Friday, 25 June 2010



As I head off to my holiday the season of music festivals begins with Glastonbury taking place. Youth remembered. Yes we all get to that age where we tend to look back instead of forward. I have found myself doing it much and often.

I stuck this painting on my blog today because it expresses how I feel this morning as I prepare to head off. Yes there are reasons why I would rather be at home but I am sure once I get there I will begin to relax and enjoy.

This abstract I have shown before. I painted after watching some of the T in the Park music festival and event that takes place not far from where I live.

I was amazed how fast this painting sold and also surprised it was purchased not by young people but a couple.

Painted in acrylic it tries to capture the whole mood and noise of those great events.

This blog is linked to my other.  How Things Come Round

Thursday, 24 June 2010



I am so sorry that I have inflicted this on you as today. I am not sure how many posts I will be able to make during the next few weeks. I am to be on holiday. So today I went back in my other blog to almost the starting point of a great adventure for me. The adventure that has brought me to this moment in time. So what other of my art could I use but this terrible self portrait.

Some day I will attempt to do this again. Who knows maybe even while on holiday? One of my very early attempts at painting people. I just never did get it right. I did get one thing right though, the thing that people have always said throughout my whole life. I think I got the wicked twinkle in the eye right.

This was done in pastel.

Yes I could have left you with a better artwork but that is what the twinkle is all about.

I will do my best to put on some posts while away but if I do not manage as often as I should forgive me.

There is that wicked glint again. I will be thinking of you would love to think I was in your thoughts just once.

Have a great weekend till I post again.

This blog is linked to my other.  Remembering Important People

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Tempest

The Tempest

The trouble with me is when I find a new way of creating I tend to stick with it for a time. I have promised myself that this time I will develop this method of work further than I have in the past. We will wait and see if that is true. So yesterday I stuck with the limited palette I have of these new fluid colours I have been trying.

I have limited time to paint while on vacation, it is after all much more important that my wife enjoys this time away from work than me. But I have this idea of at least producing one triptych using this style of creating and this palette of colours. I hope to take it just a bit further and maybe a brighter topic.

The first and smaller of these paintings I showed you last week. The 1812 Overture. This is a larger one based on the first line of Shakespeare play The Tempest where he speaks of the storm and the thunder.

It is darker than the first, not by real intend, but because of mood, I think.

I always like to discuss finished work with a few friends and the general feeling was that they were both interesting. Some liked one some another. The bottom line I feel is they hoped I liked them both because I will probably have to live with them for a while.

So here then is the second of my adventure with this new paint and method. Painted using tinfoil, modelling paste and tissue and fluid acrylic colour.

On reflection and looking at it again I think this could also be viewed this way. What is your opinion? It might then need a new name?

This blog is linked to my other. There is Alaways Time for the Important Things in Life

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Arran Summer

Arran Summer

I chose to add this painting to my other blog this morning because it fitted well with the story I was telling. I have always been a person who put my whole being into everything I have every done. If I do something I want to do it to the very best of my ability. It is not enough to be good at something I have always to be very good at it.

Now I can hear you say that there is nothing wrong with that. You may be right but for some of us we have to beware of this tendency and always acknowledge its presence.

When I was a minister in my first charge I would never take holidays. If I was off for a weekend I would let everybody in the parish know where I was so that if they wanted me I could be contacted, and often was.

When I took up running I was running miles every day and marathons most weekends. Obsessive behaviour.

A friend once invited me to this island, Arran in Scotland, for a few days with his family. I remember him one day saying to me that I needed to give thought to myself and my family. It did not change my life over night but it made me think. I have got better over the years. When I retired I promised my family that I would at last relax.

Then I found painting. As I said I am about to go on holiday for a break and it is a good time to take stock so my thoughts took me back to Arran.

This painting sold very quickly and the person who bought it went on to buy another.

This blog is linked to my other  No Sales

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Eye of the Storm

The Eye Of The Storm

Today on my other blog I am talking about compassion for others. To be compassionate we need to be able to see past ourselves and have some empathy.

This painting was painted at a time of deep inward looking on my own part. Caught up in what was happening to my self and my at. It was during the time of the pain caused by my accident. That is no excuse for inward self indulgence.

I decided to try and vent this through a painting and this was the end result. It is not at all surprising that this now lies in a corner facing the wall. It will not sell and it cannot be painted over, there is far too much texture on it.

One day I will dispose of it. But it is a good reminder that if we become tight and inward looking then our painting can also become tight and indulgent.

It was painted using acrylic and sand. I called it the eye of the storm, I could just as easily have called it contemplation of the naval.

I can look back on it now and smile and the day after a good fathers day is the best time ever to laugh at oneself.

Sorry for today indulgence and thank you all again fro following and sticking with me.

This blog is linked to my other. Those Three Again

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Too Late To Crow Today

Too Late To Crow Today

My other blog today blog was about sharing your thoughts with others before it is too late to do so. I remember the last time I saw my old grandmother. I had visited her just before heading off to live on the remote island of Iona to work and study to try and get into university. She was so pleased to see that I was trying to improve my life. I know she loved me very much, we were very close. But as she waved to me that day I did not know it was to be the last time I would see her. I might have said other things to her if I had.

I learned from that experience. I genuinely hope that those who I care for are in no doubt at all about that. I take time to tell people that I care. I suppose being a minister and conducting so many happy occasions and so many funerals also made me aware of the need to say things to others before it is too late.

Anyway less of that and more about this painting. I have used it before. It was painted while listening to one of my favourite Rolling Stones songs, Little Red Rooster. It was kept abstract in nature to not only try to convey the proud rooster but also the depth of the feeling the music aroused in me.

Painted in acrylic and one of my early abstracts. One of those abstracts that helped me to understand what went on in the production of an abstract, coming from deep within. I often think of it as painting my inner eye.

Oh, happy fathers day to all those fathers who read my blogs. I wonder if this was where all this emotion came from today.

This blog is linked to my other.  It Is Never Too Late To Say I love You

Saturday, 19 June 2010



In response to some of the comments made yesterday about my latest abstract. Yes I also turn them in many directions not only once they are complete but during the process. I always know if I have completed the abstract I was feeling at the time if at the end of the process I am in no doubt at all about the way it should be viewed. Hopefully it is the way it was painted.

There has been for me the odd occasion when I have been working on an abstract and stopped to let it dry or to have coffee break. On returning to it I have found myself working on it without being aware I left it, “the wrong way round.”

I always have a feeling of amazement about painting abstracts. I had so many wrong thoughts about them when I started to paint. I wrongly thought, they were easy, and that they took less skill than a landscape or seascape. I now know they are equally as difficult and that they are none of them easy.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about painting abstracts. I was asking this artist friend how she felt at the end of a painting, because I always feel drained, and more so after an abstract.

All that said, I still hear the words of my wife, “Abstracts do not sell as well as your others. Stick to what you are good at.”

She makes a valid point.

Also, I would be able to paint without hearing people ask me, “What were you on when you painted that?”

So here is one of my very early attempts at an abstract. I think with just a glance at it you will see what it is lacking, emotion. I called it emotion, but I now know it lacked it.

I show it today, after showing one that had emotion, to share with you the fact that many abstracts just do not work.

Like the story of my other blog learn and move on I guess.

This blog is linked to my other. Saying Farewell

Friday, 18 June 2010

1812 Overture

1812 Overture

Yesterday I worked on this painting. I tried new paint and some new ways of producing the finished work. I am not at all sure about the finished artwork at all but it was fun doing it . I will probably try it again.

I used fluid acrylic paint. I also included some Japanese paper to create texture. Included was also some aluminium foil and have body modelling paste.

I had real difficulty getting the paint to adhere to the foil but have learned why that was so. So this painting may well be a little new adventure for me in the process of abstract art.

So there you are even at my age the learning goes on, and life is still an adventure.

I would be interested in any comments about this because reality is this. It is no good painting them if I am the only person who likes them.

Please note this painting is posted on both blogs but on each posted a different way. Now which one is it that is upside down I wonder?

This blog is linked to my other.  The Things We Do

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Positive Man

The Positive Man

Before I say a single word about this let me say to the person I tried to depict I am very sorry. I will make another attempt to get it right. I am sure I have aged the person and not at all done justice to him. My only excuse is that I was trying so hard to depict the inner being that I got the outer wrong. I do not think I will put this in the bin as yet because I kind of like the character I have ended up with. He does look like a very friendly guy and he does make me smile.

I have learned a great deal from this one. I have learned that to make a good representation of a person it is important to catch the main aspects of the persons face before concentrating on the inner quality. I have also learned that painting a person from afar is not easy.

I will try again with this one. Maybe not today, but I will make another attempt. In the meantime with apologies to him I show it and the efforts of yesterday.

Painted on black paper using a white pastel.

If you are interested in seeing the type of character I was trying to capture go to my other blog and read there.

This blog is linked to my other. Making The Best Of What We have

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Be Still

Be Still

Yesterday was the 100th post on this blog and the 170th on the other one. No surprise then that in the short time I have been painting I have not got enough paintings to always be putting new ones on here. So today I go way back to the first ever painting I sold to a person I did not know.

That person has since then become a good friend and has encouraged me to continue painting. She emails me from time to time when I least expect it and it is always an invitation to feel good. I laugh even now as I think of her and hear her saying, “How are y’all?”

In my other blog I am talking today about people who invite us to feel bad and those that invite us to feel good so it seemed appropriate to go back to this painting.

Somewhat abstract in nature it was painted on a very large canvas using acrylic.

Looking back to that time I can remember this being my first really big canvas and the daunting prospect. Now I have to stop myself from painting such large canvas, they are very difficult to sell and take up a lot of space when they do not.

I hope this one still continues to bring pleasure to its owner. How are Y’All indeed.

This blog is linked to my other. Being Your Own Person

Tuesday, 15 June 2010



Again those who have been following this blog and the other one from the beginning will remember this portrait.

This is a pastel portrait I think the very first one I ever attempted. I felt moved to do it because I liked the character the face of Dave shows. Here is a man who has had a hard life indeed. I will go no further because Dave is not a person who would want me to say too much about him.

What I will say is that he is a very quiet and unassuming person who has much to teach if you are willing to listen.

I hung this painting in his local Inn and after a short time gave it to him as a gift.

He is one of those persons like the ones I speak of in my other blog. A friend who it has been a joy to know and could so easily have remained a stranger.

Painted in pastel from a picture captured on my mobile phone.

This blog is linked to my other. Accept People As They Are

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Wall

The Wall

I added this painting today because my blog was about some of those times when we fail to see the good that is there to be seen, because we are so caught up in the pettiness and complaints of others. This painting I have shown before and although it is still kicking around my space it was a reminder of the message of my blog.

I was out walking and came across what on first site looked like an old disused wall. It was crumbling and would, or could become a future danger. The plants were putting roots between the bricks and making the cement crumble.

Then I saw the wall another way. Instead of seeing the bricks I saw the colours of the plants contrasting with the brickwork. A myriad of squares of colour.

I tried to capture this idea that even in the midst of despair and ruin there is always something of beauty.

It is getting near the time of decision for this painting. It is a very large canvas and it could very easily be painted over. I have one or two other thoughts in mind but its days are numbered. Maybe from it another even more meaningful artwork could appear.

This blog is linked to my other. The Examination

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Gathering

The Gathering

Today in my other blog I mention the gathering of nations at the world cup. There you see the sense of pride and the different ways that nations show their support. I pointed out that Scotland never seems to manage to get a team through the qualifying stages of such events. We are a nation who is used to watching their sporting teams, “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

If we ever do manage to do anything of note we have a marvellous group of supporters. “The Tartan Army.” Used to facing defeat they are stoic in their expectations, but they know how to celebrate defeat with pride.

This painting was inspired by such a celebratory event. “The world pipe band championships.” A marvellous colourful event. The painting is abstract in nature trying to capture the feeling I had as I watched the event. The noise and the colours.

The painting sold very quickly and now hangs along with two others of my abstract paintings in a home in Dunfermline.

This blog is linked to my other. Supportive Parents

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Yell

The Gift

Today I have put two paintings here. Some of you will have seen them before. As I said I have no new ones completed but these two were the topic of a discussion a couple of days ago. A friend had been looking at my website and had identified those two paintings as two that made him thing. His words not mine. He likes things that have little colour and leave the message of the painting very much to the viewer.

He is a good friend who has recently gone through a difficult time with his health and a relationship.

We talked about these two paintings, well one is a painting the other is a rapid drawing. I noticed on Kathleen’s blog the other day a discussion about when was a drawing a painting. I found that interesting. In the end does it matter if it brings pleasure.

The pastel of my hands has long gone from my possession but the Yell drawing was still around.

I gave it to Ozzy and hope he continues to enjoy it. I am not sure I would like it above my bed. But there you are again not everything as you would expect it to be and that adds fun to life.

This blog is linked to my other where Idiscuss Not Everything is as it Seems

Friday, 11 June 2010

The Conspirators

The Conspirators

Life is full of those who are quick with the wit. We can find them in all walks of life. Yesterday I heard one such wit telling the tale of the man who stopped him in the street to ask the quickest way to the hospital. His reply was, “That would be by ambulance.” Of course it was his way of telling a joke, but he is the kind of person you just never know when he is joking or not.

Life is full of such characters and over the years I have met so many and learned so much.

This pastel painting is of two characters you could see anywhere. What are they saying to each other? What is the answer to two across or maybe they are planning the next fishing expedition. Who knows? But life is full of people and as I said in my other blog often there are little gems to be found in the least expected places.

Painted on pastel board

This blog is linked to my other where I talk of lifes wits. The Farmer and the Minister

Thursday, 10 June 2010



At last I have the urge back to paint. I have painted Pendo and yesterday that was sold to her husband and he was very happy to see the painting in the mount and frame. I have painted Misty and still have some reservations about that. The owners have as yet not seen it but they are aware it is finished. Or maybe they have visited my site and do not like. Yesterday I was looking at the blogs of friends. I visited the blog of a friend from my youth, wondering if she had started to blog again, sadly no. But on the last post was a picture of her granddaughter Megan. I decided to spend a bit of time with some black pastel paper and a white pastel. Megan is where it led me.

I am sure there is room for improvement. I told my friend about it and emailed her a copy. As she emailed me back I could sense the love and the pride in her words.

She told me that Megan was a real little charmer. I am not sure if my friend will let her see it or if she might stumble on this but if she does I hope she likes it.

I can see even now that I need to soften the neck and add some shadow to the left of the neck to soften it. It is all a bit square across the bottom and that needs tidied up also, although the mount would probably sort that.

This blog is linked to my other  It Is Time To Rise

Wednesday, 9 June 2010



I was asked to do a painting of a pet. I knew almost instantly that I should say no. I have painted one or two dogs for people and as my son would say, “It is not what you are good at Dad.” When will I learn and listen to him?

I had a picture of Misty, she looked like a lovely dog. Trouble is it was not really a great picture I will put it on and let you see it. I decided the straight on pose was not going to work, having tried twice. I therefore opted to try and paint her from a side on view. This of course meant trying to see and work out the markings from a different angle.

I did enjoy the challenge, even though I am not too sure about the finished result. Misty and her owner have not seen it as yet so I have no feedback from them to share with you.

Two lessons learned. I need to learn when maybe I should say no. Lesson two sometimes the son has more wisdom than the father.

Today I deliver the, “Pendo” the painting I found equally as challenging but am pleased with the result.

I continue to read all the blogs of those who follow this blog. I apologise if I some days do not have time to make a comment. But I continue to be amazed by so much of the work I see. I am also overwhelmed when you take the time to comment here. Thanks once again to you all.

This blog is linked to my other where I hope you will today get a smile. The Atheist

Tuesday, 8 June 2010



I am sure I have shown this painting in the early days of this blog but I use them today because no other painting I have done fits so well with the story on my other blog.

Today I was telling the tale of a family who made people laugh and smile. Sunflowers do the same to me, and they remind me of some of the flowers I say in the business I spoke of.

This painting was in large part due to my making friends with somebody. He met me on day and later looked on my website. He liked this painting and bought it. We became friends and he has helped me on more than one occasion as friends do. He helped when I was in pain with the planting of my plot. I hope they make him smile now and again as they do me.

They were painted using acrylic paint on canvas.

This blog is linked to my other where I talk to flowers and gardens. The Landscape Gardener

Monday, 7 June 2010



It was with some sense of shock that I received the message yesterday from a stranger making comment about this post. This was one of my first attempts at painting using texture.

I spent a great deal of time on it and in the end I was happy with it. I was also aware that it would not sell because the ideas in it, I thought were too particular to my thinking.

I was correct in my thinking that it would not sell and to be honest I had forgotten all about it until yesterday when the message arrived.

This in fact is the first comment anybody has made about this painting. But then in the light of my other blog today it has done its task.

Maybe now I can drag it out and see if I can make something new from it.

Maybe the canvas repainted will speak to another.

The word Samadhi means concentration; the practice of centering the mind in a single sensation or preoccupation. I hope that this painting helps the viewer to this sense of peace and concentration. If you look very very closely you will see four small musical staves only one of which has notes on it. (Unfortunately it is very difficult to here). The others are waiting to be filled by the music of your thoughts. There is also a texture of square symbolic of the inner being and also the world.

This was painted using modelling paste, acrylic gel, and acrylic paint. It was painted in a number of glazed layers.

This blog is linked to my other with the story of The Elephant and the Flea

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Same Painting Different Story


I have left the painting of Pendo on here today. One because I have not painted any others since, but more importantly because this is the painting that in the last few weeks has brought most joy to others, and to me.

This is the painting that has told me loud and clear that the ghost is within myself. In the other blog I speak of the ghost that we call artist block.

There is a story there where the master shows that banishing such ghosts is done quietly and with little effort. It has taken me weeks to get that inside my mind. I hope the painting of Pendo has banished my ghost .

For that reason I am leaving it here another day.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

This blog is linked to my other.  Banishing the Ghost

Saturday, 5 June 2010



I chose the story in my other blog because of the events of yesterday with this painting. A couple moved into the village where I live in the not too distant past. Ricky and Pendo they are called. Pendo had been a teacher in South Africa and Ricky had been out there working also. They got married and eventually moved here to stay.

One day Ricky asked me if I thought I could paint his wife. He knew that black skin is not the easiest thing to paint. But he would like me to try. Without her knowing I took a picture of her using my cell phone. This is the painting I did of her yesterday.

How does it connect with the other blog? Well yesterday Pendo and Ricky had a disagreement, as we all do from time to time. I arrived to show him the painting. Pendo was not at home but out walking, no doubt feeling low, as was Ricky. When she saw the painting of her she was so full of joy. Not only her there was Ricky with a great big grin. The troubles of the day were forgotten and the painting had made them both smile.

I left feeling good. Also I left feeling that it is amazing how often art can bring a depth of joy.

The portrait was done in pastel. The idea of the scarf I got from seeing other renderings like this. The first day I ever met Pendo she had a scarf like this one and that stuck in my mind. I think she liked it. More important like the king in my other story it happened at the right moment.

This blog is linked to my other. The Three Questions

Friday, 4 June 2010

Another Poppy

Three Poppies

As you are all aware and are no doubt tired of hearing I have painted nothing of any worth at all since my accident. I am sure it is because I am trying too hard and not taking my time.

Yesterday I was down at my plot doing a bit of hoeing and weeding. I felt uplifted as I looked around at the vegetables I have planted. We will from now on, for the rest of the summer be eating our own salads. I have a row of mixed salad leaves and a row of lettuce. The more I pick some of the smaller ones the more the remaining will grow. Soon my neighbours will also be eating fresh grown produce.

I was alone at the plot, usually there is at least one other gardener around, but there I was alone. For an hour and more I gave no thought to painting. As I went to leave just opposite the gate at the side or the exit road was growing four marvellous poppies. It was like a message. Go paint something you love. I took a few pictures with my phone went home and painted just a small section of the blooms.

Just the one because I was sure if I got too adventurous I would manage nothing at all. I kept it small. I used watercolour, something I am not all all competant in using.  It is not anything magnificent but lets hope it is the beginning of something more.

But for now the poppy again is the symbol of hope. It has let me see a small corner of the world in a new way and to give thanks that I at least can see it. I wonder what Andy’s gadget would tell me about its colours.

This blog is linked to my other where I speak of Andy and Eddie.  There are many ways to see

Thursday, 3 June 2010



I have told you often about the Inns I hang paintings in. Les was the first person to allow me to do this not long after I had started painting seriously. He gave me space to hang a few. This was a tremendous gesture on his behalf and I will be always grateful to him. It was with some fear that I started hanging. Was I good enough? It was with some joy that they did began to sell.

One of the things I did fairly early on was a portrait of him. We hung it on his day off. I will leave you to imagine the comments that were made. Enough to say we all had a great laugh and he took it in the way it was meant.

He had a jigsaw made and a mug with it on it which he sent to his granddaughter so he must not have thought it was too bad.

I gave it to him and I to this day do not know what he did with it. Why did I use it here today. Well my other blog is about a man with a smile and I always see les as a man with a great big smile and real witty sense of humour.

So one of my very early attempts at a portrait in pastel.

This blog is linked to my other. The Man With the Smile

Wednesday, 2 June 2010



I was around in the 60s and some of it I can remember. It was not all it is cracked up to be but truth be told it was a wonderful time. There was an excitement in the air, and the whole movement of love and peace sang to my inner me.

I wonder if that was where my not liking haircuts came from. I wore my hair very long in those days much longer than I wear it now, but then I did not have a wife who kept reminding me I needed it cut.

I played in a band as well as having a job during the day. Thank goodness I learned a lesson that I hint at in my other blog. Money has the power to bring joy but it also has the power to destroy. Had I not met a man who was to change my life forever I think I might not have had a life to enjoy?

It is amazing the influence the 60s have had. I was aware of that yesterday listening to some of the music of the time. So many of those songs and tunes are still around as are some of the bands.

I was more a Rolling Stones than a Beatles fan but age has moulded the two and now I listen from time to time to both.

It was with surprise then that a young person recently asked me to do a sketch of John. I did one of my black and white ones using black paper and only a white pastel.

It is not at all surprising that I only showed it to the person who asked me to do it and it still kicks about in a drawer somewhere.

But put it on today because it seemed to fit the thinking of both of my blogs. Apologies to lovers of the Beatles and John in particular.

This blog is linked to my other:-Real Wealth

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Silent Thoughts

Silent Thoughts

In recent times I have been suffering from painters’ block in a big way. I have used more paint producing nothing of value than ever since I began painting. I have switched from medium to medium with little success. One or two of the things I have produced I have shown here before going on to discard.

This was one such painting. At the time of showing it here one or two people said that they liked it. I still, me being me, had great reservations.

Yesterday I was asked if I still had this painting by the owner of one of the Inns where I hang my work. I had taken this in to show a friend the day I had painted it. It was still wet.

He like me was not too sure about it. “It has something, but I do not know what it is,” he said. We stood and talked and others made comments. I lifted paint from wet spots and added it to other places. Before long the comments were flying.

“How about a wee bit of that yellow on Archie’s nose,” said one wag? Eventually the painting was returned to my workspace to be painted over.

It is painted on a very large canvas and it takes a lot of paint to cover it. For that reason it has kicked about and nothing has happened.

Now I know it will never sell and this is causing me a real quandary. The owner seemed to think it was ok. Would I be insulting him if I gave it to him, knowing that I am not at all sure about it? The story on my other blog is about sacrifice. Is there any sacrifice or real giving when what is gifted has little meaning to the giver?

This was painted using acrylic on a large canvas using only my fingers. The title of the work says it all I think, because it does not say anything very much to me at all.

This blog is linked to my other. The Monkey King