Saturday, 31 July 2010


Sorry no artwork today yesterday I was so caught up in other things I had no time to sketch or paint. As I wrote my other little blog this scene came to mind.

The other day when out walking I was taking some pictures of the sea. As I was doing so I noticed this man playing at the waters edge with his grandchild. The child was feeling so secure with him and being very brave. He on the other hand was so proud of her. The love he had was so obvious. I just could not resist taking this shot.

On downloading the days pictures I wish i had taken the time to tell him I had taken this picture.  I would love to turn it into a painting but not at all sure if I can without his permission.

If anybody who reads my blogs recognises the person can they let me know.

The picture does seem to go with the blog.  My apologies again for the lack of art.

This blog is linked to my other. The Lady on the Bus

Friday, 30 July 2010

Provence Lavender

Provence Lavender

Those of you who follow my blogs know that I sold a painting of lavender fields during my time away on vacation. You also know that my wife Irene remembered only the other day there that I had borrowed it and sold it.

Well yesterday I decided to try and make amends. But what I could not do was do the same painting. That would not be, in my opinion honest to the person who is now the owner of the original. I did however want to try and keep it close. The way to do this was to adjust the colours used. We know that with just a slight change of the colours used we can change the whole mood and feeling of a painting.

This was where today’s other blog came from. I was thinking of this and the story popped back into my head and brought a smile to my face. I know I am a bit off the wall but yesterday as I painted I was talking to my colours. I told them the story I have shared this morning.

Well the painting was completed, and I had a lovely day doing it. On completion I put it where Irene would see it as she arrived home from work. She came home, and said not a word. She must have noticed it I thought. I will say nothing and just get on with cooking the evening meal.

As we sat down to eat she commented at last. I quote. “I see you have got my painting back. Did the person who bought it decide they did not like it?”

So much for making it a bit different from the other one., and here I was foolishly believing she liked it enough to have noticed.

Well it is good that our art not only conveys things to others but has the ability to keep us firmly rooted in reality.

I can assure you it may be based on the same scene but I did use a different palette.

This blog is linked to my other. Colours

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Lavender Fields Sketch

Lavender Fields Sketch.

The truth had to come out. My wife knew I had borrowed the painting off the kitchen wall to fill a gap while I was on holiday. I am sure I told you before that the painting sold. I had forgotten to mention this to Irene. I thought least said and all that. No I was being a coward that is the truth. I thought if I said nothing she might forget and say nothing.

Last night at evening meal she was looking at the kitchen wall. I could feel it coming. When are you going to get back my painting of the lavender fields?

There was no getting out of it; I had to admit it had sold.

I could see she was not at all happy. It is unusual for her to get attached to any of my paintings, but it seems she had in this case.

So immediately after evening meal I got out my pencils and sketch pad. I went to my computer and looked again at the holiday pictures from France and made this sketch. Not the same as the one I sold but of the same scene with a slightly different way of seeing it.

All of my painting is about feeling, never about reproduction. When I look at the sketch I can remember being in the place and the smell.

So I have a sketch maybe before my anniversary I will be able to convert it into a painting and have it back on that kitchen wall. But then again I do have a space on a wall in one of the inns waiting to be filled.

This blog is linked to my other.  The Extra Five Minutes

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

THe Crashing Waves

The Crashing Waves

Yesterday I received an email from a fellow artist who had found my website. She wanted me to help her with something she was trying to achieve in her art. She felt that I had managed to achieve what she was looking for. I asked her to point me in the direction of the paintings she was talking about. She identified the three she felt had what she was looking for. I said I would look at them again and do my best.

The three paintings. “Along the shore Triptych,” “Crashing Waves” and “The Race.” Now I do not wish to disappoint her but I have to be honest. Along the Shore was done as a commission for an local recreation centre. The Crashing Waves I was not happy with and painted over. The Race is still hanging in one of my Inns unsold. Maybe she needs to think again about what I am doing.

Anyway, as promised I will attempt to answer her question here. I decided to use the one I have now painted over on my other blog. In that blog I was talking about how we strive to open the world to others as we see it. This is just what I was trying to do in this painting, to share the glory of crashing waves and the emotion they can stir up. How they can convey the inner turmoil’s and the calms of our lives. This painting I felt would not sell because of the disturbing feeling it conveys. The waves go one way the clouds the other, creating conflict.

What I was asked was how I created the wave colours. I never mix paint on a palette always on the surface. To create the translucent effect of the waves I lay down layers of white and cadmium yellow and mix it at random where I want the light green effect to appear. While still wet I add cerulean blue and a touch of cobalt blue and again quickly and gently mix them. As I am doing this I am constantly on the look out for my happy accidents. The minute I see a bit I like I leave it and move on.

I paint using acrylic paint so this method of working works well for me.

Maybe I was wrong about this painting. Others have spoken to me about it. Maybe I should be thinking again about painting some more crashing waves and having another attempt at portraying what I was trying to that day.

I hope this is a help to the person who emailed me.

PS. Ruby reminded me in her comment below that this painting was painted using my fingers. I often use my fingers when blending colours it gives me much more control over what I am doing.

This Blog is linked to my other: The Hospital Window

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Wee Burn

The Wee Burn

Let me start by giving a very fast translation of the title of this blog. I am sure you all know the Scottish word for small is the word wee. Burn in Scots has two meanings, the normal one meaning to set alight and burn with flame the other mean a little river. So anything really not large enough to be given the name river we call a burn. When I was young I remember getting my fishing net and heading off to one such burn to fish for minnows.

Yesterday I retraced my steps to the wee burn. My, how it had changed. There were trees where there had been no trees before. I saw no sign of children with nets trying to catch minnows though I did catch sight of a few of those. If I had just had a net.

It was not so warm yesterday but I still determined to do a small quick sketch. I could then go home with the sketch and another memory to put in my little magic box. (To learn about my magic box see my other blog).

The place was already full of memories for me so I opted to try and portray this seen as fast as I could trying to capture feeling rather then reality. I opted for the abstract approach. I can hear all you pencil lovers laughing. Yes I know layer on layer.

The finished product is very haphazard and has a very unfinished look to it. Maybe one day I might turn it into a full canvas abstract, in the meantime it made me feel good as I walked away to head home.

This blog is linked to my other.  The Empty Box

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Dam

The Dam

My thoughts were back to that difficult time in my life when I had to do a total rethink of what I was doing and where I was going. A minister with no voice was no minister at all. This prompted my other blog on Saturday. An email about this blog prompted further thoughts. Yesterday I returned to the place where this episode of my life took place. Strangely I do not live all that far from that place now.

When I was unable to speak I used to run each morning taking a route round a reservoir. Oddly enough although it is a reservoir it is called Gartmorn Dam. It was a beautiful run about two miles to the start of the path round the water, three miles round and two miles back. At one point a platform looking like a small harbour had been built, sadly no longer there. At this small decked area I stopped and did 20 minutes of Tai Chi looking out over the water to the Ochil Hills. Then I ran the return journey home.

Yesterday I went down memory lane and walked the route, taking my pencils with me.

Here is the result. A bit rushed and just as I was finishing this little sketch a family arrived with a dog. The young boy looked over my shoulder and asked his mother to look at what I was doing. Meanwhile the dog had run into the water jumped back out and shook himself depositing drops of water on my bad.

It seems that maybe this part of Scotland does not like me too much in spite of the fact I love it.

The blog is linked to my other.  What Kind of Person Am I?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Coatal Path

Coastal Sketch

Yesterday I walked. For the first time I took with me coloured pencils, and yes those who mentioned it were correct the ones I have purchased are of the watercolour variety. The first sketch I have done with them I showed you yesterday. This was one where I took the time to sit and do the sketch. Yesterday I was not walking alone so wondered if it would be possible to do a very rapid sketch and not keep Irene waiting for me too long.

Above is the result. A quick stop and while sitting in the old historic graveyard along the coastal path not far from where I stay I did this rapid sketch. Much less detail and a long way from Katherine’s advice about layering and layering, but it was fun to do.

I promise not to bore you with many more of these rough sketches but I am finding it exciting and new. The sketchpad I bought in Spain was inexpensive and not good quality paper. Who knows maybe soon I will decide to purchase a proper sketchbook and see where it leads.

I put it on today’s blog because in my other blog I was talking about learning from difficult situations. Sketching is not a difficult situation in any real sense but let me tell you it is new to me and I am floundering and learning.

Oh ! Can I ask? Please nobody say this is good because I know it is not. Even the most precursory of glamces and many errors can be seen.

This blog is linked to my other:  The Farmer and His Mule

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Noja Beach


Katherine Thomas is a master of the use of coloured pencils I never fail to be amazed by what she achieves with them. I have never ever used them or kept a notepad with me. I have noticed how many of you do and would love to be able to. Knowing my weakness I have never ever done so. On the last few days of my holiday I was missing painting. It is really not practical to do the kind of art I enjoy doing at a caravan.

I had taken some pastels on holiday with me but very little pastel paper. I visited a little place called Sona’ta. I ventured into a shop looking for pastel paper. With much waving of the hands I was redirected to another little shop. here I met an artist who could speak a little English. With her help I did not get the pastel paper but I did get a sketching pad and some coloured pencils.

This is my first ever attempt at doing this. I have looked at Katherine’s work so often so I know it is nothing of much worth this sketch but I have bravely decided to put it here.

My thinking is that if I do show it to you maybe it will encourage me to do so more often and maybe I will get better at it. My actual painting is never as high as so many on here. I feel pleased if I produce one in a week I like. I know some who do two in a day.

But maybe I could manage the odd sketch and just maybe some of you might help me get better at it.

So hear it is a little spot of the beach at Noja. I did a pastel of this which I gave to the Spanish family I met. It was better than this sketch but this is after all my first ever attempt with the medium.

This blog is linked to my other blog  The Garden Plot

Friday, 23 July 2010

The Gift

Caring Hands

Yes I have used this art before but I used it here and on my other blog for two reasons today. I commented on a friends blog the other day where she had used a copy of the prying hands. She has been having a rather sad and difficult passage in life and felt this painting of the praying hands was for her a comfort.

It is good that art can do so many things. It can not only portray beauty but it can also stir deep emotions in the artist and the viewer. All those years after the praying hands were painted it still speaks to the deep inner being of a person. I am sure there is not a single artist who would not give their right hand to be able to feel that just one of our paintings would have such a lasting impression.

Anyway back to this pastel. My friend emailed me to remind me of this painting. Seems it was one of mine that in some way touched her. I did enjoy painting it and I enjoy knowing where it is hanging now.

One day I am going to do another similar one and take account of the comments of my friend as to how I can improve it.

In the meantime I use it again today, for my friend.

In my other blog I talk of a world where more and more we seem to care less and less. Just so my friend knows. I hope never to travel the road of not caring.

Painted in pastel on black pastel board after painting another pastel hence the dirty looking hands. That is another tale I have told before.

This blog is linked to my other.  The Mousetrap

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Lavender Fields

 Lavender Fields

This is the third of the paintings that sold during my time away. It seemed appropriate to use it today on my other blog. We live in a world of such beauty in nature and the people who surround. It is sad that there are so many who either seem not to care or are too involved in their own lives to notice.

What a joy it is to be able to share what we see and feel, even if it is not always as we would like to be able to.

This painting was inspired by an earlier visit to France. On my return I was showing friends some of my holiday pictures. One lady asked if I would paint one of the scenes of lavender fields. When my wife saw the painting she did not want me to sell it. I had promised and I did, but painted another similar for her.

Recently due to my accident I was unable to paint and needed a painting to hang on one of the gaps created by a sale. I borrowed this one. I then left to go on holiday and during my time away it sold.

I am not the most popular person around at present when my wife looks at the place where it hung. I really do hope the purchaser gets many happy thoughts from it.

I suppose I should make some effort to paint another lavender field soon.

This blog is linked to my other.  The Girl Who Could Not See

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Jazzman

The Jazzman

Another example of a painting that I am glad I did not give up on. This one I have shown you before. I think then I explained how I used to play in a band playing saxophone. When I remember those days I see them as joyful and full of colour. Truth to be told I am not sure that his how it was but time makes it seem that way.

This painting was done in pastels after listening to some marvellous jazz playing on the saxophone. An instrument with a beautiful tone and sound and the ability to express mood like few other instruments.

I have had this painting hanging for some time and was about to give up on it and remove it. I had decided to do so on my return from holiday. Surprise surprise when I heard it had sold during my time away. One of three that I sold in my absence. Yesterdays this one and another I will share with you later as I say goodbye to them.

I used this today because I am sure if Andy could have played the sax he would have played a marvellous fanfare as he and the other blind lad reached the other side of that busy road.

This blog is linked to my other.  The Blind Leading the Blind

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Autumnal Hedgerow

Autumnal Hedgerow

I did say that I was going to leave this blog running for a few days but you know me. I say one thing and do another it is just me. I did not expect anybody to take a look at my blogs again so soon.

I would still love to hear comments about the work I did on holiday if you have time.

I thought today I would share with you this bit of news. During my time away the painting I have included here today sold. I am not sure if I told you in the past but I was offered half of the price I was asking for this painting some time ago. Friends told me not to accept the offer and to believe it was worthy of its value.

I did like the painting so I agreed not to sell. While on vacation it sold at the price I had asked. So maybe there is something worthy of thought there.

I give away paintings frequently and did so while on holiday. That seems so different from being asked to sell at half the value you think the work is worth.

This blog is linked to my other.  Facing the Unexpected

Monday, 19 July 2010

Motion and Emotion

Motion and Emotion

This is a painting I did whilst on holiday in Spain. Three canvas make up the painting. I used the bright colours of Spain yellow and red and added various forms of texture. I stayed on a caravan park beside the sea for almost three weeks. The sea where I was had high rolling waves with much movement.

This movement caught my emotions and made me feel alive and desire to be at one with the world. I tried to capture these emotions and feelings in this triptych.

It was this painting that a Spanish family watched me painting so this painting has already bridged a gap of nations for me. Because of this work I have friends in another corner of the world. Art covers all boundaries. The boundaries of emotion and language. The boundaries of culture and religion.

I will leave this blog on for a few days until I get back into my usual pattern and stride of blogging

This blog is linked to my other.  Friends We Meet