It’s been a while since I’ve put brush to canvas, the last time being January, so I’ve been taking iPhone pictures wherever I go to try and gain some inspiration. Today I cycled down the Tarka Trail from Barnstaple to Instow and was immediately taken with the seasonal poppies.
Along the trail lie various beach side huts, most of them were surrounded with blood red flowers. I remember them flowering here when I was a boy and wherever I see them they always remind me of Instow. With the sun high in the blue sky I was taken with this blue beach house and the contrasting poppies, I’m sure at some point this image will inevitably be used for a painted composition. I’m presently still not painting but instead playing the guitar so at least some creativity is being done! Al


We made the most of a gap in the weather today with a walk in the sunshine around Instow in North Devon. The waterfront was closed off to traffic and a right royal street party was underway; my wife and I had the mandatory Hocking’s Ice Cream with clotted cream on the top. The humid afternoon soon began to lose it’s sunshine but not before I managed to take these pictures in the graveyard of Instow Church. I’m struck every year with the cadmium yellow rapeseed fields around the estuary and was very pleased to capture them this year.


Taking a break from painting at the moment due to family bereavements. I can’t find the motivation to put brush to canvas at the moment but hopefully soon some inspiration will come my way to resume work! The picture above is my favourite linhay on the Braunton Marsh in North Devon, taken on a recent cycle ride to try to clear the mind. Al

Paint stained nails
That I can never seem to clean
Grips a can and a match
If you know what I mean?
To ignite that wasted effort
Nothing’s been so hard
Now to burn a lifetime’s failings
In the seclusion of my back yard.


The start of 2023. The completed acrylic painting 820 x 400mm above is of Kynance Cove from a sketch made in November 2022. My wife and I were staying in Mullion Cove for my Birthday weekend and made our way here. There were no tourists as the weather was very changeable but once we go down to the beach we were surprised to see that the tearooms were open. We sat on the benches and this is the view we enjoyed for an hour or so with it’s incredible light illuminating the sea.
I’ve tried to keep this painting looser than normal as it was just an exercise in removing the white of the canvas gesso and promoting some sense of light to dark contrasts. From the beginning I reference the original sketch and start to make sense of the correct sky tones and highlights on the sea. I must say there is a certain honesty to my original sketches perhaps my plain air sketch books should be shown.
Now finished I leave it on an easel for a week or so and make final adjustments. As usual the Titanium White appears bolder that it actually is when photographed. Al


A selection of some of the paintings I’ve completed in 2022, the year started out with a Bideford Black and ended with a large composition called Secluded Stream. I’ve had the great pleasure of twice visiting the Lizard in Cornwall this year and searched for sea glass with my wife along the North Devon Coast. During the year I was invited by a friend of mine, Adrian Beasley, to join again with the Black Arts for a residential course and worked with clients using the Bideford Black pigment at the Northam Visitors Centre. Having not exhibited for quite a while I ended year at the Burton Gallery, I’m now taking a slight break to plan my 2023 campaign. Al


A return to an old favourite of mine and perhaps the final painting of 2022. The old linhay on the Marsh in Braunton. Acrylic on canvas 30 x 40″. A sketch of this scene was made during one of my cycle rides along the Tarka Trail, around the Braunton Marsh and down the old American Road to Crow Point. I was quite taken by the neon cold light this particular morning and sat in the reeds watching the sticklebacks and swans.


A painting of Combesgate Beach in North Devon. Acrylic on canvas 810 x 390mm, that’s 32 x 15 1/4″ in old money. Combesgate Beach is special stretch of sand just around the rocks from Barricane Beach near Woolacombe. When the tide is in not much of the beach can be seen, but at low tide, the golden sand, rock formations and views out to sea and Morte Point are breath taking. In the middle of this picture is The Watersmeet Hotel and dotted along the ridge are houses overlooking the view, I also like to surf the wave here on my longboard and it is known a little as ‘an old man’s break’.


Acrylic on 610 x 390mm canvas of Sandy Cove in North Devon. This secluded and somewhat idyllic beach is just around the coast from Lee Bay. When the tide is out you can walk to this beach via The Smugglers Walk, a meandering pathway through the rocks and cliffs which eventually brings you to this place. Quite often this beach is very quiet and a perfect place to hunt for sea glass, look through the rock pools or have a relaxing picnic. It is now becoming popular for sea swimming too!


Sadly my 16 years old Martin guitar has had a mishap in my studio. I’ve knocked it many times but this time, well this time a knock too many. I’ve played guitars most of my life including bass guitars and although not the greatest player I do gain great pleasure from playing. One of my many guitars now in the hands of luthier James Millman.
Finally my guitar has been returned repaired and the frets redressed, I quite like the lower action. Very pleased with the results and actually playing the guitar more due to it’s new feel and playability! Al