Saturday, May 26, 2012

More carriers for Chile


It's very nice to paint these carriers rapidly and simply after painting more complex landscapes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Cambirela, oil on card, 10 / 8 cm 

Painted a few days ago. One of a series. The orange ground works quite happily.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Praia Moçambique, May


Praia Moçambique, May, oil on card, 16 x 14.5 cm

Experimenting with a larger scale, which gives much more freedom of movement and allows more variety in stroke size.

I haven't painted from the motif for a few days and it feels very nice to get back to looking at the world instead of my own thoughts.

I'll try to do a run of larger pictures in Chile.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Carriers for Chile


The title of this entry suggests a charity campaign but actually it's about my new, larger carriers for painting pochades in Chile.

 I'll be working on a wider range of scales on this trip from  about 18 / 21 cm downwards. Generally speaking the bigger pictures haven't worked out as well as the smaller for me because of something to do with the something related to concentration and speed, or perhaps merely how I have become accustomed to working.



Graffitti painted on the walls of an electrical substation in Corrego Grande.


If you know the artist's name, please let me know so I can credit them.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Looking up


Sometimes all you have to do is...look up!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Searching for the Field of Ladders

Ugly dreams, I wake up and pad about looking for Lawrence.

I see him in the garden, he is with James. They are poking the hole, I hear Lawrence laughing, "we have it!" he shouts.

I am still in my dressing gown, but that excites me so I go out to the green lawn (my the sunshine is bright in my eyes).

Lawrence is happy to see me: indeed, he is quite overcome with delight and rushes over to give one of the famous Lawrence hugs that so terrify new staff.

When Lawrence has released me I ask, "What have you found, Lawrence", to which he replies, "It is James's hole, he is letting me poke it!". Lawrence is so happy his round face becomes a joyful pink balloon. "Maybe you may too", he says. I look across to v, he nods solemnly and, taking Lawrence's stick I give the hole a poke

But after the initial delight passes I begin to find poking the hole uninteresting. I think it was merely the fact that James usually stops anyone else from poking it that make getting the chance to poke it seem quite wonderful, when really poking a hole is nothing special at all.

However, it has made Lawrence extremely happy: he has stretched out his arms and is making the sound of an engine, and he bounds and leaps about the garden with enormous energy, like a giant bumble bee. Seeing how merry this makes him, I join him too. I think that with his girth he might be a bomber; I, lighter, an accompanying spitfire.

And when presently our aeroplanes tire, we tumble breathless to the grass near that very tree, lying on our backs: we look up and see a figure: He has taken a chair from the dining area and managed to lodge it in the crook of a tree, more than three metres high. Quite how he managed this is in itself remarkable.

He is quite stout and has enormous eyes, and has made himself a crown from folded pages of the Daily Telegraph. From his perched throne he proclaims: :

I am Nick Parker. 
King of the Ladders
Kneel before me
Or I empty my bladders.

He is new, and plainly does not entirely understand our customs.

I yell up from the grass, "We are a republic, silly! Besides, no-one has more than one bladder, even if you are a king" But Lawrence, flushed with happiness after the double pleasure of having been permitted to poke the hole and of having been a Lancaster Bomber is more hospitable, and shouts, "we haven't seen your ladders, but we can help you find them".

This makes the fellow in the tree quite beam with delight.

 We help him down from the tree and though he scuffs his shin against the bark he continues to smile, and we start looking for the ladders. We go along the A-road and past the scrapyard and up the the rise where the white water towers are and looked across the landscape where the housing estates grow, but there really is nothing at all there that resembles in the least the famous field of ladders.

We found the ladder used by the gardener resting on the ground near the side  of the garage, but otherwise there were none at all. But other than this it cannot be said to have been a successful mission, though it absorbed us fully until luncheon.

The failure to find the ladders made me doubt that this Nick Parker was really the real Nick Parker, and not an impostor. As we were having luncheon at the big table, and were out of earshot of our new companion, I whispered to Lawrence, I don't think he is the real Nick Parker, The real Nick Parker would have known how to find the ladders."

Lawrence, still in a munificent humour, replies, "Well, he might be, he looks like a Nick Parker, and he likes to eat. And, perhaps there even isn't a real Nick Parker anyway."


I still think he was neither a king nor the real Nick Parker. I suspect that he felt lonely, and he wanted  to be acknowledged, and that is why he presented himself as both a king and as Nick Parker, forgetting perhaps that while he might be either, he could never be both simultaneously.


This is one of an ongoing series of loosly linked pieces, which can be found with the label, "The Beasties" .

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The big things don't matter.

As I get older I sense more and more that the big things don´t matter, only the details. If the details are sure, everything else follows through, geometrically amplified- right?

I'm sitting in my little office overlooking the wharf, analysing marketing strategies. This is a strategy for selling sweet drinks to teenagers. It will be very successful and there will be many more achoholic teenagers, and teenagers having accidents and fights and the shareholders will be happy.

The phone rings.

It's Billy.
Yes Billy.
I'm downstairs.
I'm working.
Fuck off.
Come on.
Fuck off.
I want a drink.
Fuck off Billy.
Come for a drink.
Fucking hell Billy, I'm working.

I think he smelt a weakness there. Like many base characters, he has an instinct for a weakness.

Come on, I'm downstairs. I've got a fiver.
Jesus Billy.
Come on man, don't be a cunt.
Give me two minutes.

Billy looks a complete disgrace. His is hair matted, his jeans are filthy and there is an odd black smear on his cheek. Jesus Billy, I say. Did you sleep under a truck? I almost feel sorry for him. Billy just looks down.

Anyway, soon we are at the Prince of Wales.We are the only ones there apart from the old guy who is always there "God Bless the Queen!" he cries across the room, raising his glass.

At the bar:

 Mine's a pint of bitter.

So's mine, says Billy.

The drinks appear; thanks Billy.
Billy looks coyly at the floor.
You fucker Billy, I say, as I hand the barman the money.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The wounded dog

Whenever I drive towards or from the village, I always go very slowly, even if that forces the cars behind me to beep furiously, or press up towards my car in irritated haste.

Do you know that road? There is the stretch of forest. There is the filling station- one of few places open round here after 5 pm- as the road curls down to the village, then a couple of tiny houses, then the low village itself.

It was not completely my fault. I was at the Jefferson’s for drinks. There was a downpour as I drove, and even the few paces  from my car to the my friends’ porch left me with sodden shoes. 

Angela said, “Take off your things.”

So I stood in the hall, peeling off wet coat and shoes.

“Fuck off! Fuck off! Fuck off!”

Julian’s voice, coming from a room to the side. I glanced at Angela, who was waiting for my coat. She raised her eyebrows with an  apologetic nonchalance. “He gets like this when he’s working on his paintings now. He discovered expressionism.” To which she added, as she ushered me into the soft calm of a candlelit veranda, “unfortunately”.

Angela had some whiskey.  We drank through the hush of soft rain, the dark wet green leaves of the garden trees soothing. 

I can’t remember what we talked about, but I reached a respectable time to leave, and I left, raindrops freshening my face until I was back in the Rover. The leather seat hugged my legs, and I was reassured by the sturdy dashboard, how my feet felt just right on the pedals, and with the rain falling, impassive, on the windscreen.

Drunk but not too drunk for a quiet road. I turned on the radio, a tranquil song, a driving song, about the folly of love.

Back through the village, past the tiny unlit houses, up the rise, the wet road shining from headlights, and the hush of tyres. Past the filling station, silhouettes in the cabin, the empty forecourt, on to the woodland.

A thud:  something came off the front of the car. Something larger than a rabbit by the sound.

 I stopped, crouched down to see the bumper, too dark to see, I ran my fingers along it: wet, but to thickly wet to be rain. I knew it was blood. 

I turned round: a dark shape, a dog, there in the car light, three legs, one crooked up. I went to it, “here”: it backed away. I said “here” again but it backed off awkward, so I went further. But it was scared, it scuttled to the far side of the road. So I advanced, but it retreated into the bushes. I followed, into the wet black shrubbery, my clothes sticking to my legs, and my feet sinking into mud. I heard murmuring through the rain. “Come here”, I called: there was a rustle in reply, then fainter sounds as the dog retreated further into the darkness. 

Hopeless: I returned to my car.

I drove back to the garage. There was just one man there.

What can I do for you?” he asked.” I hit a dog,” I said. He looked at me blankly. “A dog, just up there”. “It isn’t ours,” he said. I saw his eyes and they were not quite right.

I drove back along the road but there was no sign of the dog.  But now, whenever I drive there, I look out for the dog.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012



 Copacabana, early afternoon, oil on card, 12 / 14 cm

 Lapa, oil on card, 10.5 / 14 cm

From S. Teresa, oil on card, 11 / 15.5 cm

Here are some more pictures from Rio, where I spent the weekend.

It's really a spectacular place, with a very vibrant personality, and incredible views. It would be an ideal painting city were there better publicly accessible spaces high up, and if crime weren't a concern.

Rio is often very improvised and even downright sketchy: the other side of this is that it maintains a definite personality, it isn't groomed to the point of sterility for tourists like Paris, say. The people retain  their personality, which is ironical, good-natured, somewhat amoral, sensual.

I like the sense of Brazil as a place still being constructed, still being invented, and doing so in a way that emphasises a open-mindedness and gaiety.

I painted mainly what I call "tourist pictures", though I don't mean that in a derisory way. I mean, I visited fairly obvious sights.


Thursday, May 3, 2012


Blossom, oil on card, 12.5 / 13.5 cm  SOLD

On dull days like this, so very North-European, sitting inside paiting still lives makes perfect sense. When the sun shines it seems like a very strange activity indeed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two from the country

A view of the mountains in April, oil on card, 14 / 13 cm  SOLD


Hut, red earth, Cambirela, oin on card, 14 / 11.5 cm

Two from a drive out to just beyond Palhoça. A boy came to start a motorbike, a girl followed. I said hello, he looked at me scornfullly.

A beautiful day, cool and full of promises.