Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Having just heard a hoopoe calling for the first time in ages I will celebrate by posting my hoopoe painting.

Paradise Flowers, Paradise Birds
I was beginning to think they had abandoned us after one of our cats did for one of them a while back.

Yesterday a family of five partridges landed on the stables roof and walked the length of it Indian file, making comical little gobbling noises between themselves, while the cats watched on, gobsmacked at the sight. I am mulling the unexpected vision over in the back of my mind for future pictorial reference.

Meanwhile my miniatures collection is growing with an emphasis today on another species of bird: seagulls.

And out in the wider world, beyond the banana groves, a general strike is taking place ...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time's wingéd chariot ...

... a poetic way of saying that life's too short to struggle with a painting that refuses to come together at the outset, especially with exhibition dates looming closer. So the budgies have been temporarily (or perhaps terminally) parked and I have turned with a big sigh of relief to doing some miniatures.

They are something I often mess around with previous to a larger painting, chopping, tearing, changing and cutting them up like a patchwork or jigsaw. Sometimes I take an old sketch and hack it to pieces and will one day I am sure get around to basing some paintings on the surprising abstracts that can emerge from something quite figurative.

But these ones are destined for the browsers as alternative affordables (which is not to say everything else isn't - far from it!) seeing as it will be at a time when people are buying Christmas presents.
And because I LOVE doing tiny stuff!

Owing to still being cameraless I cannot put up any of these minis so I will drag out something to illustrate my point, one of a few collages which resulted from a prolonged chopping session - I must have been in a "neat" state of mind - they aren't always quite as regular!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I am so not a techie ... nor is my cat

I wasted two hours of my life (to say nothing of reducing it by far more)  trying to "build" a website yesterday and have admitted defeat. Even Golly, one of my more computer literate cats, was rendered speechless and incapable in the face of insurmountable odds.

Golly lends his technical expertise on a previous project (notice glazed, angry look).
So it was a bit of a minor triumph that I managed to upload the link widget this morning which goes some way to restoring my technical self esteem.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Dropped my (admittedly pretty rubbish) camera yesterday and it is now officially dead. Just when I was going to put up my revised sheep and golden (formerly cadmium red) angels picture. Or try to. And just when I was quite happy with the result after a lot of repainting and palette angst.

The Sea, the Sea
So instead here's another of my dogs-on-the-Sussex-beach pictures that I love to paint almost as much as the dogs love to run. There really was a family of six brown dogs that day I watched from one of my favourite spots at East Head.
This is acrylic and pencil on paper and will be on show in Chichester in December.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And the heavens opened ...

It has been pouring down today.

Wonderful stuff, sloshing down our hill, beating down the petunias. Grey drizzly clouds hanging across the valley like a curtain, blocking out any view farther than the highest line of banana trees. It's a fiesta of the senses: the feel of rain on our upturned faces, the pungent smell of soaked earth and the glorious sound of ecstatic birds, most particularly a mouthy blue tit who has been hanging around taunting the cats of late.
If there's one thing Spanish birds appreciate it's a good old downpour.

Darkness is almost upon us and I can still hear blackbirds singing as they swoop past.

So here's a painting of our previously parched summer garden to celebrate the turning of the season.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Run on the Beach

I ignored the clamour of my budgies who are still at the planning stage, and did this small painting, based on an earlier sketch on paper, over the weekend.
Dogs having fun on the beach at West Wittering
A Run on the Beach and Other Places is the name of my December exhibition so this probably won't be my last word (or do I mean brushmark?) on canvas on that subject!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

All framed up

And ready to eventually go to the ABNA show in St Ives in November. For once I am ahead of the game. Or is it that I so distrust the postal service at both ends?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too much information ...

... in my last posting.
So I'll put up a picture that doesn't belong to me anymore to balance things up a bit. This was after all meant to be a pictorial blog ...

My bin overfloweth ...

With false starts and rubbish doodles. What a waste of time and build-up of frustration. A lot of stomping around and shouting at cats and stupid people on Radio 4. Anyone for painter's block?
But I have now settled on something to restore my piece of mind ... a still life with budgies. Ta-ra. Which I suppose, given the presence of said budgies, isn't technically a still life at all.
The budgies just came to me. Not my favourite kind of bird but I saw some in the pet shop at the market the other week and if you get past the naffness and general Fifties and Sixties-ness of them, and their amazingly bad-tempered sound, they really are beautifully coloured and marked.
Like most people (or so it seemed to me then) we had one when I was small. A green one called Trixie that got drunk one Christmas on whisky and had to be rescued from a glass where it might have met a right royal death.
Only it wasn't Malmsey.
My grandmother had a succession of Billys and my aunt a Perry who sat in a cage on top of the television for about 15 years, though he was often flying round the living room as I recall.
The garish budgies and the garish Spanish flowerpot I bought on Tuesday beneath a massive peal of thunder it is then. A match made in heaven.
Let's hope it doesn't end up in the bin.
In the meantime I shall put up a vaguely related picture to relieve the monotony of a wall of text. Green parrots who paid us a raucous visit a while back.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

At last ...

It is finished .... or is it? This picture has been an on/off affair and pursuing me for weeks so I am putting it away for a while to let it - or my idle hands - settle and avoid the temptation to carry on ad infinitum. There are passages I fancy developing into pictures in their own right. Mainly the sheep.
My camera is crap (or is it just my lack of knowledge and patience and a total inability to make head nor tail of the manual?) so I will have to wait for a pro photo shoot of accumulated canvases when one of my daughters shows up.
In the meantime, I managed a small detail from the whole which more or less faithfully reproduces the colours, if not the sharpness, or indeed the general theme which includes flying red angels and a Sussex church ...
And next for something completely different ...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cut and Pasted

This is just a doodly sort of idea I had for a painting earlier this year. I love cutting up bits of paper, moving them about and glueing them down. Such a return to happy carefree kindergarten days.
It was kind of inspired by a similar scene I witnessed on the beach very early one morning before anyone was about. A bit dark, sinister even. Or is it just me who finds locked huts and crowds of black birds sinister?
The black clouds were the logical last step.
Anyway, it suited my mood today so I decided to give it a kiss and send it out into cyber space, even if it is a bit primitive and raw.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Sea Piece

I love the sea, its drama, its colours and its moods.
The Blue Boat
I saw this little fishing boat battling by when out for a walk along the coast earlier this year. It was a bit of a wild day and however much I love the sea, I'm much happier on land when the going gets tough. Or rather rough.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A badly lined up Cat Quartet

We are privileged to live in one of the few remaining pockets of agricultural land that survive in the area of Puerto de la Cruz, at the end of an increasingly rutted track in the middle of banana groves, the happiest of hunting grounds for cats. These four very small paintings will be hung together (hopefully in rather better alignment than I am managing here) at my upcoming exhibition at the Oxmarket Gallery in December.