Saturday, April 30, 2016



 Woodland, trunks, oil on card, 14  x 15.5 cm

Painted up near Canasvieiras.

 The weather has improved, and I should be able to go painting more readily. but boredom is eating into my mind like a kind of dry rot. I count the days before I go to Peru. Part of me thinks I should have gone to Chile for longer, and I'm now regretting that I didn't give myself two months reprieve in Peru. But there would be difficulties with this, most obviously with maintaining students here.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Praia Brava


 Praia Brava, Afternoon, April, oil on card, 14 x 10.5 cm  SOLD

 Praia Brava, Afternoon, clouds, April, oil on card, 14 x 12.5 cm  SOLD

Praia Brava, Mid- Afternoon, April, oil on card, 10.5 x 15 cm   SOLD


Friday, April 22, 2016



Graffiti in  Barrio Brasil


I immediately felt depressed in the crowded city. Indeed, I felt that I had made a mistake to come, the place filled me with such an oppressive greyness, the sky grey and everyone dressed in grey or dark blue or black and they shuffled about like zombies. The service style was anonymous, and the goods expensive and there was that weird sadness everywhere, as if the place and its inhabitants were silently undergoing some  terrible, nameness calamity. 
The city is like a composite of European architecture, all very respectable and looking the part of a capital and rather dull. If you wanted to make a film noir featuring an unspecific city then it would serve well as the Andes are not visible on dull days. I had a dismal kebab. Looking for an art shop I went into a mall of several stories containing shops servicing alternative culture:  tattoo parlours, game shops, t-shirt sellers, jewellers and so forth..  But there is as much that was restricted about this alternative culture as the "official" culture it seeks to oppose: its symbols, which are occult clichés or taken from the marijuana smoking culture of Bob Marley, or the world of Hell's Angels, are tired and as blandly international as the products in high street stores .
The metro was unbelievably crowded. I returned to my place a hostel called La Casa Roja, a huge mansion with a pleasant social atmosphere in Barrio Brasil, a likeable neighbourhood of nineteenth century squares and avenues.
I spent a day wandering round the museums. Particularly satisfactory was the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, which features these magnificent sculptures:

According to the Pre-Colombian Art Museum Website: These remarkable wooden statues were placed on top of tombs in ancient Mapuche cemeteries. They reflect the spirit (am) of those buried there and are intended to assist them in their journey to the afterlife. Chiefs and great warriors were sent to the East after death, to roam among the volcanoes of Kalfumapu, the “blue land.” All others went to the West, to eat bitter potatoes beyond the sea.

I enjoyed the Museum for Contemporary Art, especially these two pieces:

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, Carlos Isamitt, 1940, oil on canvas, 76.4 x 85.8 c

San Fernando Alley, Juan Francisco González,  oil on canvas, 31.2 x 41 cm


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Valparaiso; Gran Bretaña; Painting in Valparaiso- conclusions


Valparaiso, shops, Gran Bretaña, oil on card, 16 x 15 cm

Valparaiso,  Plaza Waddington, dog, man, oil on card, 17 x 16.5 cm

Valparaiso, garage, Gran Bretaña, oil on card, 17 x 17.7 cm



I'd expected the trip to be good: I'd been to Valparaiso before and I knew that it would be a fine painting city. It was: it's safe, has variety of levels, nature, great architecture, few cars, sea and the people there leave you in peace. It's also quite cheap.

 The weather was perfect and I stayed in a great location.

Of the pictures, I would say that the pictures are almost all good, with two very good ones. I managed to push the method of Cloisonné (using thick dark lines to delineate forms and then filling them in, much as in Rouault's pictures) forward. It gives a rough effect which suits Valparaiso.

 Mostly, I managed to keep the colours and strokes fresh, and didn't meddle. I seemed to be able to act confidently with the brush. A sense of authority matters a great deal. One must accept that one cannot achieve all objectives. I have a lamentable tendency to say to myself when working "oh but why don't I paint that thing instead" ,or, "perhaps I should work on a larger scale",  for example. But to achieve one objective it is necessary to sacrifice others. In the aesthetic sphere, imaginative souls will always find themselves partly unsatisfied with the option they choose. 

One of the most common false criticisms is when viewers make category errors, in my case, "it is a pity it is small", which is like responding to a Chopin mazurka with "Why doesn't it go on for longer?". The mazurka's musical virtues and its concision are not seperable properties, any more than the small size of my picture is irrelevant to what I am expressing. 

I digress. Emboldened, I look forward to  Peru, in June.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Valparaiso- Gran Bretaña, from above


   Valparaiso- Gran Bretaña, taken from the Valparaiso Hundido para ariba map.

This is the area I worked in.

Valparaiso from Gran Bretaña, oil on card,  17 x 15.5 cm

These two, below, are rather German expressionist:

Valparaiso, a house seen from above, oil on card, 18 x 17 cm

To save bag space I`m going to try to make the carriers so that they can be used to carry two pictures, one glued onto the lid. If that works then I can more go on painting trips for longer than one month. This would be useful as I feel the trips have been rushed and superficial.

Valparaiso, rooftops, buildings across a gorge 18 x 14.8 cm  SOLD


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Valparaiso, the sea


 Valparaiso,  naval vessels, rooftops,  16 x 15 cm, oil on card

Valparaiso,  sea, oil on card, 15 x 17 cm

Ships dormant in the harbour. 


Monday, April 18, 2016

Valparaiso - in the centre


 Building in the centre, oil on card, 14.5 x 11 cm

Valparaiso, shop in the centre, 14.5 x 13.5 cm, oil on card


There are fine trolleybuses painted green and ivory. There is graffiti or, as some idiots call it, street art, and it`s nasty and disfiguring. There are schoolgirls in hideous grey uniforms which include monstrously thick grey socks. Why humiliate your children? A legacy of British influence, I fear.

There are innumerable solid little shops and to get anything you go and ask and an endlessly patient soul gets the stuff from the shelf then puts it in a bag. There is very little to choose from, making selection easy and making one feel grateful when you find roughly what you`re looking for, Then he writes the cost on a chit which you take to a minuscule kiosk about a metre away. Then you pay (sometimes its the same person that put the stuff in the bag, they`ve just walked along behind the counter metre or so). Then your chit is stamped or initialed and you return to the other counter to pick up your stuff. Obviously, this Soviet style system is extremely slow, but I suppose it makes theft next to impossible.

Neruda's house is not especially interesting, though the steep walk there is. The Fine Art Museum isn't that interesting either but does tell you something about late nineteenth century tastes and their insistence on imposing a certain cloying sentiment over everything, so that the depictions of nature are most unnatural and forced. Thus, the few impressionist pictures there come as a tremendous relief.

There are stray dogs all over the place and consequently dogshit everywhere.  The town is disintegrating- there are bits and pieces falling off buildings and everything seems to require renovation. Some of the funicular railways work and they are marvellous contraptions. People sell a bizarre array of used goods over near the bus station, laying out car parts, childrens clothes sweets or whatever you might imagine on the ground. That reminds me of Ukraine just after Communism, though the sellers faces are considerably more cheerful in Valparaiso.

The city is falling apart, for sure, but it is doing so with a certain geniality and a  Tom Waitsian style that is utterly  beguiling.


Belvidere Gallery, Rosemount, Aberdeen


I have some pictures on display and sale at the Belvidere Gallery, Rosemount, in Aberdeen.

 The pictures are a nice selection from various places, including Scotland, Morocco and Brazil. They are framed and glazed.


Many thanks to Professor J. B. Derȩgowski and the Belvidere for organizing this.