Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

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Three Cliffs Bay, Gower    Watercolour over pencil on paper    20″ x 16″   Sold                                                   

A view of the dramatic three peaks and the bay’s prominent, large sand dune from the West side of the valley, near the Chalets. This foreground sand dune once extended another 150 yards or so to its left side from this viewpoint,  allowing a large lake or lagoon landside, behind it to form, when filled by a high tide. A similar lagoon was evident at Whiteford Point on a high tide, but this too, has very recently had its seaward, protective dune wall washed away by fierce winter high tides and the lagoon is now not so impressive or full as it once used to be.                                                                        

Three Sorrento Sunbathers

Three Sorrento SunbathersThree ladies in Marina Grande Harbour, Sorrento, 2006.  Watercolour  10″ x 8″

Paintings of Mumbles and Gower, South Wales

Here are 4 watercolours of the Gower Peninsular and Mumbles, in South Wales. The first is of Mumbles Lighthouse seen from the sea, with Bob’s Cave noticeable. In the background is the Mumbles Pier, still standing but for how long is anybody’s guess, with all the rust on the iron supports. The second is of the old Salthouse ruins in Port Eynon Bay, an infamous place connected with smuggling and salt production in days long gone. It’s shown as it might have appeared around the turn of the last Century. Pictures 3 and 4 are of Caswell Bay (situated at the start of the Gower Peninsular) and Whiteford Lighthouse, at the furthermost tip of the Peninsular. This marvellous, largely deserted stretch of coastline, is the home to many sea birds and wildlife in general.450-img_0220.JPG 
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First two oils on my latest paintings blog.

Here are two small oils to kick off my latest paintings blog.  

I’ve just arranged a new venue/Gallery in California to display my paintings in and things have taken longer to start here than I thought. Anyway, these studies of fruit are done on board and took a short morning to do. I find it helps to start on two paintings at once when working in oils; as one dries a little with some fast-drying gel mixed with a few drops of turps, the other one can be started. Then a few, thick strokes to finish and give them an oily, layered finish which will dry in their own time!  

Please contact me for any enquiries and painting details, as most of the paintings in this section will be available.

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Welcome to my latest paintings

Hi! May I extend a warm welcome to the “latest paintings” blog, the part of my website where new, available paintings will be offered for sale, hopefully on a regular basis. Each new work will also be accompanied by a few comments about them, what made me paint them, what was the inspiration that drove me to paint them. And of course, I will also welcome any constructive comments about them and be happy to explain any of my methods or techniques used and to share ideas with fellow artists and enthusiasts be they amateurs or fellow professionals.

As an introduction to this link I would like to take the opportunity to explain where I stand as a painter, what my thoughts are about the current art arena, (I might even say “circus” to birth my viewpoint), that we all presently find ourselves a part of in this first decade of the 21st Century.

I was trained initially as a graphic designer and illustrator and secondly as a painter. The first discipline taught me to accurately set down what was before me, to depict and record the form and texture of my subject while the second permitted me to clothe it in a painterly mantle. This painting process, a continual engagement with discovery, success and failure in illogical measures, continues still as it must do for any practicing artist throughout their career.
So I have come to regard myself as a traditional, realist painter who attempts to paint and portray honest, true to life images people may recognise, visually sympathise with and understand. My watercolours may often have been too detailed but my oil paintings thankfully allow me to reveal a greater freedom and looseness in my technique. It is in this broader style and with this medium that I hope to paint more frequently from this point onwards in my career and display at least one new oil painting each week on this “latest paintings” link.

It seems to me that an awful lot of today’s artists just do not possess the ability to draw or sketch competently and can only produce abstract or totally simplistic renderings of their subjects which must therefore rely almost wholly on a complicated and ridiculous verbal explanation to accompany them and compensate for their artistic shortcomings. But for me it doesnt compensate and no amount of explanation and waffle can adequately persuade me that a bad, meaningless dawdle with pen or pencil is anything more than this.
We are living in strange times. Political correctness holds firm, we are almost prohibited from thinking what we will, let alone from saying it. Though of course, we all do think whatever we will. Our thoughts remain ours for the moment!
Some of our British university students today cannot spell adequately and perform basic arithmetic after graduating and likewise, our art college graduates may easily begin and finish their art degrees still unable to draw, having not been taught it whilst undergoing their course. Totally and utterly unbelievable! Thirty years ago such possibilities would have been regarded with ridicule. Something seems terribly wrong to me.

I remember having had the pleasure of meeting and talking with two of the greatest painters Wales has produced. About 20 years ago I met and chatted with Alfred Janes and barely 2 years ago, while on a painting trip to North Wales, I met Sir Kyffyn Williams near his Anglesy home.
Fred Janes was a meticulous painter, a craftsman who experimented with many techniques and mediums throughout a long career. He was a member of the brilliantly articulate and exspressively original group of poets, painters, composers, musicians and critics who became known to many people in the 1930’s as the “Kardomah Boys”, so named after the Swansea Cafe they met in. Among them were Dylan Thomas, Vernon Watkins and Daniel Jones.
Alfred Janes could take a long time to paint a picture; they were often intricate and crafted with laborious attention to fine detail. For him the pleasure in any painting process was in the craft it involved, the skillful methods that were required from him as artist to arrive at the finished painting which he viewed as just an end product. If this final picture was a success then that, to him, was a bonus. The method was the rush.
I remember him as a quiet, friendly and modest man who was happy to talk to a young fledgling artist, provide advice and discuss his own work and what had been and what still was, important to him in his career.
How different from many of today’s young artists who ignore or are incapable of the artistic journey. They want only the fame and notoriety that their meaningless creations so frequently provide them with thanks to the blind approval our blinkered art establishment seems so willing to provide.

I met Sir Kyffin Williams near his home in North Wales and remember vividly that he was far more outspoken and annoyed with current art matters than was Alfred Janes! We soon got to the modern art scene and while I mostly kept quiet and respectful in front of him, I clearly remember feeling secretly delighted we were on the same wavelength concerning modern art, conceptual installations and the like. Sliced sharks, cows and sheep in glass-fibre aspic, unmade beds and elephant faeces as pigment did not appeal to him as a valid art form and his strong views about them appealed to me and re-inforced mine. He also thought the curriculum followed in art colleges today was disgraceful and felt appalled that drawing and sketching was not always taught in them.
Both these fine artists knew the value and necessity of being able to draw. Both experimented with various techniques and used different mediums for their paintings throughout their long and successful careers but both painted over or started with, an accurate, considered framework of their subject. “If you cant draw properly how can you put down what is in front of you and paint it?” argued Kyffin desperately.

Politically incorrect, out of fashion and favour, increasingly being exhibited less and less in top galleries, competent, realistic art today may commonly be described as kitch, commercial or illustrative. These terms invariably describe artwork that contain a high degree of craft and skill. Recently, a picture accepted for display by the annual British Royal Academy Summer Show in London, depicted a childishly drawn image of a horse’s head which sported a human hair style complete with centre parting. Other paintings executed with panache and skill by fine, traditional, professional artists were rejected.
Why did one of the panel of eminent artist judges, who preside over annual selection admit, “We were looking for the “wow” factor in the submitted work”?
Another installation piece in a posh London gallery was a doorway. No door, just a frame around the empty, open doorway. This non-existent piece of nonsense was priced at £5,000. The notion that the sillier an exhibit is, the more profound it has to be, remains firmly with me. And if this object is accompanied by a long and academic sermon to proclaim its authenticity as art then for me it most likely is incompetent or rubbish. How gullible can people get?
Why does our art establishment so blindly and easily approve of such tomfoolery and consequently reinforce the credulity of their creators who now do hold sway over skillful, trained artists.
Poor Turner would squirm in his grave if he were to view for a brief second these silly, meaningless and idiotic creations that annually compete with each other to reach the short list for the Turner Prize. I can’t remember the last time a painter even managed to gain acceptance to the short list with his/her painting, let alone see it win the major art prize of this politically confused country that so sadly is Britain at the present time.
Why do our provincial art galleries and museums follow so limply and lemming-like the trends decreed so important and relevant for public consideration by the major art galleries of London and New York?
My local major art gallery held an exhibition recently with five International artists involved, all invited to show their work. Not one of them was a painter. Why do I still expect “important, International artists” to be artistically exceptional and their work to be worthy of being shown in our larger, more important galleries. I’m learning that this is often not the case.

The work produced by major modern art practitioners, (those most adept at wool-pulling), almost never represents the consensus of public taste. It does not invoke any acceptance by the general public, who generally regard it as silly and amusing at best. Because surely, the ordinary person’s taste is the only real test of art; if they like it, understand it, want it and can afford to buy it. The quality of any art must be judged by the quantity of the beholder’s response to it.
Today’s truly staggering modern art prices have nothing whatever to do with the worth of an “artwork”. There is no relationship between price and value. Only the super rich can afford to buy them in the glitzy, exciting and glamourous galleries where film-stars may rub shoulders with Heads of State and politicians. Even a new piece of modern art or one perhaps only 10 or 20 years old can commonly fetch considerably more than an Old Master painting.
And some collectors have to almost plead with gallerists to sell them the item they want to buy from them, because money has to be the “right” money, the buyer to be socially compatible to the market’s new super-rich image.
Neither, I believe, is there a total transparency in the major auction houses of the World today. Gallerists who guard very expensive pieces within their galleries with a matriarchal zeal and often only release these prized exhibits to museums and “appropriately important” rich collectors, are not above, it has been suggested, buying back a work at auction that fails to reach its lower reserve and so preserve the value of their exhibit, despite there being little or no demand for it.
Modern art gallery owners today seem to have a more important status than the artists they represent. Their juggling and unloading of gallery stock and selection of one artists “work” over another’s can and does make and break artistically vacant but financially impressive careers. And this, I believe, is what modern art is all about today. Big business. Big money. Modern art is nothing to do with art. The whole circus should be packaged and labelled under another name entirely to avoid the contaminating aura its devouring, cancerous nature has caused art.

A distinguished American art critic famously uttered the following critique recently after having just seen the latest modern art exhibition at a prestigious London gallery. In refreshing words totally distinguishable from the encyclopedic and generally incomprehensible modern art vocabulary, he said, “Its 98% shit!”
How delightfully observant of him!

Swansea to Let