Monday, December 30, 2013

Annual Review: 2013: Flickr, Blogger, Facebook, and other sites



The year was a general success despite a slump from October to the end of December.

I enjoyed painting trips to Egypt, Uruguay, New York, Minas Gerais, and exploring further Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. I spent a few days working in freezing London too.

  Luxor- the Winter Palace from Hotel Susanna, oil on card, 12 x 9 cm

In Uruguay, oil on card, 12 x 9 cm

A Chinese restaurant in New York, oil on card, 12 x 9 cm

Boa Esperança, the central square, oil on card, 14 x 14 cm

Mafra, simple houses, oil on card, 14 x 14 cm

Sao Francisca de Paula- road out of town, oil on card, 12.5 x 18 cm

All the trips were too short, and I shall try to extend them in future. It is necessary to have a few days simply to acclimatise to a certain place, to settle in, and relax.

I sold reasonably well, with sales at the Royal Academies in London and Scotland, and at Dubai Art Fair, and to various private buyers.

I used various sites to show work:


Flickr messed up their site with an ugly and frustrating redesign.

However, I  continued to use it, partly out of habit, partly because I have already invested quite a deal of time in putting work there, so that it is really a complete catalogue of my work, and because I could not find a better alternative. I usually show pictures in about ten groups. I have 721 followers, up from 612 last year.


The number of followers increased only a little from 70 to 78.


This site again prove to be good for feedback, contacts and sales. Please feel free to add me as a contact there if you wish.


I stopped regularly using this site as it is really just for teenagers to exchange pornographic  manga cartoons and kitsch. I have 55 "watchers" up from 51.


This site is elegantly organised and a pleasure to use. I sporadically loaded pictures, and these were stacked 77 times. I shall use it more.


I am going to Salvador, Bahia in January, and to Morocco in March. I wish to do a further trip in late July, but I haven`t decided where.


Many thanks to everyone who helped me in 2013: buyers, followers, family and friends.

There are a good number of people online who have been supportive, but whom I have never met. I found their comments useful and encouraging. 

Happy New year to you all.


Carnations 5, oil on card, 9 x 10.5 cm    SOLD


Ten days in southern Minas Gerais -part two


Varginha, view, oil on card, 16 x 14 cm

Cambuquira , rain on a pond, oil on card, 17 x 14 cm

Cambuquira , a view from the hotel terrace, oil on card, 14 x 14 cm    SOLD

Cambuquira , the lonely duck, oil on card, 15 x 18 cm

Boa Esperança, the lake, oil on card, 18 x 14 cm

 These pictures are the fruit of some short trips from Boa Esperança to nearby towns. 

Varginha is probably the ugliest city I have ever been to, with architecture of such gracelessness and  such a lack of general urban planning that might even some Brazilians might be taken aback. I cannot recommend going there.

By contrast, Cambuquira, an old spa resort, has considerable charm, unspoiled by the intrusion of contemporary Brazilian design. It`s gently crumbling away. We stayed in a most agreeably faded hotel from the thirties near the melancholy bus station and enjoyed wandering in the spa gardens trying the waters.


Ten days in southern Minas Gerais- part one


Boa Esperança, shop, oil on card, 14 x 16.5 cm

Boa Esperança, pasteleria, 12.5 x 18 cm

Boa Esperança, Percy`s Peças , oil on card, 13.5 x 15.5 cm

Boa Esperança, Salão de Beleza, oil on card, 14 x 16.5 cm

Boa Esperança,the central square, oil on card, 14 x 14 cm

Boa Esperança is a town of forty thousand, prettily situated on a lake in Southern Minas Gerais. 

I tend not to go to the interior of Brazil much. I always think of it as the real Brazil, deep Brazil, Brazil for really serious explorers, in contrast to Santa Catarina, which I think of as Brazil-lite, easily palatable for gringo softies such as me. That is, in the interior you have to endure sertaneja*, dilapidation, heat, slowness, and very heavy food. You feel like you are the only foreigner and you probably are, and everyone is incredibly religious**.

The landscape of southern Minas is not as charming as that of Santa Catarina, as it lacks the drama of both the coastline and high mountains. There are huge coffee plantations over slow, almost treeless hills, and small towns in which nothing ever happens except the occasional downpour and their own gentle decline. There are many children and many dogs and everyone seems quite happy.


I enjoyed my time painting in Boa Esperança very much. I loved the simple painted buildings, which often have deco detailing, and the pleasant people, whose children, playing in the streets, struck me as very polite and sweet-natured.

I am trying to paint pictures which are simpler, more cheerful, and more colourful. For a long time I had, largely unconsciously, been trying to paint North European landscapes here- and painting the shop-fronts were a great way to escape from this. I am also working on a slightly bigger scale. I want to feel freer with the brush and enjoy broader effects.

* a form of Brazilian country music, often played at high volume by morons in oversized cars.
**this, sadly, has a political aspect, with various Protestant church groups seeking to meddle in the affairs of secular state, harry homosexuals, and generally reduce the liberty of others.

 Many thanks to the Rodrigues family, especially Filo, for kind hospitality in
Boa Esperança.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

CD covers for 12in12x12, for 2014

Twelve covers for Jim Mendola's  12in12x12 rock band project, to promote their monthly issues.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ratones, edge of woodland

Ratones, edge of woodland, oil on card, 15 x 15 cm

Another very hot day.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

São José, a house near wasteground

São José,  a house near wasteground, oil on card, 18 x 12.5 cm

Painted back in September: back then I wasn`t happy with it: now it seems quite okay.

Praia de Gravatal, blue

Praia de Gravatal, blue, oil on card, 14 x 15.5 cm

Painted from the trilha that runs above Praia Mole to Gravatal.

It has really become summer here and is very hot: insects everywhere.


Perhaps the finest painter using blue is Matisse. His blues are exceptional in the way that they convey warmth rather than cold.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Urubici, tall pines

Urubici, tall pines, oil on card, 14.5 x 18 cm

Painted in the afternoon.

Many thanks to John "the lad" Collins and Tielle for their excellent company in the mountains this weekend.