Wednesday 27 December 2017

Christmas Greetings

Salutations and a very Merrie Christmas!

Happy Third Day of Christmas.

This year we had an Advent Calender, I haven't had one for more years than I can remember ( it could be a long as twenty or thirty years)

Teddy found this one at a Christmas fair when we were in Derbyshire. It came as a single sheet that you pop the pieces out of. You set up the tree and the treehouse and add the animals, birds, baubles and presents.

We are going to take it apart and try to use it again next year.

Teddy and I spent Christmas Day in our usual fashion. I went to have Christmas Lunch with my father and he set about spreading as many swing projects as possible about the living room.

As Teddy doesn't eat any of the traditional Christmas food, it makes more sense for him to cook something for himself at home, whilst I cook for my father.

Teddy prepared a stuffed porkbelly roll and had a toffee steam pudding for afters.

Dad and I had roast duck breasts with red cabbage with orange, bread sauce, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes all washed down with a very acceptable claret. We got through that in time for watching the Queen at 3.00.

 Then we had Christmas pudding with my hand-made brandy butter with a nice glass of madeira, of course, followed by figs, nuts, dates and satsumas.

I helped clear up and returned home in good time to see Dr Who at 5.30.


Until next time


Wednesday 20 December 2017



I use creatures , birds and insects in my constructed landscapes and often do watercolour studies of them before using them in oil or acrylic paintings.

This is a study of a heron I sketched whilst walking on Wimbledon Common.

Until next time


Wednesday 13 December 2017



Here's a drawing of a nice young page


Until next 

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Christmas Wreath


Every year I use the old wreath frame my father used to use to make a Christmas wreath for my front door.

I use yew, holly and bay from my garden and fir cones that I collect from Dundonald Recreation Ground.

Here is this year's wreath. Season's Greetings.

Until next time


Wednesday 29 November 2017

Painting for Louise


here is another of the paintings I did for Louise.

This is a Nuthatch.

Until next time


Wednesday 22 November 2017

Gemmeus, the trouble with rings


I do not often indulge in rants, but I need to get this one off my chest.

I will not buy from Gemmeus again. I certainly won't employ Nicky Wade of Gemmeus to make a custom order.

I advise all my friends to avoid using her.

If you like what she has made all may be fine- BUT IF YOU DON'T....

Read on

It so happened that, soon after Teddy and I decided to get married, we were at a re-enactors' market and I saw a ring I quite liked on Gemmeus' s stall. It was a medieval votive ring set with a Sapphire, with a payer in Latin incised round the outside.

I had decided to buy it when one of our friends saw me there and ask if it was THE ring.

This led on to a conversation with Nicky about how much it would cost if it was a fully gold ring, rather than plated and to Teddy looking through her books to see if he could find a ring he liked.

He settled on an Anglo-Saxon ring with a braided band, set with a stone in the middle of the band.  He likes it because the stone was in the middle of the band and did not protrude to either side of the band, and the rest of the decoration was fairly flat to the surface of the ring so there was little to catch on anything (a source of annoyance with rings in the past)

After further discussion, we ordered the rings.

My ring was ready first and I discovered that Nicky had (without consulting me) changed the stone to iolite (another blue stone). She said that Sapphire just looked black in the setting.

Now, I had really wanted a sapphire (as it's the stone worn by bishops) but decided that I was content with the change when she told me that iolite is also known as Water Sapphire

The trouble started when Teddy's ring arrived.

The stone setting protruded to either side of the band, other details were in different proportions to the original ring - the raised edges of the band was absent, the other decoration stood proud of the surface instead of being flat on it, so it didn’t look at all like the original it was based on and Teddy didn't like it.

I should mention that I had paid for Teddy's ring and he had paid for mine.

Now, the normal procedure in these circumstances is to ring the supplier, agree to return the goods to be altered, or to return the goods and to be fully reimbursed.

When, Teddy rang Nicky, however, she reacted by bursting into tears and complained that she couldn't afford to buy more gold right now, then hang-up the phone down on him, and not pick up when he called her back.

She called back some time later claiming her ‘phone had run out of charge.  By now, Teddy (who was getting nowhere) passed the phone to me and I attempted to calm her down and reason with her. She found fault with every suggestion of how she might alter the ring and, having apparently dismissed this as an option, made no offer of reimbursement.

I decided to try to be nice to her (more fool me) and said when we returned the ring she need not pay us back immediately, but could sell it on our behalf and pay me the proceeds when it sold.  She, very reluctantly, agreed, telling me that it might take a little time for the ring to sell. I think most people would agree that I was being quite generous in this arrangement.

She clearly did not care at all that the ring in question was meant to be Teddy's wedding ring and, hence, something he was planning to wear for the rest of his life.

Most reasonable people would agree that you have to feel right about and be happy and content with that particular piece of jewelry.

Still, I sent the ring back to her and she acknowledged receipt.

From that time on, I often saw her stall at markets.  I do not recall a single time that I saw the ring displayed.  Generally that was some excuse as to why it wasn't there, including a time when she said she had a buyer.  She was always short with me when I asked about it and , after some time, I just looked and noted and didn't speak to her.

Then, in July, I decided I'd had enough.  It was at least two years later and she had,  apparently, made little effort to sell the ring.  I felt that if she had both the ring and my money then she was effectively using me like some sort of loan for her business.

I emailed her via her website asking for the ring back and, a little later she responded saying she would send it in two weeks.

A month later I had not received the ring, so I emailed again asking if she had sent the ring and, if so, when.  I did this both replying to her reply and via her website.  I received no reply to either of these enquiries.

Finally, I rang her, asking if she was having trouble with e-mail,  and she told me that her email was working and that she had replied (which I think meant that she considered her first reply sufficient).  She said she been busy with shows and that she would send the ring.

Eventually, we came back one evening to find a message on the answerphone to say that the ring had been sent by courier and would either arrive on Saturday or on Monday 2 October.

A courier delivered a package on Saturday.

BUT when we opened it - IT WAS NOT THE SAME RING!

It was a gold Anglo-Saxon a ring in the same style, set with the right stone, but the stone and it’s setting were smaller (not protruding either side of the band), and the ring itself was a smaller size.  It wouldn’t fit Teddy at all.

I have lost two and a half stone in weight since the wedding and my wedding ring is now quite loose on my finger. Teddy has big finger joints and his ring was at least as big as mine, if not slightly bigger.  The ring we originally received, for all its faults, was at least the right size. 

I can JUST fit the replacement ring on the second finger of my right hand, but it's tight and very difficult to get off again.

Second, as this isn't the same ring, she must have sold the first one and NOT SENT ME THE MONEY as she had agreed.

I think she was hoping that I'd forgotten about it, or had written it off, or that she could just go on saying 'No' if I asked if she'd sold the ring. That way she could keep the proceeds from selling it twice.

When I asked for it back, she realised that, either she'd have to admit she'd sold it and send me the money, or she'd have to make a replacement and assume I'd not know the difference.

All in all, I would have preferred to have the money back, but clearly, it was cheaper for her to make another ring. This suggests that she got a significant price for the first ring.

This theory is borne out by the two month gap between her first saying she'd send the ring back and my receipt of the new ring.

Anyway, I am now going to either have to try to sell this new ring, or try to get it stretched larger so I can get some use form it by wearing it myself.

As a consequence of this sorry saga, we will never do business with her again.

Customer service is a closed book to her and she has such contempt for her customers that she does not think she has to consult them about changes to their orders, or that she had to make any alterations reasonably requested by them.

Nor does she think she should have to give peoples their money back if they return goods she has changed the specs for, or failed to make like the source picture, or if there is any other fault with the piece.

She also seems to think that they won't remember what a particular ring looks like and thus can substitute a similar ring with impunity.

Finally, I know for a fact that I'm not the only person she has treated like this.

Right, cathartic rant over; warning given.

Take heed.

Until next time


Wednesday 15 November 2017

More paintings for Louise


I have recently visited my friend Louise in Bristol and she commissioned me to do some more paintings on the walls of one of the bedrooms in her house.

This is a Marsh Fritillary

I will post the others anon.

until next time


Wednesday 8 November 2017



Here is a study that might soon be used on one of my book bags.

Until next time


Wednesday 1 November 2017

Heraldic achievement


I like to keep my heraldic art skills up and running and sometimes design new versions of  coats I have blazoned in the past.

Here is a new version of the Bishop's arms.

I am particularly pleased with the balance between the helm and the mitre and crosier.

I also included the bishop's papal dispensation to use a sword on the upper scroll.

The bishop's family  motto ( "seize the prize") is on the lower scroll.

Until next time


Wednesday 25 October 2017



This is an acrylic painting I did some years ago.

Two Italian youths in love...

Until next time


Wednesday 18 October 2017

Father and Son

This is an ink painting I did some time ago.

It is  based on the end of the Arthurian legend - the final fatal confrontation between Arthur and Mordred at Camlan.

I have set them literally in the fog of battle and it's clear that Arthur's sword is just about to open Mordred's throat .

To date, this is my only Arthurian picture, but, given that my Sister-outlaw is Dr Kari Maund ( expert in early Medieval history), who looks pained whenever anyone mentions the utterly fictitious king, this is not entirely surprising....

Until next time


Wednesday 11 October 2017

Louise's butterflies


My friend Louise lives in Bristol and commissioned me to paint some small murals in her bedroom.

I chose butterflies for this and painted them in acrylic.

Here is the Tortoiseshell

This is the Red Admiral

and here is the Peacock
and here they are in context

I am quite pleased how they came out and she was very happy with them as well.

until next time


Wednesday 4 October 2017

Persephone & Aphrodite


Here is another of my classical cartoons.

Teddy was MC at a costume convention once and, spotting that one entry was the Goddess of Spring and her daughter, Queen of the Underworld, carefully checked how to pronounce the name of the daughter.

He had it right until one of his friends jokingly read it phonetically.

When the time came, it came out wrong...

I sold the original of this one at Eastercon this year.

In other news, I think that 1 & 1 have finally come up with a solution to my problems with my website. Consequently, I will have to spend some time working on the domain and subdomain before all is back up as before. Please bear with me.

Until next time


Wednesday 27 September 2017

Spiral Path

This is a very large watercolour that I painted when I was still at College, some Mumble mumble years ago.

I was experimented with circular forms and composition. The name refers to my drawing the viewer's eye round the images in a curving motion.

I used a whole A1 sheet of paper.

I am currently having some problems with my website. 1 & 1 recently upgraded to Windows Server 2016 and the header banners and some of my pictures disappeared.

I am also currently unable to add new pictures, as the website builder won't convert them to web size format. Thus they come on as about ten times too large and only show a small section of the image.

I spoke to 1 & 1 and they have got the main site back up, but have yet to solve the picture problem.

I then checked my linked sub-site and found it also had the same problems.

I've  found that I can still use some of pictures I had on my old site, so I've added a Gay Art page to my main site for some of my milder gay themed artworks.

I tried deleting the sub site and starting from scratch, but this did not solve the problem, so ( as they refuse to deal with me by email ) I will have to have another long phone call to 1 &1 ( last time i found myself talking to someone in the Philippines...) ,. I just hope I'm not being charged for international calls....

Anyway, please bear with me. If it's not sorted out soon, I may have to consider closing this account and moving to another provider. I know of Go Daddy, but if there are other reliable easy to set and use web hosts out there, I would be grateful if people could pass them on to me...

Until next time


Wednesday 20 September 2017

Small Game Hunter 6

The final example in this series of Lilliputians is :

The Navy Commodore Fulaporte Surtaflogus ( Lilliput 1730)

This has the usual label on the reverse:

I have had a lot of fun making these figures and may make more in the future.

Until next time


Wednesday 13 September 2017

Small Game Hunter 5

Next in the series of Lilliputians is :

The Buff Merchantman Gotadamonae Hasadeleforus ( Lilliput 1729)

The plaque was standard white wood , which I have woodstained and varnished. It has the usual label on the back:

Until next time


Wednesday 6 September 2017

Small Game Hunter 4

Here is a further Lilliputian specimen.

This is the Striped Seadog Ioho Anupsherisus ( Lilliput 1730)

Gulliver's Travels was published in the 1720s, so I chose the dates based on the conceit that he went back in later life to collect specimens.

The back shows the usual label:

Until next time


Wednesday 30 August 2017

Small Game Hunter 3

Another in my series of Lilliputians is the Fair Midshipman Onunese Anphilatus ( Lilliput 1735)

I based the names on the common names of butterflies and the Latin names derive from my warped pun-driven mind... ( I did have fun deciding on the most appropriate spelling...)

The label on the back is as follows:

until next time


Wednesday 23 August 2017

Small Game Hunter 2

Here is another Lilliputian.

This is a Scarlet Major Lobstercote Defendigus ( Lilliput 1731 )

As before, there is a label on the back:

Until next time


Wednesday 16 August 2017


This is an acrylic painting of a superhero in relaxed and reflective mood.

It is called Icefire.

Until next time


Wednesday 9 August 2017

Small Game Hunter 1

When we were staying with our friends Alison and Mike in Cheltenham I noticed that they had a small wooden plaque amongst the other pictures on one of their walls. Upon this plaque was a small clay figure of a man in Georgian clothing.

I ,being me, remarked that it lacked a label indicating the species , location and date of collection.

This led directly to a visit to the local branch of Hobbycraft and the purchase of several wooden plaques and a quantity of Fimo.

This is the first of my Lilliputians: The Dun Apprentice  Uthotadea Mostliuslus ( Lilliput 1731)

There is a further label on the back of the plaque.

I shall post further specimens anon.

Until next time


Wednesday 2 August 2017

Golden Cap

I also work in watercolour and have done quite a few landscapes.

These often appear in my other paintings as part of my Landscape of Dreams.

This is a big watercolour, using a whole A1 sheet.

It is of Golden Cap in Dorset, which is near to Charmouth, where I used to go on holiday when I was a lad.(Apologies for the reflection, but this one has been framed and hanging in my Dad's house for many years).

Until next time


Wednesday 26 July 2017

More work to new painting

I have now completed the under painting ,added an initial green glaze and have done some additional work over the base glaze

The painting last looked like this

It now looks like this

I will work on the green areas until I am happy with them and then move on to the flesh tones.

Until next time


Wednesday 19 July 2017

Magnificent Moth

I often use butterflies when painting my Landscape of Dreams and am always looking out for new  and interesting ones to use.

Some time ago ,at night, I saw an unusual moth in my garden, but,unfortunately did not have my camera with me. It was large and had an magnificent pattern of black and white stripes.

Then, last week I saw another one, in broad daylight, sitting on the baseboard of my fence.

This time I managed to get a photo. I think it is a Jersey Tiger moth and, according to my butterfly and moth book,Wimbledon is quite far north for it...

I will probably do a watercolour study of  it to begin with  and may then use it in later paintings.

Until next time


Wednesday 12 July 2017

The Fairest

This acrylic is the old tale of Beauty and the magic mirror, only this time it’s a man falling for the line that  he’s the fairest in all the land...

Until next time


Wednesday 5 July 2017

Race a red horse

This is a small acrylic in the ‘letting my subconscious out for a jog’  category.

I just had this image in my head and let it happen...

Until next time


Wednesday 28 June 2017


I am fond of puns and Jeux des mots.

This is one of a series  of cartoons based on a phrase that should be obvious...

Until next time


Wednesday 21 June 2017


This is a small oil is only about A5 size

Here’s a cute young padawan.

I’ve always thought there was something more to this business of padawans calling their  teacher ‘master’.....

Until next time


Wednesday 14 June 2017

Irish Tower

I occasionally paint landscapes in watercolour and some elements often find their way into my constructed landscapes in other paintings.

This tower is near Waterford in southern Ireland. I painted on a short holiday there many years ago.

It has turned up in several paintings to date, including  Bodies in Motion and Metamorphosis

Until next time


Wednesday 7 June 2017

Progress on new oil painting

I have now completed the under painting on the new oil painting.

When last seen it looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

Once I am certain that the painting is dry, I will begin to glaze in green over all the areas painted in Indian Red and will glaze the flesh tones over the parts of the figures painted in green.

Until next time