Sunday, 22 July 2007

Found this while working on some stock images. Sometimes you just have to stand around and let nature take it's course.

Cromer, looking West, a couple of Wednesdays ago.

many moons ago.....

there were two very young lads who joined the Royal Air Force.

The one on the left isn't me, but we have remained as close as brothers ever since those unfamiliar slightly scary days in early 1985.

I left the R.A.F. in 1991, Gareth (the one on the left), stayed on and last December completed 22 years service.
A couple of months ago he became a civilian for a week, while he waited for a transfer to the Royal New Zealand Air Force to be finalised. He and his lovely family have since flown to the other side of the world, and are settling in to life in New Zealand.

The reason I mention all this is Gareth's enthusiasm for a new feature on this blog. I am starting an occasional series of images from the side of the road. I think the working title will be "Wayside Weirdness". On the phone from NZ last week, Gareth was enthusing about the new stuff he's seeing, including weird and wonderful roadside signs, and installations.
So, here's a couple for starters........

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Schools nearly out for summer...

Tomorrow's weather is not looking as nice as this. That'll be the first day of the school holiday then !

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

more semi-nakedness

This is one of the finished paintings from the prep work done in April and May.
The work has been held up a little due to photographic work, teenage kids, teaching commitments etc. However, back to the easel next week.

Also, the lovely Sarah C has written a piece about the work in this new Norwich published magazine;

Have a peep, it's a really well written article.

(I can't get the link to work for some reason, so if you are interested cut and paste the url)

Saturday, 14 July 2007

coming to the coast ?

As the school summer holiday begins, I hope you dear readers will indulge me while I have a little rant-ette.
The Ocean, wherever you are in the world, is not a swimming pool. Before you get into the water, appraise yourself of as much information as you can. Check the tides, ask locals/lifeguards for advice on where safe bathing areas are.
Please don't swim near danger areas like harbours and breakwaters, and keep your eye on the could be cutting you off from the beach.

The guys in the photo are some of my colleagues on the Cromer Lifeboat crew. Their broad smiles are due to the fact that they are having a great time, using their free time, training to rescue people in trouble at sea.
We don't smile much when we are looking for children who were ;
"Over there in the surf just a minute ago".

On at least one occasion during my decade on the crew, we have returned to the beach with a child, invariably picked up a good distance from the shore with their inflatable airbed/boat/ring/shark, to find one or more adults somewhat surprised that all the fuss they have just witnessed was over their little Jimmy/Jemima.
We all like a read or a nap on the beach, but PLEASE, not while the kids are in the sea.

Come to the coast, swim in the sea, have a great time, support local trade and commerce, and leave with heaps of wonderful memories.
If you do it right, you will probably be lucky enough never to meet large, sad looking men in yellow dry suits and red life jackets, who don't want to look you in the eye.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Cromer pier

I took this about ten days ago, the people were walking back along the pier after the show at the Pavillion.

To me, it sums up summer evenings at Cromer. So different from winter when the wind tears you in half as darkness arrives just after 3.30 in the afternoon !

Thursday, 12 July 2007


Continuing on the beach theme, there should be a word for that feeling of early morning immersion in a given view or landscape.

When I'm out and about early on days like this, I always vow to get up every day before dawn. The vow never makes it past the next time I'm overserved, but I suppose it's the thought that counts.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

man's best friend

I stumbled across this evidence of someone strolling with their canine companion earlier this morning.

Our poor old dog died at the end of last year. No more for her the early morning scuttle across tide washed virgin sand.

I'm not a jealous man, but I have to admit, today I covet my neighbours dog.

Friday, 6 July 2007

emotional erosion

Wandering along the beach this-evening, happily looking for things to photograph, I suddenly became aware of the waning light reflecting off Happisburgh church and Lighthouse.

As I figured out the composition and technicalities of this picture, the criminal ineptitude in failing to fund sea defences was literally staring me in the face.

Plainly there are huge issues surrounding the damage and loss to the community of Happisburgh. As the sea inexorably destroys the cliffs on which the village rests, hundreds, possibly thousands of years of human occupation will be erased.

For generations of people along this coast, reliance on, and defiance of the sea have been two sides of the same coin.
One glimpse of that magnificent church, is enough to convince us that for at least the last five or six centuries Happisburgh folk have been clever enough to attempt to enlist the help of a higher power, while being stubborn enough to hang on in there regardless of whether or not assistance is forthcoming.

It's ironic that the village is roughly equidistant from our nation's leaders in Westminster to the West, and the Dutch coast to the East.
To the West apathy, total indifference and an apparent inability to create anything but personality cults.
To the East a forward thinking nation that has been claiming land back from the sea for generations.

Our politicians fiddle with their carbon debts while coastal communities, and population centres on the nations major riverbanks look forward to a lonely watery end.

Rant over. Go here for more information;

Thursday, 5 July 2007


A recently sold piece.

Sometimes I keep stuff and vow to never sell it, this one slipped through the net.

Even though she went to a good home, I should have kept her.

Salthouse 07 exhibition.

Deeply funky pink piano.

Cool Mike Rhodes figures.

Part of a beautiful screen made by an artist from Barrington Farm, Walcott.

The dude called Zacron forgets to take his hat off in church, but makes up for it by becoming a temporary installation.

I was one of a team of volunteers running the bar at the private view for Salthouse 07 last night, so between bouts of frantic wine glass washing I managed to get a look round

The show consists mainly of painting, with the odd installation dotted about here and there. (The pink piano being the funkiest thing there in my opinion).

The village of Salthouse lies between Cley and Sheringham on the A149 Coast Road. The exhibition is in the church, (hugely obvious on the hill above the village), 10.30 - 5.30, and entrance is free.

In the main I think the show is worthy rather than inspiring, but worth a visit if you in that neck of the woods before the 5th of August (when it finishes).

Go here; for more information. (I guess they will be updating any time now).


Thursday already, so here's a quickly thrown together montage of Tuesday evening's efforts.

Top left is my personal favorite, how about yours ?

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Monday, 2 July 2007

Happy Mondays

OK, I know, not much for anyone to get their teeth into lately. I shocked myself when I figured out that it had been three weeks since I last threw paint onto canvas. Outrageous.

The thing is, I find on the run up to a show things accelerate to a frantic pace. Then, as soon as the thing is over everything goes a bit slack.

"Whoa !" you say, "Groundbreaking self awareness laughing boy"................but it's this boom and bust thing that makes my head hurt.

Trying to stay consistent can be a bit of a struggle.

In another blinding flash of intellect, I worked out that I needed to get back in front of the easel fairly swiftly.

So, today was the day. I began by scraping a couple of layers off my face with a suspiciously hirsute BIC. ("No Dad I didn't use your razor"). Next a lightning traverse through the shower followed by some gravel from the bottom of a cereal box. After donning a selection of the requisite 'tramp chic' painting gear, (available at all good fly-tipped layby's), I manage to fend off a couple of phone calls and escape to the studio.

My best work is often done in a sort of trance. I'm happily sloshing the paint about, feeling my way into the thing, and suddenly I find there is a little bit I like. So I leave that part alone and move onto another area. after a little while longer another portion starts to look like it should, and slowly the whole canvas starts to take shape.

The tricky bit is knowing when to stop. I find it's not uncommon to be slapping the pigment about with something approaching gay abandon, only to suddenly be "back in the room", and find the thing was finished about ten minutes ago..................and now it's all a bit over-ripe.

So starting with a Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna ground, I scraped and scrubbed. Using a couple of sketches and a photograph as reference, flicking between each as the thing takes shape. Adding Naples Yellow, a touch of Ali Crimson. The merest suggestion of Manganese Blue in the eye.............Don't the names of the pigments suggest great works ? Great painters ? Rembrandt, Vermeer, Michael Angelo. I always feel like repeatedly reciting "Burnt Umber" like some sort of spell, in the hope it will yield mystic results. Maybe that's how they did it.

I knew things were going well when I took a step back, just in time to realise I had finished the canvas. I only stopped 'cos I was in need of a cup of coffee.

Sometimes a lay off is what you need to get the juices flowing.