Sunday, 29 March 2009


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A dream has been fulfilled. I have for such a long time wanted to see the famous 'Stiperstones' sitting high overlooking both Shropshire, Cheshire, Herefordshire and very deep into Wales itself, looking as far as Snowden. 3000 years ago, as with many places in this area of the world, bronze age settlements were common. What a sight and less than an hour away from home. That sounds like a double bonus to me. I may find my way back here with a paintbrush, but this will do for now.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

SPRING - for the times they are a changing.

Spring is an amazing time - a tempting time. Spring shouts 'plant me - plant me' then blasts her ice, hail, rain, fog, frost & snow at everything living thing, then a few moments later she turns round and warms your back with glorious sun. This is so well expressed in a pre Raphelite poem:
'Glad that I live am I, that the sky is blue. Glad that I live am I and the fall of dew. After the sun the rain, after the rain, the sun. That is the way of life 'til my days are done .........'
Spring for the artist is a massive challenge for nothing stands still, every moment is another snapshot. What started out as a painting in cold greys can quickly become a riot of colour and skipping lambs.
The paintings above from a few year ago are two spring paintings of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire UK, one in watercolour, the other acrylic.
We should celebrate change rather than be afraid of it, enjoy it while you can. I think this why I find Summer the least interesting of the four seasons. Summer has a fullness about it, too full to move ... 'I've eaten too much'. The three other seasons are always moving - 'AND NOW FOR MY LATEST TRICK!' Enjoy.

Saturday, 21 March 2009


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Behind me as I paint this beautiful pastoral scene, so typical of Powys is yet another building development. Once such a wonderful sight. Added to this will be the added wvoom of cars bursting upon this quiet little lane.
But much more important today is this wonderful spring scene - my 'pochade' for today. Painting out of doors certainly hightens your seeing. First you see just the general scene - the thing that caught my eye in the first place, then tree shapes, hidden houses and fence posts. After a cup of coffee you realise that there is more than you thought in front of you. Shadows spring into tife, changes of colour and direction.
What I noticed today especially was the intensity of the bleeting of the new born lambs ... I am sure they were breaking the 'noise threshhold' law --- thank goodness!

Friday, 20 March 2009


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If you see a guy like me standing beside a canal path in the middle of nowhere, in any weather, at any time of the year he may be on an adventure. The adventure in this case is to travel light and still be able to paint in oils.
I have painted in oils 'plein air' (basically 'outside') before, but to do this you need transport standing by fairly close. Also a large canvas plus a large easel, and a large kit as well as a backpack can turn into 'windsurfing of kite flying' at a moments
notice. At the end of the day you most probably half a half finished, sticky oil painting that still needs a lot of work. So, you will have taken with you, a camera, pencils, sketch books, charcoal and a promise to return another day.

With my little 'pochade' ... or 'wooden handbag' as I call it, I am FREE TO ROAM.
My pochade (little sketches) hold up to four 8"x6" wet oil paintings, a palette, all the paints I need, medium, paint brushes and has a wide, comfortable strap. So when I wander in the back of beyond my food, suntan lotion and coffee weighs more than my painting kit.
If you should meet me in the back of beyond please don't say 'my baby sister can do better than that' for I may have been up very early, have walked for a long time and by now be very cold ... but this part of my great adventure.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


Today I started an eight session course on the 'Welsh Landscape'. Wales was not recognised as having any beauty until quite late on in the 18th Century, some people would even ask the servants to 'pull down the blinds as we pass through this terrible land'. Slowly Wales began to be used in a similar way to the 'Grand Tour', a great terrifying adventure into a strange land where people spoke in a very strange tongue. The landscapes became romanticized, with Greek Gods retelling their tales in the middle of Caernarfon Castle and so on.
I am looking forward to talking through the later development of Welsh art with such masters as Sir Kyffin Williams, Peter Prendergast. Mary Lloyd Jones, John Piper, David Tress and many more exciting artists who have put Wales as one of the great centres of art once more.

Friday, 13 March 2009


Posted by Picasa I am a sucker for colour charts. Each time a new paint catalogue drops through the letter box (mail box) the first pages I turn to are 'the charts'. They are utterly captivating. You can keep your chocolate boxes --- just give me a colour chart and I will be VERY HAPPY!
[For those who are at this moment preparing chocolate boxes filled with colour charts .for me .. its OK I've got enough thank you.]
The whole subject of colour I think is almost magical. Colours interact, they play strange games with each other when you are not looking, the dull become bright and the bright becomes dull. You mix them together and they surprise you ... who said yellow and blue make green? Finding out about colour is a great adventure.
A new opportunity to observe how colours change is to watch the effects on colour of our new environmentally friendly light bulbs --- you are in for a few surprises! Notice one of your favourite paintings during the day, then come back in the evening!!! This is going to cause artists/painters & painters/decorators a lot of trouble.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Winter? Spring? Winter? Spring?

SPRING is knocking on the door. Just a few gentle taps. But Winter whispers 'I'm not ready to go just yet'.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Catrin Finch - a Saint David's Day Treat

This fabulous, exciting and high-profile harp-based international music project combines the awesome talent of Catrin Finch (Cymru/Wales), regarded as one of the world's leading harp players and classical crossover success, with Cimarron (Colombia), a seven piece llanera group led by harpist and composer Carlos Rojas, and drawn from the metizo people that inhabit the savannahs of the great Orinoco river.
Cartin Finch and Cimarron first met each other in Caernarfon, Wales in November 2007. During an intense four days, they exchanged and developped tunes and songs from each other's native culture, each being led by the other's harp tradition. Traditional Colombian rhythms saw the injection of Catrin's stunning virtuosity, whilst traditional Welsh melodies became infused with a vibrant latin identity.

This was our special Saint David's Day treat (thanks to a lovely Christmas Theatre gift token from Birmingham) at Theatr Hafren here in Y Drenewydd. What we love about going to the theatre here is that we can be home in 5 minutes, drinking our bedtime hot chocolate!

To listen to Catrin playing the harp in a special way link to:


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