Friday, 21 December 2012

Dunfermline Abbey and Palace Ruins

Dunfermline Abbey and Palace Ruins

The above is a Pen and Ink using only black chines ink produced by grinding the ink block on a stone. Was ground and collected it is applied with a dipper pen and a small brush.

Of all the paintings I have produced this one has had the most hours of time spent on it. I am glad I have not been clock watching. 

Not far from where I live is the City of Dunfermline. Dunfermline used to be the Capital of Scotland. Now the Capital City is Edinburgh, Dunfermline still has its beautiful Abbey building but the once Palace is now ruins. 

As a young lad we used to dare each other to run along the ramparts, a foolish thing, but the way of youth. 

When I first became a minister of religion I was invited to preach in the magnificent Abbey Pulpit, under which lies the body of King Robert the Bruce. 

It is not often that I say I am proud of a painting but in all humility I today say, I am proud to have painted this one. I am sure as I learn this new medium I will do better, but for now I offer this one to you. 

This blog is linked to my other. Too Busy...

Thursday, 20 December 2012

St Peter's Church Inverkeithing

St Peter's Church Inverkeithing

This is another of my pen and ink paintings. I am blessed to live in a part of Scotland with many interesting and historical buildings. In the village I live there are so many that locals often hardly notice the beauty of them.

I have taken some delight in looking at them again. This is my second version of this one. The first one was purchased before I had even had time to take a picture of it. It is to be given as a Christmas present.

It has been bought by the son and daughter in law for the mother. It was in this building that the daughter in law first sang solo. So the building has happy memories in the family. I hope it brings them joy.

This one is hanging in the little inn in the village where I meet my friends once a week. Within about 100 yards radius of where it hangs there are at least six historical buildings, so plenty to consider.

This church plays an important part in the life of the village in many ways. A recent heritage protection project has ensured it will stand in the village for many years to come.

This blog is linked to my other. Silence Only Comes

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

My daughter recently returned home from a visit to Burma. She brought with her many little gifts for me, all the little kinds of things that bring me much joy. A lovely lying Buddha, a bracelet of jade. As she shared the experience she had I found myself searching out some of the things I had bought while in China.

While there I had bought some ink blocks and grinding stones. These beautiful ink blocks are so well made, each with symbols and pictures. It seemed to beautiful to grind that this is maybe why I had never used them.

It seemed such a shame. Somebody had gone to the time and bother to produce this beautiful ink block to be used to create lovely calligraphy. I decided to put them to use.

The grinding of the ink on the stone with water, such a peaceful way to spend time , and the beginning of any future artwork..

I have been using them to produce Pen and Ink artwork mostly of local places of interest. I will put some of them on here in the days that lie ahead.

The one on this blog is the second version of Edinburgh Castle, the first one having sold on the day I painted it.

I have kept to a very limited palette and mix the inks to create the colour I seek. Three primary colours and a black one. I am using an old pen and nib to produce the initial drawing. This every time reminds me of the days sitting in school with a dipping pen and an inkwell. The large ink bottle was out in the corridor so that each class could find it to keep the inkwells full.

Edinburgh Castle is possibly the most famous of all Scotland's Castles. Every year it hosts the Edinburgh Tattoo, where people from all over the world watch the spectacle.

It sits in the very midst of Edinburgh and can been seen from almost everywhere. I live just a few miles from this Castle but in the last few weeks I have learned more about it than ever before..

I have to say that I am enjoying these Pen and Inks. My son on the other hand wonders when I am going to get back to real art.

This  blog is linked to my other. I Am Making Progress

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Life Does Not Always Turn in Black and White.

Life Does Not Always Turn in Black and White.

Since I was last able to write a blog much has been happening in my world of art. I went through another of those deep black places where I painted nothing for a time, then I was invited to hang four paintings in an exhibition with some of Scotland's well known artists taking part.

At the same time three of my paintings left me to go and hang on the walls of other people. It is always uplifting when others are happy enough to hang your art in their homes.

I have painted one or two paintings in a very short space of time which I will share on here for your thoughts.

This painting is in a reminder, to myself, that things are not always black and white. Good or evil. That there are other colours in our lives all the time and even the dark moments are often just a shade of grey and not as bleak as they look.

This is the second painting I have done with a very very limited palette of only four paints in one and three in the other. This one has no texture other than that caused by the interplay between the brush and the paint. The other one has much more texture.

I hope the title conveys the meaning of the painting.  It is painted on a box canvas 40" x 16" so fairly large.

Painted using acrylic paint in black white and red with the very smallest touch of yellow.

This Blog is linked to my other:  The Leap of Faith

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Maze Of Adventure

The Maze of Adventure

This painting is very similar to a smaller one I did. The more I looked at the smaller version the more I felt it would look better on a larger canvas. So this canvas is more than twice the size of the other one. It is a box canvas 40” x16”

I am still in that moment of inner peace after my time of reflection.  This painting is as the last about the inner thoughts we have. We have a mind full of all sorts of positive and negative thinking. Dark places and golden moments.

Further reflection on this and the prompting of a dear friend made me aware that we often miss out on some golden moments because we keep ourselves boxed in because of our fears of the unknown.

This painting has places where one colour explodes softly into another. We sometimes have to step out of our inner fears and into the light of experience.

I hope this painting conveys this.

Painted in acrylic.

This blog is linked to my other.Adventures and Not Fears

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge

I am showing two versions of this painting. I am not going to ask you to tell me which is better, one or the other. They are different.

What this does show is that the inner mood of a person can so easily affect the finished artwork.

I do prefer one to the other but not by a great deal.

These paintings were the first and the fourth of the paintings that arose from my musings on deep and big questions.

One is painted on a standard canvas 40” x16” and I intend to make a frame for it. The other is on a deep box canvas ready to hang, again 40” x16”

I am hoping that one will sell and the other I can give to my son for his new office.

Constructive Thinking

A good friend suggested that these two paintings could very easily be made very personal by hiding the initials of the owner in the midst of it. I kind of like this idea.

This blog is linked to my other. The Warrior and The Cat

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Categorical Imperative

The Categorical Imperative

This is the second of the Abstracts I have painted since my afternoon in the Buddhist Temple.

My son, who is my greatest critic does not like this one. His opinion is it is far too cluttered and possibly even a bit harsh.

He may well be right about the clutter, but then as I have already told you these three paintings have grown from the thinking of that afternoon and the on-going thinking in the days that have followed.

Having been both a minister of religion and a teachers of Philosophy, obviously some of that thinking and questioning has been about some of the, “Big Questions.”

When we turn to those my mind is indeed a clutter and a turmoil.  I  hope you can also see that it is not dark but bright and full of life if sometimes in the clouds.

The title I hope does not confuse but in fact add to the thoughts behind it.

Painted in acrylic on a box canvas 50cm x 50cm

This blog is linked to my other. Things Are Not Always As They Seem

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Structured Thinking (Or As Close As I can Get)

Structured Thinking ( Or As Close As I Can Get)

If you read my other Blog you will be aware that I have been spending more time than I normally would just quietly thinking. I found the need to get my thinking back to some sort of normality. My head is so often a spin of ideas, thoughts and theories. Some of these thoughts are happy and joyful and lead to much laughter and pleasure. Others can be self-destructive and I need to hone in on those and stop them from causing myself and those around me hurt and harm. 

It is in these thoughts that are so often born the beginnings of the art I produce. Not surprising then that so much of it falls far short of what I desire. 

So often when I return from my mountain holidays I am full of ideas and nature paintings. On this last holiday I felt barren and empty of such. 

I thought it was to be another long time of conflict with paint. Now in the last week and a half I have painted three abstracts. Abstracts that I fully understand why I painted them, and amazingly those who have seen them seem to like them, even those who normally do not like abstract art. 

The painting I have here today was in fact the third one I painted. I think the title gives a large pointer to what I am trying to say in the work. The red parts are those area of my life I need to keep in check The other colours go from the deep of purple to the golden moments. There are places where I cannot keep them under control and they infuse one into another.

As I say, I am not unhappy with them, but I do wonder if they will ever hang on another person’s wall?

This blog is linked to my other where you can read of the birth of these paintings.What You Really have

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Poppy Abstract

Poppy Abstract.

I enjoyed doing the last large canvas, Floral Abstract. In spite of the fact that my family to a person say they do not like it, and some even stronger words, I do like it. I can see it on a fresh while wall making a colourful statement. It may not happen but that is the picture in my head today. 

With that in my mind I reached positively for a smaller canvas, one that can easily be framed, and painted a second version of it. Again my family are not at all impressed with it, but again I feel happy with it. Maybe it has something to do with this time of year, when we turn our thoughts to poppies and remembrance. This played a very important part in my calendar when I was a minister. I always made a very special effort on that Sunday because I was aware of what it meant to so many people. 

I am aware it is very similar to the last on though much smaller. 16" x 20' again in thick acrylic.

I am going to hang this painting in the inn where a great many old soldiers go. I am going to allow visitors to make offers rather than me price it. The highest offer will have the painting and the money raised will go to their special fund. 

This blog is linked to my other. A Few Things I should Know

Monday, 10 September 2012

Floral Abstract.

A Floral Abstract.

I am not sure where my art is taking me but it is for sure taking me down roads and avenues I had not thought I would travel.

My first love has always been abstract art, followed closely by seascapes and mountains. Yet recently I have found myself painting actual places from research and memory.

I have often returned to nature and poppies, but always with intent. This painting happened. I started with wonderful bright thoughts of nature and vivid colourful thoughts. Somewhere along the way poppies crept back into the picture.

If you read my other blog you will be aware that I and friends have had much debate of late about the planet and nature and our place within it. So maybe this is where the influence comes.

A large box canvas 40" x 16" using acrylic.

This blog is linked to my other. A Drop Of Water.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Isle of Iona

Isle of Iona

I lived on the beautiful island of Iona for a year as I got my life together and tried to catch up on all the studying I had not done while at school. In return for giving of my labour I was allowed to have a room in the Abbey you can see in the painting. I was also given food  and more importantly the abbey had a library where I could sit at nights on my own and read.

One of the things I did on the building that year was to help in the construction of a circular staircase. So under the bottom stairway in a bottle lies concealed a message from myself and something of my hopes and dreams.

I loved this island, all 3 miles by 1 mile of it. Its beaches and coves. The abbey and its inspiration. The daily acts of worship, in the summer with a great many visitors in the winter just the eight or so of us who continued to live in the abbey.

Do I like the painting? As usual I am very unsure. Am I happy? The answer to that is on my other blog.

My other blog can be found here.   Chasing Happiness

Friday, 24 August 2012



I was asked to do a painting of a place I had never been to, Millport.

I learned a great deal from this experience. The first thing I learned was that in spite of all the walking I do there are still little hidden gems of my land , Scotland  I have yet to discover.

As an artist who paints from the heart, more about the atmosphere and the feeling of a place than the reality of the place, this was a real challenge. I spent ages looking a pictures of Millport trying so hard to get a feel for the place.

I learned that here was a place I so desperately need to visit.

I took all the picture I had seen and let them sink into my inner being. This is what I painted.

I have been shocked to discover that the person who asked me to paint it wants to own it. But more than that I have had more than four other people from all over the world wanting to purchase it from  me.

In the light of my other blog that is linked to this one this is a joy and an uplift. Why Do I Care

Monday, 13 August 2012

Along the Firebreak.

Along The Firebreak Newer Version

Along The Firebreak before Retouching. 

As a walker and runner I often walk and run along the firebreaks of the forest. here where the light can reach the earth nature takes back its own and the grasses and the flowers reach to the light. Refracted and direct light create differnt feelings colours and moods. This picture was taken with a light in the room, without the light we have another painting all together with cooler feelings and moods, so two paintings in one. 

Those who have followed this blog over the years will have seen this painting before. I was going to overpaint it but instead decided to make some changes. I hope you can see the changes in the two paintings above.

I may yet over paint it but in the meantime I am going to give it one more exposure.

Painted on canvas 16" x 20" and framed. 

This blog is linked to my other. Sadness and Joy

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Homeward Bound.

This painting is one of the nine that last week I hung in the local inn after the repainting of the dinning area.

I remember saying at the time that I was somewhat nervous about having so many of my paintings in one place and no other artist but me for people to view and critique.

In the first week I have had interest shown in this painting and positive enquires about two others. I have also had an email from Australia about a fourth of the nine.

This on is painted on a fairly large box canvas the painting carrying over the edges.

So it seems that maybe this little venture was not a meaningless one after all.

See my other blog for the import of the above statement. Chasing Meaningless Goals

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Summer Evening France

This is another of those painting inspired by my time in France. I ran early mornings and late evenings when it was cooler. So often I ran and never met another human being.

This allowed me to just draw in the beauty around me in the silence of nature.

How I wish I could describe this in words or in paint. I try but never ever feel that I manage.

But this is yet another painting that tries to do just that.

This is a very large painting almost the largest i have ever done.

This blog is linked to my other Finding Silence

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Painting on Display.

I feel reluctant to post this blog but a good friend said I should, if for know other reason but to make it possible to show to friends.

One of the local inns I hang paintings in has recently been taken over by a new owner. The dinning area has been decorated and a larger number of my paintings now hang there. Ten in all.

It never seemed to matter very much when it was just a painting or two but when there are so many it really does feel like putting yourself out there.

I feel both honoured and yet at the same time somewhat nervous about the venture.

I apologise the pictures are not the best they could have been they were taken using my cell.

I have added three I hope they give a feeling of the whole this and the place.

This blog is linked to my other and today importantly so please look at it here. Words, Words and More Words.

Monday, 23 July 2012

A Scottish Landscape

A Scottish Landscape.

We have a marvellous few saying about the Scottish landscape and its weather. One is, "if you stand in the same place for too long you will experience all four seasons in one day." The other, "it is not bad weather it is just you who are wearing the wrong clothes."

We certainly have an ever-changing and varied weather which in turn brings wonderful atmospheric landscapes scenes.

I tried to capture this in this very abstract paintings. Abstract and yet obviously landscape in nature. I cover the canvas with texture before applying the paint. Normally I paint very fast but in this case i gave the texture a full day to dry. This meant I could look at it and get a feel for it.

I then applied the paint slowly and colour by colour allowing it to mix on the canvas.

As I look at it now I am thinking I might apply one or two small sections of purple but as usual full of doubt about whether it is finished or not.

I also have doubts about how to hang it. In a frame with glass or in a frame with a deep coat of varnish which might show the texture better than behind glass?

This blog is linked to my other.You can Sometimes try Too hard.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Poppies in France

Poppies In France

I showed this painting yesterday and then spent some more time working on it.

It is a large canvas 40" x 16" so a fair amount of paint used. I have to say it was a great pleasure to be back in front of a canvas with a brush in my hands.

I think I can now call this finished. There comes a point when I always want to add more and do more but on this I think I will stop.

Is it good? That I have now learned from a good friend is not for me to say but others to decide.

This blog is linked to my other.Positive Thinking The Name of the Game

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Work In Progress

A Work In progress

Well I wonder what it was about yesterday that was so different from other days. I ran in one of the heaviest downpours I haver ever ran in, that was one thing. But having got over that, I got back to writing a blog, something I have not been able to do in ages.

More importantly, I managed not only to put a canvas on my easel I managed to throw some paint in its direction.

I began on this painting, today I hope to complete it.

While in france I ran every morning. On these morning runs I saw vineyards, wild flowers especially poppies. In the distance was always the imposing Pyrenees with little villages at the foot of them.

This painting tries to capture those memories in one painting. Early morning runs always give me solitude and peace with the added bonus of natures beauty, I hope this painting will capture this.

This blog is linked to my other blog. The inflatable Boy

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

In Reverence He Stands.

In reverence He Stands

I painted  sunset with a warrior standing on the horizon. It sold very quickly, as the next one and then people stated asking for warrior paintings in different ways. I found myself painting warrior paintings one after the other.

I am now wondering if I painted the soul out of myself? I had a fortunate break away while holidaying in France. While away at the last two of those warrior paintings sold.
On my return I have put a canvas on my easel many times but nothing has given me the strength to pour the paint and make a start.

There is such a temptation to just paint another because I am sure I could.

At least I am back here blogging so that is a beginning I hope.

Would love you to read and comment on my other blog. Make Others Happy and in Turn Be Happy Yourself

Thursday, 31 May 2012

French Sunset.

Summer Sunset in France

I was told by a friend that it was time I posted some of my recent paintings. So without making any comment about them I will post my art two.

Homeward Bound.

I make no claims about them they as as they are. Nothing great but I think some friends seem to like them.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The warriors Head Out

The Warriors head Out.

Yes I know another of the warrior paintings, but I make no apologies this time. I have been enjoying painting this series and thinking about how I can make each one different. The local in where I hang one or two of my paintings have given me an additional space. I felt in the light of what I have been doing it was appropriate to hang two of my large warrior paintings. This is one of those.

This time I have added more than the lone warrior. The question is where are they heading with their spears and shields? Are they heading off to battle or are they going to meet friends for some ceremonial occasion ? I hope it is the latter.

Will this be the last of this series of paintings? I really am not sure I was thinking maybe the warrior needs to meet some of the local wildlife. At least I am still thinking of these new friends of mine.

This painting is 40" x 16" on a box canvas.

This blog is linked to my other.  Creating Opportunity