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Saturday 12 May 2018

Sea Lavender in Norfolk

In Norfolk where I live now the salt marshes blaze with purple in August. The Sea Lavender ( Limonium carolinianum ) transforms the marshes in the same way Heather does in Scotland and the North York Moors. I miss the hills and mountains of Northern England and Scotland but the salt marshes on the Norfolk coast are quite special too. With it's tidal creeks and old boats it is a magnet for artists and bird watchers.This painting was inspired by the Sea Lavender. It was started last year but I have just finished it in anticipation of this years flowering. Acrylic on paper.

Monday 7 May 2018

Purple Mists

Mist clings like lovers parting words

The old houses emerge weather worn

Branches of trees reach this way, and that

Forever entwined in windless fantasy

Painting acrylic ink and acrylic on canvas
Fragment of poetry by the fantastic Scottish poet
Eileen Carney Hulme ( adjusted slightly to fit my painting )

Saturday 28 April 2018

Silent Stalker

Silently stalking.

Tai chi movements.

 Meditating on fish.

Acrylic on canvas.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Plockton Scotland and Shakespeare

I went to see a wonderful interpretation of Julius Caesar by the Bridge Theatre last night. Today I painted Plockton on the west coast of Scotland. The only connection is that Plockton is on Loch Carron which is tidal. This reminded me of the famous line from Brutus which has always had significance in my life. " There is a tide in the affairs of man, which if taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea we are now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures." There have been many such tides in my life! If we are honest we have all faced choices in life which required courage. In these circumstances it is wise to be brave and take a risk rather than sinking into ' what if ' regret. Plockton is very special to me.Painting on canvas in acrylic ink and acrylic.

Thursday 22 March 2018


Did I channel this? This painting turned out completely different to the preconceived idea I set out to paint. I was complaining in a previous post that I had temporarily lost my artistic direction but this one feels a better energy. This one felt as though something was working through me. When that happens it is wonderful. I now feel excited and have started three new paintings. This one is acrylic ink and acrylic paint on canvas.

Friday 16 March 2018

The space between inspiration

The space between inspiration. When my elder brother was a young boy ( before he went to art collage and became an accomplished artist ) he painted a painting of a track through a wood. My mother loved this painting and it was proudly displayed on the wall for years. My brother hated it! He thought it was awful. However there was something special about it.Now I have just realised that when my artist direction is lost I fill in time with a similar subject. This painting is one of several I have done on this theme. Sometimes the season changes or the figures change or disappear but they are broadly the same. I wonder what my next inspirational theme will be? This painting is acrylic on canvas board..

Sunday 7 January 2018

Is Social Media the New Apple?

Is Social Media the New Apple? Nearly all of us use Social Media these days don't we? For most it is a great way to connect with friends and family. However in other ways it is used in a dark and destructive way. In embracing Social Media are we eating a new way to lose our innocence? Just a thought. Painting available.

Thursday 16 November 2017

Autumn Cottage Revisited

This is a reworking of a painting I did a couple of years ago while staying at my brothers house in France. Is it better than the original? Maybe, maybe not, but as always when painting the same subject it takes a different form and then becomes a completely new painting. Acrylic Ink and Acrylic on canvas board.

Sunday 8 October 2017

Buachaille Etive Mor with Black Rock Cottage.

I Just got back from an amazing couple of weeks in " The Lake District " 
This painting is actually of Scotland but I was inspired to paint it by the magnificent Lakeland Mountains.
 It is Black Rock Cottage with Buachaille Etive Mor ( the herdsman of Etive ) in the background.
The Buachaille stands at the head of Glencoe.

Friday 8 September 2017

Fire Fiesta San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain

This is my painting of a horse being ridden through bonfires at Las Luminarias festival in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain. In honour of Saint Anthony the Abbot, patron saint of animals. horses are ridden through bonfires on the night before the official day of honouring animals in Spain. The tradition, which is hundreds of years old, is meant to purify and protect the horse throughout the coming year and dates back to the great plague. The horse tail is bound to prevent it catching fire. The painting is Acrylic Ink and acrylic.

Monday 21 August 2017

Forget Macdonalds

BURGERS AT THE BEACH in Happisburgh Norfolk sells the most mouth watering burgers I have ever tasted. Choice of three, steak, crab or veggie, all delicious. Owners Andrew and Jo Jo are most delightful and welcoming. Also very interesting. They gave up ' normal ' jobs to run this great little cafe and after the season leave in their camper van to over winter in Portugal along with their dog To To. My good friend Bryan also has a camper van and lives in Portugal. That's him in the last photo and he gave this lovely couple his address in Portugal and is hoping for a visit next winter. If you are on holiday in Norfolk be sure to try one of these amazing burgers

Wednesday 9 August 2017

A New Insect!

 What is this amazing insect? Any ideas anyone? I was sitting peacefully fishing when I felt something on my bare leg. It didn't want to release my leg but I managed to ease it off onto my fishing towel. Seems harmless as it didn't bite and it was released unharmed as was the beautiful carp I caught too. But what was the insect? I have never seen anything like it before.

Sunday 23 July 2017

Her name is Socks

This is Jo's dog. She is called Socks because all four feet are white. However she has had an operation on her front paws and now has these very fetching red socks to protect the wounds. Not at all sorry for herself as she is being spoiled rotten!

In the Stocks at Kirkby Malham

Simon and I didn't really deserve to be put in The Stocks but our walking group thought we should be!These well preserved stocks are in the churchyard at Kirkby Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. Three days super walking from Newfield Hall.

Friday 7 July 2017

A Wonderful Day

The English Lake District is one of my most favourite places on this planet. This was a wonderful day out during my recent visit to my good friend John. In the first photo I am walking up to Hardknott Fell with the Scarfell range in the background. The third photo is of a frog half way down off the fell. How it survived there with no water anywhere near is another of natures miracles. This was a perfect day, not too hot, little wind and a stunning approach walk to the head of Eskdale. The previous night John cooked a succulent leg of local lamb with mixed salad ( mostly grown in his living room ) and vegetables so we were well set up to enjoy the climb.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Peter Sallis. Wonderful voice of Wallace

If you've ever laughed at Wallace and Gromit or The Last of the Summer Wine then you, like me, will be sad to hear of the death of Peter Sallis. Sallis's wonderful voice always makes me nostagic for Yorkshire and Lancashire. Reading his obituary today I was surprised at his many other roles ( and not just Wensleydale cheese ) including Chekhov and in Orson Welles Moby Dick.Another surprising thing was that this unassuming man had a tempestuous marriage. He separated from his wife no less the 16 times before divorcing and then would you believe it remarrying! It's the quiet ones you know! I will miss that voice.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

life enhanced by dark

I delight in the contrast between light and shade.

Early or late in the day the shadows thrown by the sun are always interesting. In this painting ( my third of the common Bindweed ) I have tried to capture the pulsating life flowing through these flowers.

 It is a metaphor for human life too. In times of darkness we need the power of light and are drawn towards it.
Painting size. 40cm x 40cm ( 16" x 16" ) Acrylic on canvas.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

My controversial painting

My controversial painting ' Sitting on the Fence ' sold today. Why was it controversial? Because I made ( perhaps naively ) a comment that in the interests of social harmony perhaps rather than fuel division with our speech maybe we should sit on the fence. I was only playfully saying something about the title. Maybe I am a bird brain but I was astonished by the hostile reaction! Even my brother seemed to think I was a Fascist sympathiser! Anyway I hope the buyer enjoys the peace suggested in my painting.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Another Autumn Painting

This second Autumn Painting is broadly the same subject as the previous post but painted in a looser and less detailed way. Some people like this more than the other but by no means all. Art is subjective after all!
Overall frame size 67cm x 57cm Painting size 46cm x 35cm. Substantial white frame with off white mount.

This will appear on my website in due course.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Sitting on the Fence

In these contentious times I can't help wondering if political and religious differences are poisoning our humanity. These differences are a dialogue of the deaf. Maybe we should just keep our opinions to ourselves and just peacefully sit on the fence. My acrylic painting titled ' Sitting on the fence '

Sunday 8 January 2017

Where are the Poppies?

I was in Osmotherley North Yorkshire over the New Year and finished this painting. Staying just outside the village in a farm holiday cottage I was asked by the farmers wife if she could have a look at my paintings. I was putting them into my car wrapped in a blanket so I had to unwrap them. She took one glance at this painting and exclaimed " Poppies ". I was delighted, not because she obviously liked it but because there are no Poppies in the painting. This pleased me as my intention was for the viewer to make the subject from what was only an impression.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Art in the Algarve

 On my recent holiday in Portugal I spent one of the weeks with a splendid group of people. We walked mostly on the coast, and what a treat that was, but also ventured inland. On the inland walk we stopped for lunch in a village renowned for it's artists. There were many wall paintings, garden sculptures and statues. Most of them quite quirky like the three depicted. There was a very laid back atmosphere and I noticed that several dogs wandering around were friendly and well cared for. This was in complete contrast to some of the ferocious dogs we encountered as we passed isolated houses on the walk. The figure in the doorway of the bus was a member of our walking group.

Sunday 27 November 2016

The Dog Whisperer

This is my friend Bryan captured painting one of his unique Tee Shirts and walking some of his dogs. Bryan is an artist and also a part time dog whisperer. I recently visited him in Portugal.  Over a three week period I saw the amazing difference he made to one of the dogs he was caring for in the owners absence. In a firm but gentle way he transformed an anxious needy dog into a calm contented animal. He has helped several dog owners with troubled pooches both in the UK and now in Portugal.When not painting he is available for what he calls Dog Behaviour Correction Training. Please note only in Portugal. So if you live in Portugal and want help with your dog you can contact Bryan by email  or telephone 00351919707088

Friday 28 October 2016

In Praise of Postmen and Postwomen

What is it about Posties? They are always cheerful as they buzz from door to door. Always ready with a smile and joke. Is it that they are outside in all weathers and getting plenty of exercise?  Years ago I lived in the Yorkshire Moors and ran a village post office. I had the privilege of working with a postman called Denis.  He was a bluff Yorkshire man, broke all the post office rules, ran errands for outlying elderly residents on the moors and was unfailingly happy. His breezy presence lifted the dourest Yorkshire spirit. He retired on my watch and when he came round the corner from his last round the entire village was waiting to salute him with cards, champagne and tributes. His wife was in on it and was there too. He was moved to tears and believe me it takes something to make a Yorkshire man cry! He was so loved. God bless you Denis and all Posties.

Thursday 13 October 2016

Feeling Blue?

Usually when someone says " I'm feeling blue " it means they are feeling down, depressed even.

What is the origin of this term? For me feeling grey would be more appropriate or feeling black! If I have been feeling down it seems the colour goes out of my life. So the title of this painting is Feeling Blue to signify the sheer joy and delight flowers evoke in me.

 How can you feel down when confronted with the miracle of a field of flowers, wild and untamed. I am not talking about flowers that have been cut and placed in a vase, lovely though they are they are separated from the life force they represent.
The painting is Acrylic Ink and Acrylic on canvas 20" x 16"

Friday 7 October 2016

The energy in flowers

Sometimes when we look at flowers we see more than the flowers. There is a power, a life force, a certain manifestation of energy. You can call this divine, you can call this God, you can call it what you want but what is undeniable is that there is more than a flower.

Acrylic ink and acrylic paint on a small 20x20cm canvas

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Blue Dream

Dust off those dampened dreams
I've brought you Cornflowers
Extending blue
Beyond our tide.

Fragment from a poem by Eileen Carney Hulme

My painting. Acrylic Ink and Acrylic Paint on a small 20cm x 20cm canvas.

Saturday 27 August 2016

I'd rather go for a Walk!

It's hot today and my master doesn't seem to want to leave this shady spot!

This tranquil scene photographed at the end of Rockland dyke. The launch place for our canoe trip onto Rockland Broad. See previous post.

Thursday 25 August 2016

The Past Revisited

 Over 50 years ago as a young boy with my friend Billy Mayhew we used to cycle the eight miles from Norwich to Rockland Broad. We used to hire rowing boats from Archie the old Broadsman who lived in the tumbledown cottage at the end of Rockland dyke. We spent many happy days fishing on this wonderful broad. I always wanted to go out on this water again to see if it had changed. Only accessible by water due to surrounding reedbeds rowboats are no longer hired. So accompanied by Peter Norton we launched our canoes. After more than 50 years Archie's cottage had been gentrified but I was delighted to find the broad had changed little. Indeed there was such a proliferation of wildlife and fish stock it seemed timeless. In a world of relentless change it was truly balm for the soul.

Monday 22 August 2016

Home on the moor

One day I left this place
It seemed right then
Beyond was calling

Now I talk to the mountain
Listen to the Curlews
Beyond was here not there

This is the third of my small paintings on canvas
20cm x 20cm.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

The Essence of Summer

This is the second of my small canvases for an upcoming exhibition. 20cm x 20cm Acrylic ink.

Poppies capture summer, blue skies and heat for me.

Leonard Cohen's last love letter to Marianne

Before he was famous Leonard Cohen met Marianne Ihlen on the Greek island of Hydra. She was the inspiration of songs such as So Long Marianne and Bird on the Wire. They were together for seven years. When he learnt she was dying in Oslo and only had days to live he sent her this letter.
" Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand I think you can reach mine. I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love. See you down the road".
According to a friend she was so happy to receive this beautiful letter and died two days later.
I think this is love and lovely. The painting is one of my small ones for a coming exhibition and is of wild flowers. I think their love was wild and unconditional and that this painting is therefore appropriate for my tribute to them both.

Monday 20 June 2016

The Heart Sutra. The perfect antidote to politics

The Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra ( Heart of Perfect Understanding ) is one of, if not the most important, Buddhist Sutra.
If you are fed up with trying to score points over somebody with different political viewpoints? Why not try something higher and more challenging. Try to understand this Sutra which goes as follows:

The Bodhisattva of Compassion, When he meditated deeply, Saw the emptiness of all five skandas and sundered the bonds that caused him suffering,

 Here then, Form is no other than emptiness, Emptiness no other than form, Form is only emptiness, Emptiness only form.

 Feeling thought and choice, Consciousness itself, Are the same as this.

All things are by nature void, They are not born or destroyed, Nor are they stained or pure, Nor do they wax or wane.

So in emptiness, no form, no feeling thought, or choice, Nor is there consciousness. No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind, No colour, sound, smell, taste touch, Or what the mind takes hold of, Nor even act of sensing.

No ignorance or end of it, Nor all that comes of ignorance, No withering, no death, No end of them.

Nor is there pain, or cause of pain, Or cease in pain, or noble path to lead from pain, Not even wisdom to attain! Attainment too is emptiness.

 So know that the Bodhisattva, Holding to nothing whatever, But dwelling in Prajna wisdom, Is freed of delusive hindrance, Rid of the fear bred by it, And reaches clearest Nirvana.

All Buddhas of past and present, Buddhas of future time, Using this Pranja wisdom, Come to full and perfect vision.

Hear then the great Dharani, The radiant peerless mantra, The Pranjaparamita Whose words allay all pain, Hear and believe it's truth.

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha. 

Challenged? After years of being a Buddhist I wrestled with understanding this even though I had read explanations of the Sutra. You are probably more intelligent than me and grasp it in one go? However if not, Thich Nhat Hanh has written a commentary published as a book called simply The Heart of Understanding. One read of this brilliant short book and Eureka I understood. How this amazing man whose first language is not English can simplify this text to understandable form just shows his genius as a teacher.

So do read this and take your mind away from greed, hatred and delusion. If dear reader you already have purged these three poisons from your system then please accept my apologies.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Spontaneous Beach Art

I often walk along the beach here in Norfolk, walking from Cart Gap to Happisburgh and then returning via the cliff top.

This growing and changing collection of old net, shoes, bucket, spades and a buoy always provokes a smile. Every time I pass something has been added or taken away and now someone has turned the buoy into a bird with some bits of old iron. Everyone is having some creative fun.

Saturday 30 January 2016

Ben Nevis from Loch Lochy

My recent painting of this iconic mountain.

Many years ago when my children were small I was camping with the family near here. One morning on emerging from our tent we were greeted by this stunning sight. I had climbed the Ben before but never had a view.
We packed up and raced over to Glen Nevis, pitched camp and I climbed the Ben by the north face and was rewarded with stupendous views.

Next day it was still clear and Jo climbed it while I looked after the children.
Next day it was STILL clear so I climbed it with Edward who I think was 9 or 10 at the time, a great achievement for him.
Three clear days on the Ben is not usual so we were very lucky indeed. Wonderful memories. I will probably not sell this painting as it will always bring those memories back.

Saturday 9 January 2016

Morning Walk

Every morning after meditation I walk
Rain overnight leaves puddles 
A Blackbird showers itself with vigour
I stop, enjoying the spectacle
Both taking pleasure

On through the tranquil village
Every house named
A clue to it’s owners dreams
One is called ‘ Mole Meadow ‘
Wind in the Willows perhaps?
I think I would like the occupants 

After the houses the lane narrows
The local bus murmurs towards me
I step on the bank allowing passage
The driver waves acknowledgement
Our eyes meet, we both smile
She has a happy smiling face

Presently I reach the river at the ferry
The ferry is no more, just an old pub
The river is dark, flowing with power
I turn to return, musing on metaphor

Near the small shop is a village pond
Two shy Moorhens in peaceful residence
This winters day sunny and so, so mild
All around life is impatient to spring

My thoughts return to the river
There before me and after me
Buddhists believe in rebirth
Continuity in some form I believe
Possibly the nutrient for a new tree 
On that tree will sit a new Blackbird
I am happy with that thought  
It will be enough

This is it

In the meditation hall there is silence
Forty men silently sitting
A cough, a rustle of movement
Outside a bird sings to the dawn
This is it
Nearby a stomach anticipates breakfast
Outside a little animal scratches and scrabbles
 This is it
Someone moves a cramped limb
Outside a Dove softly speaks
This is it

Friday 8 January 2016


I will only know her for two weeks
My time in this retreat place
I see her each morning on my walk
Falling in love with her smile
She passes me on the narrow lane
Slowly sailing her bus
I step onto the bank and she waves
We both smile making eye contact
There seems a warmth about this transfer
I hope she feels it too.

Monday 4 January 2016

After Meditation I Notice

After meditation I notice new buds as I walk
I notice the old leaf grasped in the lower tangle
I notice that the energy of the earth has turned
The turning from contraction to expansion
I notice I follow without effort into this movement
Always somewhere there is a flower in bloom
 This penetrates me deeply and with wonder
I notice leaves are as moved by the wind as I am
Emotions joyful and tearful arise to surprise me
I notice I am pleased by this affirming surge of life
I notice a handsome Thrush tapping a snail on stone
In the bushes a small bird tests his spring voice
I notice a molehill breaking the long wet grass
It reminds me of childhood walks with my father
I notice tenderness springs up to catch my throat
I feel gratitude for being in this deep miracle
I notice too that I don’t understand it at all

At the Padmaloka retreat 23rd December 2015