Monday, 31 May 2010

The Glory of Poppies

The Glory of Poppies

I have used this art before but for once I do not feel at all worried or concerned about using it again.

The last time I used it I spoke mainly of the painting. How it had been painted and where it was now. I will not repeat that and left it as said.

In my other blog today I told a simple story of the love of a son for his mother. (Told in the form of an elephant parable) Such love and respect has to earned. The poppy is used as a symbol of reminder of the sacrifice made by many on our behalves, in war and conflict.

Yesterday I spent the day with my family, in the warmth of the fold. We cooked and ate outside then we sat and remembered.

In the course of our talks we talked of Willie. He was a member of my church. He had lost a leg in the war and for the most part he went about on crutches. He had a false leg which he used on very special occasions only. On the day as an elder he served communion he would be seen wearing it.

He did a tremendous amount of work around the building. He could often be seen up a ladder on his one leg.

He and my son had a great relationship. They talked like two equals. One day my son was sitting on the wall beside Willie.

“Willie,” he said, “ I have been wondering a lot about something.” “What is that?” asked Willie. “I was wondering how you managed to get onto a horse,” said Ross. “Ah,” said Willie, “that is one of the joys the war has taken from me.”

Ross thought for a while and pondered. “That really is terrible that people do things like that,” he said.

“It is indeed,” said Willie, “but there you are, some people had to give their lives. I have had to give up riding a horse.”

“Well,” said Ross, “I will remember that every time I ride the horse at the farm.

It seems he remembered a lot longer than that.

This blog is linked to my other.  To be Respected and Loved is a Joy

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Haunted Memories

                                                                     Haunted Memories

Families, friends’ new and old, work and life all bring with them the source of memories. The longer I take part in the world of blogging the more I am astounded by all the wonderful memories we all have.

When I was a young minister in my first charge I remember visiting older people. They had their memories and longed to share them. My first reaction was, “I promise never to get like that.” I saw it as living in the past and boring the pants off everybody else.

Thank goodness I quickly learned that without those memories we have no meaning or identity. When I grasped this I saw that those memories were precious moments. The fact that they had been held onto gave them significance. There were lessons to be shared, joys to be experienced and laughs and love to be found within them.

Oh dear, Ralph the old romantic again!

When I stand before a canvas, I ask it what it wants me to say. It cannot just be about putting paint of the medium it has to reach into the inner being and tell its story.

So what was this all about?

I was meditating on all the wonderful hopes I had as a young man. I was sure I was going to change the world. Well here we are and as my other blog says today, the world goes on as it was. So many of the dreams of my youth are now no more than, “castles in the sky.” How easy it would be to get sad at that thought.

But there are so many other castles I have built and will yet build to leave as memories.

This was one of those acrylics that painted itself in a very fast frenzy of paint. It is still in my possession, but then so are the thoughts that inspired it.

This blog is linked to my other:-  Life Changing Moments

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Remember the Night We Painted the Town Red

The Night We Painted the Town Red

This painting was an attempt to put something on the canvas. I have had a fairly good little period of sales this last week or so, but have painted nothing to replace them. Truth to be told I have wasted more materials in the last few weeks than I have since I began painting.

I have tried watercolours. I have returned to pastels. I have discarded acrylic after acrylic.

So I hear you laugh and ask why I did not discard this one also.

Yesterday a sale painting was being taken from one of my spaces. I thought that rather than flog the same poor horse another day I would try something different.

I mixed some paint, colours I would not normally use. I mixed it thin enough to pour.

The painting you see was poured onto the canvas. It was left to partially dry then with a knife moved here and there.

I was about to clean it off when a friend told me he liked it and to give it some time.

So it is hanging and we shall see.

Painted using acrylic. I have to say the picture does not really allow it to be seen from further back. Where it is hanging it is viewed from further back. I have had some reports that it is at least causing discussion.

I wonder how you view it. Look one way and you can see rows of glasses of amber nectar used to paint towns red. Or look another way and you just might see a hint of the town itself.

This blog is linked to my other where the art is used.   Falling Asleep

Friday, 28 May 2010



I hope to have a new painting to put on here soon but rather than just not do anything today I thought of sharing this quick sketch. I remembered I had it somewhere as I wrote about Archie and his love of a little flutter on my other blog.

I have three Inns where I hang paintings for sale. Each one has its characters. Jackie is one such character so like Archie in so many ways. He too has his daily routine and it involves the placing of a small wager on a horse or a dog. As he says it adds a wee bit of interest to his day.

He is on first sight a serious looking character but he is so full of wry humour. He also has a wonderful ability to make you feel at ease and to see that the world is not at all a bad place to be.

Now I am by no means young, yet whenever he sees me he will always say, “Hi laddie how are you the day then?” For those of you unfamiliar with the word laddie it means young man. Now does that just not make you smile. There is always somebody older than you.

I have a number of sketches of the characters I meet. They are all just quick five minute drawings. Like Katherine I give them to the people I draw but I keep a small copy of them just for memories of people and places.

This blog is linked to my other where I tell a tale of an old charcter. Is IT Worth the Gamble?

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Thoughts of Spring and Love

Thoughts of Spring and Love

This painting was one I thought I would never be showing on here but in the light of what I learned yesterday I am. I had sold a painting from one of the Inns that I hang paintings in for sale. I was due to be away over the weekend and needed something to put up in a hurry. I saw it as a kind of tide me over till I had something better.

I rushed this one off. I was aware that it was not the best I had ever painted. I do not know why I called it, “Thoughts of Spring and Love.” It just seemed a title that said what I thought the painting said. It was maybe just a case of me being the old romantic again.

I headed off for the weekend. On my return I was shocked to discover that this painting had sold. The owner of the Inn did not know who had bought it just that it was a couple.

I discovered yesterday it was the couple I had married all those years ago. They still have it and they say it still gives them joy.

Painted on canvas using acrylic.

This blog is linked to my other where the art is used.  The First Day of the New Marriage

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace

This is the eightieth post on this blog. I am now showing art that I am sure I have used before. Yesterday I took a moment to look back over the almost three years I have now been painting. It is amazing to realise that in that time I have in fact painted so many paintings. Even more amazing to realise that of all of those I have sold more than eighty of them. I have given away probably half then number I have sold.

So firstly I apologise if I am repeating some of the early ones. My spell of not being able to paint has meant that I am not nearly so productive anymore.

I am also aware of the fact that the followers of blogs are very busy people and have more to do than come on here and view repeats.

With this in mind I am thinking I may post less often on this blog only posting new works.

This painting seemed to fit well with today’s story. This is in fact a very well known sight on the road between Scotland’s two largest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow. I painted two versions of this painting, one using pastel and one in acrylic. Both sold very fast. How tempting it was to push my luck and paint another. I am glad I never have because I am sure that would have been a complete sell out to all I believe about why I paint.

I paint firstly to bring joy to others. Secondly to give me an outlet for the creative juices I can no longer spend on the things I did during my working life. To paint just to sell would go against all of that.

This is the acrylic version.

This painting was used on the blog:- The King and His Palace

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Lilly Pond

The Lilly Pond

I am sure one or two people have seen this painting before but it was way at the begining of my blogging.

Lillies and Lotus hold a special place in eastern philosophy. They are used so often to give living examples of how it is possible to raise oneself from troubles or difficult times up into the light of a new day.

This is a kind of theme that I cling to and keep returning to so it was not surprise to me that I at one stage would want to paint such plants.

This was my first and only attempt. I thought at the time I was best to leave this topic to the greats who can do it so much better than I ever could.

This painting is now in the USA it was surprisingly purchased from me to be given as a gift to another. I often look at it and wonder if I should try again? Or have I been wise to leave it alone?

Painted on a large canvas using acrylic paint. One of my very very early ventures into acrylic.

This post is linked to my other blog Beware of Retaliation

Monday, 24 May 2010

Aonoch Eagach Ridge

Aonoch Eagach Ridge.

This is one of the most famous of Scotlands mountain ridges. Probably one of the most frightening of all its walks or runs if you do not like open airy places.

I am not sure if I have used it on my blog before. How I wish I had indexed what I was doing on here. My memory is not at all what it used to be like.

I painted this using pastel on pastel board. I enjoyed the process because in the doing of it I was able to stand again on the spot from where the scene is depicted. In my mind I was there, looking at the prospect of that airy path with its back step pinnacle halfway along.

The painting sold very quickly hanging less than a day before it was purchased. It was bought as a wedding gift so I hope the eventual owner gets pleaasure from seeing it.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I mention a mountain experience:- Difficult Situations

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Doodles and Portraits

The Gardner.

You have all seen this portrait before, well most.  In my other blog I mention Archie. He is a marvellous character.

He loves baking. Yesterday when I met him on his plot, like me weeding, he gave me a present of a large cake of shortbread. "Take this to your old father in law."

I have a little doodle I do. It ends up like three little parrots sitting on a branch. It is done with just a few strokes of acrylic. I have it on my specs case. Archie wanted me to do one for him on his. We sat in the sun and I did the two minute doodle.

He has had great pleasure showing it to others and laughing about how easy he did it.  As I say a real character.

Yesterday I sold another painting making three in a week. It was time to do something. So yesterday I gave Archie his painting and my son his.

I hope they both enjoy having them.

Tomorrow I will try to be more light hearted. Life is indeed wonderful.

This blog is linked to my other Liberation

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Floral Dance

The Floral Dance

I read recently, in an art magazine, a number of letters about the rate at which people paint. I have read on some blogs the same discussion, in one or two where it seemed somewhat heated.

It always makes me wonder why so much energy can be spent on such matters. All those creative juices, flowing back and forth. I think it was Susan who said, something about each person having to find what is right for them.

Yesterday I showed two portraits of my son painted in pastel using only a white pastel. It seems the general opinion was that the better of the two was the one that took the least time to accomplish.

This “painting” I used today was one of my happy accidents. I was laying down a ground colour of yellow ochre. I had a painting in mind where I was going to use the lichen I gathered on my walk. I was at the same time putting white on another canvas. I accidently touch the white paint with the ochre brush. I loved the effect created, so left it. Having looked at it for a moment I went on to create similar strokes and effects.

So here it is a very minimalist painting in three colours. They make me see those little flowers that dance in the breeze. Of course these are not real flowers, does that matter?

Flowers have learned to dance in the wind. They know if you fight against it the wind will win, and break them. So they dance with it and create beauty. I hope that is what my other blog was saying also.

Painted using acrylic in yellow ochre, white and burnt umber.

This blog is linked to my other where I use the artwork   The Joy of Obedience

Friday, 21 May 2010

Ross 2

Ross 1 and Ross Version 2

The other day I showed you a portrait sketch I did of my son. I did it very fast yet I felt I had captured the nature of my son. My wife did not agree. She said she agreed it looked like him but was not just right. Yesterday I did this one. Again I worked fast; I try so hard to capture what I feel. This time I thought I would attempt to lighten it. I also tried to take account of the criticism made by his mother.

When she arrived home from work I had both sitting side by side. “You were right,” she said, “the first one does capture him better.”

Why did I use it on today’s blog? Firstly I thought I would like to see what you thought. More importantly here is a serious thinking man who throughout his life has faced adversity with humour. He was very like the student in the story.

At an early age in life he lost an eye and had a glass one fitted. One day his teacher had been, in his opinion, rather harsh on him. Later he asked permission to go to the toilet. On return to the class he was carrying his eye. “Miss, my eye came out and I cannot get it back in,” as he placed it on her desk.

The teacher told me this story later. She said she felt well fitted up, and thought twice about when to give him a talking to. I am sure all the teachers can tell similar tales.

Another thought. My son always jokingly assures me he will make sure he gets me a good retirement home. He makes me laugh and he is a great pal.

Painted using a white pastel only on a sheet of black pastel board: painted in 30 minutes.

This blog is linked to my other where I include this artwork:-  Old Age Brings its Laughs

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Summer Rains in the Park

Summer Rain in the Park

As most of you are well aware I have been struggling with an accident. Fortunately it is almost a thing of the past; I am getting back to the old me.

The worst part of this time has been the feeling that I was no longer creative. I binned more paint and artwork than I produced anything of worth.

It was getting me down. As hard as I tried, nothing seemed to work. So can you believe my surprise yesterday? I began to prepare to paint a cocker spaniel for somebody. I did a trial sketch and I was feeling that given time I just might manage it.

That said I was still not full of confidence. Over the weekend I sold a painting, a large one. Yesterday the one I did in the midst of my low period sold. I only put it out to hang a week ago, not believing that anybody would want it.

It has been purchased by a couple who have already purchased from me. They had made a special trip over to see it having seen it on my website.

I was not going to put it there, so I thank all of you who told me that I should. I really do need to trust you.

So today I tackle the dog with a new enthusiasm.

The painting you have seen before. It was painted in acrylic, using mainly my fingers and a knife.

This blog is linked to my other where I use the artwork. Real Prosperity

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Incoming Tide

The Incoming Tide

There is something marvellous and peaceful about a harbour when the tide is out. The boats seem to be lying at rest, awaiting the incoming tide and the next period of labour. Some will tell me I am dreaming, it is the time when much of the work of keeping the boat ready for sea is done. I just find the whole scene so restful.

I see many boats where I live; along the coastal path are many small yacht clubs and harbours. I seldom paint them, for a number of reasons. The first is my real lack of drawing skill, I find them difficult to capture. Secondly, if you do not get them just right those with greater knowledge of boats soon let you know. Lastly I never ever seem to catch the inner feeling they stir in me.

I was painting this scene in an attempt to capture the feeling of peace I speak of. My mother in law, a lovely lady, had died just prior to this. My father in law was visiting, still grieving the recent loss of his life long partner. He saw the painting lying and commented that he liked it very much. I asked him what he liked about it. He told me it was peaceful.

It seemed maybe I had managed to at last do what I had failed to so often, capture the peace.

I mounted it and framed it in a stainless steel frame. It now hangs above his fireplace. I hope it still gives him a sense of peace.

Painted using pastel on pastel paper.

I have another blog which is usually related to this one but today on it I speak of other things:- Learning Right From Wrong

Tuesday, 18 May 2010



This is another painting that those very few people who have been with me from day one may have seen. I had an idea for a painting and it had gone very badly wrong.

I was feeling very frustrated at the thought of cleaning it all of and beginning again. I stopped and looked, then looked again. I began to believe all was not lost. In the midst of what I had painted I saw the beginning of something else.

With very little tweaks the painting I show today appeared. I was painted using knives with acrylic on canvas.

It sold within days of going on my website and I believe it still gives joy to the family that bought it.

Why did I choose to use it today? It is like a snowflake. A snowflake is such a fragile thing. The minute you catch it, it is no more.

If we fill our lives with wants we can swamp our lives with things that are beyond our reach. Or we could reach out and grasp and find it is not what we thought.

It is important to know what it is we need and do not need in life.

This blog is linked to my other blog:- What is it we Need?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Two Paintings


I chose two paintings today. One of myself I am sure some of you have seen before. One of my very early attempts at painting a self portrait. I do not know at all what went wrong with this painting. I has ended up not looking at all like me. As you know I am young and handsome with not a grey hair in my head. This portrait looks very like the old man who lives behind my bathroom mirror, the one who growls at me every morning.

This was painted using pastel on pastel board. It lies hidden in some drawer somewhere out of sight. Do not want to give too much encouragement to that old grump.

The second painting is of a large semi abstract. It was painted using acrylic paint with the addition of sand to create texture. This painting was one I was about to give up on and consider a repaint.

As you will be aware if you read the other blog, yesterday brought me to my senses with regard to my level of fitness. So with that in mind I sat down in the awning of my caravan and mused of the day.

It was then I received a message to tell me that this painting had sold at lunchtime today.

Is it not strange how things often turn round to bring balance to a day.

With that in mind I go to rest this evening to face tomorrow. I am so missing reading all your blogs but will be returning home very soon and will make a point of catching up with you all.

I hope this is for all of you a day of balance and joy.

This blog is linked to my other where I use these paintings:- Getting Younger Every day

Sunday, 16 May 2010



The other day I told you of my first meeting with my daughter. On today’s blog I spoke of what might have easily been the last day of my son and I. I have had many such scrapes in life but this one I remember vividly. Ross and I have done many foolhardy things together and have had the odd scary moment. This day I speak of must rank high on that list.

I am a very fortunate person in the children I have and the relationship we have together. There is no doubt shared moment as this is a very bonding experience.

Yesterday I shared my 25 minute tiger. Today I share another fast sketch done on the spur. Again I had left the pastels and paper to the ready just in case I felt the urge. This took a bit longer that the tiger. I think this one might have taken nearer forty minutes.

Painted using black pastel board and one white pastel.

I apologise the picture is a shade darker than the original. I do not have access to the original just this picture.

My son is a young man who thinks very deeply and analyses everything. Because of this I thought I had to capture a deep and serious mood. I would not say it is a wonderful portrait. It is recognisable. Still to hear his thoughts on it, if he reads this it will be his first sight of it.

Again the good thing is, as Jerry would say, I am alive and back painting.

Precious Treasures

Saturday, 15 May 2010

The Killer

The Killer

I have been having a terrible time trying to get back into painting. For a time it was the constant pain and the need to take strong medication. Then when I was ready to paint again, I found I had lost everything I had ever had. I painted, one after another, only to bin them.

So many of you have taken the time, and given me some very good advice. You have either posted a comment, or sent an email. I am so grateful, hence my thoughts on my other blog about how precious time is. That you have time to give me makes me feel humble.

On the basis of the advice given I have in the last two days or so decided to a few things. I have changed back to pastel, and may try again some watercolour. I have materials to hand, but have no urge to feel the need to paint. If the urge comes on I will give it a try.

So here is the first. I looked at a pastel paper and thought I would do a fast and quick sketch. I decided to do it in one fast movement of colour. It is not the best tiger I have ever painted, but it is certainly not the worst.

It well probably go the same way as so much in the past few weeks, but at least I have got something on paper. What is more I feel brave enough to share it with you.

So please feel free to be as critical as you like. The painting took 25 minutes using pastels on white pastel paper.

This blog is linked to my other where I use this artwork as an example of one who surely kills:-

The Killing of Precious Things

Friday, 14 May 2010

Love Explodes Into Life

Love Explodes Into Life

My journey on the theme of love continued with this painting. This was the last in a group of three. I have made no effort here to define the love I am speaking of in each of the three paintings; I will leave you to work that out for yourself. If you have read my other blog these past days, and I am always surprised how many do, you will be aware of my thoughts on the meaning of the word.

This one was painted in total silence. So much of my work is done with music playing. Sometimes the music is the music I create as I whistle my favourite tunes. Once I used to be able to sing, now I am grateful I manage to speak. I so miss signing so I compensate with the whistle.

This painting had no whistle, no music, just that inner burst of emotion as you contemplate the things that make you LOVE. The love I speak of is AGAPE. (See the other blog)

The colours used were the colours of my mind on that day. I looked at no colour wheel I just painted. I could almost have done this with my eyes closed.

I have been talking with my blind friend Andy about this topic. Of colour and how we would depict in the inner eye the thoughts we have.

He is almost ready to put a canvas on an easel and we will begin an adventure.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I have used this artwork:-  The Three Loves

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Loves Expression

Loves Expression

Yesterday I gave you the explosion of love in colour and music. Today I give you another aspect of what I thought was the three expressions of love. Love comes softly into our lives like a cloud. It creeps in unexpectantly. It catches us unaware when we least expect it.

The feeling I am trying to describe is best described by telling you of the first day I met my daughter. I had been in maternity hospitals many times before. It was part of my job to visit and be with people at the sad times and the happy times. Visiting new mothers was always a happy event and I always left feeling it was the most wonderful thing I had just witnessed.

So now I was on my way to visit my wife and meet my daughter for the first time. In those days fathers were no allowed into the event. So I had done this hundreds of times, I new it was going to be a happy occasion and I was looking forward to it.

Can I describe what I felt when I first saw her. There are no words. It was like a cloud of emotion changing and moving first one then another but bringing with it colour and a bubbling sense of pride and joy. I took her tiny hand and I could not believe what I was seeing, her little pinkies were exactly like mine, with a distinctive bend to them. Sometimes clouds bring rain this cloud brought tears, of joy.

Every time I see her I smile again and the feeling of pride and joy rains into my heart once more.

Somebody tell me, when is Fathers day?

This was the second of three small canvas that I painted on the theme and thoughts of love. Painted in acrylic.

This blog is linked to my other where I have used this artwork:- Gifts and Giving

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Explosion of Love

Explosion of Love

I chose this painting today because in my other blog I was talking about love. Over the past blogs some of you have teased me about being an old romantic. I am, through and through, and I am not ashamed at all to admit it.

It worries me that we have devalued this emotion, the emotion to be romantic and to care for each other. We are so full of what we love, so aware of  the desire to be loved.  I was moved to read the blogs of what people had done for mothers day in the USA.  Mothers day is long gone here in the UK, a distant memory.

I was not brought up in a home where love was ever spoken of. I knew my father cared deeply for me even though he never told me so.

So love has always had deep meanings for me. It is something I keep coming back to. In my thoughts and in my art. Much of my art is a desire to express love, the love of people, the love of nature, my love of music.  My making art for others is another attempt. I never fail to tell my children how much I love them, and if they read this they know it is true.

This was my first attempt to express love in art. I played the music that moved me inwardly and I hit the canvas with paint. This is what happened. I am sure it speaks more to me than to any others but speak to me it does.

Where is it now? 

Painted in acrylic as one of three small paintings.

This blog is linked to my other where I speak of love.:- Show Me

Tuesday, 11 May 2010



This is another abstract one or two people may have seen in the early days of my blog. To those I apologise. I used it on today’s story blog because it is for me a painting that cannot be taken in at an express rate. We do indeed live in an express society.

This painting was painted in one sitting, but it was a long full day and it is not a large painting. When completed those who looked at it first said they could not understand it at all. Those who looked a second time said they began to see things in it and thoughts and pictures were created in their minds.

The family who have now owned it for some time tell me it shows them something new every time they look at it.

I wonder how many people cane see the face of the child.

This was one of two paintings and I am sure you have seen the larger of the two. It was painted using mixed media and at the time I was in a very experimental mood.

My accident and the subsequent pain seemed to kill that in me. I have been struggling to do anything of any value at all. Yesterday I came home from some time away. I read so many blogs see all that I had missed. Among those I looked at  Claire's and saw somebody who was really pushing the boat out. It made me want to paint again with that sense of experiment and adventure.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I use this artwork:- The Maker of Incense Burners.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Happy Tulip

The Happy Tulip

As most of you will know I have a real love of flowers and nature. You will also know if you have read my other blog that I have been spending some time away in my new caravan this weekend. On Saturday evening I went for a short walk with my wife son and daughter in law. Hey had come to visit and see the new van.

Louise has just volunteered to help in the Scouts working with the younger children. As we walked she began to ask me about the various trees we were passing. How you could remember the different types and the names. She has to be able to show the youngsters, trees, flowers and birds.

I was in my element, and she also seemed to be enthusiastic. As we walked I told her of my father and how he had instilled in me a passion for wildlife .I told her how I knew every tree bird and flower by name, as he shared his passion with me.

He also made up stories of the characters of the trees and the flowers. I believed every word he said, as you do. Soon different trees and plants took on a character of their own.

He grew flowers and showed them at floral shows. He always spoke of tulips as happy smiling flowers. So as I wrote today of the happy Chinaman my thoughts did go back to him and his happy tulips.

So here is one of my very very early attempts at painting a happy tulip. I painted it in acrylic. It was never shown to anybody and to this day it is in a cupboard out of sight. I will not paint over it because it was a first and it does have happy connections.

I return home today so hope to catch up on your blogs I have so missed reading them.

This blog is linked to my other where I tell the story of the happy Buddha:- The Happy Chinaman

Sunday, 9 May 2010

From a Distance

From a Distance

I think I have shown this painting before but in the very early days of blogging. This is one of those paintings that come as a happy accident. I was not at all happy with the painting I had begun. I decided to begin again. I took a very large brush and spread the paint across the large canvas. I then left it to dry before applying a coat of gesso and start again.

I went to have a cup of coffee while the paint dried. On my return I was captured by the faint idea of a painting. Instead of painting over with gesso I added the hint of waves and the two distant figures. Now it could be said that this was a happy accident but it was an accident waiting to happen. I had been running early that morning. I had run along the beach at North Queensferry. As I ran in the silence I became very aware of the vastness of it all. I stopped and let the sand run through my fingers. Every grain of sand all needed to make the beach. Every person needed to make humanity.

Here I was the small and tiny figure in all this trying to play my part and take my place.

So a happy accident but one that who knows happened as per circumstance.

I called it, “From a Distance,” and I still have it. I will not sell it because I have a good friend who does not have an easy life. He loves this painting and one day soon it will hang on his walls. He and I may in fact be the only two who do like it but does it matter?

This blog is linked to my other where the artwork is used:- Say Nothing

Saturday, 8 May 2010



Today in my blog I spoke of my dog Damon, I know I have shown you a sketch of him before, so today I show you Betsie. One of my friend’s wife was very ill in hospital. I went with him one day to visit her. She was very ill indeed and was finding it difficult. During the conversation she spoke more than once about her dog and how she was missing her.

How I would have loved to have broken all the rules of the hospital and sneaked her in to visit. It was just not possible. So after the visit I went to his home and did this very quick pastel drawing of Betsie. My friend took it up to the hospital later and blue tacked it to the wall where she could see it. It hung there till sadly she died.

I hope it brought her comfort. There does seem to be something between people and animals that can speak and say the words that we want to say but can never quite find.

I know that my friend took the drawing home and that he still has it in his possession, so maybe it is a small part of the cherished memories he has of her.

This blog is linked to my other blog:- The Wondrous Moment

Friday, 7 May 2010

Cape Lilly

Cape Lilly

Is it not amazing the wonder of a flower? I used to tell all wedding groups to please take care to look deeply at the flowers that played such an important part in any marriage. They are the silent witnesses to the events of the day. They silently contribute to the beauty of the event.

The wonder of nature in all its glory.

It is no surprise then when I started painting that my first steps into art were my attempts at painting flowers. Strangely, I was never really attracted to botanical art where the artist strives for the perfection of the flower. I did attend a workshop where a wonderful botanical artist led us through her process. In three hours we did about four petals.

Meditation plays a very important role in my life and how often the beauty of a flower can hold my mind in thoughtless wonder for a wondrous time of peace.

So the flowers I paint are not the flowers of perfection but the flowers that stir my inner being. Some of you whose blogs I follow have fed me with the wonders of your flowers so often and I thank you all.

So today I give you one of mine.

One of the first ones I painted when I first got my hands on acrylic paint. I painted it on canvas 16” x 20”.

I was so surprised when somebody offered to purchase it. I had sat contemplating it for a good number of days. I occasionally put it on my computer screen and still do so.

I am not sure if I will manage to post my blog this weekend but will make every effort to do so.

This blog is linked to my other where the art is used:- The Sound of One Hand

Thursday, 6 May 2010



This painting, as until yesterday and large seascape that had kicked around for sometime doing nothing but taking up space. Every time I saw it I took a bigger and bigger dislike to it, so yesterday I converted it to this abstract.

I was feeling good within, it was nice to be pain free, and I felt full of bright colours and joy. I just wanted to let this bubble forth onto the canvas. I had not real plan, which is unusual for me. I normally have an internal picture fighting to break free. What I was sure of as the colours, the colours I see al around. New leaves popping onto the branches, yellows of daffodils and primroses abound. While in my garden, there are the bright reds of a rhododendron and azalea.

So with these colours and no others, and my knives and fingers I attacked. The original painting was landscape, so this one was going to be portrait. I do not ever remember painting a portrait abstract this size. I did paint it in landscape but all the time trying to see it in portrait.

When it as finished I showed it to a fellow artist see it in landscape. The comment was positive, so now I had a problem. I let two friends se it. They did not like it at all. When I turned it round to portrait they began to look again, and I think maybe they saw something else.

Is it finished? I am not at all sure. Will I leave it? Or will it go the way of the seascape?

The most important thing for me was this. If I had just had a little bit of silence yesterday would have been a marvellous day.

I am not at all sure about the title of this I may in fact leave it without a name and let it say nothing.

I hope those who read this find ALL they seek this day.

This blog is linked to my other where I talk about silence:-  The Desire For Silence

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Along the Shore Triptych

Along the Shore Triptych

I used this painting today because in many ways the story of this art and the story I used has some parallels. There is, in the village where I live, a community building for those in the later years of their lives. In the basement of the building was a cellar that was not being used. It was agreed that this room would be made into a meeting room and games room. Fundraising took place to raise the needed cash to convert the room. Some local business associations contributed an amount.

The room was plastered and decorated. The purchased some carpet bowls, darts and a table tennis table. Some furniture in the form of comfortable seating was gathered and the place was looking good. The residents were pleased, and they had a real sense of pride in the place, each had in some way made it possible.

The one thing that was missing was windows and a view. It was not going to be possible to put windows into the room because of where it was in the building.

What was the solution? I painted six large canvas producing two paintings. They were hung on the walls where windows might have been had it been possible. I am aware it is not the same as a real view, but they did brighten the rooms, and more importantly the residents liked them.

How does this relate to the story? I had a terrible time convincing them that I did not wish paid for painting them. I saw in the end though that there was a matter of pride and feeling involved. So they made a contribution to the canvas and I was able to give the rest. All in the end were pleased.

Each painting consisted of three large canvas painted using acrylic.

This blog is linked to my other blog where I use this painting:- The Greedy Artist

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Hi Daddy

Hi Daddy

I thought this little sketch and the story behind fitted well with my little teaser today on the other blog. This is a sketch of Kirsty who live in Australia. We were talking about a painting and art one day. She also told me about how great a relationship she had with her father and how she missed him. He did not live in Australia and for the life of me I cannot remember where.

For a laugh, we decided to do a mock up of the Bob Dylan video with a sketch of her holding a message for her father. It was just a very quick sketch and we added the hat and the message sheet. She thought it would be fun and that he was sure he would love it. I transferred the file to her, I still have the original.

I have never spoken to her again so I never ever found out the outcome of the sketch. I just hope he liked it. I was reminded of this incident when Katherine spoke of giving sketches to of her students to them before they left school.

Please do not feel the need to comment on this it was a fun meeting and just a fun sketch. I know she enjoyed it and hence my reason for using it.

If you by any chance happen to see it Kirsty would love to hear the end of the story when you showed it to your dad.

This blog is linked to my other blog where the sketch was used:- Dear Dad

Monday, 3 May 2010

Coastal Path on a Rainswept Day

Coastal Path on a Rain Swept Day

I wish to thank you all for all the very kind remarks about my Coastal Rain painting yesterday. I know that they were spoken with sincerity and this moved me.

I said yesterday that I would post the second of these paintings today so here as promised is it. This is another section of the coastal path I am fortunate to live close to. This path goes all the way from the famous Forth Bridge round the coast of Fife to the equally famous place of St. Andrews the home of golf.

My son moved into a house which looks out over the River Forth and this part of the coastal path is very close to his home. So when he bought this house it seemed that it was appropriate that this is where this painting should hang. It is still there today.

Again it was painted using acrylic and painted along with the one I posted yesterday using the same palette. They are not of the exact same part of the path so the vegetation was different. These two paintings brought me much pleasure in their production. The downside was when I was finished; I noticed I had splattered paint all over the place. It took me almost as long to clean up this mess as to paint the pictures.

This blog is linked with my other blog where the artwork was used:- A Tale for Kay

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Rain Along the Coastal Path.

Rain Along The Coastal Path.

I chose this painting on my other blog because at first reading it was a very sad story and I suppose for most of us a rainy day on a walk is a sad day also. The thing about this painting though and the story of the other blog is that things are not always as they at first seem.

This painting tries to capture the atmosphere of that day. I was so glad to be running along the coastal path because the light and the atmosphere had a sense of magic. I held that in my mind and produced two large paintings and two small ones.

One of the large ones was purchased almost instantly by a person who lives on the coast the other was claimed by my son for his new house.

The two small ones well sadly nobody seems to want to purchase at present and they hang in the local inn. They have been on my website for some time and still they are not sold.

Today I am showing you the small unsold ones on the other Blog and here the first of the large ones who knows maybe I will use the other large one another time.

All paintings were painted in acrylic and painted in one of my frenetic moods two one day and two the next while I remembered the mood and the atmosphere. I remember at the time listening to Mendelssohn’s, “Fingals Cave “ having visited there often it seemed so right for the mood.

I am beginning to feel that maybe the weekend is not a good time to be posting on the blog. I am aware that fewer people read blogs over the weekend understandably. Any comments you have on that I would be grateful.

This blog is linked to my other where you can read the story of:- A Case of Priorities

The two small paintings used or my other blog are best viewed at my website:- Seascape Paintings

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Autumnal Hedgerow

Autumnal Hedgerow.

This is the second version of my hedgerow. This time I tried to aim for even more of the autumnal colours, not sure I managed it. This painting has not sold and needs moving from where I have it hanging. I am not easily insulted and seldom if ever take umbrage but this painting brought me some pain. I liked it and so I splashed out and made an expensive heavy gold style antique frame. When I hung it I got an email from somebody who works in the inn where it is hanging offering me a lot less than the price I had asked and in fact less than it had cost for the frame. My first reaction was to let her have it but she did not really know me and had only worked in the place a very short time. I said no and since then have felt really bad. I am reluctant to go over and change it but I must do so.

I would be interested in your thoughts about these two together as a compare and contrast. See once a teacher always a teacher, compare and contrast indeed.

Again painted in acrylic using knives.

I have been reading all the blogs I follow this morning and have had to come back to my own and make comment about how wonderful I am feeling after the experience. So many of you lifting my inner being with your words and your art. The other day Kim gave away a painting today Kay says she is going to do the same and then Katherine says she is setting herself a similar challenge. This is marvellous, maybe we should all decide to give one painting a year  and we can record it. It need not be anything large or expensive, my little Autumn Watercolour was small.  I love the joy people get when they get even just a little painting.

This blog is linked to my other where this is used:- The Way of the Wolves