We spent a memorable day looking for sea glass on Barricane Beach, my wife and I paddled in the warm, crystal clear water of an Autumn’s incoming tide. The Sri Lankan cafĂ© was luckily still open but sadly had only a few days to go until they crane the hut off the beach; for me this marks the end of the warm summer season. Donna and I drank hot mugs of tea whilst basking in the neon bright Autumn sunshine. Most of the noisy tourists have now gone only retired couples, grandparents with children and intrepid cold water swimmers remain! Perfect!


A wonderful few days spent again as the BLACK ARTS with organised residential workshops managed by Adrian Beasley. The workshops featured tutors Adrian with digital capture, editing and printing, Stephen Raff taking clients through the early wet collodian photographic process and myself painting compositions with clients using the unique Bideford Black pigment. Our clients stayed at the Seagate Hotel in Appledore, North Devon and were taken to venues each day. I had the great pleasure of being based at the scenic Northam Visitor’s Centre beside the beach at Westward Ho pictured above.

Below are pictures of some of our clients work produced over three days involving group discussions. Each evening a different venue was chosen where we chatted informally about our day’s progress over meals at Belluno in Bideford, The Beaver in Appledore and Moran’s Restaurant in Westward Ho. On the final evening we all got together to look at the final work produced which included ‘The Big Reveal’ where everyone could see each other’s compositions. As you can see from the pictures superb work had been produced and the fabulous Indian banquet cooked by Clea, Adrian’s wife, ended the three day course superbly.


HELE BAY painted on a canvas panel 500 x 250mm, using some pigments sourced at Fremington Quay. I am presently working on smaller scale pictures to keep my enthusiasm whilst planning larger compositions which move away from my usual landscape work. Hele is a favourite place of ours to search for seaglass and is a short pleasurable walk along the coast from Ilfracombe Harbour. There is free parking here and is a great place to sit in the sun or explore the rock pools.


I’ve spent an interesting afternoon looking through the rock strata at Fremington Quay. I’ve collected Bideford Black from Greencliff at Abbotsham and used the blackish colour called Poor Man’s Coal from here at Fremington too. A renowned pigment artist called Peter Ward mentions that there are other distinct colours to collect here too, namely, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, White Clay and Grey. On inspection these pigments are quite evident here so after collecting some samples I will prepare them for future painting projects. Below is a link to an interesting article by Peter Ward.


I’m pleased to be part of another Black Art’s project organised by photographer Adrian Beasley. This residential course will run from the 12th to the 16th September and will be based in North Devon. The project will feature the following artists.

Adrian Beasley who will be based at Hartland Quay featuring landscape photography and computer enhancement of images.
Stephen Raff, will be taking students through the wet plate photographic process and creating glass plate images.
Al Brown will show how to make and use the local Bideford Black pigment and use it to create landscape paintings of the North Devon coast.

These few days should prove to be an exciting challenge to create memorable black and white images of North Devon. There are still a few places left! Al


A smaller composition 10 x 20″ just to keep my motivation going whilst I plan my latest large scale project! Image painted from a recent visit to Lee Bay with my wife for a glass hunting forage. My wife Donna makes sea glass jewellery under the name Flotsam & Then Some! We had the usual beer and lunch at The Grampus pub then ventured onto Sandy Cove, for a rare afternoon we had the beach to ourselves and we felt like we were on a deserted island.


Another visit to Lee Bay in North Devon in search of seaglass, known locally as Mermaid’s Tears. First a very enjoyable lunch at The Grampus pub consisting of ploughman’s lunches washed down with their own brewed ale then on to Sandy Cove. Once there we discovered that we had the beach to ourselves and we made the most of the situation by searching amongst the rocks and crevices. The climb back up the steep cliff steps was rewarded with a fabulous panorama of the North Devon Coast and on the walk back sloe berries were already on the trees lining the pathway waiting for the gin makers harvest.


I spent a rather enjoyable few days at this year’s Cropredy Festival in Oxford. It was the first time this has been held for a few years and an air of excitement hung over the area. This festival is run traditionally by the fantastic Fairport Convention and always shows an eclectic mix of the best music around. I loved visiting the village in the morning, having coffee by the working canal and listening to the fringe music at the Brasenose and Red Lion Pubs.
Highlights for the weekend for me were, Trevor Horne with Lol Creme of 10cc, Robert Fripp & Toya, Steve Hackett of Genesis, Turing Brakes and of course the emotional end of the festival featuring Fairport Convention with Richard Thompson and Dave Mattacks playing the entire 1970 Full House album. Maddie Morris was a favourite of mine too. Harvest Moon pictured at the top features Steve Hacket playing Afterglow!

Above the Fairport Farewell with all musicians.