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Showing posts from May, 2015


When my father died - in 2010 - he left me the contents of his studio, perhaps judging that I might be the one to best make use of such. The watercolour paper, paints and all the accoutrements of an artists trade have undoubtedly been a wonderful gift. Indeed, at my present rate of production, I may be passing some of this stuff on to my own children. However, of much greater value - at least in terms of understanding my father - are some of the many items that he kept for sentimental or family reasons. Things to remind him of his personal history like his discharge papers from the armed forces; photographs of family (of course); pieces that had belonged to my grandfather (who died during the war of a brain tumour), and so on. Such things present a larger picture of the man to whom I owe so much, but in many ways hardly knew. He was a private man and rarely shared his feelings on things, but I know more of him as I get older and realise that so much of my thoughts and attitudes were h…


Last weekend, Gill and I took a birthday trip (Gill's birthday) to Mount Usher Gardens at Ashford, Co Wicklow. This has become a favourite spot of ours despite having not as yet visited the gardens themselves, confining our attention to the retail outlets at the entrance.  A beautiful light lunch at the Avoca Cafe was followed by a browse around the shops. Very pleasant. On our trip home across the misty Wicklow Hills, my thoughts idled on the subject of motor vehicles, and motor cars in particular. For nearly 20 years, I was employed by General Accident Insurance (now part of Aviva), working for most of that time in the Motor Department. I had always liked cars; used to buy Motor and Autocar magazines; carried a battered copy of The Observer's Book of Automobiles with me as a boy, and could instantly recognise almost any British or European car on sight, (American cars were as rare as hen's teeth, and Japanese vehicles ... did they exist?) I loved the individuality of fe…


Yesterday morning I was a stand-in tutor at our school Art lessons. It proved to be great fun - I think for all concerned - but made me think again about my chosen career - that of the penniless artist. The question is why? The constant struggle to pay bills was never in my game plan. The answer is simple enough, because it is one thing that I was reasonably good at, (my English teacher would have insisted that I write 'at which I was reasonably good', but it still reads and sounds stilted to me). Also, I enjoyed skiddling about with pens and pencils and paint. And I do still. In fact it is more than a pleasure, it is a need. I can feel quite low if I am not working on something or other. 25 years ago I gave up my job as a motor underwriter to pursue a career in art, having made pictures all my life.
Gill and I opened a gallery in Campbeltown (Argyll, Scotland) so that I could do this and, until established, earn a living by selling gifts and crafts. I dare say we could have…