special and it was clear it meant a lot to them. Whilst of course it is always nice to sell a painting, knowing your work has made some sort of positive impact is so much more rewarding. It is at those times you feel painting is maybe a bit more than just making marks on canvas.

Anyway a good link is Itchycoo Park

Thursday, 27 April 2017

A Family Portrait


This painting sits on my wall. A family portrait. Plenty of lambs about now and the grass is green.
A different subject for me but variety and all that.



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Painting of Bridge over the Gorlech


It was a beautiful morning for a walk with Jac today. It reminded me of this painting I did as a commission. The couple I did it for became betrothed on the bridge. It was a beautiful setting full of light and I did my best to do it justice.

On a different tack who or what are the Kardashians? Am I the only person on the Internet who has no idea what they are. They seem to be every where.

Alex is away today and I am not sure of my duties yet but I expect she will let me know before she goes.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Painting of Dinefwr Castle


The above painting of Dinefwr Castle from the Deer Park has now sold and is to be framed. I did this last year having a very pleasant days painting. ! It had hung about in my studio until now waiting for a new owner. The sun caught the top of the painting when I photographed it so not a great photo but heh ho


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Family


As I haven’t done any painting today and I was talking about motorcycle combinations I thought it might be worth posting this charming picture. It shows my Uncle Don seated on the bike with my grandmother (whose family were from Pembroke Dock) and my father in the sidecar. I am not certain but I think it is a Norton 1926 four speed 588 OHV outfit. My Uncle Don was very keen on motorcycles and eventually opened up his own garage.

 I believe the outfit showed here belonged to my grandfather who probably took the picture. He was a bit of a lad. He had worked in a jewellers before he left for South America in 1912 on the SS Mauritania travelling on a passport under a different name! Anyway enough said.

I remember when you had to put a parking light on your combo or car at night. If you didn’t a policeman would call and tell you to get it done! Also when it was cold you put an oil lamp under the sump to keep the oil viscous. I’m not sure if it was the good old days but they were certainly different.

We had a number of motorcycles over the years, Triumph, Ariel, Royal Enfield, Honda and unfortunately we even had a combo which was horrendous to drive. My last motorcycle was a Triumph 750 but my favourite was a Daytona 500. 


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Llansteffan Castle with Lords Park Farm


This is a watercolour of Llansteffan Castle and Lords Park Farm. It is a good walk around the Castle across Scotts Bay and then past Lords Park Farm. The Castle is in the distance and beyond that the hills on the other side of the estuary.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Nightwatch


I did this painting a while ago and it sold straight away. I loosely based it on the idea of Nightwatch by Rembrandt. 


Over forty years ago I found myself for various reasons at Ryton-on-Dunsmore Police Training Centre.
I had wanted to go to Art College but had neither money nor a place to live. I didn't want an office job and had worked in a factory and on the railway so I thought I would try the police. At the time no one wanted the job so if they had a jacket to fit you were in!  Ryton-on- Dunsmore was an old army barracks but was then converted into a Police Training Centre.
Anyway I digress. I was sat in the front of a class of some one hundred officers in training. The class was believe it or not on saluting. Its funny how some things remain with you, but we had to learn what a salute was and when you did it.

I recall to today that
“A salute is an outward sign of an inward feeling of respect and humility.”



How to do you do it? “Longest way up shortest way down!”
Then we came on to the tricky part. When do you salute?

The drill sergeant stood at the front of the class.

“Hands up who would salute an army officer?”We all put our hands up.
“Yes they hold the Queens Commission” he replied.
“Hands up who would salute a funeral procession?” He asked.
We promptly all put our hands up.
“Yes a mark of respect.”This went on and it became a bit automatic for me sitting at the front until.
“Hands up who wouldn’t salute my wife?”
It suddenly became a very lonely place. I found myself alone with my hands wavering in the air and a very ugly looking drill sergeant glaring in my face.

“Why wouldn’t you salute my wife you horrible man?”Struggling for any excuse I mumbled,
“I don’t know your wife sergeant.”My life for the next 12 weeks was hell on the drill square and I became accustomed to names that even I had not previously heard.

I worked for exactly 30 years in the police and never regretted it. I would like to think I did a good job on the whole. When I left I became a full time artist and got a degree in fine art. "Its a funny old life." (Actually the original quote was from WC Fields, "Its a funny old world. A man's lucky to get out alive!").

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Heaven's Gate


 As I mentioned yesterday we went to Centre Parcs for Easter weekend. It was set in Longleat Forrest.  You rent a lodge amongst the trees and no cars are allowed in the Parc once you have unpacked. So transport is walking or bike.. There is a little land train that goes around the Parc stopping at various locations.

The stop by our lodge was called, "Heaven's Gate." I found this somewhat amusing particularly as the train commentary announced it didn't stop for the return journey (you had to find a stop nearby).

Anyway something off my bucket list I never thought I would see Heaven's Gate.

The good thing about the place is you can take your dog. So I did go swimming and other sports but spent some time walking Jac. The painting above is of Jac and I. Not a great image of the painting.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Painting of field of rapeseed.


We have just spent three days with some of our children and half of the grandchildren at Centre Parcs in Longleat  (not sure why parcs is spelt the Welsh way?). We had a great time although it can be exhausting particularly all that time stuck in a bar having persuaded a friendly barman to put S4C on the TV. Got a few strange looks. Anyway we got to see Scarlets v Dragons on a Welsh Channel in the middle of an English Sports Bar..

I was reminded of this painting when we passed several large fields of rapeseed on the way back. It can be quite stunning. The painting is sold.

Home now and catching up with domestic chores cutting grass...well to be honest Mrs Cox is doing that!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Merlin's Hill and Abergwili


This is apainting showing  the view of Merlins Hill and the village of Abergwili from the other side of the valley from where we live. Some of our grandchildren go to the school in Abergwili while we have others going to the school in town and away.

I was surprised to see that the parents had lost their case about taking their children on holiday in school time when they were unable to go in the holidays. Frankly as I may have said before my grandfather took me out of school pretty much every time there was a test match (cricket) at Edgbaston. Nowadays schools are quick enough to have INSET days and send the children home and I note it doesn't stop teachers going on strike. Parents can educate children at home or even take them travelling with them with little or no oversight but a weeks holiday is illegal. It is all a bit odd to me.

I should state my best friends were teachers, my mother was a teacher and my daughter in law is a teacher. So I have no issue with them in fact how they do the job I don't know, ( it wouldn't be for me).
I just think the system is a little too rigid, education is more than just school room.  If schools weren't graded on absenteeism then maybe the teachers could be more flexible?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Painting of Bus Union Street Birmingham


The painting above is one in my own collection. I did it to remind myself of my time as a boy and youth.
The 56 was the bus route from my home the City Centre. The garage was the old tram garage at the top of our road by the Cross Guns Public House. Anyway I spent a good deal of my time travelling on these buses including to school (when I had the bus fare) and later college. If I didn't have the fare my walk was 2 miles down Aston Church Road. This was okay as I could see all the steam trains pulling freight on the way.


The bus is shown in Union Street in Birmingham City Centre. The stop was outside Henry's Department Store. My brother worked there for a while painting and designing the sets for their window displays.

The buses were accompanied by conductors who were in the main humorous and friendly. They used terms of endearment, "Such as, "love", "darling" to opposite sexes and children alike. To me I find it sad that this practice is now forbidden by the politically correct. I was expected to give my seat for a woman or an elderly person and it was always accepted with a "Thank you love,". It was all very friendly and common courteousy was practiced by all. 

Yes times have changed and even holding a door for someone now can result in any response from being ignored, to being given a withering look. Ah well different times.

Yes I like my bus. A safe haven. A reminder, as I look back from the ridge to that golden time in the valley of my youth.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Painting of sunset on Loughour Estuary


The above painting was a commission I did of sunset at Machynys, Loughour Estuary.  The owner had a lovely view of the estuary and I did several paintings for them.

I am not sure what today brings but I need to prime some more boards and get on with a Spring Clean of the studio.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Painting of Brechfa in the Snow





I like snow scenes but to be honest they don't sell particularly well. I suppose people prefer to remember nice sunny days even if they like a cold chilly painting. Anyway before summer arrives I thought I would post this one of Brechfa in the snow. It is one I really liked and it is sold.

It was painted freely and quickly. However I had a very good idea of how I wanted the painting to look before I started. It is better to spend sometime thinking through the painting and how you are going to layer the paint than just rush in making it up as you go along.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Painting of St. Marys Church Brecon


I came across this painting of Brecon while searching for something else the other day. I had forgotten about it and there it was under a pile of mount board. If I recall the Church is St. Marys and is the parish church as opposed to the cathedral.

I often watch a program on tv about repairing old items. To be fair I am not bad at fixing things. I used to service my motorbikes and cars until they became computerised. I like mechanical things and have made all sorts from steam engines to small radios. I went through a bit of a phase interested in clocks and got a few going. I also repaired a few pocket watches.

One day however a friend asked me to have a look at his pocket watch which he had inherited. It was a nice little thing but didn't go. I had a look and finally determined there was a problem with the balance. The shaft appeared fractionally bent as if it had been put back together incorrectly and damaged.   I set to and gently rotated it and began getting it back in line when the inevitable happened it just broke... A few choice words occurred.

What to do? I could tell him it was broken when I had it but I wouldn't do that. I couldn't get hold of a new balance to fit. In the end I had to have one specially made and it cost me.
I handed the working watch over to my friend who was grateful enough and asked ,"What do I owe you?"
"Oh that's all right forget it." I said nonchalantly, grimacing inwardly.
I decided perhaps watches were a bridge too far after that!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Sunshine



Yes its that time of year again. A bit of sun a chair and a book, ah yes and a nice bottle of wine. Talking of which I was taking Jac around the reservoir yesterday morning when I had quite a frosty "good morning" from a lady I hadn't met before.
I could have been turned to stone with that look. I mean I was walking around with a can of Fosters at 7 in the morning, but in my defence I had just picked it up from where some ne'er do well had flung it the night before. I could have explained but people shouldn't jump to conclusions!

Today we have a bunch of cards to deliver and I have my piano lesson. Ah yes the painting, that was done a long time ago and is no longer available. The subject is not me but my father.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Painting of Carmarthen


Beautiful morning here in Carmarthen. Lovely walk with Jac lots of blossom out on the trees and noisy blackbirds. The painting above is one of my favourite views of Carmarthen as it shows the old bridge, the River Towy and the remains of the Castle/ Old Gaol/ County Hall. It is framed but not sold. Not on my website yet either must update it!!

Great entertainment last night at the Scarlets. Good to see backs running, passing, scoring. (Please note Wales)  James Davies was brilliant an additional back. Ken with his 200th cap all great.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Painting of Aberaeron Harbour


The little harbour above is Aberaeron. It gets very busy during the holiday season. The painting is sold. I am going to work on an image to go on pottery this weekend. Not my pottery. I have done ceramics but wasn't that good at it. Stick to what you are good at.

Yesterday Alex and I were watching a quiz program while I made dinner.

Quizmaster, "What is the name of the British Prime Minister, first name Robert who was Prime Minister on three occasions?"

Alex,"Was that Winston Churchill?"

Sorry Alex I just had to put that on my blog!


Friday, 7 April 2017

Painting of Morris 1000


I have finished the painting of my friend with his classic Morris 1000. If you know him don't tell him as it is a surprise. I painted the background quickly and freely all over a burnt sienna ground. The foreground with the car was drawn in first to get it reasonably accurate. I hate painting lettering (number plate) particularly this size. He doesn't have the car anymore so I hope it will be a nice reminder.

We had two Morris 1000 pick ups many years ago (1972-3ish?). We used them for our trials bikes as well as general transport. The first one we did up and resprayed electric blue. The first day out with it we were hit head on by a stolen car on the wrong side of the road! Car was a right off but we only had minor injuries fortunately. We then found a Morris 1000 pick up in a farmers field (used by chickens) and put it back on the road. We didn't feel inclined to spend a lot of time doing it up and respraying though but we did clean out the chicken shit!.


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Painting of Carmarthen Police Headquarters




This watercolour of Carmarthen Police Headquarters went this week. I spent some time there myself so knew it well.

Alex has been busy making cards. I have finished a painting of my friend. One of our grandsons is having a birthday party here tonight so its going to be busy. Generally its like an invasion of a cross between the Hordes of Ghengis Khan and a swarm of locusts. Good fun though.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Painting of "Barents Sea" at Texaco in Milford Haven


The painting above is of "Barents Sea"at the old Texaco Jetty in Milford Haven. I have always been fascinated by ships and shipping. When we had a mooring in the Milford Haven I was quite content watching the shipping movements, the pilot boats and tugs. I have done a good number of paintings of them. I was showing some of them to a visitor yesterday. It is a limited market and one thing you need to know as an artist is what people want to buy. It is not necessarily about what you are happy painting.

How many people want a painting of a great big oil tanker on their wall? Not that many to be honest no matter how well it is painted. Anyway after a couple of Boat Shows and Exhibitions we sold okay but it was very limited. I decided to move on. I retained the ones I liked best. Today I paint most things to commission mainly landscapes and coastal themes.

 That said yesterday I started a painting of a friend with his classic car for a change.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Painting of Brecon Cathedral


The above painting oil painting is of Brecon Cathedral and sold last week. I was particularly pleased with the painting as getting life into a stone building can be a bit tiresome. The subject and the surround contrast in that the Cathedral is painted quite tightly with straight accurate lines and the surround is painted very freely. I also layered the painting in reverse meaning I put in the lightest colours first which is not the normal process for oils.

I was pleased it went to a good home.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Painting of Oystercatchers


I sold the above painting of oystercatchers last week. I have done a few paintings of these intriguing little birds on the foreshore over the years. Talking of birds we have started getting a linnet coming to our bird table which is a first. Although we occasionally see them in the hedges they don't normally come to the table.

Yesterday we called in to see David Cowdry's Exhibition in Aberglasney. Excellent, well worth a visit. One of West Wales finest artists. Combined with the gardens and tea rooms make for a well spent morning or afternoon.


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Painting of Cefn Sidan


This is the painting I have just finished working on of Cefn Sidan at Pembrey. The photo doesn't quite do it justice as it is a fraction softer in real life but I suppose am just splitting hairs. I wanted to capture the shimmering surf and muddy water it churned up.

I may have mentioned Alex can be a little OCD at times (perhaps that is understated?) . Anyway we went to Tescos yesterday. We came out with and unloaded the shopping trolley into the car and Alex disappeared taking the empty trolley back to the trolley park 20 yards away. I got in the car. After a few minutes I began to wonder where she was. Eventually I spied her still by the Trolley Park.

When she got back she said, "Can you believe the way people leave their trolleys? It took me ages to tidy them all up!!?"

What could I say?

Saturday, 1 April 2017

An Inauspicious Start


I have met and worked with thousands of police officers and 99.9 % were honest and courageous. Most had a dark sense of humour. Some were wildly eccentric but all a pleasure to work with. I did come across the odd difficult one  however. As a young policeman I was first posted to a police station in the suburbs of Birmingham. Now I am not one to bear a grudge but I don't forget if someone has been less than fair. Oh yes the watercolour above is of me as a young recruit.

I digress.  As the newest recruit on the shift I was given all the worst tasks.  Making tea, collecting the shifts takeaway order etc but also sitting with murders and rapists on suicide watch and security duties. Unfortunately at that time in Birmingham we were under constant threat from terrorism and bombings. Security duties were therefore quite onerous. I didn't have a problem with doing these things. Someone had to do it and eventually a new recruit would arrive and they would undertake them. However!

One day I was called upstairs for a progress interview with the Superintendent. I wasn't offered a seat but had to stand and listen to what I will politely called a "dressing down". Apparently in the 3 months previously I hadn't made any arrests or submitted any traffic offences.

It wasn't good enough, What had I got to say for myself?

Well I pulled out my pocket book and pointed out for the last three months I had been given the unenviable task of providing security for the police station. In other words for my 8 hour shift I was walking around a small building and not being allowed to enter it other than for my refreshment break of 45 minutes. I had not been on general patrol at all during that 3 month period. How could I have any arrests?

For some reason this seemed to annoy the Superintendent even more and I left him red faced with his moustache twitching. Apparently I wasn't meant to disagree or embarrass him. I was somewhat annoyed with  the Shift Inspector who had compiled my progress report and told him so when I saw him. That went well!

It was no surprise to me a few days later that I found I had been transferred to the Birmingham City Centre Division where there was plenty of work and I never had a problem with my supervisors.

Today I start a new painting. Not sure what yet but have a couple of ideas.



PS. I am pretty sure there is someone out there who will be recounting a story about me one day. Don't rush though!