Monday, December 25, 2006

The End of the Year

Lots of cold and grey weather here, days short and dark.The Blog has been messing me around lately so I haven't put anything up for a while.Here is a selection of photo's taken with my phone camera - always handy as I don't carry my camera around with me as much as my phone. Look a pretty sunrise!. Peace to everyone for next year.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Yew Trees in Devon

There are a lot of good Yew trees hidden away in churchyards in Devon. In most cases they are tucked away in tiny little villages in the middle of nowhere which is a great way to preserve these beautiful ancient trees. I am lucky to have a very reasonable boss who took me to a couple of these trees last week as we were traveling around Devon in the course of our work, as otherwise these places are difficult for me to get to as I gave up driving about ten years ago. Yew trees seem to be quite difficult to age but some of the bigger ones could be very much older than 2000 years. There is an interesting book on the subject by Anand Chetan and Diana Brueton called The Sacred Yew which also discusses the work of Allen Meredith, who had a series of dreams involving information about yew trees. This tree in Payhembury is one of the oldest in the country. As Yew trees become old they touch a tip of a branch down onto the ground and this takes root and a new tree is born from the older one, so that the tree can go round and round in this spiral growth shape.

Monday, October 23, 2006


We are surrounded by nice old green lanes and with a bit of exploring you can find a few patches of ancient woodland.t's good to see some fully grown trees that are not of the dark deserted coniferous plantation variety.

Monday, August 28, 2006

More Paintings

Here are some more of my paintings for you to look at. The first is a seascape that I painted quite a few years ago now.The second is a landscape that I painted more recently.These two are only about twelve inches in size.I paint small a lot because I move house often and so these are easier to carry around with me.Also like a lot of other people I do not live in places that resemble art galleries with their acres of empty white wallspace and enormous abstract pictures tend to look a bit out of place in your average sized room.Small paintings are also a bit more intimate in that they invite the viewer to get closer to them to see what they are about.Many of the paintings on this blog are still available to buy if anyone is interested.If you would like more information on any of these please feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Folk Week

Folk Week is with us again and with it the ever present sound of wild accordions roaming across the town.There's lots of good music of the acoustic variety and it's just about the most interesting thing that happens around here in the year.This could be an excuse to plaster this blog with lots of colourful pictures of morris dancers but as usual I have my own slightly desolate view of the proceedings.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cosmic etc.

The beach seems to change between these two conditions quite quickly.It is very popular here at the moment but I am a bit of a sunshine lightweight so I tend to go to the beach when it is a bit more sensible.Sunny weather is always welcome in this country as far as i'm concerned.It is grey here for about six months of the year then when the sun does finally come out people start saying that it's too hot.Theres no pleasing english people who only seem to be truly happy when complaining.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More Rock

Here is a before and after photo of a most impressive rockfall that happened near the beginning of the year.There goes my beach.

Rocks and Cliffs

Lovely red rocks here. Over the past year and a half I have seen three rockfalls. Not the place to be when this comes down. A sound like a lightening strike then huge rocks bouncing across the beach so fast that there is no time to run out of the way. A rockfall just after Christmas missed me by a few feet; If I had been closer to the cliff I would have been very dead. Always worth bearing in mind when walking on the beach here is that these cliffs don't just fall down at night when there is nobody around.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I have been collecting driftwood for many years.All sorts of things wash up on the beach; last week I found a small plastic pirate.He didn't seem that threatening at two inches tall.Although the sea brings lots of different shaped pieces of wood I like to work with stuff that started out quite straight.I like to see driftwood with some paint left on.Rusty nails are good too.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

Walk in the Woods

On one of the first nice sunny days of the year I decided to go for a good long walk in the woods.One of my favourite wood walks is in a place so unspoilt it is very tempting not to tell anyone where it is. I have given up driving so for me it involves a lot of fiddling about on buses even though it is only a few miles away.I thought it involved two buses but it turns out that the bus that I am on becomes a different numbered bus halfway towards my destination.All this confusion about getting off buses only to realise that I have to get back on the original bus gives me an opportunity to talk to various helpful people and bus drivers from rival companies who update me on the route thievery of a certain large bus organisation.
Off the bus at the final destination I walk to the top of the hill accompanied by skylarks.I am not doing the whole walk but just a halfway in then turn around again and back out sort of walk, as I think the first half of the walk is the nicest.
England seems to specialise in wiggly paths and roads and this path through the woods is one of the wiggliest that I know of.Not only does it wiggle around trees and rocks but it also ascends and descends rapidly and unexpectedly.In many places the undergrowth is so dense that it is not possible to actually step off the path but there are a few intriguing small meanders that can be worth a look.
On most of the walk there is just the sound of birds though sometimes a sudden turn of the corner will bring the quiet noise of the sea which will again fade and disappear. The sea can also be seen in a few places but just as the path seems to descend towards a beach it will rise again and the beach will remain tantalisingly out of reach.There is a small cliff between the path and the beach and according to the maps and signs there is no way of getting onto the beach but I think there maybe a way down here and there.
There are occasional signs of rough shelters erected possibly for people to get away from it all or maybe for fishermen.They are certainly well hidden.I think you could hide away here for a long time without anybody noticing.
This walk took only about four hours from start to finish.In that time I only met three other people which is pretty good for round here.The first was a sweating tatooed ex-forces type who seemed to be walking it as quickly as he could.The second two were two boffiny types who seemed to be discussing stem cell research.I had a bit of a chat with them and they seemed surprised that I had only met one other person and wondered where everybody could be before settling on the fact that they were probably all out working to pay for these two lucky gentlemens pensions.
I suppose I should reluctanly admit that this walk is between Axmouth and Lyme Regis.Try not to go there.

Friday, May 19, 2006

On Not Overworking

This was painted a couple of years ago using only three colours and the colour of the mdf.The darker brown was painted on very quickly.I then ignored this painting for about a year and then one day I took it out again and sprayed on the yellow and the blue.A lot of painting is not the actual putting on of paint but looking and thinking of what a particular painting needs.When you have discovered what a painting needs the actual work doesn't always take a long time.In the past I tended to overwork my paintings but I have learnt that you cannot include everything in one image and that it is good to leave a lot of things out.simple can be effective.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Woodbury Allignment

A few weeks ago I was walking on Beacon Hill taking random panoramic photographs. When I got home and put them up on the computer I was zooming in on the horizon to see what the resolution and quality was like when I noticed a remarkable similarity in the shapes of Woodbury Hillfort and nearby beacon with the shapes of two tors right in the distance on Dartmoor.It appeared to me that the siting of the hillfort and beacon was chosen specifically to reflect the shapes of the two distant tors (which I think are Haytor and Rippon tor) although the only place that this is observable from is a stretch of hilltop on Beacon Hill; from anywhere else the siting of Woodbury hillfort and beacon appears to be random though obviously they are on the top of the hill.I was certain that because this was fairly apparent that someone else must have noticed this before but just in case I fowarded the picture and observation to the author Paul Devereux who is an expert on these sort of things.Not really expecting a reply as I was sure someone must have noticed this before I was surprised to receive an email from him the next day saying that it was "A keen observation" so unless anyone knows different I am the first person to have noticed and this would explain the siting of Woodbury hillfort and beacon.

This sort of thing doesn't happen much to me (although I did find two stone age handaxes in two days when I was a teenager) so I have been feeling a bit pleased with myself today.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Foggy Night

Spring is here and with it the grey clouds and fog.It's been doing a lot of this lately.

I like trying to take photographs at night and I have a nifty little digital camera which is good for this sort of thing.It is good because it is small so it is easy to carry around and you can tinker with the settings quite easily.These were taken on about a five second exposure.I am a bit lazy so I don't carry a tripod with me but have just put the camera down on walls and stones on the beach.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Golden Sea

I painted this in 2005.It is painted in acrylic and is 19 inches by 17.
This is a painting of the sea.I especially like looking at the sea from the clifftops because from up there you can see further out and see more shadows if there are clouds .Many of my paintings are of the sea.Sometimes they are memories of the sea and sometimes they are observations.Many of my paintings could be considered quite abstract but I find the natural world allready to be quite abstract.From the clifftops the sea doesn't always look like it does from the beach.Sometimes it works more like a mirror for the sky.From above the sound is more distant and removed but the endless movement of the waves can be more apparent.
I like the way that through binoculars the horizon flickers and moves; it seems to be in a state of flux with the sky.I enjoy the way that ships appear to slide over the horizon and then come back again.I like the smell of the beach.I like the beach at night when you can see stars reflected in the water or when the sea seems bouncy and alive or disturbed.It is a cliche but the sea always seems different. It can be surprising like when it is windy and you expect waves but find a strangely flat surface with just the patterns of the wind upon it.My own favourite times of the day on the beach are first thing in the morning when everything is fresh and the time after the sun goes down to darkness.
These experiences are quiet observations and they are the stuff that I try to put into my paintings.
It is difficult to write about art without sounding pretentious or mad.I will do my best but will at some points probably appear both.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Missing Cat Walks Back In Again

Minnie the missing cat walked back in through the catflap at two 'o' clock this afternoon so good news all round and many thanks to everyone helped with the search. She was very wet as it had been raining for a few hours and she was extremely hungry so my guess is that she had been trapped in someones garage for a few days.
Unfortunatly she does have a real thing about garages.She seems to have been spotted further up the road an hour and a half earlier so she must have been disorientated to take that long to find her way back. Still it's great to have her back on the sofa and I am looking forward to having her interfering with my sandwich making tomorrow morning in the hope of her getting a bit of cheese. So cheers Minnie and well done to the person who opened their garage door and thanks to all the people who we have met around the neighbourhood. I have been pleasently surprised by the level of concern shown.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Missing Cat

Nothing to do with art at the moment as we are busy looking for our cat. If you live in the centre of town here please keep your eyes open for this cat. Her name is Minnie and she has been missing since Friday the eleventh of April. She is a bit afraid of people and is a bit darker than in the photo.There are a lot of posters of her up with a phone number on . She likes going in garages a lot . It's a bit of a long shot but I thought it worth a try. Will keep you posted on any developments.