Monday, 28 September 2009

NEW QUAY HARBOUR - oil on canvas - 40x40cm

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I have have decided to stop before the FIDDLER starts to play with smaller and smaller brushes.

Well, this has been a very good challenge. I am not so used to coastal light, everything becomes very high key, high contrast, 'full on' statements of colour. I can see why the Scottish painters got so excited after painting in Glasgow and then going to the French coast from dull greys to vivid colours.
One of Wales great treats is to give you both ... the greys, purples, the moody and the flamboyant colours of summer ... with variations for the other three seasons.
This is such a lovely little Welsh Harbour ... as I have said before, the haunt of Dylan Thomas, the poet and drinker.
Soon this little place will, once again, be left to its inhabitants and all will be quiet once more. Thanks be to God!
P.S since the initial posting of this painting I have corrected some perspective anomalies ... I woke up and knew exactly what to do ... two minutes and it was done.

Friday, 25 September 2009

WORK IN PROGRESS - NEW QUAY HARBOUR - 40cm x 40cm - oil on canavs

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For those perhaps unfamiliar with the process I thought I would include this photo combining the initially amended photograph, overlayed with the initial tonal painting. The tonal layout can provide a helping hand in creating a painting rather than just copying the photo. 'Tone' is the black & whiteness of the sketch (here of course it is brown and white ... much easier to work with).
When this layer has dried, a little colour can be overlayed transparently or colour can be overlayed that has the same tonal darkness/lightness. It really great fun, and for me very often the most exciting part of painting. This work is 40cm x 40cm, this stage just taking about 10 minutes to complete. The next stage is to potentially mess it up!!!!
You can achieve a similar result by smudging willow charcoal over the paper / canvas to give you the middle tone ... then with a rag or tissue rub out the highlights, finally adding more charcoal for the darker tones of the work. HAVE A GO!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


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Summer has definitely gone - special clouds 'wind clouds' fill the sky, there is a pinkness even when the sun is not shining. But there are surprises, for suddenly we are thrown back into the best of summer suns. The days can be 'short sleeves' but the nights are becoming 'extra togs'.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

NEW QUAY - 6"x8" - oil on card

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Another view of New Quay from higher up the hill, with the Black Lion on the right. I just enjoyed the shadows at the side of the street. Contrast is a very special thing for a painter.

Monday, 14 September 2009

NANT-Y-MOCH reservoir

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Another great discovery - Nant Y Moch reservoir in Mid Wales, close to Ponterwyd (Devil's Bridge) area. We drove for miles along winding roads gasping at the sheer majesty and beauty of the area. Added to this was the quality of the air and the golden, low level light.
Dedicated to the great Prince Owain Glydwr ... this is WILD WALES in capitals!!

Friday, 11 September 2009

BLACK LION - NEW QUAY - oil on card - 6"x8"

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This beautiful street falls steeply down to the sea. Many of the old pubs in this area of Wales were the haunts of the famous Welsh writer and poet DYLAN THOMAS. This area of Wales was where the film THE EDGE OF LOVE was filmed. It quickly becomes evident that Dylan liked his drink as almost every pub has a plaque on it.


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With a camera 'isolation' becomes an important tool. The ordinary becomes special. That which is passed by becomes precious. Simple rust becomes gold. There was once, here in the UK a children's TV programme called LOOK AROUND YOU ... it became a bit of a joke in later years but the idea is great ... Look Around You and see the precious in the ordinary.

Sunday, 6 September 2009


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When I started to look at some of the quick photos I took on our last visit I began to see the moodiness of the place. There is a brooding that makes it plain 'You are just a visitor'.

Friday, 4 September 2009

RED KITE @ Nant-Yr-Arian

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Sorry - this is highly enhanced as the day was quite dark, but, we had an amazing time watching over 40 red kites feeding (or in this case - not feeding). The sky was filled with kites - a little bit too fast without a tripod.
We plan to keep visiting through the seasons and try each of the walks. Today Sian & I did the one hour walk reaching the lake just in time to see the kites appear. Another day we will try the longer walks, perhaps, depending on the state of the ground.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

NEW QUAY - steep road to the beach - oil on board - 6"x8"

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Over the years parking has become a problem in New Quay (as in most places) but it is worth the trouble. From the top terraces there are steep roads down to the beach. The terraces are multi-coloured and looking better year by year.The beaches are excellent even though a great deal has been lost to the increase of small boats. It is still possible to go out on small craft to catch mackerel and whatever is available and if the weather is too bad there is usually fresh fish on the quay.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

CEI BACH - near NEW QUAY - West Wales

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CEI BACH is a wonderful little (bach) beach in West Wales near the more popular New Quay, with long stretches of sand and more often than not NO PEOPLE. It is a place to find wonderful pebbles, driftwood after storms and if you know where to poke, minerals & gems within certain stones.
I quickly opened my pochade and set to work within moments of arriving, much to the amazement of others who watched the finished sketch develop quickly before their eyes. This kind of pressure is good, with people talking and asking questions while you paint. I wonder whether it takes your mind off painting for a moment or two while the rest of your brain just gets on with it.


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Back to Nant-Yr-Arian once again. This is a weather watchers paradise. Even though the red kites had been fed there were still plenty around enjoying the very brisk wind. This is a place of change, nothing stands still for long. The sea is within view so I guess this is a strong factor. Because it changes, this is a place to come back to over and over again. Could I paint here? .... that is an interesting question, I would like to but am not yet brave enough.
The Red Kites were brought back from extinction in this area, now to be shipped throughout the world again.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

NEW QUAY - West Wales

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We have just had a week away with the wider family (Newcastle upon Tyne ... to ... Pembrokeshire ... West Wales & Cardiff). Of course I used it as a time of gathering new material for my painting and paint a few in very awkward places.
I don't mind using photographs if I have a feel of the particular countryside.
New Quay & St David's are places I feel I know quite well. They each have special characteristics both in their buildings, light, weather and compactness.


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