Sunday, 21 November 2021


Do you remember when we had relatives that dutifully presented us with our materials either at Christmas or on our birthdays?


Familiar names even now… Daler, Rowney, Windsor & Newton and Reeves.

Each gift a treasured possession. And we thought at the time hugely expensive. 

Most of these brands have now been snapped up by a holding company in France carrying the name ‘Windsor and Newton’


Ordering your paint brushes now? for example, the names are a much more exotic…

Zhu Ting


And my personal favourite....

Keep Smiling

It must have six weeks ago when a tutor had us make our own brushes. 

My Brush Set 

Sarah Lees had us scouring the campus looking for anything which we could possibly press into service to create a 'brush' and make a mark. And the results were beautiful. 


I’ve kept mine and I use them for their unique lines and shapes. 

Diolch Sarah.

A small example of output 

Enjoy Sarah's work here and in several galleries across West Wales


Thursday, 18 November 2021




Up and out of Laugharne

It was gloriously sunny all day yesterday. In the afternoon I decided to take a break from study and get out and enjoy the fresh air. 

I cycled up and out of Laugharne (thank goodness for the electric bike). And then along the busy road to St Clears and forked left onto what is known as the old Saint Clears Road.


Only  two cars past me the entire time I was peddling down the road.


It was absolutely glorious in the late afternoon sun (3:30 pm) and two very distinct views: the hillsides to the west of me dark is coal and illuminated by a high sky, and to the east of me the green fields was lit up so it was almost broad daylight.


I stopped to make a drawing looking east to a farm called Cresswell. 


Across the fields

A road to one's self

The delightful chapel 

Across the fields I heard the  lowing of cattle in the farm’s yard. Not another sound, except a Robin close by.


I’d forgotten my water bottle for painting, a nearby puddle provided me with some.


Along a little more I came across a delightful chapel, lovingly restored and fell into conversation with a couple just getting to the car having place flowers on her mother’s grave. 


This is the land of impromptu conversations, freely given and taken.

Monday, 4 October 2021



The busy A4066 is the road out of Laugharne onto the A40 (Carmarthen-Fishguard). 


My bus uses it every day (except Sundays). I wanted to spend more time looking at the exquisite views to the east that you glimpse only fleetingly from the bus. So I decided that I would venture out taking the bus out of Laugharne and getting it to drop me a mile or so up the road at Cross Inn.


Most of the 2.6 miles has no footpath by the side of the road. I wore some hi-vis and fearless faced the oncoming traffic art bag, with board and paper and crayons in one hand.

The other hand was free to give a thumbs up approbation to each car as it passed.


The countryside is wonderful. The ribbon of the Afon Taf is only seldom out of view reflecting as it did yesterday the grey skies above. Further still and above the river is a ridgeline of hills which were shrouded in mist. Pylon’s march across this calm landscape. Close by, their offspring, the telegraph poles, taking their wares to the farms and houses hereabouts. 


Breaks in the hedgerows, entrances to fields, provide wonderful views out across the landscape and the opportunity to use the top of a five-bar gate as an easel on to rest my board.

Telegraph poles, taking their wares to the farms and houses hereabouts

In these same hedgerows are the first signs of autumn. Plenty of blackberries, purple scabious, a few yellow dandelions, tangles of old man’s beard, the skeletons of cow parsley, the seed heads of verge-side grasses and other colourful berries all are on parade.


I make several drawings, having forgotten my pen, my mark making was bold and colourful.

The skeletons of cow parsley

I cross the Taf, the bridge is quite narrow for a pedestrian and a car. Drivers avert their eyes.

Into St Clears and outside St Mary Magdelene I enjoy a good drink of water and soon the bus home pulls up for me.


Once home I add some detail to my work. It is a great way to recall the excitement of what I have seen and the realisation that wonderful scenery can only be enjoyed on foot.

And along the way...... 

Friday, 1 October 2021


Soon on the bus and Autumn is here 

An iPhone essay in modern transport.


Taking the 222 bus from Laugharne to get into Carmarthen School of Art, each day, is a real treat. Likewise, the journey home.


There is no occasion when I do not discover another detail either of the landscape or on the places we pass.


I am now getting to know the drivers. As I board the bus I distribute cheery greetings, in a uncontrollable urge to ingratiate myself with the driver and fellow passengers. Plus ├ža change. And my tactic is beginning to work. I am best buds two drivers and I now enjoy a good josh*. Passengers (albeit limited numbers) acknowledge my boarding


At home on any front lawn
Being the season of mellow fruitfulness, the hills and valleys are doused in mist. Farms emerge like ghosts, sheep and cattle are walking spectres. After leaving Laugharne we hurtle down the busy A4066 to St Clears. Woosh and we are over the Afon Taf and into the town. Stop three times, scoop up people and join the A40 heading east.


More heart-stopping landscapes.


The bus changes down a gear, indicates and we are heading of the main road towards Bancyfelin.

‘Despite having a population of fewer than 300, two of the current Welsh Six Nations squad, scrum-half Mike Phillips and centre Jonathan Davies, come from the village.


Source: Davies’ younger brother ‘Cubby’ now plays for Wales. 


Every time we drive past the sign to Bancyfelin I shout to Sian, Foxy (Jonathan Davies) and Cubby Boy and Mike Phillips. The bus passes The Fox and Hounds pub in Bancyfelin, which has reason to be proud. The landlord and his lady are the parents of Foxy and Cubby Boy!


Sun across the fields 

And back onto the A40 again East and we are nearly into Carmarthen. Exit left into Johnstown. Johnstown is a suburb of Carmarthen.  Here I push the bell and alight from the bus and prepare myself for a walk up the vertical hill that Google says 8 minutes it takes mmey 10. 

But it is worth it!



Strange things along the way 

Journey's end 


The Route Planner 

Sunday, 19 September 2021


One of the wonderful places about any School of Art is the print room. And the print room at Carmarthen School of Art is no different. It is stocked with some remarkable pieces of equipment some of which are quite ancient but still working well. Experts coming from time to time to adjust and tune press rather like a piano tuner!

A thing of beauty....


And on the Access Course we get to work in here EVERYWEEK. This is paradise, taking me back to three intensive years of monoprint 2010 – 2013 working with the late Christine Lock in Marlow.


Among Carmarthen’s print room treasures are two Albion presses.


The Albion press is a model of early iron hand printing press, originally designed and manufactured in London by Richard Whittaker Cope around 1820.


Albions continued to be manufactured until the 1930s. They were used for commercial book-printing until the middle of the nineteenth century, and thereafter chiefly for proofing, jobbing work and by private presses.


After Cope's death, Albions were manufactured by his heirs and members of the Hopkinson family trading initially as 'Jonathan and Jeremiah Barrett' and later as 'Hopkinson and Cope', who are said to have improved the design. From the 1850s onwards Albion presses were manufactured under licence by other firms, notably Harrild & Sons, Miller and Richard, and Frederick Ullmer Ltd. a joy forever


Their distinctive shapes are aesthetically beguiling, quite lovely and their finial tops and crowns are an absolute delight. The embellishments, casting and design breath-taking.


Pressed for time? Discover more about printing presses here

Friday, 17 September 2021

JENGA JENGA: Acting against 'anonymity and repetitiveness'

56 Leonard New York is also known as the Jenga Tower. It is another exciting example of affordable housing, overlooking the Hudson River. Eight hundred and twenty-one feet (250 m) tall, its 57 stories are served by 10 elevators.


The building in this drawing is from a photograph by PJ Lehrer’ looks like a teetering tower of perspex boxes.


Further investigation shows it was designed by my favourite Swiss firm of architects, Hezog + Meuron. Their considered description for the building is found here.


From which this lively narrative is taken:

‘Together these different strategies – considering the tower from the inside-out, responding to local scales, and maximizing the potential of local construction systems – produce a building where only five out of the 145 apartments are repeated. Furthermore, no two floor plates are the same, giving those who will live in this project their own unique home characterized by distinct moments of individuality within the overall stack’.


The building’s foundations were laid in 2008 and by the end of 2013 over 90% of the 145 apartment’s were sold. Priced between US$3.5 million and US$50 million. These condo’s range in size from 1,400 to 6,400 square feet (131.7 to 594.6 m2) and include two to five bedrooms. All come with private outdoor spaces.


The building’s back story is nicely introduced in Wikipedia

Tuesday, 14 September 2021


'I take this pic often as I approach the city.  It's like looking for the skyline when I come in from the airport or through the tunnel from NJ.  I like knowing that I am almost home. :-)'

PJ Lehrer

From a photograph by P J Lehrer

The Q runs to and from 96th a ritzy looking new station on the Upper East Side of (Manhattan) and takes you all the way down to Coney Island and its entertainment and beaches.  

from Wikipedia :)–present:_Extensions_to_Astoria_and_Second_Avenue

The tracks cross the East River on the Manhattan Bridge. A service has been running since 1878, The Q service proper started in 1920.


There are plans to take it up to 125 St. in East Harlem giving people here a direct train to the beach within the next five years!

The great notion, reflecting on the Q train and its stops across the city,  is it like being back in New York.

Discover more NYC here