Wednesday 2 October 2013


I like my house. It's a lovely house, in a lovely city. And, facing west, it has a fantastic view ... almost ... if it wasn't for that house opposite. There's a hint of the view from the bedroom window, but it doesn't really cut it. So when the woodwork on the front gable started falling off and we had to put up some scaffolding to get it sorted, the extra 10 feet made all the difference - the view was revealed. Getting over my fear of heights I spend far too much time painting the woodwork so in the end all I manage is this quick sketch before the scaffolding has to come done.

Mmm nice - if only we could convert the loft and build a balcony ...

Sunday 30 June 2013


26/06 The Bath Prize has morphed into the Bristol Prize, but the premise is the same and the location I've been given to paint is ... Welsh Back. A tree-lined (in part) cobbled street with riverside restaurants and houseboats galore it's got a lot going for it so why am I painting this pug ugly office building? It's even got a big 'To Let' sign so there's not even a chance of selling it to an occupier. Why indeed, Mr Passerby? The answer lies over 30 years ago, before this building was here, when there was a construction that actually went with the surroundings, when it was Mail Marketing (Bristol) Ltd - a company owned and founded by my Gran and where, as a child, me and my family would drop in on occasion to visit said Gran, where I had my first holiday job stuffing envelopes, where I worked with my brother one summer staying in some flat in Clifton and drinking beer and Umbongo.

Both Gran and building are long gone now, but not forgotten and so here I stand painting this pug ugly office building. Is that okay? WELL, IS IT MR PASSERBY?!! IS THAT A SATISFACTORY ENOUGH EXPLANATION FOR YOU!!!

Huh, sorry, where was I, ah yes, the Bristol Prize and how this might not be my year ...

Thursday 20 June 2013

Porthleven PAP

13/05/13 no.4

More PAP, more wind, PAP wind, wind PAP. It's driving me crazy and yet, here I am, still painting - what's all that about? It's so windy I can't do a straight horizon and the dazzling colourful play of light across the waves is proving well beyond me. Maybe tomorrow it won't be so blowy, maybe ...

Saturday 15 June 2013

Porthleven PAP

More Porthleven PAP - yes, there is more!

13/05/13 no.2. It's so damn windy and cold. Hindsight and just a static visual representation diminish the effect, but believe me, it was howling. Regardless, I'm here to paint so I trudge along the coast path to somewhere called Loe Bar - a sand bar that forms a lake. I've heard it's picturesque, but after a mile long walk I'm disappointed and heading back along the path set up on the cliff tops to paint some gorse blossom. I've still got the lightweight easel so I try and weigh it down with bags and stuff. This works, but only for so long and eventually the wind wins and flings the whole thing over - or it would have done if not for the fact that I stop it with my paint brush loaded with bright pink paint - you can see the effects in a little pink comet whizzing through the air on the right of the picture.

I'm not sure what I was looking for with this painting and I'm not sure I found it, but moving on ...

13/05/13 no.3. There's a bit more sun when I get back so I drive on down the coast to Kynance Cove, by which time .... the sun has gone back in. It's still blowing a gale so I have to try and find a nook behind some rocks to make a fist of any painting. I'm rewarded with a small window of blue sky that lasts just long enough for a small square, which I quite like.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Porthleven PAP

Still working my way through the PAP trip last month. In order. Here's the next one and arguably the best (painting - not blog. No way the best blog - look at those meagre notes, I've got no idea what's going on. Suffice to say the weather was very different just a few short weeks ago.)

13/05/13 - No.1 - Early start - 6.00 alarm
Still cloudy, but painting by 7.30
A bit of sun!! - could be best day of the week, but damn it's windy.

Sunday 2 June 2013

Porthleven PAP

Porthleven PAP 3

Later the same day…

More mud. It's a bigger picture and I've got this unfinished thing going on on the right which I don't know if it's working or not. On the plus side it makes the whole picture vaguely do-able in the time I've got. Also, I get the church in.

I've got sufficient layers to combat the cold, I've got my cap to stop the rain from getting on my glasses, now, if only I could hold back the tide …

Verdict: hmmm, needs some work (both the painting and the holding back the tide).

Sunday 12 May 2013

PAPping in Porthleven

The Bath Prize Plein Air Painting Prize - a week B&B for 2 in Porthleven with studio facilities: Fantastic!
The reality doesn't quite live up to expectation as Yolanda couldn't come and the weather for the week is looking pretty rubbish. That said, it's still a week in Cornwall with free lodging and let's quit with the whinging [steady, let's not totally break with tradition] and get on with it:
12/05/13 pt1 - I set the alarm for 5.30 planning an early start - what was I thinking? It's a god awful time and there isn't any sun so I go back to sleep. I do find myself standing painting by the harbour at 7.30 which is still pretty impressive. It's all a bit different - grey skies (well not that), bobbing boats and constantly moving water and .... dammit, I've misjudged the temperature. It's fine to start, but then the wind picks up and it's bitter. [Think about the cooked breakfast, think about the cooked breakfast.] I think about the cooked breakfast and I just about make it to the end. Throughout it all I'm worried it's going pear shaped, but in the end it doesn't turn out so bad.
I make it back for the well earned (!?) cooked breakfast (although it turns out you can have it any time before 2 in the afternoon, which is more accomodating that your usual b&b). Sausage (am I still allowed sausage?), bacon (I'm sure there was something about bacon), fried egg (let's not start on that) and toast - every day for a week? - what the hell. 

Friday 10 May 2013

Gallery News


3/5/13 pm

Can't stop now - it's still sunny. Well, almost. It's sort of clouding over, but the sun peeks out every now and again. I try Margaret's Buildings as a location, but [gasp!] the Lime Lounge has gone! The lovely bright splash of colour half way done has been replaced by some sombre grey cafe. I'm sure it does a lovely cup of coffee, but it's not working for me compositionally so I head back to the crescent.

The tree guys have finished. All that remains of the drumandbass guys is a plastic bag full of empty beer bottles. Ah, lovely. Just the occasional thwack of a football and a "pass the ***ing ball you ****er, you ***** ***** *****" - an idyllic scene. 

I have to remember the sunshine most of the time, but it seems to come out okay and at least I brought my brushes.

Saturday 4 May 2013


3/5/13 - am

It's a sunny day - exclamation mark. And it's a painting day - double exclamation mark. This could be the summer, so I've got to make the most of it - a three month hiatus from PAP is inexcusable. In my haste to get going I leave all my brushes in a nice little pile in the studio. I only remember this after I've walked up the hill and set up my easel and paints. On my way I pass Mr Walkanddrawbath who I've never met before, but have heard of through the wonder of the web. He sets up over there in the middle of the grass while I am standing on the road in front of the Royal Crescent. Without lifting a brush (because of course I haven't brought any) I have to pack up and slink away - 1-0 to Mr Walkanddraw.

I go back to the studio and get my brushes (all neatly in their pile) and return to the scene. This time I do actually paint a picture and it doesn't turn out too bad. Mr Walkanddraw packs up before me and comes over to say hello. He seems quite nice, we have a bit of a chat, he's going to message me. While distracted the wind picks up, and blows my easel over. I try to rescue it with one hand (the other clutching my palette and brushes) only to smear the painting across my jumper. Mr Walkanddraw politely leaves me to it - 2-0 to Mr Walkanddraw.

I make some attempt at repairs, but the light has moved too much. Godammit.

Other things:
  • There's loads of flies on the walk past the allotment - must be the first warm day for ever that's brought them all out at once or there's a big pile of manure the other side of the hedge.
  • There's some tree guys chopping down a tree.
  • I get stopped by some school girls doing a survey about Bath - the last question is, "what do you think would improve Bath?". I struggle with this one, knowing that their survey is going to make all the difference and finally, unhelpfully, come up with, "Better weather."
  • The yellow lines by the crescent must have been repainted they seem particularly vivid today.
  • Some older boys (students?) arrive in the park and sit down just near me. No problem, but for the hardcore banging drum and bass tunes they start blasting out. What with that and the chainsaw from the tree guys there is no peaceful vivaldi moment. 
Regardless, spring has definitely sprung.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Gallery News

This one's a bit out of date and I'm not sure why I didn't post it at the time. It could be because it's not very funny, but then again, that's never stopped me before. Regardless, I like the paintings and I think it is now so far out of date as to take on historical significance. Enjoy. Or not.