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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Another Milestone (and welcome to new follower)

I have never, in all my extensive and drawn out puff, had a toothache such as that I endured over the last week - even nudging the thing with my tongue set off waves of agony and caused me to wonder if life were really, on the whole, taken by and large, worth all the bother......

Fortunately, the dentist's antibiotics, the chemist's Oil of Cloves, the Internet's suggestion of a salt and bicarb poultice, and the fact that all together caused the foul thing to burst (I shall spare you the details, the rich multiplicity of colours thus produced, wishing that someone might have spared me too) and eased the ghastly agonies sufficiently to enable me to enjoy lunch with my mother, brother and sister-in-law on Saturday at the New Inn, at Shalfleet, Isle of Wight (wonderful fish!) and also lunch today at the Buddle Inn, just down the road, for some of the best roast beef, Yorkshire pud and roast potatoes, courtesy of my friend Mr Skidmore, I've had for a long time.  And today was my birthday.  Yes, no more pretence that we are a mere 39, which seemed to be fooling just about no one; we have entered our 63rd year: and if it could be held free of the gastric haemorrhage, chest infections and tooth abscess we've had this year, I shall be grateful.  I realize that Fate has had a high old time this year, working out what to inflict on me next, but - take a break, eh?  Don't work yourself into an early grave.....  Turn the attention somewhere else......

Interest has been expressed by several people in my e-book; one has worked out how to pay for it and done so; others require the dvd version and will be provided with the same the moment they give me a) their money, b) their addresses.  Hint.  I am not being bowled over in the rush, but that's rather the way I anticipated it - a steady and gentle stream will suit me much better.

Did I say, it's awfully GOOD.....?

Welcome to my new follower, who brings the total number of regular readers up to 11.  Also a slow and steady build-up....

Back to painting as soon as possible - I haven't had the time for a month while I wrote the book, or the inclination since one infection followed another ....  but I hope the last of these emergencies and disasters has, for the time being at least, passed by.  I'm not sure quite how many more I could take.....  But we seem to trundle on, like an old tank.....

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Complete, finished, available! Just a pity about me teeth....

My e-book, Oil Painting for the Total Beginner, all 11 Chapters, 21,000 words, illustrations, notes - including suggested colour mixes - and Glossary of art terms is finished, done, ready.

It's in PDF form only at present: I can put it on a CD or DVD for you, at £10 including postage and packing; or send you a download, at £8: just email me at either


Tell me what form you'd like the book in, and I will reply to you telling you how it can be paid for (preferably via Paypal, on my website -, but I also take cheques, postal orders, and dubious services in kind......).  Incidentally, I can also print it - but at 54 A4 pages, I'd have to have a think about costs: I might be able to do it for £10, but would have to add p & p on top.

My warm glow of accomplishment at having finished the thing was slightly tempered when I woke up yesterday with raging toothache; just nicely in time for my birthday, too......  However, I've been able to get an emergency appointment via the NHS Dental Helpline, at 2.30 this very afternoon.  How I look forward to it...........

I have something of a dental phobia, but there are things - like crashing pain every time you so much as hit the tooth with your tongue - that rather get you over that.

For those similarly banjaxed, and seeking temporary pain relief while awaiting the dentist and his sturdy pliers, Oil of Cloves, on a wad of cotton wool, applied to the tooth, actually DOES help.  Just enough to enable one to write and think without whimpering for Mummy......

Monday, 12 November 2012

Finished bar the shouting!!

My E-book, provisionally titled Oil Painting for Total Beginners, is written and illustrated; 20,000 words, give or take, glossary, Notes including sample colour mixes.  It will be available on PDF download (zip file), or on CD (again, PDF - no animation!) as preferred.

I would prefer payment via Paypal, from my website - haven't settled on the price yet, have to work out costs of making the download available as opposed to the CD, but £10 for the download would be about right.

Well, I think it would be about right .... I'm open to outraged suggestions to the contrary....

Anyone interested at this stage might like to email me - this would put you at the head of the ENORMOUS list of persons just waiting to get their hooks into my masterly work.

The download will be ready by the end of this week (November 16th); the CD will have to wait a few days - if it's actually wanted in that form at all - while I actually get some recordable CDs (or DVDs).  

I can also do a printed copy - I'd rather not, to be honest, because it's going to take me a while to churn out some 50 pages on my old printers: I'll only do this by special order: have to give consideration to the binding, otherwise it's going to be a rather shoddier product than the download.  And we don't want shoddy.

Details on request - sample pages available if desired.

Well come on then, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

New Follower!

Welcome Basil

Being slow, I haven't quite worked out who you are and to whom you're connected, although I've got a sort of idea; a head cold is fogging my intellectual processes.  Which are always a wee bit on the misty side.

No work to post, because it's all been done for other people and is specific to them; in other words, I should  spoil the surprise they're hoping their Christmas cards will cause this year if I go and show my (obviously fabulous) artwork here.

My e-book on oil painting for beginners is nearly finished, though - back, back, patience! - and I shall shortly advertise its availability and wait for those orders to come pouring in, making me fabulously wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.  Although my dreams are pretty wild....  the reality is likely to be somewhat less so.

And in the meantime, I'm still trying to get my Pension Credits sorted out ... the Dept of Work and Pensions thought I was self-employed - until they looked at this year's sales figures....

Friday, 7 September 2012

Lioness for my Landlady.

My landlady, one Pat Mann, was 82 today.  You wouldn't know it: she still gardens, walks for miles, even runs sometimes.  And she has a character to go with her physical vigour.  That, it may be said, of a fairly savage beast, once roused.....

So what better, I thought, than a birthday card featuring a lioness and the legend "Oh Bugger, Another Birthday!  And yes, I do look good, for my BLOODY AGE!!
"And the next one to say so gets MAULED."

Timorously, and yet with extraordinary bravery once you  think about it, I presented the card to her this morning.  And got a glass of her birthday champagne, AND a slice of birthday cake.  So she must have seen the funny side.  Or be planning a horrid revenge ......

We shall see.  Here be the Lioness, in irritable mode.

Painted, by the way, in Chromacolour, from  An acrylic which can be used as watercolour, gouache, "ordinary" acrylic or, with the use of gel thickeners, even as oil.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Guardian

A vaguely political one - I had an article published in the Guardian on Friday; and it was online as well.  Now. online you get comments.  This wasn't an issue when I used to write articles in magazines years ago - you'd get the occasional phone call, or Letter to the Editor, but some effort was involved in making a comment, and on the whole people didn't.  They might have fumed impotently and sworn they'd "never have that rag in the house again", but lacking the facility for instant comment they'd at least reflect on what they wanted to say; and on balance, generally didn't say it.

The internet, for better or for worse, has altered things entirely.  Now, it's the easiest thing in the world to see a piece online, go into orbit, and assault your computer keyboard with a rat-a-tat-tat of invective.  And several did - my article had nearly 700 comments when I last looked, and some of them .... well, some of them weren't friendly.

One of the reasons for this - the piece was on the Paralympics, and whether these Games are entirely a good thing for disabled people - was that I am not inspired by or interested in sport.  And I'm no more interested in or inspired by it if the athletes happen to be disabled.  Well, you can agree or disagree about that - it doesn't really matter.  I only mentioned it because I felt I should at least say, if I was having a bit of a pop at the Paralympics, that I wasn't exactly the ideal audience to start with.

However, I should have realized, and probably did - I like to provoke - that to criticize sport in a sports-obsessed country like this one (ie, very many more people follow sport than participate in it) is to run the risk of committing blasphemy.  So I wasn't surprised that a lot of people went splutteringly off at the deep-end, and missed the point by several sea-miles.

What did surprise me - a bit - was that some of them seemed to lose the capacity for reason in the process.  One who responded told the world, or that small portion of it that was interested, that I had "specifically said" that the Paralympics were "designed" to provide a cover for the assault on benefit payments to disabled people.  But I had "specifically said" nothing of the kind; nothing even approaching it; and it would have been a staggeringly stupid thing to have said anyway.  But he, who posts under the avatar Keo2008 on Comment is Free on the Guardian website, had read the piece; read my own comments and that of others beneath the piece; and had quite obviously re-written it in his mind to give him something he could latch onto and object to.  And Keo, though idiosyncratic, is not a complete idiot.  He makes generally informed comments..... but he completely misrepresented the article, and me, on this occasion.

It does make one wonder how rational we really are, when a supposedly intelligent person can make so utterly stupid, and provably stupid, a comment as that.

But there we are.  Respond, Keo, by all means, if you happen to read this.  But - read it first this time, eh?

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Just a Couple of Small Ones

I'm aiming to put most of my work on here, and in due course on the website at - so much to do at the moment that it'll take me a while; and how I could do with some help from a web expert.... anyone there?

In the meantime: these two are both small oils on canvas, 7" by 5" in their stockinged feet; not brilliantly photographed, but the best I've been able to do.  Colours are either a bit fuzzy or a touch brash: I may well re-post in due course, when I've got a better camera or better camera skills.

One is entitled Castlehaven Lane; the other Path Through the Trees; and I live in hope you'll be able to tell which is which....   Around £40.00 each, for any keen purchaser.  Just email me, and I'll tell you, with obscene haste, how you can pay.  They're on box canvases - don't strictly speaking need frames, but I would frame them if it were up to me: a frame helps to focus the eye.

E-book on oil painting for absolute beginners on its way - most of the writing is finished, just need to finish the illustrations and write the last two sections, plus Index.  I think it'll be priced in the region of £10, in pdf form.  By all means express an interest now - it IS for absolute beginners, but I think more experienced painters might find it of some interest too: does you good to go back to basics now and then.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Small oils

Very quick blog entry; I've been painting small oils on canvas, 7" by 5" - and I had a lot of trouble photographing them.  I'm told the issue is camera shake.  However - a fellow contributor to the Painters Online website, Mick Saunders, has tidied up one of my rather poor photographs, and I'll display it here - even now it doesn't have quite the density of colour that the original painting has, but it's the best photographic version available so far....

Others in this "series" - it isn't really a series at all, although they're all landscapes - can be found on POL:

This one is called Fresh Day in July.  Because - it was!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Forthcoming (one day) e-book

I'm in the process of writing an e-book on oil painting for beginners - and also thinking about doing one on acrylics, but first things first: I've only got the Introduction and outline for the oil one yet.  Thing is, there's a dearth of material in any one place which really takes the beginner by the hand - a lot of stuff for the intermediate painter; and again, precious little for the beyond intermediate.  All the things I wanted to know when I started out, for instance, are extremely hard to find in any article or book I've seen in the last few years: they all seem to assume a basis of knowledge (about surfaces, brushes, colours) that the real beginner just hasn't got.  
When it's available, I'll post the news here and elsewhere - there will be a charge, because a lot of work needs to go into it; but even so, it'll be a lot cheaper than buying the half-dozen books you'd otherwise need, or signing up to a course of instruction (not that there's anything wrong with those, if you can afford it; trouble is, few of us can).

In the meantime, I have a short article on water-colour disasters - mine, to be specific - in the current electronic newsletter of The Artists Publishing Company, aka Painters Online -

And here is a sample of my latest watercolours, photographed as well as I can given there's rotten light in my hovel, and I can't take the blessed things outside to photograph them because of the foul weather.....  Working on an oil at the moment - hoping, as always, that it works out.......

This is the one that featured in my e-newsletter piece - of Niton Down, Isle of Wight, with the Hoy Monument.

And this is a reworking of an older acrylic, in watercolour, of Perreton, near Arreton, IW.  Both of these available for sale, offers of £40 or so happily considered!  Usual address,

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lonesome George

Rest in Peace Lonesome George - the last of the Pinta Island giant tortoises, who died this week aged around 100.  This is my tribute, drawn in carbon pencil.  There is apparently a small chance that there may be one more Pinta Island tortoise still living - I found the story confusing but hopeful; we shall have to wait and see.  Species do die out, but it's a shame poor old George couldn't have been persuaded to perpetuate his genes - perhaps he was even older than they thought he was, and just couldn't face the effort....
Well, I'm sure that resonates with many of us .......

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Nearly time for a Change

Most of my recent paintings have been watercolours; it's a medium I find fascinating, not least because it's the one in which I'm least proficient - so there's always the pleasure of discovery.  I've shown most of the recent ones on the Painters Online gallery,, but here's one I haven't put on POL (yet, at least).  I'm not great at painting yachts - as you'll have noticed - but that's what these are supposed to be, from last year's Round the Island race off the coast at Niton Undercliff.

I feel it's time for a change of medium - so I'll be getting back into acrylic and oil shortly; there should be one more watercolour to come for the moment, always assuming that the one I'm currently working on doesn't go horribly wrong (always a strong likelihood with watercolour).  In the meantime - this one, like all of my paintings, is for sale - around £60 for this one; email me at robertjones@ratville,; you can pay by Paypal on my website ( which is LONG overdue for an overhaul.  I'm supposed to be running it myself these days, but would really like someone to hold my hand while I do it....

Well, they never taught us about computers when I was at school...........

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Using Black paint

Long time since the last post - it requires a certain amount of self-discipline to keep blog posts going, especially when so few comment on them.  Yes, that's a hint.

Anyway - there's an interesting discussion on the Painters Online forum pages, ( started by Alan Owen, a watercolourist friend of all of us.  Alan points out that using black - especially, though not exclusively, in watercolour - has been discouraged and generally frowned upon.  There are good reasons for this - using black as a routine means of suggesting shadows, for instance, can quickly turn a picture into mud.  Black can be mixed - eg from Winsor/Pthalo green and Permanent Rose, or from Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna or Burnt Umber, and in any number of other ways: black is basically the result of a mix between red, yellow and blue; you've got the yellow in Pthalo Green, red and yellow in Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.  Blacks mixed this way will have far more life, and run much less risk of muddying your colours.

However, adding a small amount of black to other colours can produce very interesting results - take a look at the POL forum for some examples of Alan's colour mixes, especially the results he gets with a little Old Holland Intense Black mixed into Cobalt Blue.

The painting below (I hope it appears below anyway: I've been caught out with files appearing in the wrong place before!) contains a very small amount of black in the blue of the sky; this one was painted with Chromacolour (, a form of acrylic.  Without the little bit of black, I couldn't have achieved the colour I wanted from those available to me at the time.    So black has its place on the painter's palette - you don't HAVE to use it: but it's not the crime it's sometimes held to be.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Getting back to normal...

Recovered, more or less; and have painted a few watercolours.  Will try to attach one - of the walk along the River Medina, Newport, Isle of Wight, Autumn/Winter.  From a photograph by Bob Blake.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A Temporary Lull.....

For those who don't already know - I've had a major health problem this month; haemorrhage into the bowel, necessitating blood transfusions and various tests; take this as a warning if you are prescribed NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, like Naproxen, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac Sodium (Voltarol), or even Aspirin. When they say these things can cause bleeding in the stomach, you don't imagine - or I didn't - that this can be a bleed of 4 pints or more. Well, it can, and it was. I have a bleeding disorder to start with, so should never have been prescribed drugs like these - just make sure that you get your blood checked before you take them; and DON'T buy over-the-counter pain-killers, other than paracetamol.

This health warning comes to you free ... I wouldn't normally put such a thing on here, but frankly it was touch and go that I'd come through this; I've always trusted doctors before, but not any more. Having said which - thanks to St Mary's Hospital, Isle of Wight, and my new friend Dr Gandy: without them, I wouldn't be here today.

There'll be a bit of a break in normal service while I regain my strength, but I'll always try to answer any emails sent to if you need to contact me.

Incidentally, if there's anyone out there who's really good at managing websites, do get in touch: I could do with a bit of advice and guidance.