Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Fishing Boat  circa 1970  Mixed Media on Hardboard

This was how it started for me.

Painting brightly coloured decorative panels, and selling them to galleries and gift shops in Cornwall.

I remember having to learn to draw a boat!  Once I did, I painted the same boat from different angles onto several backgrounds.

The rigging and netting was piped on.  A technique that I'd seen used by another artist that took me quite a while to master.

These pictures were popular with holiday makers and that enabled me to begin to make a living by producing paintings. 

I look back on these with some apprehension now, though, each one, someone, wiser than I, once pointed out to me, is another page of my diary.

What made us?

The Coast, Cornwall   

Living on the coast of Cornwall is a privilege and an inspiration.

As you might imagine, it's not all blue skies and turquoise seas, golden sands and buckets and spades.
We locals get to see it in all it's moods, dark and light.

Standing on a beach on the North Coast, looking up at the sky and out to sea almost never fails to amaze me.  The sheer scale of it all is enough to put you in your place with regard to how much power you have as a human being, when compared to nature, on this incredible planet.  Not much.

And there's nothing, including us, that isn't made from this earth, sea and sky.  They have somehow come together in the most miraculous way to produce life.

How it happened is a mystery.

Why it happened is a mystery.

All we really know for sure, as far as I'm aware, is that it happened.  And I'm glad that it did,  as I consider life, in all its forms, to be the most remarkable and precious thing on this Earth.

Saturday, 1 August 2015


                                                                                                                                                                          Miners,                                        detail from a painting by John Bampfield

I've never worked in a mine.  I can only imagine what it might be like to work underground in dark hazardous conditions on a daily basis.  I think that you'd need to be tough to survive this kind of work.

I've tried to show this in my painting.

Men, and women, have toiled over centuries to improve the lot of ordinary people. For many of us it's better now than it's ever been.  Yet.......we seem to demand more and more.

Some people are working long hours doing jobs that, though not as physically hard as mining, still call for emotional and psychological stamina beyond what was asked for in previous decades.

Many may not be actually going underground all day, hacking away at black rock, crawling along tunnels on hands and knees, breathing damp air and dirt, but at the end of their working day, some will surely feel that they have been!

Fear of losing employment and being unable to find work, keeps many workers on the tread mill, negotiating psychological hazards on a daily basis, and living in a state of constant fear and anxiety.

This perhaps can be as damaging to health as breathing in coal dust.

Friday, 10 July 2015

A painting of poppies by John Bampfield

Poppies and Lavender, actually, ......................what a sight to gladden the heart and make it sing !

I have a friend. She's 96.  I see her fairly often.  She now lives in a residential home.  Her stay there costs her a small fortune.

No one will  have to pay inheritance tax on her previous home, when she dies, which is neither here nor there really, as she'll need every single penny from the sale of it to pay for her care while she's alive.  

She doesn't complain.

When I visited her a little while ago, I moaned about the weather, which at that time was cold and wet.

She just smiled at me and said " I'm grateful for any weather."

As you might imagine, she is a remarkable woman.

She too, is able to gladden my heart and make it sing.