Well this year has been quite an ordeal both on a personal as well as a professional level. As a family we’ve experienced more tragedies than any family should, in my professional life I’ve also experienced great sadness over the year.
Due to this blasted Covid situation I’ve not exhibited due to lack of heart, purpose and commitment; finally after applying I managed to be selected for the Burton Gallery’s Christmas Show. Looking back over some of my recent compositions I can see real progress and growth, at least I now believe I’m going in the right direction with regard to painting and artistic confidence.
A highlight of the year has been walking the South West Coast Path from Ilfracombe to Combe Martin and on a warm, idyllic summer’s day managed to sketch Broadsands Beach; the finished painting is at the top of this post. Another highlight was walking the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall where I’ve managed to paint a few images of the wonderful storms and light experienced there, these have now been successfully sold.
I’ve a few projects already lined up for 2022 including a reunion of the Black Arts with an organised residential course. I’m looking towards a more abstract way of working and perhaps arranging a few solo exhibitions. Let’s hope 2022 is going to be a partial return to the way we used to live and love. Peace for you all in the next year! Al


The return of BLACK ARTS, a project I’m involved in with artists Adrian Beasley and Stephen Raff.  We create our images in black and white using Photography, the Wet Collodian process and use of Bideford Black pigment, hence the name BLACK ARTS.  We aim to undertake this three day residential experience later this year.  Below is a link to the webpage with more information to follow!


Below is a link of our first collaboration in 2019 on the closing night of The White Moose Gallery.


A wonderful poem and video by Dr Emma Fisher, an anaesthetist, who I have had the pleasure of working with at North Devon District Hospital. As a registered Staff Nurse who works in the Operating Theatre Department I have worked with Dr Fisher and many of the healthcare practitioners featured in my sketches in this video. This poem sadly describes one profound experience a team had to deal with during this Covid Crisis!
Below is a link to the original pen and ink images.


Roborough Hill.

I’ve finally mounted this Bideford Black painting of Roborough Hill in Barnstaple, North Devon 40 x 25″ on thick cartridge paper. Throughout the pandemic and various lockdowns I’ve found this area of Roborough to have been a great escape from all that mayhem. To look out over North Devon from this wonderful highpoint is a view to behold. I think this painting would be certainly a talking or focal point to any room! Al

Upcott Sunset.

Attempting a timed piece to regain some spontaneity. Well here is the completed sketch although it’s quite difficult to get the right colours with the camera in real life I’m very pleased with the overall image. At least I’m regaining some freshness and honesty with my brushstrokes. This is of Upcott Vale near Bradiford Barnstaple, North Devon. From this high point behind the Upcott Folly you can see out over Barnstaple and down the Vale towards the Taw Estuary and beyond to Saunton. There is always the sounds of sheep and sometimes foxes can be seen. Sunsets are always magical here on summer evenings. This is acrylic on primed panel 670 x 410mm.

River Yeo to the Taw. Now in the bin!

This acrylic painting is of the River Yeo at Rolle’s Quay in Barnstaple, acrylic on panel 770 x 400mm. I’ve attempted to capture that storm ridden summer sky and the murky tidal water. At the end of this painting I made a hideous schoolboy error when varnishing the painting. When I had a final look I noticed that the titanium white on the roof hadn’t quite dried and had bled right into the whole painting!!! All the blacks were now grey and muddy, reluctantly I reworked the contrast of the painting and subsequently saved it from either the bin or a repriming with gesso. What a mistake a to make!
Well update from the previous paragraph. After revarnishing the painting I was again unhappy with the overall uniform darkness of the painting. After a few adjustments I lifted the panel off the easel, and in anger deeply scored it with a Stanley knife and snapped it in half. This is now in the bin where it should have been in the first place. When you purchase paintings from artist just remember sometimes we spend hours of wrestling with paintings only to fail at the final post, it is these that you never really see. 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
Nothings been so hard
Now to burn a lifetime’s failings
In the seclusion of my back yard

The Dripping Well, Anchor Woods.

The Wishing Well as we called it as children when we played in Anchor Woods was known in past times as a Holy Well or Sacred Spring. On the wall there are carved stones on the left 18 and the right 65, date 1865. Above the left stone a colony of bees resides. It has been noted that there was at one time another stone engraved BR after Sir Henry Bourchier Wrey (1829-1900) a member of the Devonshire Gentry. As children and even now when passing, if you pick a dock leaf for a folded spout and place it into the sandstone crack of the spring a cool steady flow of water flows. The water’s always tasted very cool and pleasant. Perhaps it should be tested now because of many new houses built at the top of the wood. I will add more to this article once a visit to our local Athenaeum has been made.


An old ammunition store?

Today on a cycle ride I decided to revisit an old childhood haunt of Anchor Woods and this particular WW2 ammunition store. My late father mentioned in a memory that the field in which this store resides was used as a target range at the time of the second world war and this structure was store. If anyone has any more information about this pla please let me know. Al