Category Archives: The Arts

Bits and pieces from the worlds of painting, writing, film and music.
With a few quotations and opinions thrown in.

Machete Vs Machine

I was given a telling off yesterday by my neighbour, the farmer’s wife.  We have a beautiful Mimosa tree which blooms throughout the summer but it was planted against the garden wall and, willow like, it’s branches hang down and block the road.  I can live with that but, annoyingly, they also grow through the electricity cables.

Our Mimosa

Our Mimosa

So every few years I have to give it a severe haircut. I had just climbed down after the latest operation when I was sharply interrogated about my intentions regarding the 50 or so branches strewn across the road. Up ’til then I’d been using a hand saw as chainsaws, me and ladders don’t mix but I explained that I would be using my chainsaw to lop the branches into firewood.  Makina yok! she said, zooming off and after a couple of minutes returned with a wicked looking and razor sharp machete and a chopping block.  I was then given a lesson in the art of stripping off the twigs and lopping the 10 ft. branches into one foot lengths with the same apparent effort as it takes to scramble an egg.  Suitably impressed, I was handed the heavier than it looked billhook and told to start.  Well, after two minutes I discovered, unsurprisingly, it wasn’t anywhere near as easy as it looked!

However, I persevered and managed to complete the job in record time with no damage to the enviroment apart from a couple of blisters.  I sure my neighbours enjoyed a good laugh….”Guess what! He was going to use a machine to make a bit of firewod!” And Gina has promised to buy me a machete for Xmas….mmmm

Kayakoy Chimney 10" x 8" Acrylic on card

Kayakoy Chimney
10″ x 8″ Acrylic on card

Anyway this has nothing whatsoever to do with my painting today which is of a lonely chimney stack back in Kayakoy.

The River Bend

River Bend 10" x 8", Acrylic on board

River Bend
10″ x 8″, Acrylic on board

Today I took Daisy, our new boat, out in the bay for our first sail and despite a few butterflies to start we had a great time getting to know her.  During the trial, some more small jobs became evident and that will keep me from the easel a little longer than planned.  So tonight I fell back onto one of my favourite subjects. Rivers are an endless source of delight and inspiration to me and despite the demands of Daisy, my new mistress, I managed to produce this painting.

Kayaköy Festıval 2013

Kayakoy Landscape No.5 10" x 8" Acrylic on card

Kayakoy Landscape No.5
10″ x 8″ Acrylic on card

Cultural Connections is an annual celebration of literature, film, art, music, dance and food… all the stuff of life that links humanity throughout the world. Both stimulating, challenging, occasionally provocative and always fun, Cultural Connections is an excitingly different and thought provoking way to explore the things that bring people together.

This five-day event, Kayaköy Connections 2013 will celebrate the Kaya valley in southwest Turkey, its long history, rich culture and links with Greece. Acclaimed authors Louis de Bernières, Victoria Hislop, Jeremy Seal will be travelling from the UK and Sofka Zinovieff will be joining them from Athens. Others, from Turkey, Greece, yet to be decided, will join them to take part in a range of thought provoking, fun and entertaining events and gatherings.

More information can be found here


Kaya light


Kayakoy Landscape 101 20" x 14" Acrylic on canvas

Kayakoy Landscape 101
20″ x 14″ Acrylic on canvas

Mostly the light is harsh and unforgiving, it comes from directly above so doorways and windows become black holes. Then again, the sun shines on the white plaster of an internal wall and the window opposite beams like a searchlight. Other days the light is hazy and diffuse, and there isn’t much contrast, shadows get bleached out, then there are no really dark areas and the light bounces off the stone into the shadows.  The walls have eroded into dark and light areas that are independant of the light. So a vertical dark band on a facing wall gives the impression of a shadowed side wall which would naturally be light (if it was there!).  And all the walls are like that.  Its very confusing to the eye and I struggle to resolve it without losing realism.  For example, the apse(in shadow) is lighter than the side wall of the church (in the light) and the pink plastered walls actually seem to glow  It’s very tricky.  On the other hand it’s one of the things that make Kayakoy so visually fascinating to me.

Snowdonia memories

Arthog Falls, 24" x 18" Acrylic on canvas

Arthog Falls,
24″ x 18″ Acrylic on canvas

I fancied a change of scene and this painting evolved from a photograph that Gina took near our house in Barmouth, North Wales where we have lived and run a business for 23 years. Snowdonia is a landscape artist’s paradise with big skies, spectacular mountains, rivers and forests and the amazing ever changing light. But it also possesses countless beautiful nooks and crannies, rocky paths, ancient woodlands, tiny coves, ruined cottages and mossy glades. As a trout fisherman I spent countless hours absorbing the smell of wet moss, the feel of slippery rocks and the sights and sounds of falling water, intently focussed on scenes just like this, searching for signs of fish. So, in many ways, this work represents those embedded visual memories as well as the strong feelings I have about the time and place.

Entelköy Efeköy Karsi

Julie's Lake 16" x 10" Watercolour

Julie’s Lake
16″ x 10″ Watercolour

There is a Turkish film called Entelköy Efeköy Karsi ( with English subtitles) which beautifully and hilariously illustrates the lack of understanding between the incoming “enlightened, arty and enviromentally aware” townies and the farming community upon whom they descend. The story revolves around the relationship between the leaders of the two camps and how love and profit eventually lead to reconciliation. I was reminded of this wide difference in attitude on a walk through the winter woodland above Esenkoy yesterday morning in the excellent company of Oludeniz Hash Harriers. Any clearing in these woods with nearby car access was full of litter, and I do mean full. Yet all summer Turkish families will come for traditional picnics and barbecues and sit happily amongst the piles of debris to add their own contribution of wrappings, broken glass and dirty tissues at the end of the day. It’s heartbreaking to me to despoil such natural beauty, and it will take a generation to change. On a positive note, more and more often, I see local schoolchildren go out of their way to use the litter bins that have appeared all across Fethiye. Somebody, somewhere deserves due credit and our gratitude for this change.


Fethiye, the ancient city of Telmessos suffers an unfortunate lack of old buildings as the town was struck by devastating earthquake in 1857 and then again in April 1957 when 3200 buildings were damaged.

Fethiye Vortex, Watercolour, 16" x 10"

Fethiye Vortex, Watercolour, 16″ x 10″

The art movement of Vorticism, founded by abstract artist Percy Wyndham Lewis was a mixture of Futurism and Cubism and lasted from 1912-1915. It was the first English art movement dedicated to abstraction and ultimately it too was destroyed by a tremendous earthquake, better known as The First World War.  Vorticists recognized the power of technology, particularly the machine and anticipated that it would result in a bleak,purposeless life for humankind. They must have been thinking of the mobile phone……

Then the earthquake here in June 2012 provided the final inspiration for this watercolour.

Vines and Triangles

Acrylic on card, 8"x 5"

Acrylic on card, 8″x 5″

There is so much stuff out there on design and composition that it makes my head spin, especially in any discussion of form. However, I’ve been reading about a simple enough concept and that is the importance of repeating shapes across an image. In today’s painting I have deliberately incorporated some triangles into an otherwise fairly standard observation of a vineyard.  I think it works well.  Such simple concepts can really help too when you’re stuck for a idea. Draw a shape, repeat it a few times and, like a Rorschach test, a subject may spring to mind.


Daily Painting or A Painting a Day?

Poppyfield. Acrylic on card, 8"x5"

Poppyfield. Acrylic on card, 8″x5″

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

Almost everything I need to say about the discipline of A Painting a Day is expressed here On Painting: apaintingaday. by Duane Keiser who is credited with inventing the whole concept in 2004. Nowadays, there is even an ebay guide to collecting these small artworks. While I am very attracted to it for the reasons described by Duane, I also want to be free to create work over longer or even shorter periods, not just one day, for example the series I am making on Kayakoy. My Daily Paintings will be here but I will post others too.

I’d also like to thank Duane Keiser for introducing me to Annie Dillard.