Friday, 30 April 2010

Along the Hedgerow

Along the Hedgerow.

I am sure that I used this painting on my other blog some time ago when I was writing it for myself and one or two others. To those who have seen this before I apologise. I used it on the other blog because I was talking about The Doc who was at the autumn of his life when I met him, as was Harry the other character I met. Harry played an important part in helping me get where I wanted to be as some of you may know if not that is another day.

This painting was also used today because I would like to tell you about this paintings short history. I, when not suffering from throwing myself off caravan roofs, go running to try and keep myself mobile and fit. I love running forest trails and mountains. It was last autumn that I saw these interesting plants along the edge of a hedgerow. They had some very interesting seed heads and the leaves were turning to autumn colours. I just could not resist painting them and did two versions of it.

Neither of them sold and they have been hanging for some time now. Normally I would move paintings frequently from one of my venues to the other and then if I still had them keep them for a bit before deciding what to do. Unfortunately because of my fall I have been unable to do this until this week. This was the first of the two to be moved. I changed it to the local inn and already they have had interest shown in it being purchased and they are sure it will be sold by the end of the weekend. We shall see but it just shows that what does not look well in one place does in another.

This and the other one were painted using acrylic and painted using knives. The paint is heavy and so gives a textured effect.

Can I thank you all for your comments about my watercolour. In the light of those comments I will have another try. Today though I am heading off to my allotment I need to spend some time finishing the planting of my vegetables and hoe some of the weeds than have been left to their own during my recent incapacity. Fresh air and the banter of fellow gardeners will be good.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I used this painting:-  The Doc and Homecoming

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Autumn Watercolour

Autumn Waterclour

I said I would have a go at painting using watercolour. I spent Tuesday looking out my brushes and what watercolour materials I had. Yesterday I had a try at a little autumn scene. Well truth to be told I had three tries at it and this was the third of them. It is not by any means a watercolour like all the ones on the blogs of those I follow who inspired me to have a go. Will I try again? Yes I think I will maybe I will take them with me when I go away in my new caravan. Maybe practice will make me better at it I am sure Susan would tell me this so practice I will.

I found it very difficult. The waiting between the washes gets to me. I need to discover how to get as involved as I do when using texture and acrylic and my fingers. The discipline I am sure will be good for me. I will also not have a room full of canvas painted and stacked waiting to decide what to do with them.

This was a small painting about 6”x9” so did not take up much space. The other two were discarded into my bin and took up no room at all. This one was destined to go the same way but Ruby insisted on seeing it and said I should not. How about giving it to the first person you meet was her suggestion. Well that sounded an ok idea and would also I am sure fit in with Kim's lovely gesture on her blog.

Yesterday afternoon I went to hang the painting I did the other day there, Summer Showers. There was a lovely older couple sitting at the table next to where I was going to hang. They were having a meal but spoke to me commenting on my other paintings. They thought they could identify the part of the coastal path I had painted one of my other works. They were so nice I thought they were the ones who I would give it to. I explained it was a new thing for me. The seemed delighted.

I stuck it on the other blog because it speaks about new beginnings and choices. This was maybe a new start for me. Who knows what tomorrow may bring today I am heading back to the texture I think.

This blog is linked to my other blog where the artwork is used:-   New Ways New Days

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Coming Home To Roost

Coming Home To Roost

There seemed no other painting I could choose  to add to today’s story of Fingers. The title says it all. He had decided to travel a road that in the end was always going to end with him meeting somebody just like me in a prison cell. If make wrong choices then we have to face the consequences of the choices we have made.

Choices are like pebbles cast into a pond, they send out ripples that go on and on.

This painting was a very large painting. I hung it in one of the inns. I hung there for some time and nobody said anything to me. I decided to replace it with another painting. It was then I was told the story of the customer who every night before heading home used to say like the birds in Ralphs painting I am going home to roost. I was told he was disappointed I had taken it away.

It lay around for a bit until I had almost forgotten it. Came the day I decided I would paint over it and got it set up on my easel. Before beginning I came upstairs to collect something and decided to check my emails. There before me on the screen were two emails each making enquiries from my website about a possible purchase. I contacted each in turn in the order they had mailed me.

The painting was sold the next day and two days later made its way down to England.

It was painted in acrylic on a very large canvas.

I notice this morning I now have 50 followers on this blog. Nowhere near the 100 of Kim or the numbers on other blogs I read but I am humbled so many of you take the time and I thank you once again.

This blog is linked to my other blog where the artwork is used:-  It All Comes To Roost

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Sunflower Smiles

Yesterday was a day of some real highs and a low.

High number one was because of all of you who so kindly follow this blog and take the time to make a comment. So many of you did just that and did so in the light of what I had said on the blog. I would love to go through each and make a reply but will in my own way trust me. Sharon learned about “happy sheets” and made me smile because her reaction to them was my own exactly having once filled one in honestly and being identified because of it I never did so again.

Yesterday we made the decision, to change our caravan for a new one and be positive that we will be fit long enough to enjoy it. I gave me such great pleasure to see my wife make ready for this by empty our old one into my car. I never realised how much stuff we had in it. I was sore all over by the time I had carted it to the car. But she is full of the excitement of the thought that a week today we take delivery.

In my joy I came home and vacuumed my car and washed and polished it. I can’t tow a shiny new van with a dirty car. Today the pain of my fall is back and I might need to have a day back on the painkillers.

So I looked out this early floral of mine. I do not know about you but every time I see a sunflower I just want to smile. They make me happy. A fellow blogger very recently showed her painting of a field of sunflowers it is stunning. This is an effort and no more to capture the joy of the sunflower. There is no great story behind it. I painted it, my friend liked it, it hangs on his wall and he tells me often it makes him feel good in the morning. So a success.

In my other blog I speak of a young man and give you an introduction to him. This painting and that story fit together so well as I hope you will agree once you get to know him.

This blog is linked to my other blog where the artwork is used. :-  The True Student

Monday, 26 April 2010

The Beach

The Beach

I chose this painting today because it is the only picture I have of a watercolour I have done. It is not the only watercolour I have painted, I did in fact do two similar versions of this painting and I have done one or two small landscapes. But this is the only one I have a picture of. I have no pictures of any others because I have given them all away. This one and the one like are now in the possession of a magistrate and a clerk of the court.

I used to serve as a judge in the court. This was a job I did over and above all the other things I was involved in, in life. While a teacher I was allowed by the education authorities to take days off to do my court duties. When I finished teaching it became almost a full time job. I gave it up only recently to give myself time to paint.

While still involved in the court I tried one or two watercolours. One of these was bought by a fellow magistrate the other I gave as a gift to somebody when they were given promotion. Another of my watercolours was sold for a charity. The one or two others I cannot remember where they are or who has them. Whoever happened to be around and the time if they liked them were given them.

Now after looking at some of the work of my friends and fellow bloggers I was thinking of giving watercolour another try. I put this on today to ask you what you think should I or should I not? It is kind of like Katherine asking should she join or not?

Now before you answer my question please read my first blog. This way you will know what I am looking for.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I use this artwork:-  Do You Have A Minute

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Summer Evening Showers

Summer Evening Showers

This painting is my first real attempt at a painting since my accident. It is not by any means one of my better attempts at painting but it has done a few things for me. Firstly it has got me in front of my easel and I have left not feeling entirely downcast with the experience. It has give me a painting that will allow me to return to the wall in out kitchen the painting I took from that wall to replace one of the two paintings I sold last week. I cannot leave bare walls in the place where I hang because it is rather obvious we have taken down pictures that were fitted to the wall not to be taken down.

The other thing I learned was that my wife kind of liked the painting I took away even though she had never before expressed this to me. Last night my son spotted straight away I had removed it and insisted I bring it back. What is it they say? “"A prophet is not without honour except in his hometown and in his own household." So this painting means a lot to me even though it is no masterpiece. Let me just say it has shown me that appreciation is not always spoken.

I could say this little painting has cast a little light in dark corners for me. No pun intended.

This blog is linked to my other where this artwork is used:- I Do Not Know

All of my artwork can be seen at:  and I would love you comments. One or two friends from “bloggersphere” have emailed me about art. I would say that anybody at all interested in any of my work who read this blog should contact me and ignore the prices on this site.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Number 1

Number 1

This painting was one of my very happy accidents. Not happy because I think it is a marvellous painting, because I do not but because of how it happened and where it ended.

I was painting one day in one of my frenzy modes. It was one of those days when my head was buzzing with all sorts of thoughts, not all about painting. Maybe if all I had been thinking about was the painting all might have gone well but that is another story. The painting ended up a disaster as so many of mine do. In my foolish thinking and frenzied thought I grabbed some white paint to paint it out. I had not as yet put on so much paint it would not cover over. It soon became obvious it was not going to happen. I thought I would leave the mess to dry then return with the white.

As I stepped back I saw an image, very faint but it was there. Could I coax it out? So again with a frenzy of paint and fingers there he was. I splattered some paint just to give a small hint of colour and left him to dry. “You are not going to hang that anywhere are you?” asked my wife. “Yes I am,” I said I want to see what others think. “I can tell you now if you want,” she said.

Anyway I hung it in one of my places. The very next day I got a phone call, it was sold. I have since met the young couple who bought it. They said they were determined to have one of my paintings but this was the first one they had agreed on. It hangs in there home and is often a point of discussion they tell me.

The only worrying thing for me is they call it not, “Number 1” but “Ralph”

This blog is linked to my other blog where this artwork is used:- Know Yourself

Friday, 23 April 2010

Alpha- Omega

Alpha Omega

I chose this painting because the name of this painting seemed appropriate to the story of the day. Alpha the beginning and Omega the ending.

I have already told you that when I began painting I did not have a clue where to go or how to start. I read a few books and watched a few programmes on painting on television. I painted some flowers as you saw yesterday with not too much success. I thought I would have a try at an abstract. Now for some reason I thought abstracts had to make a real statement and that size was the name of the game. I purchased two really large canvases. I set about the task of creating two abstracts. The first was not a real abstract in the full sense of the word, more an abstract style seascape. Then this one, which I believe can be considered a true abstract.

When completed my family thought they looked alright but were sure they would never sell. Can you imagine my surprise when I got a request for these paintings to be sent to the USA. In the process of the sale of these two paintings I met a beautiful family and especially, Missy. We talked on the phone and have kept in touch ever since. She has encouraged me to keep going when I have considered stopping.

I hope she gets pleasure still now three years down the road. Painting has let me meet many friends and blogging has opened even further doors.

So this was the Alpha and who knows when or what will be the Omega? So I end today as Missy might, “Hey you all, thanks for being such great buddies.”

This painting was done on a very large canvas and painted in acrylic. It was before I found texture so the paint was laid on with brushes and made smooth. Now I paint large abstracts with my fingers and they are full of texture so it looks as though I still do not know where I am going.

This blog is linked to my other where I use this artwork:-The First and the Last

Thursday, 22 April 2010



This painting should never have been included here but I just could not in the light of what I was saying on the other blog today. This was one of my very early paintings one of my try and see how it goes paintings. I did it and let a couple of people see it and then stuck it in a corner and forgot about it.

I had been painting for a few months and had as yet made no sales. Then I had made no real effort to make any sales at that stage. I did not think anybody would ever want to buy any of them. I have told you before about the inn not far from where I stay that sells a real selection of hand pulled real ales. I started to visit this place when I moved back to this part of the world; I used to sing in the upstairs room on there folk nights when I was in my early 20s. Being me and a person who talks to anybody and everybody I soon got to know folks in the place. They were to be organising a draw of some sorts for a charity and were looking for prizes. The manager asked if I would donate a painting which I was more than happy to do. It was agreed that the painting would be of the winners choosing. It was also at this time he suggested I start hanging a few for sale in the inn.

When the winner of the painting approached me I invited her down to see what I had offering if there was nothing she liked to do one for her. She looked around and to my surprise saw this one lying in the corner and asked if she could have this one. I asked if she was sure because it was not among the ones I was showing her. She said she was and left happy to have it.

Not a sale but somebody, a stranger to me who had expressed a wish to own one of my paintings. What a nice feeling and the charity also gained in the process.

The painting was done in acrylic on a canvas. Please do not ask me what flowers are in it some I will name some only exist in my head I think. But as I said on the other blog does it matter if the thinking is right.

This blog is linked to my other blog where this artwork is used:- Flowers and Flowers

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Be Still

Be Still and Know

This pastel of two poppies was used  on the other blog today because, as those of you who follow my blogs will know, it is one of my favourite flowers. It blooms in the most unexpected of places and seems to be able to survive in soil that very little else would ever manage to survive on. Its flower head is a very transient thing so frail and fragile and yet so glorious. It has so many connections with remembered moments, as I have mentioned before in both of my blogs. They just hold a very special place in my life.

When I am feeling that my art has hit a block or a wall I so often return to the painting of poppies. I have shown some of those painting on this blog in the recent past but I have painted so many. Most of them are no longer in my possession, having been sold, or in one case claimed by my son. This one is still with me, still unsold.  I feel this is one of the better paintings I have done of poppies but it seems on this I am a lone figure. The one saving grace is that I do like it and because it is a pastel it will not be painted over and so will probably be kicking around in my possession for the long term.

The poppy as I have said, rescues me in my art, it also rescues me at other times and in other ways. This painting, and other poppy paintings, find their way onto the desktop of my computer frequently. Here I can sit and look at it and consider my actions and my thoughts. I can consider my frailty and my desire to spread some beauty. I  remember those who have helped in the past, and the friends who fill my life with cheer.

The other thing about a poppy is, as we all know, it is best left where it is because the moment it is plucked it drops its leaves and is no more. There are some things that like the poppy that are best left as they are. There are words that are also often best left where they are in the brain and mind unspoken.

So much of life is frail and transitory but the artist can capture those glorious moments, the poet in a few words can hold forever that fleeting thought. This makes us among the  privileged.

Oh dear now I am beginning to understand why this painting is still mine and has never sold. Maybe it is too melancholy?

This blog is linked to my other blog where the artwork is used:- Engaging the Brain

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Tiger Pause

Tiger Pause

I chose to add this painting today because the Tiger has the ability to concentrate one hundred percent on the chase and the catch. Every movement and action is done with slow deliberation. I tried to capture this in this facial portrait of the tiger.

This was one of two such paintings of a tiger I did. Both were hanging in one of the places I hang paintings, and strangely enough both at the same time. Normally I would not have done this but I think a painting had sold and the only other painting I had at the time was this tiger head. The other one had been hanging for a bit and although many people had said how much they liked it nobody it seemed wanted a tiger hanging on their walls. Having said that there was one lad who had said to me on more than one occasion that if he had some extra money he would buy it, but right now he had so many other things needing his attention it was out of the question.

So there they were both hanging. A few days later a gentleman popped into the place and it just so happened I was there with my wife. So it was a Friday night because that is the only time we really go out for an ale. This man sat down beside us and said he wanted to buy the tiger painting, but he could not take it just now. I thought, not another one who wants but can’t afford. It turns out that was not the case he paid me there and then and said he would collect it in a few days. He gave me more than I was asking for it saying, “The labourer is worthy of his labour.” He continued, “Anyway I have just had a nice win on the horses.”

Why did I break my unwritten rule about making art affordable, yet taking more than I had asked?  Well he had just made it possible for me to give the other tiger to the young lad and his wife who liked it so much. He received it and I could in all honesty say I had not given it away for free so his pride remained in tact. I knew tha had I offered it to him for nothing he would have refused.

This painting was done in pastel.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I used this artwork:- The Art of Concentration

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Boatyard

The Boatyard

Yesterday I told you of the “pair” of seascapes I sold that I still see as a pair even though they hang on walls almost 200 miles apart. On reflection when I look at this painting I can see now that they never really were a pair apart from the fact that they were both on the same theme of fishing. Well that was how I saw them at the time. A little further thought on the question posed to me a few days ago by Katherine. Do I find it difficult to part with sold paintings?

When I started painting I had a few thoughts in mind. The first was that this was not going to be another of my obsessions, I failed miserably. Second my art was going to be self funding, it has been to date and I enjoy being able to look at art catalogues and visit art stores and know that I can make a purchase without feeling I am taking anything from the family budget. My third and most important of all was that I was going to try and make art something that people who might never consider having art in their home could afford to. I think to date I have had some success on this. I have sold a lot of art, I make no claim to this being good art or exciting art but it has brought pleasure and for that I am happy. Most of the art I have sold I have sold to total strangers and that warms me. Many of them have become friends and that is even better.

This painting and its partner made it possible for me to paint more and to have my art in even more into people’s lives. I remember them well the art and the people. I remember the painting and the packing and I get pleasure in it all. One day I will stop painting but whenever that is I will know I have left something people have had pleasure from.

This was painted using pastels on pastel board. It and the I used yesterday were painted at the same time on the same large sheet of pastel board the cut apart and framed in identical mounts and frames.

This blog is linked to my other one where I use this artwork:-Fear of Nothing

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Early Morning Fishing

Early Morning Fishing

This painting was chosen to add to my blog today because of what it depicts. I have often watched people on the seashore in the early hours of the morning casting their lines and then patiently waiting. I have watched anglers on the canal banks when I have been out running sitting in the same spot for hours patiently casting their lines into the water and waiting. I have friend who do this and they tell me there is nothing more relaxing.

I have never ever been able to grasp this, and yet it seems to be true. Once or twice I have tried but all the time my head is full of what else I could be doing. So when I see people on the beach as I run past in the early morning I look at them with mixed emotions.

This painting was done in pastel. I did it and another seascape and framed them in identical mounts and frames. I thought they made a nice pair of seascapes. They were bought by two magistrates who both liked them. They had agreed that they both liked the two of them so they were not concerned which of the two they got. They spoke to me and asked me if I could just wrap them in bubble wrap and give them one each. I am not sure who got which but on the pair now hangs in a home in Aberdeen the other down south of Scotland in Hawick. Pair of paintings hanging miles apart but in my mind still a pair.

Yesterday Katherine asked if it is hard to sell art. As I sit and remember this pair I realise that even though I no longer see them for real I still see them hanging as a pair as fresh as the day I framed them. I still remember painting them. So are they really gone?

This blog is limked to my other blog where this artwork in used:- The Slow Drive

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Flowers in the Wind

Flowers in the Wind

I used this painting on today’s blog because I remember how Nettie used to love to feel the breeze on her face, especially on the early walks when she said she suffered sweats caused by the internal fear. This painting is called, “Flowers in the Wind.” I painted them in a different way than I had any of my floral paintings in the past. I started with the shape of the petals using a heavy texture paste directly onto the canvas. I let that dry and painted a coat of white over most of the canvas. I then covered this with a coat of acrylic gel. I then, using my fingers painted in all the browns and ochre. Before this dried I removed the paint from the textured flowers with a moist clean rag.

I was not at all sure about this painting but just a few days before I went climbing on caravan roofs and fell and caused three weeks of pain, I hung it in one of my local inns where I hang paintings. I also hung the last painting I did before my fall one of two yachts racing up the River Forth. I got a call yesterday telling me that both are sold and to be collected today. So I have to stop all the excuses, I have to produce at least one painting more to replace them on Monday.

Seems somebody likes this one. I was a bit happier about the two yachts but all I can hope is that both paintings bring joy to the purchasers.

This blog is linked to my other where I tell the last of the stories of Nettie:- A Big day

Friday, 16 April 2010

Linlithgow Palace Sunset.

Linlithgow Palace Sunset.

This Pastel Painting is used in my other blog because there I speak of the estate with its big house. There are many such estates in Scotland, some owned by royalty but many left over from the days of the landed gentry. There was a terrible time in the history of Scotland when the people who farmed the land and lived on the land were moved out to make way for those who were in favour with the royal family. The land was used for keeping sheep. It was a time when a great many large houses were built and occupied by one family. These houses often had large estates around them with extensive gardens. There is one such place not far from where I stay. Andrew Carnegie the famous steel magnate remembers how as a boy he looked longingly through the fence at the gardens and space. Later when he had made his wealth he purchased this estate and presented it to the people of Dunfermline and to this day it is a beautiful place to walk. It was just such a place that Nettie my son and I with dog walked.

This particular palace is another such place. This one can be seen from the motorway that goes between Scotland’s two largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh. I was driving home one night after a long day in Edinburgh writing teaching materials and examinations for schools and colleges. The sun was just going down and I could see the palace reflected on the loch. When I arrived home I just had to get down the memory and try to evoke the wonder of that view.

This was painted very quickly using pastel on pastel board. No real effort was made to capture all the detail but to generate the sense of wonder.

This blog is linked to me other blog where today I take the story of Nettie on a bit further:-A Walk in the Park

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams

This painting was the one I mentioned yesterday on this blog. Somebody asked me if I would show it today. I am not at all happy with this painting in the sense of my being aware that it is far from an accomplished piece of art. Let me put it into some context.

I had from time to time made small attempts at painting with a little measure of success but never enough for me to give it any serious thought. I was retiring and at the same time both my daughter and my son were scheduled to get married. My family have never ever done things by the book; I have no idea where they get that from. So at my daughters wedding my son played the role normally taken by the bridesmaid. The reception took the form of a slow considered meal people swapping seats between courses so that by the end of the meal we all knew most people present. I made a speech during one of the breaks between courses. At my sons wedding my daughter played the role of best man and made the best man speech. I was persuaded to make a full blown after dinner speech which seemed to go down well. After the speech my son presented me with four art brushes. They were brushes of quality and I decided to give it a shot.

This was the first painting I did using them. He liked it and asked if he could have it? It still hangs on his wall in his home. So it might not be the best but it was the first step for me on the road to painting who knows how many more steps there are yet to take? One thing for sure I will always remember this one.

This blog is linked to my other where I take the story of Nettie a bit further:-The Next Big Step for Nettie

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Poppies (A symbol of hope)

Poppies (A symbol of hope)

This was one of my very early paintings. I used it today on my other blog for two reasons. The first one is that when I came to my computer this morning there was an email from a friend who had been looking at this painting on a website where I had posted it a long time ago. She was commenting on it saying that they spoke to her in a deep way.

Strange she should do so on the very morning I was writing in my blog about not being able to paint at all. Poppies have a very special place in my life. I just love the beauty of them and their fragility. It does concern me that such a beautiful flower can be used to produce something that creates such havoc in the lives of many. But it is also a symbol of hope at memorial services at cenotaphs every year.

When I started painting I painted a filed of poppies, small poppies in a great swathe of green. I called it, ”Field of Dreams.” This was painted very soon after and the strange thing is that having painted it I hung it in a local inn. An old soldier spoke to me offering to purchase on the promise that I signed it. I told him it already was singed but when I went to show him I noticed I had hung it upside down so the signature was not obvious. He said he preferred it this way so this painting was sold with two signatures on it and can now be hung either way.

This blog is linked to my other blog where you can read of the:- A Big Step for Nettie

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Along the Shore

Along the Shore

In my other blog I tell the tale of my painting seascapes on stones found on the beach. This painting would be one similar to some such painting. I used to visit this beach that had a large collection of large flat stones ideal for painting on. When these paintings dried a fast drying spray of varnish made the stones look wet and brought out all the beautiful colours. I ended up with a nice little miniature painting on a lovely coloured stone that would be ideal as a paperweight.

These were then deposited back on the beach among the stones and I would sit back and enjoy a flask of coffee and watch the reactions when somebody found it. I often had the pleasure of hearing some nice comments made about the artwork. I cannot remember any of these little paintings being left on the beach.

This painting, (sorry if it is not as clear as it could be) was painted using acrylic paint. It was painted on a canvas measuring 40” x 20”.

Once I had started painting I thought that I should have a website. My first website I built myself. I then had to get a company to host it and post in online. The technician who helped me to do this looked through the site I had built and on that first day contacted me offering to purchase this painting. I can remember the feeling of joy I got at this my first online sale.

This blog is linked to my other where I tell the story of generosity. It can be seen at:-The Doctor the Minister and the Lawyer.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Floral Abstract

Floral Abstract

This painting was used with today’s blog because it is a painting off a single bloom that made my heart leap when I saw its head stick above the others in a clump of flowers. It was so striking in its beauty. I painted it on a box canvas leaving out everything except for the core of the flower head. It stood there inviting the bees to visit it holding its head high.

The young man in my blog held his head high in the midst of adversity. Nobody was allowed to see his struggle only his little victories.

I do not remember who now has this painting. I remember having it and another similar one and sitting talking to friends. In the company was an old lady who said that she really liked the painting. She asked if she could buy it. I said no she could not. Before I left I get a carrier bag from the owner of the establishment and wrapped the painting up and left it with her as I left to go home.

I have never seen her again but I hope she has had some pleasure from it.

This blog is linked to my other blog at:-An Inspiring Young Man

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Cornflowers


I think when you read the other blog today it will be obvious why I added the painting I did. Not the complete still life of the tale but at least the symbol of love and care part of it. This was one of my very early paintings. I was going to say when I was still wondering what to paint and trying all sorts of things but it dawned on me that I am still at that stage. I still do not have a clue what I should be painting. Some people tell me to stick to the abstracts, others say do seascapes. I have a feeling I will always be like a bumble bee flitting from one thing to another. Somebody commented yesterday on my lack of lessons. I am sure I would be able to get my head in order with a few of those but the trouble is I just cannot for the life of me paint when I am in company. That is not exactly true I was once asked to paint as a demonstration of abstract art and that I enjoyed. That of course was all planned. I just cannot sit and be creative with others even watching me.

This was painted on a canvas using acrylic paint. I was one of my very early sales being bought by somebody seeing me about to hang it. I did another very similar which I gave to a charity group who sold it and gained a fair amount for their funds. So although it is far from wonderful it has done some good and brought some joy. Kind of mission accomplished

Between the two blogs I have shown both versions of this painting very similar but not exact.

This post is linked to my other where I give a tale:- A Still Life to Save a Life

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Happy Days and Holidays

Happy days and Holidays

Not being a person like so many on here, that I admire greatly, who can do a painting a day I have sometimes used the same painting more than once. This one I again think I used way back when I started blogging. I like this painting even though it was met with very mixed reactions when I showed it at first. I had all the expected quips, “That the Monday morning washing you got hanging there?” or “What were you on when you painted that one Ralph?” or “Ah I see it if you close one eye it comes into focus, are you sure it is the right way up?” I had them all and yet I liked it.

Yesterday I booked my holiday and it reminded me of this painting. I am returning to the place where this painting was inspired. I love all those little continental alleyways that you come onto when you least expect it. Where you get glimpse a snatch of everyday life. When I remember Arthur, who I speak of in my other blog, I have warm happy feelings of what we achieved together. Memories are so often the happy spurs to the creation of further memories. This painting does that for me. I admit it is not the most wonderful representation of what it is I am trying to depict, but I was not really trying to capture the reality but the mood and the feeling. The warmth and the sense of adventure that new places create.

It was painted on a box canvas painted using acrylic and with palette knives and fingers. I hung it in one of the inns where it was sold fairly quickly. I was also asked to paint another similar one on a very large canvas which now hangs on a wall on a stairway seen by all who go upstairs in the home. The owner says it makes him smile so that makes it all worthwhile.

This blog is linked to my other:- Aurthur Not of the Round Table

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Gift

The Gift

Yesterday a friend asked me why I had never used this painting in some of my stories because she was sure it would have fitted many of them. In fact I was sure I had but it may have been when I started blogging and had no one but myself reading them. I thought nothing of that; I am always humbled and amazed that so many people take the time to read and to comment on my scribbling.

She remembers clearly the day I painted these hands and put them on my website. I can also remember that day very clearly. I was painting a pastel that day, a seascape. It was one of those atmospheric evening seascapes I so love painting. There is something so calming about walking a beach late at night with the moonlight catching the waves. My hands were covered in black and Prussian blue pastel. Before I washed them I looked and studied them. I felt pleased that these hands sometimes brought much pleasure in what they allowed me to create. I do not know what became me, but the next thing I knew I had another bit of pastel paper on the easel and I was painting my hands.

I have strange little fingers, they are crooked. You do not notice this in the painting. Did I do that on purpose? I do not know. My daughter has the same little fingers. We often joke about the fact there would be no need ever for DNA checks to prove paternity.

The painting was done on black pastel paper. I called it the gift, because I feel so fortunate to be able to express myself when words are not enough.

I am sure I have written before this painting was bought by a blind friend because his partner said it spoke to her on so many levels. One day soon Andy and I have agreed that he will sit in front of an easel and together we will attempt to put on paper some of his inner pictures.

If some of those who read my blog can remember seeing this before I apologise but for my friend, as promised, I post it again. The Gift.

This blog is linked to my other where this artwork was used:- The Princess and her Tail

Thoughts of Summer

Thoughts of Summer

Yesterday somebody commented that they liked a part of my splintered dreams painting. The one I did not like at all. Yes there are some parts of it that I do like and the identified part was one such. I painted this sitting outside my caravan door. The caravan was on a site situated at the edge of a woodland. It was exactly one year ago that I painted this. I remember it very clearly and how the early morning colours filled me with the hope of the coming of summer. I went into the van and grabbed a canvas and rushed this painting off in acrylic.

It seem appropriate to put it back on the blog today, not just because somebody yesterday mentioned it but because had I not had an accident washing the roof of my caravan I would have been sitting outside today in that very same spot. Alas it was not to be but I dragged the painting out yesterday, it is still licking about my painting space, and it still spoke to me of the coming of summer. Also reminded me that if my actions had been more considered I might not have needed to look at it I could have savoured the reality. Actions and deeds the theme of my other blog this morning.

This blog is linked to my other which can be seen at:-Doing not Saying

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Spark of an Idea

The Spark of an Idea

Sometimes when we least expect it comes a flash of an idea a moment of intense knowledge. Sometimes those are life changing moments at other times they are just the answer to a crossword. Let me explain my thinking. There have been times in my life when I was so intent on what I was doing, and what I was doing was not always so productive, but in that moment there came an awareness that I should be doing something else. Like the time I was playing in a band and we were passing round a bottle of fairly strong alcohol as we played. The music was good but as I reached for my turn with the bottle there came a moment that I realised that if I did not change my life this was going to lead to nothing but disaster.

Then there are those less momentous flashes when you have struggled with a crossword clue for ages and give up on it. Then later when you are deep in thought on something else the clue answer flashes into your mind. Not exactly Damascus road experiences but you know what I mean.

This happens to me often while I paint. I have a canvas before me and I have started on the idea in my head when for no reason at all I see on the canvas something else. If I go with the flow it sometimes works at other times it does not. So the painting at the top of this article is a seascape. Well that was what it started out as but as you can see not what it ended as.

On this occasion I was not sure but I kept it. Somebody suggested it would be a good Christmas Card and so it was that year. The person who suggested it is now the owner of it and tells me it hangs in his living room and gives him much pleasure.

Acrylic on a box canvas painted in about twenty minutes of frenzied activity. But it does remind me of those moments of wisdom that deserves to be listened to.

This blog is linked to my other where I use this artwork:-Learning and Teaching

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Splintered Dreams

Splintered Dreams

“Splintered Dreams,” was doomed for the very day I first laid the brush to the canvas. What was I thinking about? It was a time when so many paintings were floating about in my mind bits of paintings with no real meaning. Abstracts, seascapes, still life and landscapes. I really should have stopped and cleared my mind and decided what it was I was going to paint but instead I thought I would combine all the ideas into one magnificent statement.

I spent ages on each portion of this painting all the time wondering how to unite them and draw them together. In the end I came up with this. One thing was certain all those who commented on my work would have something to say. I was right they did indeed. The comments were not all as I had expected. Some people actually liked it. I had already taken a dislike of it and was determined to paint over it.

In the end the decision was made for me. I had laid it at the door of my garage ready to take it to one of the persons who had said they liked it. The idea was to see if they liked it enough to be able to live with it on their wall for a few weeks, then I would decide. As it lay there I was in full flight on one of my abstracts. I stepped back and my foot went through the canvas. The answer lay in my own hands. So here it is splintered dreams that never ever really saw the light of day.

Strangely one or two of those who did see it have asked what ever happened to it. Could I not paint it again? Well my answer is simple. I am not going down that road again some things are often best left as they are. Dreams.

This blog is linked to my other at:- The answer is in our own hands

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Mirage

The Mirage

This painting came to me as I listened to Holst, “Planets.” This music has a dream like feeling to it. I remember the first time I ever heard this work. I was living in a commune in Edinburgh. The idea of the commune was that for every student in the commune room would be made for another person in need of some help on the road of life. We were indeed a group with high ideas and I am sure many were helped by the project. I was sharing a room with a young lad and we sat one night listening to this music. We were each describing the pictures the music stirred in our imaginations. From then on every time I hear this music I see castles in the sky, the Venice of my dreams but not reality.

The day I painted this was no different other than I was using paint and not words to create the mirage. The painting sold to one of the staff in one of my hanging places. After it was sold my wife had mentioned that it would have looked well in our living room. Now this was a challenge because very little of my work hangs in my own home. Another similar work was produced and hangs in my living room. My son then wanted a similar one for his office so another similar one was painted. I very seldom paint similar paintings but the music inspired three very different yet similar works.

The painting was done in acrylic on canvas. It is 40”x20” so a substantial work. I often feel I should put that music back on again and have texture to hand and see what happens.

This blog is linked to my other where this artwork is used. It was used because the blog is about having dreams that never find time to become reality. It can be read at:-Time Waits for Nobody

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Wall

The Wall

This painting was painted immediately on my return from a walk in a forest. An old wall that had been erected in the past was starting to crumble. An assortment of plants had managed to take root in the little spaces created as it crumbled. This meant that the wall was now covered in an array of autumn colours with some small blooms clinging on to thoughts of summer.

Another example of nature taking something that is ugly and creating a thing of beauty from it as it takes it back into itself. I painted this fast in an effort to capture the wonderful feeling this wall had given me. It was really just the start of my experimenting with texture so the paint was applied with knives thickly. It is a very large work some 40” x30” painted in acrylic on a box canvas.

I think I might do this again this time using more texture to give even more of the feeling of the crumbling wall.

I thank all those who take the time to comment on my blogs it means so much to me. I love reading the comments. I found it wonderful that one person who I know is not keen on abstracts found something in one of my abstracts used this week. Thanks also for all the lovely comments made on the blog and in emails about the blog on my daughter. I am sure a mother feels very close to the child she has given birth to. The comment made on this subject really did tug my heart strings. I played only a small part in the birth of my children but I love them in the same way and I make sure they know that this is the case.

Thanks again to all who take the time.

This blog is linked to my other blog where this artwork has been used:-Barriers

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Jazz Player

This pastel painting was done very much as a something to do while waiting on something else I was doing drying. I do not very often have two paintings on the go at one time. Being a male I find multitasking something I am totally hopeless at. But this particular day I was listening to some jazz as I painted. I had been looking at pictures of jazz bands and jazz players so my head was full of images. I was transported to my youth. Those wild days; of music, dancing and above all colours, Kaftans and jeans and Cuban heels. I do not remember what I was painting that day but I stuck a piece of pastel board on my second easel and tried to capture a dream. The painting spoke volumes to me but not to anybody else it is still kicking about in my bundle of discards.

I stuck it on here because my daughter and I have a love of both books and music.

This blog is linked to my other blog seen at :-The Guiding Hand

Friday, 2 April 2010

The Painting With No label

When I began painting I began by painting only what I saw. In my opinion I was never ever very good at this, although friends used to argue with me all the time. I listened to other artists telling me about their painting experience, how engaged they became in the art they were producing. How I longed to feel this but no matter how I tried it never seemed to work. It was only when I gave seascapes a try that I began to understand what people were talking about. I so love the sound of the sea and I find standing on a beach alone watching the waves rolling in, touches me in the depths of my being.

I thought I would venture into the area of abstracts. The first thing I discovered was that they were not easy to paint. They called for a total commitment. That said they made me feel like nothing else I had ever experienced before. The big question was, and still is, could I convey this feeling and emotion to others.

Sometimes I did and sometimes I failed miserably. Somebody said to me about yesterdays abstract that had it not got the title I had given it they would have been totally lost. I know that feeling. This particular abstract I painted while listening to Dmitry Shostakovich, Jazz Variations. I painted in a total mist of emotion.

Friends who saw it had so many ideas of what they saw in it I decided to leave it without a label other than, “I am whatever you say I am.” This one stirred up loads of emotion like, dislike. One particular person fell in love with it. His words not mine. He had been made redundant and life was not treating him well. He tells me he still gets pleasure sitting on his own late at night looking at it in subdued light, the best gift he ever had.

A year later, it still has no label.

I discuss labels onmy musing on my other blog:-The Fidget

Thursday, 1 April 2010

In the Beginning

In the Beginning

As those who have been following this blog know I have a real love of abstract art. I wonder if this is because it gives me the freedom to let go and experiment and allow my emotions full vent of feeling. You also know that my first real adventure into the world of abstract was a triptych on beginnings and creation (discussed last week). This venture gave me the courage to go big and produce. “Alpha Omega,” a large explosive burst of colour. This one and another were purchased by a lovely family in the USA. Since then the adventure has gone on and I have tried all sorts of things.

This enforced time of not painting has given me much time to reflect and wonder. Some have sold some I still have. Some I have painted over and one large canvas gave me much fun. An abstract that had not sold though a good few people had told me they liked it, having viewed it on my website. I was in that kind of state of not knowing. So I painted over the signature and placed out to be collected by the rubbish collectors. It never ever reached the back of the bin lorry. Somebody removed before they came. Now I wonder? Did they hang it? Did they have a use for the canvas? Or did they paint over it? Whatever I hope it brought some joy.

The painting above falls into the same category. I do not know what to do with it. It has hung on my wall forlornly for over a year now and it is only now starting to get into my inner me. Something has to be done with it.

Now I have met some really lovely people since I took up blogging and some good advice has come my way from fellow bloggers. So here we go. All recommendations please about the abstract work on this blog. A for the Bin, B for use the canvas for something better, C for think a bit longer. Honest responses only please.

Right as I said on my other blog I have my trainers and running gear on and am heading for that ten mile run. Have a day of surprises and remind me again what day is this, apart from Maundy Thursday.

I have another blog where I have my daily musing and thoughts and use my art from time to time as a prompt for thought. It can be seen at:- Age Matters Not