Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Ian the Chef

I am not sure if I have used this portrait before if I have I apologise. My concentration level is not at all very good just now I am finding most things so difficult due to the pain I am feeling with every action.

Ian runs the little cafe in our village a little meeting place where the food provided is good and the company even better. People gather there to chat and share the talk of the village.

This painitng was done as a kind of experiment with pastels. I used a black colourfix board and one white pastel. I was sure I had captured the likeness of Ian but not sure if he or his friends would like it. I put it in a mount and a frame, one that I could remove it from easily if not liked. I headed up tot the village to let him see. As I brought it out of the car his son was watching me. He came over to the boot of my car and told me to get the picture back into it straight away. "Dont let my father see it," he said. I thought well now I know. I was not sure but I did not think it was that bad.

I returned it to the boot. His son then said to me, "I will pay you later. That is one Christmas present well sorted." I breathed a sigh. It meant much to me that it was to be given as a gift without the person knowing of its existence.

This painting was chosen on my other blog because I associated Ian with food if not chopsticks. The chopsticks story can be read at :- Chopsticks

There is an interesting post on the topic of copying I would encourage contributions it can be read at the new blog of a dear friend. :- Pinnacles and Potholes

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Evening Sails Along the Forth.

I have used this painting on an earlier blog but long enough to use it again. I also just had to use it again because it was in fact the painting I was taking about in the blog this time. This painting caused much emotion on the day of its sale and so it will I know hold a very special place in the life of at least two other people and myself. There are times when things happen that will forever be remembered because of the emotion they stirred at the time. Who will ever forget those milestones of life, those great occasions? These events are not always happy events but they will be forever there. For me this painting will be forever one such moment, the day of its sale. I will not repeat the tale because it is told in the blog entitled, “The Ashtray.”

It was another of those paintings I am guilty of producing with the heart and not the head. I made no effort to depict the yachts or for that matter the colours of the water as they were exactly. I saw this scene and it stirred in me an emotion and that is what I tried to put into the painting. What a joy to know I succeeded for at least one other person.

It was painted using acrylic paint on canvas. The owner tells me it hangs in her bedroom because she wants it to be the first thing she sees in the morning and the last thing at night because every time she sees it she feels happy.

This painting is spoken of in my other blog which can be seen at:-The Astray

Monday, 29 March 2010

The Flow of Life

The Flow of Life

This is the third and final part of my early abstract Triptych concerning the meaning and purpose of life and my musings about creation. I have already explained how these three were sold the day I took them to hang. Autumn Leaves made a comment that she was amazed at how quickly my artwork seems to sell. Let me assure you not all of it sells by any means. I will let you into another secret; some of the people who have bought a painting from me have in fact bought two at the same time the one they see and the one that lies hidden underneath.

Nobody is more amazed then I am that people want to own my art at all. I have not been painting for very long in any serious way but I have been fortunate enough to have sold over eighty of my paintings. Now that does not make me a great artist, I more than anybody am aware of that. I look at some of the artwork of those who follow my blog and I am astounded by the quality of work and feel honoured to be counted as a friend by them. I strive to keep my art affordable so that it is never seen as elitist and I hang it in places where it is seen and discussed by those who would never ever consider going to an art gallery or art shop.

I would like to think that those who purchase on this side of the pond or that side that they enjoy having it. It gives me a great sense of joy that people seem to find it brightens their lives. Some have bought more than one so they must have liked the first.

I am indeed honoured and sometimes amazed. I have a little doodle I do that takes me about a minute to do using about three or four colours. With about nine or so strokes of colour it looks like three parrots perched on a branch. Children love doing it and love the sense of pride they get. One day I had been to an art store and was sitting in the cafĂ© at the railway station waiting for the train home. I had bought some new to the market ink. I think four colours. I took a scrap of paper from my notepad and tried them out with my little doodle. A gentleman sitting at the next table watched me. He then asked what I was going to do with it. I told him I was just going to bin it. He asked me to sign it and give him my email address. He took it from me and wanted to give me £10. I refused so he put it in the charity box. He later sent me an email with a picture of the doodle in a nice frame.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I discuss this artwork it can be seen at:-  Going With the Flow

Thanks to all those who have sent messages of well wishes. Still in a great deal of pain but am assured it will get better after a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Passage of Time

The Passage of Time

This artwork, “Passage of Time” was another of the triptych I produced as my early adventures into abstract art. The three were based in some way or another around the big questions of creation, time and space.

I was very new to the idea of abstracts, prior to this little adventure I had stuck to painting seascapes and poppies. I had expected some comments and sure enough they came fast and furious. I did something like this at school and got punished for it was one such comment. Then there was of course, “funny shape for an egg.” “What were you on when you painted that?” Just a few of the many comments I had to bear. My friends were so used to looking at my paintings and knowing just exactly what they were. Here was something different. I began to doubt if it had been worth the attempt. The thing was though I had enjoyed painting them and they had made my mind active and thoughtful during the process. I had found it a pleasant experience.

Undeterred, I prepared them for hanging and braved more of the same. On the day I was going to hang them I removed them from the package and somebody came over to speak to me, made me an offer. They were repacked and he took them home.

So I had tried something new. I had faced the critics and a new adventure began. Abstracts certainly stimulate discussion and from time to time people like to hang them in their homes. The abstracts I hang in the three inns where I do hang my work for sale certainly stimulates discussion. People who have probably never discussed art since leaving school have become art critics in their own right, and they are never shy to say what they like and do not like.

One old wag when he sees me coming always makes the comment, “what are you bringing today to add to our understanding of culture?”

They were painted on three box canvas using acrylic.

Apologies for any errors there may be in this blog it was written but not checked. Yesterday while washing my caravan I fell from the roof of it and today I am in considerable pain so have just posted it unread or checked. I usually post then read the blogs I follow today I will post and crawl back to bed.

This blog is linked to my other blog where the artwork was used it can be seen at:-Time Change

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Summer Evening Field

Summer Evening Field

Before beginning to speak about the painting on today’s blog can I thank all those who made comment to me on the changes I made to yesterdays painting. I am not a great believer in tweaking and going back and repainting but I think in this case it was the correct thing to do. Thanks for the very positive feedback. There are sites where comments are made about work and you find yourself asking if the commenter means what they say. Here I feel we meet people who encourage but are also willing to offer genuine and real support. Thanks to all, you all made yesterday a great day.

Today’s other blog was about flowers and gardens and of course weeds. I was talking to somebody yesterday about how late things were starting to grow this year after the long winter. “Well,” he said, “rejoice that the weeding will not start till later also.” I laughed and told him I was thinking of growing a row of dandelions. Those who have looked at the other blog will know what I was meaning.

This painting was inspired but not a beautiful garden, though one or two people have commented to me elsewhere that this is what it looks like. It was inspired while walking one summer evening last year. I was walking along the coastal path just as the sun was going down. I turned a bend and what I saw took my breath away. Grasses, greens and flowers all swaying in the breeze. I did not take any thought to the names of the “weeds” I just took in the colours and intensity of emotion I was feeling.

I admire those who can spend hours capturing the detailed beauty of a bloom. It is not my way so this makes no attempt whatsoever to give a detailed view of what I saw but attempts to share what I felt.

I painted this on a canvas board using acrylic paint. It was painted very rapidly. Painted using only my fingers that way I make no effort to get finicky and detailed I just let the emotions go free. ( my wife loves the colours that cover my shirts ha ha).

I am aware that it is no great masterpiece and I have already had the comments about painting chocolate boxes, and being asked what I had done with my glasses, had I lost them.

So please feel free to be as ruthless as you wish about the artwork. But do one other thing. Close your eyes and walk with me along the coastal path, open them and just see colour.

May your day dance with joy.

This blog is linked to my other where the artwork is used it can be seen at:- The gardner and The garden

Friday, 26 March 2010

High and Dry

This painting has been kicking about my paint space for sometime. I have a real interest in how nature can take something discarded by man and in a short time begin to recapture it for itself. Along the coast are a number of discarded rowing boats and wrecks of boats that have washed ashore after being wrecked at sea. At first they look like a terrible eyesore, but soon the seeds and the grasses move in and begin to make it part of the scene. The wood begins to rot and in its turn becomes a haven for bugs and mites. So it goes on the discards become a mini environment and in some cases a thing of beauty.

This painting was done from a remembered experience of such a scene. It haunts me. It is another that I have thought of trying to do something with. Is it too desolate? Should I add some yachts in the distance or a far shore? Should I have more growth within it, as I am sure there will be this summer.

I have had a number of comments made to me about this painting mostly along the lines, "I like it very much but it is a bit too sad to hang on my wall."

The title made me use it on my other blog this morning it seem to fit with the theme. On reflection I painted this at the time I was painting a number of seascapes. Maybe this was one too far. Or to keep with the theme of my blog maybe I had drawn from the well of seascapes too often and should have moved on.

It was painted from memory using acrylic on canvas.  Would be grateful for constructive suggestions.

Since I posted earlier I have been tweaking something I never ever should do but you can now see both together for better or worse.

This artwork was used in my blog The Dry Well it can be seen at :- The Dry Well

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Iona North Beach

Iona North Beach

It is amazing how an awareness of the beauty of our world can change the circumstances of our lives. The story on my blog today about the fire tries to make this point. I chose to include this painting, which I am aware has many faults, because it is a painting of a place I hold very dear. I keep thinking I will paint over it but when it comes to doing it I stop and look and I take it off the easel and tell myself I will do it another day.

I lived on Iona for almost a full year. For those who do not know Iona, it is a small Island in Scotland off the coast of Mull. Very small only three miles long and one and a half miles wide. I had been working as a butcher and playing music in a band. Life had been hectic but in one way and another also becoming destructive and heading for disaster. I had decided it was time to change and get my act together. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay and work on the restoration of the Abbey on Iona. The first few months there were only about eight of us living in the Abbey, during the summer this rose considerably. I was the youngest of the eight by a long way. So I had time to think and study. When I got down, and I did frequently, I used to go to this beach and have a swim, the water was always freezing, and then I would sit and just take in this breathtaking vista. Without fail it always renewed my desire to do something more with life.

The painting was done from memory painted in acrylic on canvas. Maybe what I should do as I look at it again this morning is do the same painting but this time make a better job of it.

This blog is linked to my other blog where this artwork is used. it can be read at :-The Fire

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Race

The Race

Having not painted for at least two weeks, in fact the sight of paint made me shudder at the thought of painting. I was out walking and as I walked I saw the ships sailing in the River Forth near my home. it was actually a fairly calm day but there was enough breeze in air for a few yachts to be out sailing. It looked as if two of them were having a mini race, but not moving at great speed.

I thought, if I was the wind I would give them a little more help. Then, I can give them a little help. An artist does not have to paint what he/she sees the artist can paint what they feel. So I returned to the easel and painted the two yachts racing. I gave them more wind in their sails and a bit more life in the sea.

Now I know it is not the best sea painting but I hope I have captured the feeling of power and majesty. The clouds might not be a hundred percent correct, the sails and the lean of the boat might not be true. But then I was not trying to depict reality this painting is all about feeling. Mainly my feelings and the joy of painting again but I hope it stirs up some feeling in the eye of the viewer.

 Life is never an easy race but with a little help help from friends it gets easier.

The clouds were painted using a brush and acrylic paint. The sea was painted using only my fingers and the boats are nothing more than a few strokes of paint with a palatte knife.

This blog is linked to my other blog where this artwork was used. it can be seen at:- Finding Self

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Beacons of Light

Beacons of Light

This was one of a series of three paintings based on my feelings about the journey of life. This was the second of the three which I called "beacons of light". There are those people in life who are the sort of people who fill your life with hope and joy. They are like rainbows, full of promise.

This and the other two were painted at one sitting in acrylic. They were in fact teh very first ever attempt I  had made at painting abstract. I got a great deal of pleasure from them and they filled me with thoughts of those people in life who had made my journey to this point a journey worth looking back on.

I had them ready to hang and had taken them to a cafe to show to a friend. While in the cafe a friend of my friend offered to purchase them. I was so shocked I almost gave him them for free. He still tells me how he enjoys having them.

This blog is linked to my other blog where this artwork is used.:- Beware

Monday, 22 March 2010



This pastel portrait was done fairly fast after a morning of working on the allotment. ( a plot of land set aside for the growing of vegetables) Archie has the allotment just along from mine. I remember growing vegetables with my father when I was a young lad but most of what I had learned I had forgotten. When I got my plot Archie was there with good advice and help. One this day we both looked bedraggled after digging and raking the soil. Archie had his jumper on back to front, as is his want. He says it makes him feel warmer round his neck. When people point out to him he has it on the wrong way round he always has the same retort, “It’s not the jumper that is back to front it is my head.”

On this day I saw a real twinkle in his eye and I just could not resist making an attempt at this painting. He has never forgiven me, “You might have waited till I was better dressed and had a wash and my hair combed.” I just laughed and asked him, “What hair?”

He is a real character but a wise wit.

 This blog is connected to my other blog where this artwork is used. it can be seen at:- The Wooden Coffin

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Yell

The Yell

This is just a very fast and very simple drawing done with a charcoal pancil and a red pastel. it took about five minutes to execute.

The person in the picture was a real person who if she did not get her own way reacted. She was actually a very pretty female and it was a bit cruel depicting her as I did. It came about because I made the comment that it was amazing the transformation that took place when she went into complaint mode. I produced this and showed it to her. "Never," she said. Those there at the time all laughed and said yes. She does not complain nearly so often.

So this is no great work of art but it did have a positive effect and for this reason I still look at it fondly.

This artwork is here because it was used in my other blog which can be read at:- Complaints

Saturday, 20 March 2010

From a Distance

Not far from where I live there is a very sandy beach. When the tide is out it seems as if the sand stretches for miles. One day I was returning from a rather hectic morning in court (I was on the bench not in the dock) along the top road. There was a beautiful soft hue to the sky, yet it was midday. I pulled the car over and allowed the tension of the morning slip away as I savoured the scene spread out before me. I could see in the far distance two people walking on the sand, small almost invisible. I imagined them with their shoes in their hands the moist sand between their toes. It was a very calming feeling.

But it also reminded me of this great vast universe of wonder and beauty. We have choices, we either enjoy or we destroy it. It was a very precious moment.

I came home and without waiting to change threw a canvas on my easel and in great haste tried to capture not only the moment but the feeling. I still have a spot of paint on my suit that will forever remind me of the creation of this painting. It hangs in my painting space, but I have a very good friend who loves it. He will never offer to buy it but one day soon I will give it to him.

This blog is connected to the blog where I share my thoughts for the day where this art is used it can be seen at:-The Search for the Holy Man

Friday, 19 March 2010

Highland Gathering

Highland Gathering

This artwork was painted in acrylic on canvas. The night before painting it I had been watching the World Championship Pipe Band competition in Glasgow Green here in my homeland of Scotland. It was a stirring event in the end won by a Canadian Pipe Band. Bagpipe music either stirs the emotions or drives you crazy. The Scottish army used it to stir fear into their opponents, but all to stir deep emotion in their own soldiers. it was said during the First World War that two things helped the Scottish Army over the tranches, whiskey and bagpipes.

The music stirred my emotions that night. Next morning I arose early and played a well know pipe tune, “Highland Cathedral,” played at many of the important occasions in Scottish life. It is played at weddings and funerals and it is always played before the Scottish Rugby Team take to the fields, especially when it is the old enemy they are about to play against.

The painting was completed in one sitting. I suppose it is a bit like the pipes. You will either like it or hate but I suspect there will be few emotions in between. This painting was sold on the day I was hanging it for sale.

This blog is associated with my other blog where I use this artwork the comment and thought can be seen at:- Clowns and Self

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Cheeky Chappie

The Cheeky Chappie

Before anybody makes too many comments about this artwork let me make them. First comment not really all the great an example of a well executed portrait. Comment two I am sure I could have found a much more interesting character to try and portray. The third thought that it always brings to mind is that it could be used to frighten children away from dangerous places.

This was my first attempt at painting a person and it is painted from the face you see elsewhere on this blog. Ii was painted using pastels and nobody in my family likes it so it lies in the bottom of a cupboard in my paint room.

I chose this picture because the story I used on my other blog tells of the golfer and the elf. This story always reminds me of the day I was playing the fifth hole of a golf course. The golf course had a “dry stane dyke”, a stone built wall across the middle of the fairway hiding the green from view. I played my shot over the wall; the people on the other fairway were jumping up and down like little elves. I had my one and only hole in one.

This blog is connected to my main blog which can be seen at:- The Golfer and the Elf

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Too Late To Crow Today

Too Late To Crow Today

This painting wasa going to be a seascape. I had begun to paint the sky and was making ready to paint in some clouds. I was listening to The Rolling Stones and they began to sing that very famous song of theirs, "The Little red Rooster." I develope this very stron image of this little red rooster not content with his little empire where he was in control. I could see him strutting down a little country lane looking for fields anew.  Behind him was the chaos of noise because he was not strutting where he should have been.

I could not get the image from my head so changed my palette of colours and this appeared on top of the already painted sky.  Just few quick streaks of colour. Filled with doubts about what I had done I was ready to paint over it but a friend persauded me otherwise. The painting sold two days later.

Which reminds me of the story of the student trying to learn calligraphy. Will keep that for another day. and another blog.

This Blog is linked with my main main Blog where I have some thoughts for the artist this Blog can be seen at :The Stone Cutter

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Carnival Jazz.

Carnival Jazz

This painting was completed using acrylic on canvas. Painted in a great frenzy of emotion while listening to some jazz that sounded very calypso in nature. Sadly I cannot remember the music but can still feel the emotion of that day.

I chose this artwork for this thought because when I showed this work to others some saw it in a very positive way and shared with me the emotion and the joy. Others saw it in a variety of negative ways including a battle or a will melly of horses.

This Blog is linked with my main main Blog where I have some thoughts for the  artist this Blog can be seen at :-It Is All In The Mind

The above  painting sold withing days of being painted and is now in a collection in Dunfermline.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Along the Firebreak

Along The Firebreak.

I chose this artwork for the blog because I felth that here was an example of nature at its best. Man creates a forest so dense that hardly anything can grow because of the lack of light. because of the density of trees and the dryness of the timber firebreaks have to be created to enable control of any fires. In this area between the trees nature very quickly restores its own order and beauty.

Painted in acrylic paint. I enjoyed painting this and painted another one on a box canves. it seems that my pleasure of this work was not shared by others because I am still the proud owner of both.

The can be seen on my website at :-

The blog for this artwork can be seen at :-There is Something Missing

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Mountains of Arran.

The Mountains of Arran

My first ever invitation to climb mountains was made while spending a holiday on the lovely Island of Arran in Scotland. On that ocassion I did not even begin the journey to the mountainsknowing that I did not like high places. I later as you know if you read my other blog managed to overcome to some extent this fear and have spent many days in the mountains giving me many wonderful experiences.

I have not, as yet returned to venture into the mountains of Arran but I am aware of their beauty.

Painted on a large canvas using acrylic this painting sold very quickly and I was commissioned to do a similar one soon after. The paintings now both are in private collections in Edinburgh and South Queensferry.

The blog for this painting can be seen at:-  Mountains of the Mind

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Glory of Poppies

The Glory of Poppies

I chose Poppies for the blog on the "Precious Vase" because the poppy is so often used as symbols of remembrance of those who knew what was important in life. This was painted using soft pastels.

It is still unsold sadly but I  do enjoy looking at it from time to time so that is no great worry.

The blog for this painting can be read at :- The Precious Vase

This painting can be purchased on my website at :-

Friday, 12 March 2010

T in the Park (Music Festival in Scotland)

T in The Park

This abstract paintingwas used in the blog because I felt that it spoke about the theme, "This is Good."  The abstract trys to capture the moosd the fun and the excitement of a music festival. There is at such events a feeling of comradship and togetherness. This is indeed good.

The work was painted in acrylic. Painted using knives and fingers and done in one sitting to capture that feeling of spontanaity.

The thought this is used in can be seen at:- This is Good

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Coming Home to Roost

This painting was used with the thought, Growing and Misfortune. The painting depicts a part of the coastal path just as the dawn arrives the birds coming home to roost for the night. It is a reminder that each day come and goes as surely as the sun rises and sets. Whether we are here or not this daily cycle will continue.

This painting was on a very large canvas painted using acrylic. It was one of those painting I had painted and thought was not going to sell. Just at the time I was considering using the canvas again I had two people interested in purchasing it and it is now in a private collection in England.

The thought that I used this painting with can be seen at :-  Growing and Misfortune

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Autumnal Abstract.

This painting was one of my first moves towards texture and form. This is an example of order out of chaos. I began this canvas hoping to paint a sky and then progress to a seascape. I enjoy painitng the sea being lucky enough to live close to it. I had made some lines across the canvas trying to decide where to put the skyline. Once the sky was painted I left it to dry. I was visited by my son who on seeing it commented that he was impressed I was trying something modern. He wondered what colours I was going to add between the lines.

Having slept on this whith his words in my mind I awoke and completed this painting as you see it. MY daughter had just moved house and she wanted this painting to hang in her reading room, where it hangs even now.

This painting is used on my other blog with the article called the, "Hairdressers Comb." seen at :-The Hairdressers Comb

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Large Mixed Media Abstract.

Large Mixed Media Abstract.

This painting was inspired by a very famous part of Scotland. Glencoe the place of one of the most infamous of clan battles, “The Massacre of Glencoe.” It was painted using texture and glaze. The texture was applied first then a coating of glaze was added before the painting was completed using acrylic paint. This painting sold very soon after completion and now hangs in a private collection in England.

My thoughts inspired by the painting can be read at :-   Refusing to Give

The method used to produce it can be seen at:-

Monday, 8 March 2010

Autumn Leaves I Feel Like Dancing.

This artwork was used in my blog, "Preparation."  It was used because of the refrece in the blog to ancient wall paintings and african art.

This painting was completed in layers of paint and acrylic gel. First the texture was laid down then a coating of acrylic gel. Next a layer of acrylic paint was applied ove rthewhole surface. This was allowed t dry fully. The process was contnued with layer afterlayer of paint and gel. On each layer sme of the underlying aint was allowed to show through. This process as continued until the desired effect was reached.

This painting is still for sale on my own website :-