Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Here is Where I'm At

I've been painting in oils for more years than I like to admit - I first put brush to canvas (well, hardboard actually) just over half a century ago as a 12 year old school boy. I've attended classes on and off and passed 'A' level art as a mature student. Over the years my technique has - I like to think - improved. I have given many works away and made some on comission, and sold others. Main outlet at the moment is the Oxfam shop in Chippenham. And why not? They sell quickly as they don't ask for silly prices. And it's for as good a cause as you could get.

Why don't I call myself an 'artist'? Well, because I'm not one. I paint simply for the joy of doing it. And I think that I am just a little addicted to the smell of the stuff. Did you ever smell wet oil paint? It is exquisite ...

By not thinking myself more than I am I am completely free to paint as I wish. I do not have to obey the rules set out by those who call themselves 'art teachers' - sometimes their rules are nothing more than personal whims or prejudices. For example - I use photographs freely. How I have been chided in the past for doing that! And I used to worry about it, but not any more.

What I really like doing is submitting a painting to an exhibition and then causing dismay by asking perhaps £10 while others that are much the same size are going for anything up to £100. But who honestly can make a living out of painting? Van Gogh only sold one painting in his life, and now the art dealers will make countless millions out the man who died in poverty not much more than a century ago. Sometimes I think that the art world is a total nonsense. But there - who am I to say? I am, after all, no artist ...


  1. I came across your blog while visiting The Watercolour Log.

    First, your paintings are excellent. I can see why they would sell.

    Second, much like yourself, I also do not refer to myself as an artist, despite working as a professional illustrator for close to three decades. I found myself chuckling in agreement with what you'd written. I prefer to consider myself an entertainer who happens to draw and paint.

    Regarding the pricing. That was hilarious. I may try the same thing, after all it's not how much you get, but what you do with the money afterwards (many a rich man has started a fortune on just ten dollars or 10 pounds). My family and I went to an art showing and many of the paintings on display (by amateurs, no less) were going for ridiculous prices. In fact, paintings by nationally known professional watercolorists could be had for less.

    Your atitude is a refreshing one. There was a fellow named Doug Wildey (famous for creating the cartoon series Jonny Quest). He once showed a western scene he'd painted to a friend of his. As he pointed out where he used markers, colored pencil, oils, acrylic and so on, his friend told him that in art school one is taught not to use different materials like he'd done. Wildey smiled and said he could because he'd never been to art school.

    Anyhow, I will be visiting regularly. Also, I promise not to ask for any free diagnosis of any ailments I may have :)

    Great work.

  2. Hello Oscar - and many thanks for your comment. I am pleased to see that my remarks about myself were taken as intended. I hope to continue to add further examples of my paintings from time to time, and in turn I am looking forward to following your blog as well. I am sure you know Stonehenge, which is about 25 miles from where I live in Wiltshire. But closer to hand we have another World Heritage Site - the great stone circle at Avebury. I mention this because late last year I took a series of photos there and made some paintings of them. See them if you like on .
    You may be interested to hear that my great-grandfather who was from Philadelphia was something of an illustrator as well in that he illustrated the journals he kept when he travelled to Japan in the 1870s. I have his journals and you can find these too in the family section of . He even sketched the Emperor - but I think from memory after he was presented to him. I think had he whipped out his sketch pad in the palace they'd have had his head off sharpish.
    You must be circumspect over the ailment diagonoses - I'm well and truly retired now!