Monday, 20 October 2014

Chapel Ceiling

Been quite a while since I gave an update, basically the last few weeks has been busy doing all the preparation work on the stenciled plaster border,
Stabilizing all the cracked and blown plaster, which needed to be done before any painting could begin,
Last Friday we took delivery of the Oil bound Distemper, and tried the colours out on a few test areas, pleased to report the colours are spot on and from today the under painting of the large plaster repair has begun,
I will continue with this over the next two days 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Autumn nip

September is rolling on , and unfortunately I'm stuck inside restoring a chapel ceiling, still I do get to appreciate the lovely weather we are having at the moment watching the subtle hues of ochre and Naples yellow taking hold of the Dap green foliage,
The hedgerows are still full of fruit, an observation by some of our older members of our community is it's a sign of a hard winter to come, we shall see eh!!
I'm eager to get out with my sketchbook and camera to capture some inspirational images, 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Chapel Ceiling

Making good progress cleaning the ceiling I'm about half way across, it's quite a job to be honest, with 5 different processes , hoping to get the majority done by next Wednesdays site meeting with the architect,
Monday i shall be contacting the specialist paint suppliers in London to liaise with them regarding colour matching,
Tomorrow I shall be doing some stencil trials to get my technique sorted on how I'm going to approach restoring some of the delicate leaf design 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Chapel ceiling

Well I am just getting into working on site at possibly my largest commission to date, working on restoring this amazing painted ceiling , I didn't realize how large the area was until I got up on the scaffold, which in itself is a work of art, I take my hat off to them , it's erected at a perfect working Height and a complete coverage of all the working area, reassuring when you are 60ft above the pews!!
Initially I will be cleaning the whole ceiling area while the moulding contractors manufacture replacement moulding for a large area in the east corner which should take approximately a month, 
Once I have the ceiling cleaned I will them move on to tracing some of the stenciling to be repaired and restored,
Paint samples will be sent off to a specialist conservation paint suppliers in London for colour matching

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Mountain memories, beef stew and Cheesecake

Summer is rolling by, the hedgerows are heavy now with fruit, there is a slight whiff of autumn air slowly creeping in, that little nip that heralds the coming of shorter days , 
This relentless march of the seasons makes me stop and ponder , it seems to me as I get older my perception of time  hurtles along like an express train, so different from when I was a child when the summer seemed never ending, such was the carefree life of just being able to play and imagine, a life detached from an adult world ,
So often I feel like screaming 'stop the train, world I want to get off' although to be honest I do have that freedom in the sense that as an artist I am able to spend time out of doors sitting and observing this natural world in the hope of being inspired enough to produce a piece of work that someone else would appreciate ,
It was with this thought and hardly any persuasion from my artist friend David Cowdry that a night out on the Black Mountain up on the shores of Llyn y Fan Fawr , the remoter of the two lakes was called for,
With excited vigor, back packs laden with all the necessary bits n bobs for an overnight microadventure , car loaded and off to go,we headed for the hills,
David said he would bring the supper and breakfast for the following morning, I was to supply the dessert, beer and whiskey,
My overriding thought even as we headed off from the car park, why don't we do this more often and why is it often weeks or months since we did this last,my conclusion is that we suffer from an affliction called can't-be-arsed-ness!!! That quickly causes us to find excuse not to do things that we know once we do them we would real quite enjoy, such is the mad way the human mind works,
The long haul heading up to the bothy at Llyn y fan fach really brought home how unfit we were both of us huffing and puffing , no rest for the wicked, you are straight into a good 2 mile climb as soon as you leave the car park , passing the fishery on the way up , stopping briefly to catch our breath watching the young trout leaping out of the water periodically from the net covered ponds,
Onwards we pushed the sight of our first objective looming large and impressive ahead of us , this first section a relative straight forward assent along a gravel track up to the Bothy and dam wall at Llyn y Fan Fach,where we stopped to take off our packs for a 10 minute break and camera opportunity , a welcome relief from a rather hot and sweaty first hour,
Refreshed and raring to go we continued heading in an easterly direction following the base of the escarpment of Fan Hir and Bannau Brychiniog following the well trodden path that takes you up the steepest part back and fore between these two points here it becomes quite intimidating and foreboding the sheer wall to our right ducking under outcrops of rock covered in lichen , algae and alpine shrubs , I feel like Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins on a Tolkien epic heading into Mordor half expecting to see Gollum pop up from behind on of these dark wet rocks "This way Hobbitses"
Here the going gets really tough , almost a vertical climb with heavy packs , hunched forward on all fours calf muscles feeling like they want to explode on wards and upwards we go , we know that once up on the ridge the going will get moderately better and indeed once we hit the ridge we made quick progress to the summit of Fan Hir and the Spot height that marks the second highest point in South Wales next to Pen Y Fan, it was here that we spotted our destination for the evening nestling to the east of the ridge , the larger of the two lakes Llyn y Fan Fawr, the path along the ridge now takes us down towards the lake passing along the south shore , we cut off the path to camp on the west shore tucked in between the lake and escarpment , here we made camp pitching our tents immediately before getting a brew on and settling down to our  new abode for the next 24hrs,
Supping coffee watching the sun go down casting magenta and pink hues on indigo clouds , the gentle lap of tinny waves on sienna covered rocks, the brief bleat of a distant sheep and croak of a soaring Raven the only company afforded to us in this stunningly beautiful landscape , how privileged we are to have this on our doorstep , I crack open a bottle of Old Crafty Hen, a superior aged fine Ale , I decided to change from my sweat ridden clothes into my muppet onsie much to the amusement of David, who could not stop sniggering for hours, I didn't mind , it's one comfy piece of attire and I love it so there!!
The eagerly awaited evening meal a beef casserole of fresh ingredients none of the freeze dried packet stuff for us oh no, cubed rump stake, mushrooms , diced potatoes, carrots and peas, a home made stock , fresh herbs and seasoning ummmmm!!!
Cooked to absolute perfection by Mr Cowdry,
There is something so magical about eating out under the stars, with a wedge of Raspberry swirl cheesecake and extra thick Channel Island cream it does not get better than that,
And finally a couple of shots of Talisker Storm courtesy of National Geographic , 
A wisp of cloud covered what would have been perfect starry sky , laying on our backs on the shore watching the shooting stars pondering our place in the universe and really how insignificant we really are , puts all our trails and tribulations into perspective , being at one with nature is a truly liberating experience especially after a few shots of whiskey ,
I clambered into my sleeping bag content,
The morning sun warmed the inside of my tent, I unzipped the flap to be greeted by a bight turquoise blue sky, the suns rays glistening on a still lake like thousands of little diamonds dancing to 'The Beatles-Here comes the sun' a red kite graces us with his presence gently soaring circles in the warm updraft oh how nice it is to be free,
The frying pans hisses and spits cooking three rashers each of extra thick oak smocked bacon each flipped and pressed until golden brown with a slight crackling to the rind , a fresh free range egg each from David's girlfriend Jills hens sandwiched between to thick clouts of bread , tomato sauce Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, need I say any more,
If ever there is a cure for Can't-be-arsed-ness this must be it ,get out there and do it , experience something new , try something you have never done before, Scare yourself , laugh, 
We packed our tents, donned our much lighter packs and headed for home with big smiles 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Meerkats United

Such a wonderful day spent with a family of meekats, these intriguing little characters fill me with joy and wonder,their constant vigil standing to attention like miniature soldiers always makes me chuckle,
Being allowed access into the enclosure with them to take some pictures was a great opportunity to get close to these little guys,
I was really overwhelmed how friendly they were clambering all over me checking me out, trying to eat my shoelaces and looking for grubs in the folds of my clothes,
I am really looking forward to painting a mural on the wall of the house for them, Im hoping to start it this week ,and will post pictures

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

An afternoon on the beach

Spent the afternoon in the sunshine on the beach at Port Eynon, Gower, I love this plan spent some lovely camping escapades here , evening bonfires on the beach,
Today I had a bit of time between appointments and decided to throw my sketching bag in the car and fill in a bit of creative time, 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

A stroll in the park

I really do love and appriciate where I live , toiling in the studio today , I get a Facebook message from fellow artist David Cowdry' do you fancy a walk to Dinefwr ponds ' needless to say I didn't need much persuading, grabbed my camera bag and walking boots and off to go,
A great walk through the woods as everything is bursting to green up, and the heavy scent of Bluebells fills the air , next week I shall be spending time sketching and painting in the woods to capture this wonderfull time on canvas
One of the oldest Oaks in Wales in the park , an amazing tree, I wonder what stories that could tell us eh!!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Latest scribbles

Art drives me to the point of despair , the compulsion to pick up a pencil or paintbrush can at times be such a torturous undertaking , I know what I want to do but I can't bring myself to do it, a constant battle , yes battle I suppose a comparison can manifest itself in the shoes of a military commander looking to establish a beach head before the invasion, it's getting that first mark on the canvas or paper then the rest will follow and hopefully gather momentum,
I know that I should draw more it offers a release and spitanious reaction to my immediate surroundings and the artistic license to manipulate that reality can result in some pleasing results ,
Sketch books really do offer an insight into an artists soul and thought processes, whether it be a loose line drawing or highly detailed study , so I am compelled now to share with a wider audience my drawings under the title 'Latest Scribbles ' heading 
I hope that I can through this series of posts show on paper the inspiration that fuels my artistic engine

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Today's Scribbles

Today was gorgeous , I spent most of the morning staining frames outside in the sun, had lunch in the decking then decided to oh for a quick spin on the bike to introduce myself to a new neighbor and fellow artist Jonathan pointer,
Great chat with him and his good wife Angela,
Back at the studio I thought that I had better get on with some sketching from reference photos that I took on my recent trip up the valley, and being that I intend getting a small collection of sketches framed for a group exhibition on the weekend , it was a case of pull my finger out 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Judging and presenting prize at Llanelli Art Society Spring Exhibition

Yesterday and today I spent adjudicating the Llanelli art society spring exhibition at the coke shill centre,
It's always a pleasure to be asked to participate in the society exhibitions as a jugs over the last few years, the standard of work always impresses me , chiding a winner is always difficult but there were a few pieces that really stood out for me ,here is my final choice it's a snow scene in oils by Peter L Davies 

Friday, 11 April 2014

The love of sketching

I often lose site of the joy I get from being out in the landscape and putting pencil to paper or brush to canvas , the shear pleasure of trying to capture that moment in time , the fleeting inspiration of the passing kingfisher or Red Kite ,
This week another artist David Cowdry and myself spent the day on the banks of the river Towy in the upper Towy valley , and I must confess that it was a real shot in the arm that I needed, the fresh damp air rolling clouds with flashes of warm sunlight that illuminates the green mossy banks like someone turning on a massive halogen lamp,
I love these wooded banks with interesting overhanging trees draped in blankets of ivy and moss, twisted and knarled branches making ideal perches for the jewel of the river the Kingfisher, 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

'One of the few'

Well finally completed my latest commission and delivered it to the client , and to my relief they absolutely loved it , The moment when you unvail the painting is without doubt the scariest feeling in the world and I know many of my artist friends go through the same, that momentary protracted silence when they first see what you have been working on over the past month, 
To be honest I really enjoyed painting this piece not just because of the elements that went into making the composition but the story behind it , makes it all the more pleasing , I have now left it with them and hope that they get many years enjoyment out of it 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Spitfire under Llandeilo Bridge

Making good progress on my next commission drawing, the final painting will be a 3ft x 2ft oil of a Spitfire flying under Llandeilo Bridge, it's s pretty tight squeeze but apparently it was witnessed by a few locals, 
I am currently researching the story , the Spitfire apparently put down on Love Lodge fields which are some way down stream from the bridge , with mechanical problems , after being repaired the pilot took off and did a pass under the bridge ,
When I was approached to do this commission , the story intriuged me and decided to take it on,
There is a very interesting video on YouTube of a similar stunt performed by Ray Hanna in his Spitfire flying under Windton Bridge in Co Durham whilst filming for the 1988 tv series 'Piece of Cake'
It has an uncanny resemblance to the river Towy and the Llandeilo Bridge although Winston is made of brick rather than stone,
I  going to use photographic reference from Spitfires stationed at Pembrey during the war. indeed this could well be the squadron that the aircraft was attached to, 
Anyway back to the composition , I am toying with an idea of placing a framer and cows in the foreground will leave positioning the aircraft once the background is painted and finished. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Winter Woodcock

Snow paintings are always a favorite to do, the limited palette that I work with testing me to achieve different lighting conditions and the sense of cold, I was blessed whilst exhibiting in Pawlet Vermont in 2001,I met husband and wife artists John C Pitcher and Sue Westin, who's large snow scenes were so inspirational to me and I would like to thank Sue for telling me what colours she used for snow

Big brush day

Busy day working on decorating a cottage for a friend lovely to have a blank pink walls to paint , chose a neutral colour scheme of white ceiling and English Muffin Matt emulsion for the walls ,all the woodwork is going to be painted in wheatgrass Satin wood, hoping to get it done in the next week or so, 

Next commission

I have secured a very interesting commission which I can't wait to get my teeth into,
I am currently researching the event In local folklore, it is quite an amazing story which will make a great composition, the client is also looking forward to seeing the finished piece,
I shall keep you posted with development drawings and painting updates as the piece progresses.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Studio Work

Monday morning in the studio, several pieces in various stages of completion, two snow scenes, one almost finished just detail on the fox in the painting to finish it,and the other is a woodcock piece that i started, just finished detail on the background and will set it aside now to dry for a day or two, will then put a wash of Titanium white in a very loose mix with turps and liquin, i will give the background a good covering of this tone and then blend it with a large soft dry brush.

Images of the two Snow pieces currently on the easel,

sketch and background  for woodcock in Larchwood piece

One other snow piece that I just finished and original is available is this piece called

                                                          'Dancing on Ice'

                                            Original oil on canvas 20" x 16"