Saturday, 29 December 2012

This painting of a small flock of gulls over a rough sea is the first painting that I have completed in some time. The late summer has been a busy period with the holidays and all the excitement of the Olympic Games. The other highlight was the winning of the Tour de France by Bradley Wiggins. So there has been a lot of T.V. to watch and not as much painting as I would have liked. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Another painting of Old Harry's Rock painted from the same visit to Studland as the previous painting. This one is a bit different in that I felt that it needed a bit of foreground in the picture.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

This is my latest painting from our recent trip to Bournemouth. We drove to Studland and walked up to Harry's Rocks the weather was bright and sunny but rather windy and not conducive to drawing, nevertheless  quick sketches were made and some photographs taken. This is the first completed painting with another nearly done from this trip along the cliffs and there should be at least another one as well.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


We went down to Bournemouth for the weekend and were lucky with the weather as it was a lovely sunny day on Sunday. We decided to go to Studland and walk along the cliffs to Old Harry's Rocks where I did a couple of quick sketches which I finished at home. Although it was nice and sunny it was quite cold in the wind so the drawings were completed rather quickly. I have a mind to work them up into a pair of paintings when I get home. The portrait of Alexander Dryburgh is proving to be rather elusive so I am going to leave it for a while to consider how it is going. I might start a new painting from scratch.

Friday, 6 April 2012

This is a sketch from an old photograph of Alexander Dryburgh. He was born in 1887 and died in 1916 during the infamous battle of Fromelles in the first World War. This battle was to be fought as a diversion to the battle of the Somme which was taking place elsewhere. During the battle over 5000 soldiers were killed, mostly Australians, and up until recently the resting place of several hundred of the dead was not known. Two years ago 8 burial pits containing 300 bodies that had been buried by the germans had been found and a lengthy process of identification began. At the end of this process a 100 of these bodies were identified, unfortunately they were not able to identify my uncle. We were able to attend the ceremony at the new cementery at Fromelles. This sketch and the old photograph will help me to paint a portrait of another of my ancestors.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Lucian Freud self-portrait
This is a self-portrait painted by Lucian Freud and it is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London which I visited today. It is part of a display of 70 plus paintings spanning most of his life. I found the portraits the most interesting paintings and this one was a particular favourite as was the portrait of David Hockney and the man in the blue scarf. I was a less impressed by some of the later paintings which I found rather overpainted by lots of lumpy paint. All in all it was an interesting exhibition and well worth the visit. To finish off the visit to London we visited the National Gallery for a quick look at the "Impressionists"

Friday, 16 March 2012

This is a Rock Pipit which I painted after our trip to Durdle Door.There were several of these birds along the beach and my painting shows one of them on the cliff edge. As the cliff was chalk I thought that it would make an interesting picture on the greyish white background with the succulent growing in the cracks. At home the Tawny Owls are becoming a regular visitor at 06.00 every morning when they returns to roost in the large hedge of our neighbour's garden. For a week now both birds have returned to this roost and we often here them calling through the day. I doubt that they are going to nest here as there are no large trees available with suitable holes in them.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Long Tailed Tits, favourite birds of mine, just merging with the dying leaves. The birds are getting busy in the garden now with the breeding season approaching, the blackbirds are very active. The Tawny Owls are very vocal at daybreak and from time to time one is to be seen in the tree at the back of our garden. On one occasion I looked out to see them both sitting together in the tree. Unfortunately the light is never bright enough to see them properly just enough for a grey shape against the sky, even with the binoculars. The highlight last week was a male sparrowhawk who flashed into the garden scattering all the birds from the feeders. He stayed for a couple of minutes or so, just enough time for us to get a good view with the "bins". A lifetime tick for me, We have had the larger female sparrowhawks in the garden but never a male. 

Monday, 27 February 2012

More work from our recent trip to Bournemouth. I had been thinking of a painting of Durdle Door , so we took the opportunity to drive to Lulworth Cove and later to Durdle Door. It's quite a hike to the cliff top from the car park and a tricky set of steps to get down to the beach. Well worth the effort although this painting is the view from the cliff top and not from the beach. Close up the chalk cliffs are grey and marbled with green succulents growing in the cracks. While on the beach and the rocks there was the occasional glimpse of a rock pipit. There must be a painting there! 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

We have just been down to Bournemouth for a couple of days.The weather was good so we drove to Lulworth and Durdle Door. I wanted a look at the cliffs from the beach for a painting that I have in mind. It's a long trek down to the beach especially the steps at the end, but well worth it. As well as the cliffs I had good views of rock pipits on the beach and on the rocks. However the best birds were the rooks on the fence posts in the car park at the top. They were hunting for scraps left by picnickers, so a few drawings were the result. The french meeting was good this week we listened to a french pod-cast about the Tour de France and had quite a good chat about it.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Yesterday ,we restarted our U.3.A. French Group after several weeks off, since before Christmas in fact. We listened to a short reading, from the internet. in slow french, about Monet at Giverny. This promoted some discussion about Monet and impressionism and also about visits to Giverny that some of us have made. We were all a bit "rouillĂ©s"but every effort is made to try and keep the group talking french. Next week to keep the painting idea going I will try and show a short film about Van Gogh at Auvers. This is the place where he spent the last days of his life and shows some of his paintings in the places where he painted them.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

I am doing some drawings of the inside of St. John the Baptist Church, Midsomer Norton. This first drawing is of a pew-end. one of several different designs in the Church. The basic tem-plate for the designs  is an oblong split down the middle with an arch at the top. The two thinner oblongs are in turn topped with an arch and each of the different designs are based on this basic pattern.

Friday, 27 January 2012


This is the finished portrait of William Hill. This painting was painted from a photograph taken at his Golden Wedding in 1930.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

William Hill, Sheila's great grandfather,I have done a lot of work on his portrait, especially around the eyes. The eyes were not obvious on the old black and white photograph (circa 1930) that I was using as reference so I have had to use some guesswork to try and make them look right, so I have had to paint them several times, but I think that they may be about right at the moment. There is still some more work to be done on the rest of the painting. Great grandfather Hill isn't done yet.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


William Hill, Sheila's maternal great grandfather.
Another portrait from an old black and white photograph. As before I have sketched the portrait, a couple of times in pencil, and now I have blocked it out  in black and white to get the tones right and to create a likeness. This was especially difficult around the eyes as in the original photograph the head was less than 2 inches in size and the eyes were indistinct and lost in the shadow of the eye socket.