Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The studio - at last!

The studio - top four windows between the green painted panels.

Castle Arcade Cardiff. The Balcony where the studio is situated.

New Year has a new meaning in 2012. New studio - great excitement! I can't wait to get back to work and in such a great place. This is it! Right in the centre of Cardiff where I have lots of memories. I came here as a student in the 60's, met and married a fellow student and had a family.
I can't think of a more inspiring place to be working. For now I'm thinking of the Christmas break and being with my sons in Frankfurt but when I get back after New Year I will be ecstatic to be finally settled in a studio where I know I can work in great contentment.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Studio space.

Going to see some studio space Monday. I hope this what I've been waiting for. I have a good feeling.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

It was warmer then.

It's cold outside, it's December. I remember when the sun was hot and the prospect of summer in France was just beginning. Somewhere south of Limoges we left the motorway to find somewhere quiet for lunch. Lipstick on for the photo.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Penarth in December

The sun was out so I went for a walk on the pier. The fishermen were there; they are always there - even on Christmas Day! People sit and look out at the sea which is not the most beautiful in colour. Not the Cote d'Azur here, the sea is dark and uninviting. Nevertheless it's tranquil and quiet and those who sit and gaze clearly get satisfaction from being here.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Plas Bodegroes

Plas Bodegroes is a michelin-starred restaurant in the Llyn Peninsula near Pwllheli in North West Wales. The owners Chris Chown and his Danish wife Gunna have a collection of my paintings. This one sits in reception and was photographed and sent to me by a man from the Lake District who first saw my paintings there and came to Cardiff in April to buy one for himself. I haven't yet made the trip to the restaurant to meet Chris and Gunna Chown but it's something I intend to do - one day!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The search continues..

In the next couple of weeks I'm hoping to finally sort out a new studio. There are a couple of options and I have the feeling that this time it will work out! We'll see!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Back from a few days in London. I saw the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy and I'm very glad I did. I began to appreciate his study of movement and (something I didn't know) his association with Muybridge. It gave a depth to his work which extends beyond the image of ballet dancers on chocolate boxes. I didn't manage to get to the Tate to see Gerhard Richter. Next time - although I'll need to be quick, it ends in January.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Need to get back to work.

My patience is paying off and after almost three weeks the muscle pain is retreating. I heard this morning that the gallery has sold a painting, one from a collection painted in France last summer. I can't wait to get back to work.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Enforced break in work

My paints remain packed away and an empty canvas on the easel stares back at me in the studio. It seems I have strained or pulled a muscle in my back which is very painful and it's needing all my patience in trying to make it better. So, for the time being, I am thinking about work, feeling a trifle frustrated but determined to get this sorted before tackling that blank canvas.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New Walk Magazine

The literary magazine New Walk has used the image of two of my paintings for the covers of their latest edition.
It can be viewed by clicking on the link below.


Click on the magazine image to enlarge.

Friday, 14 October 2011


The sun is shining in Wales and tomorrow 65,000 people in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff will be watching, on giant TV screens, the semi-finals of the World Cup when Wales plays France in New Zealand. The excitement is everywhere and there is no place I would rather be right now.
The weather's been mild and not too much of a shock after the temperatures in France. I lay in bed on Monday morning listening to the rain and felt truly home!
The paintings survived the journey and are ready for framing. Monday I start the search for a studio so that I can get back to work. But for now all thoughts are on the rugby match tomorrow.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Two more days

My son arrives from Frankfurt tomorrow and on Thursday we'll leave Montcuq and begin the drive back to Cardiff. It's very hot every day and it's a good feeling that this weather extends to Britain and family and friends are basking in high temperatures too. It has rained here very briefly on only two occasions since I arrived and I'm strangely looking forward to seeing some rain in Cardiff!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

This morning

I walked through the village early this morning and was reminded how beautiful it is at this time of day. If I could bottle this enchantment and bring it home it would raise my spirits during the cold days of winter. As it is, I have my paintings to remind me of the golden days and dazzling sunshine until I return next year. Last night I was prepared to leave; today I have a touch of sadness at going. I think of leaving my terrace where I sit in the evenings with friends listening to the sounds of the village around me. I think of neighbours calling in at all times during the day and then again I think of the mornings walking through the village - to the baker, the post-office - of meeting people I know sitting in the cafe. But, I'm not painting and that makes me restless.

Monday, 26 September 2011

My last week

The days are very hot but the mornings start with a heavy mist over the rooftops in the village. I am packing things away ready to leave next week. I have a list of things to get in Cahors and some things like wine I will buy in the village.
The paintings will be packed at the very last moment. The early ones should already be dry.
I am leaving behind long days of sunshine and an idyllic lifestyle but being contrary, as my name implies, I long to see the streets of Cardiff and I want to get back to work. Being on holiday doesn't sit comfortably with me!

Saturday, 17 September 2011


I did complete another painting and now there are five on the wall drying. The paints are finally packed away ready to load into the car. I'll carry on taking photographs of the countryside as I do the round of goodbyes. There are already new images for paintings forming in my mind and there will be may more before I reach Britain. Next weekend I'm travelling by train to the Corrèze region. It's an area familiar to me only as a landmark on my route down to Montcuq. I'm looking forward to new scenery and new ideas for paintings.

Friday, 9 September 2011

September in France

I have completed a fourth painting and it's something of a relief. Until late last night I couldn't feel totally satisfied with it. Around 10pm as I passed through the studio to shut the doors for the night I had to start working on it again. The night was warm and the studio doors were open onto the terrace and somewhere below me people were having a party.
This morning when I went to open the shutters I expected to still feel a sense of incompleteness when I looked at the painting; it often happens. I looked at it, moved away, looked again. It is finished.
Now I'm anxious to move on to the next canvas even though I should stop or the paintings won't have time to dry. But, whilst the canvas is there and the palette is already heavy with paint it's going to be hard to resist continuing to work.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Rue Droite

Rue Droite. Oil on canvas.
Summer 2003

Rue Droite yesterday.

I took the photograph of Rue Droite yesterday when it was quiet and no-one was around. It led me to think of the painting I did here in 2003 which I sold some years ago. I searched for the image on my laptop and was disappointed that the colours are less vivid than the original painting. Nevertheless I remember the summer well and I remember painting the picture. It was coming to the end of my stay and I needed to go into Cahors and search for an art shop to buy a fresh canvas. The shop now sells other things - the Art shop has gone. It happens all the time!

Back at work.

My family left for London yesterday and today a friend who is passing through the Lot will call for lunch. Then it's back to work. Two paintings completed and two more to finish. I have sold two paintings this month back in Wales which is always a nice touch! I reckon I have three weeks to paint and two to let them dry sufficiently to be able to transport them home. During the drying time I'll go and stay for a few days with a friend near Limoges.

Friday, 19 August 2011

It's hot!

It's very hot and I've suspended work to prepare for my family who will be arriving in a couple of days. The music from the fair in the centre of the village has just started up and it floats across the rooftops to where I'm sitting. It will still be playing when I go to bed and when I fall asleep.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

August in France

The mornings are sunny and the air fresh but by mid morning it's very hot and lunchtime always offers a welcome break from work. I have two paintings finished and the third I expected to have completed by now but I'm struggling a bit. It's a large canvas and they are always more difficult, as are the very small ones. Tomorrow I'll start again and hope that the work goes well.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Millennium Stadium in Montcuq.

Saturday was always going to be a good day. I worked hard all morning and then went to the café in the village to watch the rugby on TV - Wales playing England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The only Welsh person there I felt a lot was riding on this game. Surrounded by English men who were becoming increasingly confident that England would win I was willing the Welsh squad to prove them wrong. When Hook scored the try I yelled and the French barman yelled with me. Nothing could wipe the smile from my face - with the final score of 19-9 - it was the sweetest moment.

Monday, 8 August 2011

From Wales to France

I came in time to see the fields of sunflowers although it won't be long before they lose their colour. When I left my garden in Wales the flowers were in full bloom. I picked a large bunch of lavender on the morning I set off and it travelled with me in the car to Montcuq. It could be seen as madness to bring lavender to France but the fragrance kept drifting across as I drove and it felt good. Now the drying blooms sit in my kitchen, still fragrant.
Yesterday I went to the opening of a friend's exhibition of photographs in the Mairie. It was a good chance to see everyone since most of the village were there. It is possible to have an exhibition there but the gallery takes around 30 canvases. I can't see how I could get that many together, not in the short term anyway.
In the meantime I'm concentrating on the 20-25 paintings I need for the Albany Gallery in April.
My studio is set up and I'm already at work!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Driving South

Driving South Oil on canvas.

In a matter of days I will be on the motorway driving through France. Paints are packed. Fresh supplies, just delivered, sit in boxes in the hall. I'm hoping for a productive few months and a car full of new paintings when I make the journey home. Then there are my friends, some of 15 years standing, who live in the village and who help make my life in Montcuq so good.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

One Day in Spring

One Day in Spring. Oil on canvas.

Back from Germany, back from London and one more trip down the M4 to Cardiff. This time the landscape was not as it was in Spring when I was inspired to paint this picture. Then, the fresh, delicate shades of the trees in blossom were breathtaking after the cold, monochrome landscapes of Winter. My trip this time was a battle through heavy rain - where is Summer?
I am anxious to get back to work but I need to get ready for the drive to France in the next two weeks. I have two paintings I would like to finish before I go so that's what I'm aiming for.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Au Bord de la Mer

Au Bord de la Mer. Oil on canvas

I painted this in France two summers ago. I'm using it to remind me of hot sunshine - so hot you need to get in the water to cool off. Meanwhile in Britain it's warm one day, cold the next. When the sun comes out there's no-where prettier. The landscape is fresh and dainty and everything is on a much smaller scale than the large agricultural areas in France. This year I will probably get to France too late to catch the big fields of sunflowers which lie each side of the road as I travel towards the village. I will also miss the apricots but I will be there for the peaches, the melons and later the figs and plums. For now, I need to get back to work.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

No studio this time!

Darn that Dream. Oil on canvas

I have been talking of the past with an old friend who came to stay overnight. It was great and time flew by. It came at the right time because earlier in the day my hopes were dashed when I heard that I didn't get the studio. Oh well - next time!

Friday, 10 June 2011


First Day of Summer. Oil on canvas

Work is slow. I really need to find another studio. Three paintings go to the gallery next week for the Summer Show, then I'm on the move for a bit. Germany first then a few days in London. I've made enquiries about a studio going in Cardiff Bay. It would be great to get it but I'm not confident. I think there will be a lot of people after it.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Return to the Village

Return to the Village Oil on canvas.

This morning I talked on the phone to a close friend who lives in a village near me in France.
She and I have known each other for a dozen years or more and she supervised the builders as they restored my house. It will be July before I can get back to France but we started making provisional plans for when we do get together.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Time away

Just back from a week away. During that week I logged into the blog to look at my last post "Work in progress". I kept looking at the unfinished painting on the easel; I knew what I needed to do to finish it but the canvas was in Cardiff and I was in London so it was frustrating. In the end I stopped myself looking!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Work in progress

I have to forget about lack of space in the studio and just get on with it. Trying to find a place takes time and it gets in the way of work. In a month or so I will be heading to France. I'll put the word out to contacts that I'm still looking and double my efforts when I get back. If my old studio is still vacant I'll talk to the landlord.

Friday, 13 May 2011

The last of the french paintings.

The Road Home. Oil on canvas.

Click on images to enlarge.

Autumn Leaves. Oil on canvas.

Inspired by my last few weeks in France and painted in my studio in Wales; I completed the paintings in March.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Cardiff Bay

Dusk in the Bay. Oil on canvas

After a long lunch in Cardiff Bay I called in and had coffee with a friend in the building where I had my last studio. She tells me that my old room stands empty. Getting a place to work is always uppermost in my mind so I'm tempted to talk to the landlord and see what happens. I'll sleep on it and maybe give him a call in the morning.

Friday, 6 May 2011

One Day in Spring.

The painting finished I took time off to go into Cardiff to stock up on canvases. It was hot and sunny and the parks were full of people lying on the grass sunbathing. Now I have my canvases, provisions for the weekend, and the days ahead in which to paint.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

One day in Spring.

Back at work after a very long weekend break. I'm working on the Spring painting and tomorrow should see it finished. It's hard work.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


I took my camera when I went walking by the sea yesterday evening but the landscape remained unchanged from the images I took in February. It was still predominately grey and it wasn't until I spotted the blossom that I could be reminded that this was indeed Spring.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Capturing Spring

I am trying to capture the landscape of Spring on canvas. I started yesterday and will work on it today. I took a look at the painting on the easel this morning and I'm happy with the way it's going. It's essential that I keep the image fresh and delicate and with that in mind I know the next stage of work will be challenging.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Next Show.

The Albany Gallery rang to confirm the dates of my show next year. I have 12 months to put together a collection of new paintings. I have a lot of ideas!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Early paintings

View from the terrace. Oil on canvas

Village houses, Montcuq. Oil on canvas

Boulevard de la République. Oil on canvas

I look back on paintings as others may browse photographs. I can recall the time, my emotions and the inspiration which prompted each one.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Summer weather.

Summer in the South. Oil on canvas.

It's summer weather but driving down the M4 a few days ago the trees told a different story. The Spring landscape looks dainty and fresh and a contrast to the flaming colours along the motorways in France when I came back in November. It was a delight to see the blossom on the trees and the swathes of light, bright green of the new leaves. The images were beautiful and are still with me. I think it will be the basis of the next painting.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Not working today.

Today I'm making dinner of roast beef and yorkshire pudding for a good friend who's about to leave Britain for life in France. Over the years we've shared a love of all things french. Several summers she came to stay in Montcuq and we drove around the area looking at villages where she might want to settle. Now she has her house and it lies just 2 hours drive away from me, on my route back to Britain.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The paintings on my walls.

Lagoon. Oil on canvas.

Cliff Edge. Oil on canvas.

July. Oil on canvas.

Landscape. Lot. South of France. Oil on canvas

I have kept these paintings. They are taken from different collections over the past seven years.

Spring in Wales

It's blustery today but the rain is holding off. I'll take a walk to the sea-front later where this strong wind will be even more robust. I've finished the two paintings, at last. I can now turn my attention to the new canvas on the easel. It's a relief to be able to leave behind those last images of France and indulge in the beautiful images of Spring in South Wales.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A different palette

Going Home. Oil on canvas.

Looking through images of past work I came across this painting from France two summers ago. It went into the Albany Show last February where it was sold. I remember I was already thinking of going back to Britain and home - hence the name. It's September and the colours show this.
Looking at the palette I'm using now to reflect Autumn in France I am struck by how different the colours are and what a difference two months make in the landscape.

Unfinished work.

I thought I had finished the two new paintings but when I come back to look at them in the studio each morning I realise I'm not quite there.
I worked on the smaller of the two yesterday and more work today should see it completed.
The second larger canvas "The Road Home" needs a little more work. Both are France inspired; the beautiful autumn landscape of October and November very much in my mind as I paint.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Walking by the sea

Mooring. Oil on canvas.

I no longer have this painting, it was sold a few years ago, but I remember the time when I painted it. I worked from my studio in Cardiff Bay and for a number of reasons couldn't get to France that year. My images were all of the sea, the boats and the curious juxtaposition of the city buildings. My palette was made up of blues and greys. The vivid colours of the South of France were missing that year.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Boulevard oil on canvas 61x46cms

Friday, 18 March 2011

Here comes the sun.

Here Comes The Sun. Oil on canvas 76x51cms.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Two new paintings

The days are getting warmer and I love it. I've finished two paintings - images from my last couple of months in France when the countryside glowed with the colours of autumn. Tomorrow I start with a blank canvas.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Pembrokeshire Coast. Fishguard

I painted this in 2004 - it's a large canvas and I'm particularly fond of it.
I wanted to keep it since it represents a series of paintings of Pembrokeshire all of which are now sold. Nevertheless I took it with me to St Davids Studio Gallery last week. If it sells then that's it. If it doesn't, then it's mine for good!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


I made the journey to St Davids today to take paintings to the gallery. It was sunny and the sea was blue - something I didn't expect to see, I am so used to the greyness of the water in the Channel here in Penarth. The yellow gorse which characterises the landscape of Pembrokeshire adds a lovely delicate touch of colour to the countryside. I had forgotten how beautiful the drive is after leaving the M4. In the past I did a series of paintings following visits to Pembrokeshire and they have all been sold. After today I have an urge to capture the landscape on canvas again.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


When March 1st comes I expect the sun to shine and Spring to be just around the corner. That's how I remember it as a child when we were given a holiday from school to celebrate St Davids Day. It's still very cold but the sun is actually out and all the promise of Spring is in the air. Daffodils are everywhere. In the bank this morning there were pots of them on every desk and people on the streets of Cardiff wore them on their lapels. Yellow is the best colour for raising my spirits and daffodils in particular always lift my mood.
The studio I thought I would get is now not available so I have to start my search again. In the meantime I had a viewing at my house yesterday and sold a painting so work goes on.
In the next week or so I will drive to the gallery in St Davids to deliver new work and then get down to business working on paintings for the Summer show at the Albany gallery.
Today I had a call from a friend in France to say the sun is shining and the weather improves daily. I have no desire to be there. The next few months April, May and June are especially nice here. I wouldn't want to miss all the signs of regrowth in my garden or miss the flowers which, by the time June comes, will create a mass of colour.
At the end of June France will beckon and I'll be packing my paints up again.

Friday, 4 February 2011


The wind is strong and cold. I walk to the sea-front each day and to the end of the pier. The landscape is grey but when I get back I paint with a palette bursting with colour as I try to capture on canvas the last images of France.

Friday, 7 January 2011


I'm in London stocking up on paints and planning a visit to the Gauguin exhibition.

There are clear images in my head from the summer which I want to put on canvas when I get back to Cardiff.
A telephone call from a friend yesterday gives me fresh hope of finding a new studio. There may be the prospect of a really good one.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Years Day

The return to Cardiff wasn't without drama.
I finally arrived back home on the 22nd December to find deep snow and icy roads. The heating didn't work, there was no hot water and the telephone line was down. In two days time the family would be arriving and there would be nine of us living in the house over Christmas and the New Year!
Miraculously the heating was fixed in time and the house returned to normal.
I've learned my lesson. I need to return from France to Cardiff earlier, before winter sets in.
I'm looking forward to starting work again. In the meantime I've just checked the gallery website and discovered I've sold another painting. That's a great start to the New Year!