Friday, January 31, 2014

A week in Salvador, part 3: the sea


A boat seen through a window, oil on card, 12.5 x 13 cm  SOLD

A coming storm, oil on card, 15 x 12 cm  SOLD

A picture of the sea, oil on card, 13 x 12 cm

The final set from my Salvador trip.

This is the last painting trip that I forsee making in Brazil outside driving distance of Florianopolis. This is because of the high cost of internal flights.

 I shall instead focus on visiting and knowing better the three southern states and their small towns through car trips to give me a breaks from Florianopolis.

This is the most overtly French set of pictures that I`ve made, with obvious links to artists such as Vuillard, Marquet and Matisse. That wasn`t conscious: it happened because Pierre Pophillat`s apartments carried a particularly French feel to me, and because a certain simplicity and calmness of atmosphere in Salvador lent me a destinctly French mood: Luxe, Calme et Volupté...


Many thanks to  Pierre Pophillat for his kindess on this trip.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

A week in Salvador, part 2: interiors


A vase, oil on card, 12.5 x 13.5 cm

 Hall, oil on card, 15 x 17 cm

 Interior of Pierre`s apartment, oil on card, 18 x 14 cm

Interior with a sofa, oil on card, 18 x 15 cm   SOLD

Interior with a view to a bedroom, Salvador, oil on card,  15 x 14 cm

Here are ten pochades painted in Pierre Pophillat`s beautiful apartments in Salvador, which he is restoring with considerable flair.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A week in Salvador, part 1: the city


 A stationers, oil on card, 15 x 13.5 cm

A lady being served in a shop, oil on card,  14.5 x 10.5 cm

A little restaurant, oil on card, 14.5 x 18 cm

A view of a promontory, oil on card, 13  x 15 cm

An Arch, entrance to a public garden, oil on card, 14 x 17.5 cm

                                          Rooftops, oil on card,16 x 17.5 cm NOT FOR SALE


Salvador is a big city, beautifully located on a series of hills on a peninsula. It is an interesting place and is often melancholy.

This is, in part, is because it is architecturally claustrophobic, often turning away from the sea in a series of small, crooked streets. Many of the shops seem peculiarly small and cramped  too, as if designed for children, with everything sold in comically small quantities.

The city is generally in a state of ruin:  handsome old buildings are falling to pieces; there is vandalism, graffiti, neglect and filth.  Much recent construction is shoddy. I watched workmen construct a brick set pavement: the result was something that will surely become impassable after a day of rain.

 In this mess are beggars begging, children begging, prostitutes offering themselves,  crack users lying asleep on the pavements, and every other example of social degeneracy that you might wish to discover. 

There are also a remarkable number of stray cats: these are considerably more pleasant creatures to have as strays than the dogs that roam other Brazilian cities. Does their presence there in Salvador have something to to with many Salvadorians having Middle eastern heritage?

But the population is majoritively African in racial origin, usually mixed in some way. I found everyone very pleasant. There is a genteel quality to many of even the most banal social exchanges in Brazil, which appear to comment ironically on the crumbling infrastructure ( this serves as a rebuke to those, usually on the left, who believe that poverty somehow necessitates nastiness, as well as pointing a contrast with the people of New York who seem considerably less capable of simple courtesies, despite having far better living conditions). 

 I met some Jehovah`s Witnesses (there is an awful lot of God in Salvador) who were so pleasant and sweet tempered in their little suits and long dresses that I almost took their offer to join them for Bible studies classes seriously. There are also, in touristic places, splendid women wearing  gigantic dresses, so that they resemble huge dolls.


At first I stayed in Pelhourinho which has a fine concentration of colonial buildings, a well restored enclave.

Then I met a Frenchman called Pierre Pophillat who offered me the use of an apartment in the centre in exchange for a painting, an offer I was happy to accept as my hotel room was noisy at night from the carousing in the street below (making noise is a popular pastime in Brazil generally: Salvador perhaps especially. 

They also like to talk a great deal. Anything can become the subject of an interminable conversation, and if you have nothing new to say, you can simply repeat what you have already said many times over, as it is doubtful that you interlocutor is really listening anyway: this is conversation as a social ritual taken to its logical conclusion: everyone, other than those stupid or unfortunate enough to actually want or need to achieve anything, derives great pleasure from this).


This first set of three blogger entries shows firstly some of the small shops and buildings in the market, and more general views of or from the city. I feel that I have managed to move up in size. There is a children`s book quality about some, and this derives both from my decisions to use larger brushes, brighter colours, and from a quality of the place itself. And there is a Sickertian quality about the first two, I feel: Sickert is a painter of  claustrophobic sadness.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A tree; Salvador

A tree

Taken near my apartment.


I am off to Salvador for a week. I hope it isn`t too hot, nor too criminal.

It`s the second most popular city for tourists in Brazil, and the old central part is, supposedly, well preserved, so perhaps I shall be able to make some nice paintings.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Flowers in yellow (the wind and the dove)

 Flowers in yellow, oil on card, 15 x 18 cm

Somewhere between the wind and the dove
Lies all I sought in you
And when the wind just dies, when the wind just dies
And the dove won't rise
From your window sill

Well I cannot tell you
Which way it would be
If it was this way too
For the wind and the dove
For the wind and the dove

And I am a child of linger on
I peer through the window gone
I am a child of linger on
I peer through the window gone

Somewhere between the wind and the dove
Lies all I lost in you
And when the wind just dies, when the wind just dies
And the dove won't rise
From your window sill

Well I cannot tell you
Which way it would be
If it was not this way too
For the wind and the dove
For the wind and the dove

And I am a child of linger on
I peer through the window gone
I am a child of linger on
I peer through the window gone

Lyrics, The Wind and the Dove, by Bill Callaghan, whose fine song accompanied me in my work.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Red, yellow and pink flowers

Red, yellow and pink flowers, oil on card, 18 x 14.5 cm

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Flowers on a red background

Flowers on a red background, oil on card, 14 x 12.5 cm     SOLD

Friday, January 10, 2014


Flowers, oil on card, 14.5 x 13.5 cm

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Red roses

Red roses, oil on card, 14 x 13 cm

Painted with my head bowed before the work of the master, Fantin-Latour.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Two girls going to the beach

Two girls going to the beach, oil on card, 15 x14 cm

Again restricting myself to larger brushes to force myself to work  more broadly.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Words: Across the wire, book cover

Book cover for a collection of verses produced by residents of Cyndi Taylor Krier Correctional Juvenile Treatment Center, Texas, which uses a photo of mine. I didn`t do the graphics.

The Center aims: "To promote the rehabilitation and well-being of offenders and their families by redirecting behavior with an emphasis placed on individual responsibility and the protection and safety of the community".

I wish them every success with this publication and in their work.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Morocco, London, 2014

I have booked flights to Morocco. I`ll be there for just under a month with a week in the UK.