welsh painting

Llandudoch (St Dogmaels) and beyond

Stunning sunny weather forced an outing to Poppit Sands via Llandudoch. I called in at the local gallery on my way through the village. Oriel Llandudoch and said hello to the lovely Nicky, I have a couple of paintings in her window.

Onwards towards Poppit Sands. I often bring my dogs here to enjoy the long sandy beach and driftwood delights brought down from the Teifi river, before heading down the hill there is a place to pull in with views of the sea.

Poppit 2 feb 22nd

I was here a few months ago but the whole scene had changed with more green shoots emerging on the ground and in the trees. The lack of leaves gave tantalising glimpses of the vista beyond.

It’s a super spot with the line of white buildings across the bay clustered on the headland of Gwbert, the Cliff hotel amongst them. They always catch the early morning sun and keep it all day. It was a fresh, clean day with quite a breeze with white horses on the shallow water meeting the river.

Two paintings were completed and I took pics of one of them in stages as I always like to see it when other painters do the same. I sometimes draw the scene in pencil and begin by blocking in the main areas of colour.



Once the layout is established I start to concentrate on the bits that interest me. On this occasion I was drawn to the highlighted cottages on the hillside, the little buildings on the Gwbert shore and the small boats moored in the mouth of the river.


The trees are a lovely tangle of old and new growth. Twisted and turned by their struggle with the hard coastal winds.20190222_120015

With clear coastal light the trees were picked-out against the blue sea.

welsh painting

White Horses


Garnwen View


Just into February and the snow was falling. Although the measley half inch in the garden was disappointing, I knew that if I could get out of the village (steep hills all around) I could get up to where there would be a lot more of the white stuff. I gingerly drove a few miles through treacherous lanes until I reached the main road. The gritters had been out and I was free to get up to the quarry.

What a chance to use some variations on white. The familiar scene of a week before was transformed. There were so many contrasts, scratched lines of hedge, and scrub with fences and trees standing clear in the crisp light. The sun bleached through the blanket of grey cloud to burn patches of yellow into the white slopes.

In the foreground the hedge sent up tentacles of spindly wood and little pockets of snow lay at it’s feet. Two hours flew by, with the van’s heater on and off to keep my inspiration going. There’s nowt worse than cold hands to dampen the creative urge.

Three more small paintings on heavy watercolour paper were done. Then it was time to head back via the garage, where I bought bread and milk (hoping to get snowed-in).

Garnwen View

Garnwen View

Plein air painting west Wales

White Walkers

Plein air Painting Wales

Foel Cwmcerwyn


Plein air painting Wales

A break in the weather

One of the problems of painting in-situ is (in the UK) the weather. It’s a constant battle and I have learnt to grab the chance to get out there whenever I can.

Out here in the West we get more than our fair share of rain. Every mile inland from the coast adds an inch per year to our rainfall. The weather here is also very localised, especially with the position of the various hills and the (usual)southwesterlies.

With “Festivus” out of the way and a break in the interminable rain, a cold front moved in and I was going to make the most of the January sunshine.

I headed a few miles north where there is a big pull-in capable of parking lorries and big enough for me to place my van facing the Preseli hills to the west. There was a bit of snow on the tops and strong shadows cast from the fluffy clouds that were hurtling across the sky.

From the cockpit of the van I worked rapidly sketching out the scene, building up the layers of paint, and squinting into the sun.  Soon enough, three finished paintings were ready to blast with the fanheater on full. It was frantic stuff with the constantly changing light and the biting wind that was buffetting the unsteady Peugot. I headed for home as the snow began to fall.

Plein air Landscape painting Wales

Big Cloud

Plain air Landscape painting Wales

Snow Top

Plein air painting Wales

Shadows On The Hill

24th February 2017

The morning after storm Doris hit the UK, the wind was gone and the crisp Winter sun was shining. It was decided that we should go for a walk along the old railway track that runs behind our house. The dogs were very excited, even they do this walk twice a day, and soon, Django, our wiry Jack Russell was stuffing his face into molehills. Carlo (wife) talked about trying to get some photos of the ravens in the trees, which we see regularly, and reminded me that soon the greenery will return to the treetops and the black shapes will be hidden again.
I was looking across the river at the thicket of young and old trees. This area had not been “managed” for years and had wonderful tangled boughs and branches at all angles. I could just see a few cottages from the next village, Hebron, peeping through the wooden screen.
The morning sun was picking out fantastic shapes and colours and Carlo suggested that I delayed my next job (decorating some ceramic mirror frames) and make the most of the weather, especially as the forecast for the next two days was wet.
Recently I have been painting mostly on heavy watercolour paper, but I fancied working on canvas but the only ones I had ready were too big. I rummaged through some ancient old paintings and found one that had never really been finished.
Like many of the old masters, I was going to paint over an old one!
The picture was from 1982, when I was at Trent Poly. Now thirty-five years later, it was to provide the ground for a new piece of work.
I took some photos of the work in progress….i think i will return to this spot before the green shoots of Spring beat me to it.

Walking to Dinas

The weather cleared on Saturday and I got myself over the Preseli hills to one of my regular haunts, the hill above Dinas Cross.

Below me lies the lump of land known as “Dinas Island”. This outcrop of farmland can be seen for miles along the coast, and holds many delights. You can take a walk right around it, from Pwllgwaelod , clockwise to Cwm yr Eglwys with it’s ruined church.

The vista from up on the hill gives a wide range of subject matter, and the winter colours, with more browns and frost-blasted yellows lent a welcome change to the usual domination of green.

Walking To Dinas 2017

Walking To Dinas 2017

5th January 2017

Crow Road

I headed up to a little field entrance, with views to the West with lots of big gnarled trees  in the foreground. I had been up there yesterday, and started this painting. The weather had cut short my earlier visit, but it was set fair for the day, so I was confident of completing my study.
There was a good deal of corvid activity, as the crows and ravens were regularly chasing off buzzards and kites. The silence was interrupted with the neighbourly disputes.
I had managed to block-in most of the background the previous day, so was free to concentrate on some of the detail, without the pressure to work too quickly before the light changed.


“Crow Road” in progress

Obviously there was a fair amount of adjustment to be made with the difference in conditions but on the whole, it was a very similar day.


Painting Crow Road in the van

The acrylics enable me to work quickly and a blast from the powerful fan heater on board makes short work of even impasto.


The view from the cockpit


“The Crow Road”

The painting complete, it was time to have a cup of tea. The flask was sitting ready for me, but as I was so close to home, I drove back down the hill and drank it in my kitchen.

New Year’s Eve painting 2016

This blog is to show my newest work and to provide an insight into my working practices and the environment, particularly the landscape, here in West Wales.

On New Year’s Eve 2016, I went out in my van to the hills above Newport, Pembrokeshire, where stunning views of the coastline can be seen.

It is one of my favourite places to paint. The lighting changes quickly depending on the weather, so there is a need to work rapidly. The variety in colour and tone due to the intensity of light and shadow projected onto the land is always interesting.

I had a large piece of heavy gauge watercolour paper pinned to my drawing board, 11″x 30″ This gives a panoramic slice of the landscape.

I used acrylics for this painting – they dry quickly, enabling me to work at speed and I can blast the paper with hot air from the cabin of my van.

I park the vehicle facing my subject . I can rest the drawing board across my thighs and the three seats, with paints and water at the ready, leaving one hand free for the palette and the other for the brushes.

The last painting of 2016

The last painting of 2016

The weather was misty inland, with very low cloud everywhere but on the coast. The sky met the sea with no discernable horizon, so that heavy clouds looked like distant mountains. An hour or so, and the painting was done. I had no wish to overwork it, and the conditions move so fluidly that you could carry on for ever.