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Sunday, 11 February 2018

In memory of Edward Gouge, PhD, 1947 - 2018

This has been a bad couple of months for all of us in the Isle of Wight Labour Party, as we lost our Secretary, Dr Ed Gouge, to a brain haemorrhage in January.  It temporarily destroyed my desire to paint anything.   Yesterday was his funeral - he is much missed.

This post is dedicated to him, and illustrated with the one painting I have completed this year, based on a photograph by another of our members, Mr Mick Lyons.   It depicts the change of season from summer to autumn at Priory Bay, Isle of Wight - it's an oil, 16" by 12". 

Monday, 25 December 2017

Happy Christmas, One and All (well - nearly all....)

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

They'll be coming round the headland when they come - Round the Island race off St Catherine's Point

This is an 8" by 10" oil on board which I've had the devil's own job photographing - I just seemed to have lost the knack of photographing my own stuff, Lord knows why.

Think I've got it more or less right now though: anyway this is as good as it's going to look if I'm the one taking its photo .....

And here's another version of the same painting, perhaps showing how hard I found it to photograph an acceptable image.....

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Charlie's Day Bed

Well here we are again.  I think we can safely say that the weather has cooled down now - not that it was exactly tropical in August.

But we are back, with a few paintings to follow; this one is of Charlie the dog, who has featured here before.   My landlord has been breaking up old concrete, and Charlie discovered what she thought was a comfortable spot and went to sleep in it, surrounded by dandelion leaves and with a mattress of earth and shattered concrete.

She can be a little ----- strange, at times.

Acrylic, 16" by 12".

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Too hot!

Temporarily retired until the weather cools down.  I have two paintings sort of on the go, but the chances of finishing them this week while this weather continues are slim: as slim as I shall be if I keep melting...

Monday, 5 June 2017

Still alive......

Just busy with other things.

I have painted a couple of acrylics, which had to be packaged and posted before I'd got good photographs of them.

These are the best I can do (the photographs, that is, not the paintings - I'm sure I'll do better than those ONE of these days....).

The top one is a view of Tennyson Down from Headon Warren, outside of the village of Totland; the lower one is Fort Albert, or reasonable simulacrum thereof, from near the slipway at Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Email contact

As users of any email server linked to EE /Orange will know, the email service they provide is being closed down - without any consultation, obviously: it's far too much to expect EE to consider the interests of its clients - on May 31st.

A number of people choose to contact me through my Freeserve email account, but it'll be defunct in a couple of months, so I would ask those with arty inquiries, including purchase inquiries, to use the email at the top of this blog - i.e.

Anyone wanting to send me any other kind of communication could use that address, or if they prefer write to:

Over the next few weeks, while I work on the much neglected website at, I'll be showing a number of unsold paintings here - if interested in any of them, either of the above email addresses will do!  One of my favourites, of woodland on Niton Undercliff, with the cliff behind, painted last Spring, is shown below.  Not a large painting, it's just 10" by 8", in acrylic - on offer at the moment at just £85.00 plus post and packing.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Eyes front.

Got my new lenses this morning - a big shock .... The improvement in my vision is dramatic,  I can see colour better, especially when it comes to differentiating the darks, so I've no excuse for not painting.

Now, I'm relying on you, here and on Facebook, to hold me to this.   Self-discipline has never really been our watchword...

Thursday, 26 January 2017

On the road again.....

At last the heaving chest has subsided; I've been able to get to the hospital for my eye checkup, following my problematic cataract operation - very thorough tests today reveal there's a cataract in the other eye, but it's in its infancy and neither the surgeon nor I need worry about it for a good few years if we're lucky.  I've had checks on the retina, the macula, eye pressure, and the next step is to go back to my optician for a new prescription to take account of the improved sight in my right eye and balance the spectacle lenses.

I've painted nothing for around a month now - either couldn't see properly, or felt too ill to approach a canvas in anger.  I shall be making up for this very soon, and intend to flood the blog with new work - even though, if you neglect them, skills deteriorate; but working on them anew brings them back.  You don't forget the veriest basics, but a fallow period invariably means that you have to work hard to regain the level of ability you had before.  I wish I knew why this was, but I don't - however, it's been observed by many others; hence Constable's advice to paint a sky a day (which I wish I'd taken) - it does help to keep your hand in; And it hurts you if you don't - I wish that weren't true, but all the experience I've gained over 50 odd years of doing this suggests that it is.

But never mind: fish and chip day tomorrow!  I told the fish and chip van proprietor that this was the highlight of my week - he looked at me oddly, and shook his head - "if that's true," he said, "I feel sorry for you."

But - if you live for the satisfaction of your stomach, as I fear I do, it IS a highlight.  And anyway - I like fish.  And batter.  Crunchy batter.  And chips..... come on, you've got to love SOMETHING!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The sold painting

This is the painting I sold to Australia - from a walk along the old Blackgang Road, painted in 2015 in watercolour.


What a few weeks this has been....

First my eye operation goes wrong, and I have to have a second procedure - though not painful.

Then, my landlady's family - three grandsons, daughter, sort-of-son-in-law - arrive from Australia; very nice to see them all, and they bought a painting too.

But either I caught an infection from one of the boys, which he had picked up on the 'plane, or (and quite possibly) he had nothing to do with it and I caught it from Chris the landlord who nursed it lovingly at the hospital and brought it back just for me.

Wherever it came from, I've had to postpone my scheduled eye inspection, could hardly eat anything - thank goodness for my neighbour who brought me a tray of cooked meats: I couldn't have swallowed anything else - and for a week now I've been unable to go to bed at all, because the moment I lay down, my chest banged and wheezed and heaved - it was like listening to a couple of elderly cats having a row.  So I've slept in my office chair - oddly enough, not uncomfortably.

I can't imagine that uncontrollable coughing is exactly good for you when you've had a cataract replaced and pressure in the eye, but I'll find out about that at the end of the month now.

So no painting has been possible - I was having trouble with a picture anyway: it's gone so wrong I've had to gesso over it and start again; I'm not at all sure I can save it - the  Ampersand board, which worked so well for an oil painting, has been disastrous for my sort of acrylic painting; but in any event I haven't the strength to stand up to it just now.

On the plus side, Pat, my landlady, has come home at last after 16 weeks in the stroke unit, with more drugs to take than she's ever taken in her life before.  Of course this is good in nearly every respect, except that the real tasks now begin - of managing at home, accessing full and continuing support, providing some relief for Chris my landlord; things that are generally beyond my power, although perhaps I can help with Charley, the small but ubiquitous and lively dog.

Fed totally up would summarize the mood here at the Batcave right now.....!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Greetings

Getting slowly back to normal following my eye operation, and in the meantime, here's a festive Guinea pig.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Long gap in my posting progress - don't really know why, but I do sometimes feel I'm the only one looking at this blog: and as I probably am, I'll just say Hallo to myself, and offer a cheery wave!

Robert, I think you're just lovely.  A little inclined to talk to yourself, perhaps, but other than that you're just a little bundle of charm and talent, all wrapped into a peculiarly appealing exterior.

Right then, having got that out of my system, I am going to show a painting of an old friend of mine, as best I can remember him.   We first met when I was around 8, that is some 58 years ago.  He used to charge his bars in annoyance - appalling really: Bristol Zoo, where he lived and where I stayed from time to time in my distant youth since my Uncle Vic was a keeper there, confined this animal from the American  plains (he was I think an American rather than European Bison, or Wisent) in a concrete compound with thick iron bars.  Poor old Ferdinand was kept there alone, and must have been quietly mad after so many years of false imprisonment.

But he rather liked me, for reasons I do not understand, and permitted me to gaze at him and approach him, without throwing a tantrum.  I always felt sorry for him, and in this very small oil study I've released him from his bars and liberated him from his confinement.  This is just a study, I don't know if I'll ever work it up into a bigger painting - bisons have rather complicated anatomies, every one different from the other depending partly on age, but always massive.  Ferdinand was seriously massive, because he must have been fairly elderly when I got to know him, and didn't get to run in the open pasture lands, as he would naturally have done.

I hope no Zoo anywhere in the world would treat an animal like this again, but it was commonplace over half a century ago.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

On the March

I suppose this is an oil study, more than anything else.  It's based on a photograph on Tennyson Down, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight, by my younger brother Brian.  An area I know very well, although I'm not on first name terms with the cow.

For those interested in these things, I used only lead whites, no Titanium (which I very rarely do, but it made for a very different painting experience) plus Mars Red, Naples Yellow, Chrome Yellow Hue, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue Hue, French Ultramarine, and a bit of Cobalt Violet.

The last of these colours is extremely expensive, and I wouldn't normally use it - but I have a very old tube, and indeed apart from the white just about all the paint used in this was decades old.  In oil, you can do that - in the tube, the paint rarely deteriorates.

I don't think I've ever painted a cow before - and they're not especially easy.

Determined Cow, oil on board, 8" by 10"