Thursday, 20 November 2008

Dhanat Plewtianyingthawee

I was intrigued to see a recent abstract going for $2000 on an internet site so I took a closer look. The artist Dhanat Plewtianyingthawee, from Thailand, had made another successful sale.

I am sure his mum is proud as punch with Dhanat's latest productions. As proud as the mother of any 6 year old would be. Normally kids abstract daubings are consigned to the fridge until they disintegrate or fall off into the cats litter tray. Somehow these, although no different from any other 6 year olds scribbles, warrant the full attentions of the art world. I ask you who is conning who here. Should we chastise the gallery owners and dealers for peddling this little boys work as some form of high culture or the chinless wonders and visually illiterate, idiots that purchase these colourful experiments in mark making.

I am off now to throw watercolour paint at wet paper and use my creative talents to knock 40 years off my birth certificate. See you in the Sacchi Gallery soon.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Bone Dry River Bed

Well despite a couple of days rain, its going to take a couple more to get the river Aggia flowing again. At the moment it still looks like a really badly constructed road full of rocks and boulders and dust. But I am sure it won't be long before we have to use the stepping stones to cross it once more.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Colour Me Bad

I have a lifetimes experience of getting the colours wrong, my trouble is tonal opposites, where the colours that have the same intensity clash. This leads to confusion over orange/yellow green, pink/grey, purple/dark blue and the more common red/green. Now this doesn't bother me when I am painting, but it does upset me when shopping. Once again I bought something due to a confusion over a companies colour coding and skimmed milk tastes foul.

Its not like I am asking people to change their lifestyle, become vegetarian, adopt another religion or questioning their sexual preferences but as colour confusion is a constant and recognised problem, why don't companies simply adopt a combination which is easy to detect by the visually challenged.

For most of you these eight colours will be obvious but to the rare few who only see four it can be a problem, especially when you go shopping. Painting strangely enough never really posed that much of a problem, I know where the colours are on my pallette and have a good idea about how to mix and match. Once you have painted a scene who is going to know whether the house was red or green or if the car was purple or blue.

Cats can be funny and I have always marvelled at green ginger tomcats and felt that the group "Deep Purple" should be called Dark Blue but it doesn't have the same ring does it. At least when everyone else is moaning about "those ominous dark grey clouds" I see a gorgeous pink sky. Always see the positive I guess.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Dry Riverbed

Ink sketch of the dried up Aggia riverbed. I have been meaning to draw this for 2 months now and within hours of finally completing it we had 12 hours constant rain. Talk about getting something done under the wire. Being a city boy from Wales, where it always rains, coming across the river without water was a novelty for me and source of constant fascination. For 13 weeks now there has been little rain to speak of, yet the countryside is still a gorgeous vibrant green.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Monastery in the landscape

A quick ink pen sketch of La Preghiera, a former monastery, surrounded by green wooded hillsides. This traquil setting has been the refuge of peace and serenity for over a 1000 years and its no wonder. Save for the noise from the occassional hunter or tractor it is a most peaceful location. As it is situated on the old St Francesco trail to Assisi, I wouldn't be surprised if the man himself hadn't called by on his travels.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Source of the Tiber

This watercolour is looking north towards the Appalachian Mountains where the river Tiber rises and ultimately flows through Rome. At the minute the grain has been cut and the tobacco is just about ready to be harvested. As it dries out it turns all shades of green, yellow and Umbrian brown making the landscape very colourful to look at.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Original Artwork

I have attached a detail of the original poster which details the trades and artisans of the Upper Tiber Valley in the Seventeenth century. At a time of mass literary problems, images depicting trades were extremely important and these lovely but simple pictures detail the differing types of works carried out. The whole poster includes such things as Optician, Watchmaker and Barbers, somethings have always been there.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Occupational Hazard - 1602.5

watercolor italy
The Taylor and the Builder today, all tastes are catered for back then. The sketch pad is only 2" X 1 1/2", a very small hand made leather bounnd pad but excellent for carrying around in my pocket.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Trades II 1602 - lunchtime.

watercolour poster italy
This is my next installment from the 1602 poster of occupations in Italy from 1602. Don't worry we will soon have videographer and slurpy maker in the series.

Today we have Woodworker and Ropemaker

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Trades 1602 - M. DC. II

poster old fashioned
watercolour medieval
Italian medieval ink
So Summer is over, well we can't complain here, as we have had about 2 hours rain in twelve weeks and only the occassional cloud. Over the weekend they held a medieval festival in Citta di Castello, all the local people dressed up in traditional clothes and turn the house fronts into market stalls, taverns, blacksmithy or pottery. It proved to be excellent entertainment. There are falconry displays, public execution and battles all with a olde world feel about it. As Castello is comprised of lots of narrow alleyways and piazza's, it makes a first class venue.

So it was here that I bought a lovely, small, handmade, leather bound sketch pad and decided to do some reworkings of an old poster depicting the trades locally in 1602, the idea is eventually to have a little book full of medieval influenced sketches, paintings and drawings and these are the first three. Butcher, Armourer and wine trader.

Friday, 15 August 2008


watercolour gallary italy

art watercolour sketch

landscape watercolor

original painting italy

July's Gallary of sketches

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Post Modernist Deconstructivism

This is my homage to the Post Modernist movement, a place where unmade beds, pickled sheep and lovers names on a tent constitute part of the creative process. This installation in my Living room is called Poof! and consists of all the wonderful items Mrs W (the wife) bought back from the UK for me arranged on our poof. It is a comment on Italian societies lack of quality milk based chocolate, baked beans and marmite. The brown leather represents our basic, natural, earthy needs whilst the bright coloured lables depict the crass commercialisation of our daily world. The butterfly represents the freedom we all crave.
I feel this piece should be seen in the Tate Modern and is a serious contender for the Turner Prize. Well lets face it, those chinless wonders will give their award to any old load of nonesense and the more contravertial the better. So vote for my entry in the Charletons Award 2008.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Hillside Farm Also

watercolour landscape italy Another from the lets get some sun and have a picnic series. This area is full of these sorts of buildings all angles and trees, with no visible way of reaching them, they always seem to be such mystical places tucked away on the side of the mountains.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Hillside Farm

art painting italy A painting of one of the abandoned farms I sketched whilst out last weekend, working from the initial drawings and colour notes I painted this in a style similar to the last picture. There are so many trees its difficult to come up with a wide variety of greens to depict the foliage, especially as I am colour blind and its all orange anyway.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Mountain View

italian landscape I did this drawing for my friend who is moving to live by the seaside, to have a beach life. As she was born and bred in the mountains of Umbria I suspect there will always be a part of her that will long for the green heart of Italy. So if she feels lonely and longs for the hills, mountains, sunflower fields and trees I hope this picture will give her just that. When I gave it to her, she said "Oh I know that house its over the road, years ago when it was abandoned, we used to go there and smoke". Ahhh kids hey.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Field of tobacco

oringal painting
Our area is notorious for tobacco production, all along the Tevere there are field after field of the crop. This is a quick sketch of the trees that line the river and border the tobacco. The whole area is still something like 70% wooded which makes for very interesting hillsides what are constantly changing with the seasons.

Monday, 28 July 2008

The Secret Monastery

italian landscape Quick sketches of La Preg, side view
watercolor building The much altered rear view

umbria watercolour
La Preghiera, (the prayer) is in parts over 1000 years old and started out as a monastery serving the monks of the area. The road past the front of the complex is on the St Francis trail from Cortona to Assisi so it is highly likely that he stayed here, ate bread and maybe said a prayer in the Oratorio. Now it has been completely refurbished and is an Agritourismo where you can spend a peaceful vacation absorbing the calm of the area. I luckily work here so get to sit in these beautiful surrounds on a daily basis.

June Gallery

gallary original watercolour artwork
Some pictures from the sketch book done during June.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


original italian painting Viola is my 1969 VW Camper, that has served me loyaly for the last 4 years, brought me 15oo miles from Wales to Italy and now acts as my pack horse travelling around the Umbrian valleys. The picture is one my father in law asked me to draw, as he prefers paintings to photographs, so this is my interpretation of our house with Viola outside. When I say our house, I mean the top floor apartment, if only I could afford the whole building.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

10 pointless emails I get every day.

Every day I get a whole batch of emails from all over the world, friends, ex-colleagues, spam, adverts etc most of them are complete rubbish. What I am curious about is why every day I get the following ten emails (or variations of the ten).

1) Credit - with the world wide crunch on, why would I want more credit.
2) Letters from banks I do not have an account with advising me to change my details. Why, I don't bank with you. Don't insult me, I know you are phishing you fool.
3) Sad pathetic, obviously made up letters from sick individuals, in some African backwater whose father (the minister for lies and inventing things) has sadly died in a horrific skateboarding incident and needs to get $50m out of the country. Seek help you sick people.
4) A larger penis - I am happy with what God gave me thank you.
5) Viagra - thanks but no need and if I did I would go to see a doctor.
6) $10 credit on a gambling site - do not think I am going down the gambling route either.
7) Lonely East European girls looking for conversations - well get out and meet people then.
8) Excellent watches - I hate watches and really wear then, plus I do not need a new one every day.
9) Surveys regarding my attitudes towards whatever seems the big question of the day.
10) Jobs update on vacancies in America, I live in Italy the commute would kill me.

I wish these people would get a life, get a day job, get out of my hair and stop sending stupid pointless advermails, spamalogues and junkisments as I am not interested in any of the above.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Mad dogs and .............

So today is the start of my weekend as next week we have two weddings at the hotel, Monday sees the arrival of 11 Mexicans from Dallas and after that we have 22 Brits invading. Until then I have some peace and tranquility to get some drawing done. This is not that easy either however with temperatures averaging the mid 30's it is hard to settle and concentrate for the majority of the day. I know its a hard life.

I decided to walk to the next village, some 4Km away to pick up a picture I have just had framed and do some drawing along the way. Well I didn't take into account the time and temperature. 12.00 and 32 degrees was not conducive to painting so I settled on an ink sketch and completed the painting later when my watercolours had stopped behaving like icing sugar.

There is something so relaxing about a nice, steady, two hour walk, chat with the locals, cappuccino in the bar and a read of the papers on a Thursday afternoon. Enjoy it while it lasts, next week is all bells, smells and vicar where's my bouquet. Another J.B. Priestly novel looms.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Terry's Pad

gallary painting watercolor
Another typical Umbrian/Tuscan hillside villa, covered in grey rendering with natural stone showing through. It has the normal green foliage for a background you would expect as we are high up in the mountains here. I love the stone walls that surround these properties they look like they have been around for centuries but in many instances were reconstructed within the last couple of years.
This was a difficult painting to do as I had to work from photographes and have never seen the house. I think though, I have managed to get a feel for the building.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Would Michaelangelo Blog (10 historical blogs)

If Michaelangelo, Raphael or Leonardo had lived today would they have blogged?

Well Raphael has left us examples of his graffiti in Citti di Castello, so he would have probably been tagging the local trains. Leonardo is famous for his inventive mind, so you can imagine him using an Ipod and releasing podcasts. Michaelangelo, if you had a commission like the Sistine Chapel wouldn't you blog it to the world. I think the people of the Rennaisance would have been as adventureous today as they were in the 16th centuary and Leonardo's podcast on helicopter design and Michaelanglo's blog on church painting would be ledgendary.

Ten famous historical blogs worth reading:-
1) Noah - Ship building in your back garden.
2) Napolean - My European holiday.
3) Queen Victoria - We are not amused, personal blog of running an Empire.
4) Florence Nightingale - First Aid on a shoe string.
5) Budha - Ommmm! and other strange sounds.
6) Henry VIII - Henry's guide to women.
7) Casanova - Safe sex guide
8) Shakespeare - 2B or not, personal blog and short stories.
9) Christopher Columbus - Go West, wifi and hot spot guide for the New World.
10) Eve - Dressmaking tips with plants.

What blog would you subscribe to?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Villa Bastiola

artwork painting watercolourI promised my friend a picture of her guest house and this little watercolour has taken a couple of weeks now as I never quite felt right about it. Must be something in the air or the fact that the sun is finally out but I think I have got it sorted now. All I need is the full version now, lets hope the sun stays around for a couple of days longer.

Top 5 Animals I didn't expect to see in Italy

1) Porcupines Driving home one night down the countrylane linking work and home I nealy ran over two of these creatures. Having never seen one before in real life, just about running them over in the dark was quite a shock.

2) Wild boar While out walking the dog we rounded the corner on our quiet little lane and saw a baby wild boar hot footing it into the undergrowth.

3) Snakes big snakes. I was walking along the railway track with my wife and sister in law when out of the bushes ran a lizard, hotly pursued by a three foot long snake. All of us, snake and lizard included jumped. Listen out for noises in the undergrowth when out walking or drawing, you never know what is out there.

4) Scorpions Within a week of being here I wondered into the bathroom late one night and in the middle of the floor, bright red was this massive scorpion. Check your shoes regularly is now my motto

5) Hummingbird insect Yes, it looks like a little bird but it is actually an insect.

When deciding to move to Italy we researched properties, jobs, relocating but never once looked at mad crazy animals in the wilds. Take note, you never know what surprises await you.

Washing Instructions Included

In todays world of lables, instructions and dire warnings I have decided its high time additional information was carried on paintings. We don't know how they were painted, whether they are ecco friendly, or if dubious labour practices been employed in their manufacture. So it is my suggestion that we all attach washing instructions to our paintings, so that purchasers can rest assured of a cleaner, brighter and worry free art usage. With that in mind the above is a suggested list the responsible artist should employ in classifying their artwork.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Dog Kennel

More from the strange structures in the countryside series. This interesting collection of ramshackled outhouses is the home to four hunting dogs. It is constructed from all sorts of found objects, pallets, corrigated sheets, tarps and wooden planking. It reminds me of the kinds of dens we used to make as kids.

Monday, 16 June 2008

And so it begins

Well I guess you have to start these things somehow so I have decided to post a painting of some farm buildings in the fields behind our appartment. Its a lovely wide valley, through which the Tevere flows and has luscious green wooded hills all around. At the minute the fields are full of grain, tobacco and sunflowers which give the area a lovely yellow when they flower.