Saturday, May 26, 2018

Traveling Man

Its been ages since the last post and that's because after I had completed reorganising the house and garage, a lot of hard work!   I got totally fed up with painting and the dammed  art world, well in fact just the world in general and all the lunatic grot that goes with it. So I bought a camper and did some traveling, happy happy days!

I also finished coding the new web site before the old Moonfruit one expired but decided not to publish as I would not be in a position to interact properly with it for some time, and obviously not be able to sell or post paintings.

Now back at base camp and still not sure whether to go for a website provider as peoples tastes, at least in Britain, have become very bizarre,  apparently old rusty manky industrial cabinets are trendy and command a high price being much sought after for use in the home? Also stuff like grotty old galvanized rusty water tanks for tables? Beats me, seems like you can con people into anything these days.

Anyway I have only completed one new painting but worked on a few I started some months ago

 This is the completion of the one shown on the last blog.
The painting is in oil on a board 20x16 inches. The base layer (shown below) was first created using a scumble of Phthalo Green and Permanent blue (Ultramarine), the Roses and flower images were painted from various camera shots, I take quite a lot when we visit gardens. There was no attempt to paint original colors as I was aiming at a colorful composition.
The paints used were Daler-Rowney Georgian oils, I have gone back to these paints as they are exceptional value for money and quite stable. Some artists sneer at them as student paints, well as I write this I am looking at a painting called " Fire Lion" which I painted in these same Rowney paints in 1972 and despite it having been in many inhospitable environments the colors are as fresh and vivid as the day it was painted. Its not so much the paint you use (as long as its reasonable good quality) its how you use it! 

Initial scumble for the above painting.

The painting was started by roughly laying in the three roses on top of the scumble, the roses were then painted individually in detail and the leaves, flowers etc added one by one to balance the composition. The background was also worked on using Phthalo green plus ultramarine and a touch of red where necessary to produce a feeling of depth.

Snowdon Range from Llanberis

A quick 12x8 painting on canvas, completed in one sitting.

 Done a little bit of work on the Mona Lisa background, need to get my head back into painting a bit more before I really get stuck in, Well it took Leonardo years to finish it, but then he wasn't copying, lol.

The 1972 "Fire Lion" That I mentioned above.

It was painted on 20x16 inch hardboard primed with Rowney "hardboard primer" (which sadly as far as I know is not available today).

Its been hung in several houses and even had a few years through all seasons in an unheated wooden summer house. It eventually found its way back to me due to a bereavement and now hangs in my studio.

  The World

The world is such and always was
and always will be so
and I am such and always was
and never one to crow
and now I'm old and past my prime
and see the status quo
Well the world is such and always was
and always will be so

Rob Ward


Copywrite Rob Ward

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bits an Peices

Wow don't time fly, been a long time since the last blog post, summer walks, DIY etc, also had the house up for sale with all that entails, took it off the market now, waste of time the as the loony council's flooding the area with planning permission for hundreds of new builds. 

Still, I don't know why I blog, its like talking to yer self, do a lot of that though so what the heck!

Found out my website host Moonfruit had been taken over (by Yellow Pages I think) so no more freebie websites and the charges have shot up so much that next year I have to pay more for less. 
I built my first Art website in the nineties with  html1 (just html then) and notebook, it was called "Timeserpent" and hosted on the free 50m/byte space allocated by internet provider "Freeserve" it worked surprisingly well, but that was was years ago. 
This time I installed a local server (Wamp) on the pc and built a trial website with WordPress,  also tried a couple of cms progs but neither result floated my boat.   
So now I'm busy brushing off the rust and genning up on html5 and Java script to build a new site and perhaps get it hosted on Go daddy or some such.

Britain's going more La La every day, dunno what my old dad would have said about it, he died in 1970 and today's Britain is far removed from the Britain of those days,  common sense appears to have curled up and died somewhere in between then and now.  A copper was recently awarded £12000 because he was bitten by a flea! A school teacher got thousands when she slipped on something squidgy in the dinner hall! Those are just the tip of this daft compensation iceberg, even prisoners are at it!
Bloody hell I could have made a fortune during my working life, got blown up, electrocuted, burnt, car crashed etc etc, and all I got was “you daft bugger you should be more careful !” Very true though, but just what did happen to being responsible for your own actions?
Dangerous times we live in, very dangerous.

Anyway started quite a few paintings but finished very few of them, due mainly to lots of inconsiderate things like those above appearing out of the mists of sods law, also crap like the old Dell PC I use in the studio and also write this on, one sunny morning the dam thing refused to switch on and despite dire threats with a big hammer it just sat there with the Orange light of death flashing. 
After spending several frustrating hours trying all I could think of without the slightest success I decided tentatively that it might be a Power supply fault, even though the volts all measured ok, took it apart and DUHH!
there it was, a blown Cap! searched the scrap box and found one that was nearly the same and its been good ever since, except that is for win 7 problems, but that's another story (oh how I hate Microsoft!)

Here area couple of paintings that I've finished.

A small landscape of cliff houses in Little Haven, Pembrokeshire, oil on canvas board 12x10 inch.

The painting was completed by first drawing the scene 
then completing in one session (no under painting)

And another that I've called “Sat down beside her” an imaginary scene an imaginary girl in imaginary woods. Oil on board 12x10 inch.

This painting was intended to be simply a woodland scene, but as usual with imaginary paintings things got added.

And here are some unfinished ones.

An unfinished Rose and flower painting, long way to go yet, its oil on mdf 20x16 inch.

No intention of reality with these flower paintings, the aim is for a colorful composition, more will be added towards the top right hand corner, and then perhaps some glazing to add depth. 

This is another imaginary painting, only in the first stages so it might change dramatically, again oil on 12x10 canvas board.

Don't know what this will eventually turn out to be, could be major changes, but then maybe not. 
( The girls right forarm isn't missing she is supposed to be holding something, quite what she is holdings is at present with the Gods) 

Been challenged to paint a copy of “Mona Lisa”, how it will turn out and how it will look remains to be seen, dunno why I get myself into these things! 
Shown is the first rough under painting, Oil on board 15x11 inch.

Perhaps it will work, I hope so but one thing is certain, it won't be anywhere near what Leonardo initially painted as the few hundred years in between has certainly faded and darkened some of the colors he used.   

A bit of "Nonsense" wot I rote!

Portrait Painter

Oh I am a painter
I paint the whole day through
If you give me a retainer
I'll paint  a picture of you.
It may not make you vainer
But please don't try to sue
Cos I can make it plainer
If you get me in a stew.
I'll make your hair less tamer
Your eyes will get a skew
Your ears will cover an acre
Your lips I see as blue
Your nose I'll make a flamer
With the texture of fondue.
Oh I hope your no complainer
when I paint a picture of you!

Rob Ward 2016


Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Well the general election! What a fiasco! Leaving aside the minority parties we have the two main combatants, Labour and the Tories.
The Tories who at the start of the campaign were way out in the lead only just managed to scrape their way to government, due though only to the support of a few northern Ireland Mp's. Unbelievably during the campaign they went out of their way to alienate voters by producing a punishing manifesto? A party manifesto is supposed to encourage folks to vote for you, I wonder what part of that they didn't understand? Quite Barmy!
Labour/marxist on the other hand promised a golden future for everyone except the rich ( As I'm not rich, well very nice, but yea pull the other one I've heard all that before!) by spending hundreds of billions on every issue under the sun, though quite where they would get that massive amount of cash from without bankrupting the country appeared to be as much a mystery to them as it was to everyone else.
Still in the divided “La La Land” that's modern Britain a great part of the electorate swallowed their pie in the sky promises wholesale!
So there we have it, not much to choose between any of them, and now the arena is set for every loony of any party who has an issue to cause chaos, and there's no doubt that they will!

 Ah well rant over.

Passed a few hours lately painting stuff mainly to please myself, usually just stuff that entered my addled brain at the time and with no constraints so got quite a few done.

This is a totally imaginary scene that may or may not have happened during WW2 it depicts two Mosquito bombers destroying a bridge in enemy territory. Painted in oil on a 19x17 inch board, my original intention was to paint a single Mosquito bomber soaring in the clouds, however as usual with me the drawing progressed to what you see and I decided to go with it.
The Dehavilland   Mosquito was made mainly out of wood and was known as the "Wooden wonder" as such it was incredibly light which coupled with twin Merlin engines made it fast and maneuverable.
There were two main versions, a heavily armed aircraft with cannon used mainly against enemy shipping, the other a dedicated bomber that carried no defensive weaponry, relying instead on speed and maneuverability to avoid the enemy.

This is the first stage, the initial drawing is carried out as usual with red pastel pencil which makes it much easier to alter (or rub out altogether and start again if necessary), the outline is then gone over in diluted Acrylic, usually one of the earth colours. This dries quickly so the pastel can then be rubbed off and a pale wash, in this case acrylic "light red", all over the canvas.

Second stage, painting has started with oil paint thinned just with turps.

Second stage completed

Painting has started with undiluted oil paint, not satisfied with the explosion part I scrubbed it out to start again.

Half way through final stage.

Mosquito aircraft
Completed painting.


  Got quite a few more diverse and varied paintings carried out recently, not got around to processing the photos yet, perhaps next blog.

The Ancient Earth

One morning walking the deserted shore
I beheld the wild night had downed a section of high bank
blocking the beach, laying open parts not seen before
pebbles smoothed round in some ancient river or sea
millions of years buried in darkness once more bought to light
Humbled by Earths ancient lineage on sight of that fallen scree
I stood transfixed by that new beach dam
considered the eons that had gone before
vast it was compared to the dominion of man
how new our Earthly realm to that ancient Earthly lore
to the Earth we are newly arrived strangers
the fabled horsemen, bringers of pestilence and war
but the Earth is used to such destruction
having been so many times and more
when we are gone it still will be

Rob Ward 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Arthur and Morgana

Well here we are almost the middle of May, the hedgerows are blooming and the foliage will never be as green as it is now, and in five weeks time heaven help us  we will have a general election. On one hand the Tories and on the other??? The Libdems and Green party, policies from cloud cuckoo land! (yea I know they say we have to adopt them to save the planet but the planet is doomed whatever, its a runaway train goin downhill and there just aint any brakes).
Ukip who appear an irrelevancy now Farage has left, then we have Labour, what can be said of Labour? A once great party now reduced to leadership by pillocks, backed by shadowy anarchist forces? Intensely disliked by most of their own party, sad very very sad!  Will we all be in deep mugumbo if they do somehow manage to grab power? It could happen despite the polls to the contrary. Still 'what will be will be' (whatever that dam phrase means) and frankly I,m just an old fart and too cynical to give much of a toss .

Completed a few paintings recently, also repainted a couple that were completed and put to one side some years ago, I don't think an artist should ever shirk repainting something that he's put a lot of work into but is not entirely satisfied with, the problem though is getting the enthusiasm up and running, nevertheless This is one that I did many years ago, It got lots of criticism, mostly bad.

 Left is the first painting its Oil on Board 24x18 inch.

 The subject is the legend of the seduction of Arthur by the witch Morgana, people commented that the way she stared out of the painting was either funny  or creepy and that she showed too much bare flesh! Just can't please some folks they should have seen some of the others that I painted at that time, would have singed their eyebrows off 😉

And this is the repainted version
Morgana now has a few more clothes on and a sly sideways look, maybe that,s better maybe not, how the hell would I know!

Apologies for the quality of this picture, in reality it should look not much different from the one above (except of course for the changes to Morgana)

Also have completed one of the Castle reconstructions (Oh god not more castles!) that I mentioned in one of the previous blogs. This one is of Dryslwyn castle in Carmarthenshire, there is not a lot left of it as can be seen from the photo below. It was a Welsh castle originally held by Lord Rhys in fealty for Edward the first of England, Lord Rhys however became dissatisfied with English behavior rebelled and sacked the castles of Carreg Cennan and Dinefwr killing their constables. Of course this got Edward a tad peeved, so as he was at the time out of the country he ordered Earl Edmond to take very big steps, and in 1287 on the 11th August 11000 men began the siege of Dryslwyn castle. In eleven days it was all over, Lord Rhys managed to escape but was later captured, the castle was now firmly in English hands, that is until 1403 when Owen Glyndwr forcibly took it back and held it for a short time before the English retook it, a while later the English burnt the castle to the ground, then dismantled the stonework, presumably to stop it falling into hostile hands yet again.
Below is my take on how it could have looked some years after falling to Edwards armies.

Drslwyn as it looks today

First rough in
Ideas changed and a bit further
Completed oil painting 50x40 cm

Dryslwyn castle how it looked
The scene is set sometime in the fourteenth century when the castle was in English hands

Did a bit of electronicals as well, still building up test equipment as shown below, a low power multi function power supply made entirely out of the scrap box (except for a couple of pots that I had to buy). The 3 digit voltmeter was constructed on veroboard as shown using a 40 pin chip ICL7107 that had been lying in the scrap box for years, amazingly it worked!

As you can probably appreciate from the paintings of Arthur and Morgana I have always been fascinated by the Arthurian story, below is my take on it.


Camelot, that fabled home of Arthur and his knights
Many towered fairy castle of the romances
did they really exist? Merlin and Guinevere
Mordred and Morgan Le Fay?
Were his knights chivalrous paragons
riding out to rescue maidens in distress ?
Perhaps not, but the legends are strong
rooted in our primal memories
Rome's might conquered Britain
Ruthlessly destroyed all opposition
Later evenhandedly giving civilisation
For centuries peace and prosperity
Now the unthinkable! Rome has fallen
The Legions withdrawn!
Invading barbarians with fire and sword
torch and slaughter on their onward march
Britain fragmented into small kingdoms
Ruled once more by petty tyrants
Against ferocious enemies
more battles lost that won
Into this maelstrom strode one man, Arthur!
Last of the Roman British
Dux Britoriam, A general with no equal
He alone with his captains and heavy cavalry
Broke the barbarians and ran them back to the coast
Heroic actions covering him in glory
His name whispered fearfully in the firelight of his foe
People shout his victories to the heavens
forcing tyrants to bow the knee
lift him high as overlord of all the Britons
Next the great decisive battle of Baden Hill
where Arthur alone led the Britain's to great victory
Peace and prosperity now for many years
But as always
The people grow fat and complacent
forgetful of what had been
British treachery broke the land once more
civil war wreaked havoc
Arthur and his knights perished
the barbarians onslaughts resumed
Misery and darkness covered the land
In despair the legends were born.

Rob Ward

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Bits an Bobs

Loads of problems with internet connections lately, speed has dropped from a usable level to a miserable 1.3Mb/s with all sorts of funnies happening at times making any use of the internet hopeless, TalkTalk support appear incapable of correcting the situation which is external to my system and all started happening when they introduced stupid DLM.
Probably have to change ISP and get fibre connected, that means being under contract again Grrrr!

Girl in the Red Hat
Just working on  an old painting that I started years ago and left unfinished for some reason, its still needs some work but perhaps coming along ok, think the legs are a bit too long though? 

"Jurassic"  (below) is a painting I did not long ago, its an imaginary ScFi painting, a small oil on hardboard,the steps are shown.

Jurasic painting

Sorting through a pile of old paintings recently I came across this painting of a Lancaster bomber that I painted around the last year of the last century, its an oil on canvas board 24" x 18",somehow I had forgotten all about it. Anyway on the back was pasted a copy of the poem I wrote that had in fact inspired the painting.

World War two and there I was born right in the middle of it, don't remember much mind, I do remember the searchlights playing great beams across the night sky, and rationing and ration books as that went on for a long time afterwards. 
Fifty thousand of the guys that flew those missions never came home, most never got any recognition for the dangerous job they were asked to do as the politicians distanced themselves from the wholesale city bombing that they themselves had ordered, bloody typical! 

Lancaster bomber over the clouds

The Bomber

Up above the clouds where the air is cold
That stage on which our story is told
Of young men of our country's best
Who when called to war stood to the test
Engines blazing they took to the sky
A few hours to know if to live or to die
Each man prayed to the god he new
Thought of his loved ones, prayed he'd come through

Soon they passed over the enemy coast
Where the flak came fierce from an unwelcoming host
Lit the skies like the fires of hell
made the crate buck like a boat in a swell
Searchlights probed like fingers of doom
If caught in the beam death would come soon
some were hit exploding in flame
fell from the sky like fiery rain

Their luck held out as they passed through the flak
Then the fighters above zoomed in to attack
Machine guns manned and roared into life
as they fought their way through that terrible strife
More planes went down on that fateful night
The enemy too as they harried the flight
Then the fighters backed off as they ran low on fuel
A brief respite as they ended the duel

The squadron had scattered now had to regroup
but many were lost from that valiant troop
Their duty to do they flew on through the night
through dangers anew to the target sight
The Bomber commanded, now ordered the flight
Again came the flak as they dropped down in height
Bomb doors lowered they started their run
Death rained down and the job was done

Now turn for home more danger to come
from fighters and guns more planes would succumb
So they scattered the flight, each made its own way
The last crossed the channel at break of day
Their landing was dire with parts shot to bits
But they made it al'right with some swearing at Fritz
debriefing was short for the crew needed rest
Home again until the next quest.
                                                                                                                  Rob Ward

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas time

Its now just three days to Christmas, don't time fly! Well it does if your busy busy busy, stupidly I once thought that when I retired I would have loads of that strange stuff called leisure, what a laugh! Ain't it just so, when you think things are going well the smelly brown gungy stuff hits always the fan, funny old life!

Anyway looking through some old photo's to'ther night I found two separate sepia photo's, one of my mother and the other of my father taken some time in the 1930's (they married in 34) and I thought it would be nice to combine the two in a painting.
It was a bit of a struggle with Mom's portrait from the start but the old fella came good almost immediately, so being engrossed and cursing especially on the fifth repainting of mom I forgot to take photo's during the painting session only doing one at the roughing stage and again at the end.

I am glad that I painted them together, in some small way its my homage to them, their names were Elizabeth and Amos and they were great parents, the best. They worked hard all their lives and were never flush with cash finding life very hard at times, even so they always celebrated Christmas and made it a magical time for me.

Elizabeth, Liz as she was known had a great sense of humor coupled with a beautiful kind nature, she would help anyone.

Amos (he hated the name), a quiet man, kind, honest, loyal, courageous, what words do I have? non that could do him justice, a man of honor so rare that I have never met his like, nor do I think I ever will. 

Even now after all the years I still miss them both.

Wrote this poem a short while back

The Stranger

Returning to the place where I was born
Memories of long ago
Now lost and so forlorn
I seek the ghosts whereof I had delight
Look to the misery to adorn
bring my soul from darkness to the light

Yet all I see is changed I fear
No more the house of happy childhood
No sweet sights to bring a tear
An ugly estate sprawls where it stood
Changed too the very streets on which I played
All is gone.
I am a stranger here!

There in that street stood the old gas light
The one we children gathered round
A dark cold winter's haven of delight
That let us play and talk and more
Until called in from the night
And there, that place was once my father's garden
All gone.
I am a stranger here.

Those I loved now lie sleeping
No longer slaves to life's unending toil
Wrapped in the Earth and softly dreaming
beneath this native soil
What fool am I?
They live within me still I sigh,
Nothing is lost from fond memory
I am no stranger here.
                                            Rob Ward 2016

This is a painting I did based on an old mono photo two Christmases ago.
That little girl is now my wife of forty plus years.

                         Merry Christmas to all.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Delay an all that!

I think its been couple of months since I last attempted this blog? For a time I got quite engrossed in building that death ray in the garage, a sad disappointment all it did was give “Arny” the local spider (he's Huge!) a headache :-), seriously though I did build some reasonable test equipment during that time.

Then there was the extended holiday, glorious days, quiet, peaceful, few people, wonderful scenery, time to breathe in the world and wonder of things. to put everything in a true perspective.

Llawhaden castle
Now I have started painting again so the Llawhaden castle painting is finished as shown left in the two pic's , not much to say about the final paint layer (lower one) except I altered the conifer on the right hand side as I felt it was too intrusive.

I am at present attempting a series of castle paintings (Oh lord not more castles!), well yea, most castles are just piles of stones nowadays even the large more complete ones but in their own time they were the height of luxury , my mad idea is to try and paint them as they were in their glory days, most people don't realise that early on most castles were painted white (so they would make more of an "in your face" statement) with their banners flying in the wind they would have made an awesome magnificent sight, reassuring to inhabitants, terrifying to enemies! Dunno quite how it will work out but half way through the first one and it seems to be coming along ok, some way to go yet though.

Up until recently I used fairly stiff paint with Sun thickened oil with Turps and a dash of Damer to add fluidity and I must say some gloss, so much so that I rarely needed to oil out sunken works, now though I have gone back to my old more fluid paints which I have used for many years and so rarely needed to use any medium in the final painting stages except of course for glazing and special effects.

The reasoning behind this was that the stiffer pigment loaded paints were expensive but in the final analysis did not give any better results than my old paints, of course it does depend on the painting method used, if you paint in one session using heavy impasto then perhaps stiffer paints are needed but not if as I do you paint by building up layers. As for longevity all I can say is that I have several paintings that I did fifty years or so ago and despite hanging in various conditions in various places, modern houses, old cottages, and for a few years in a ill named summer house while nowadays in my external studio, they are all rock steady with colour, as good as the day they were painted. That is except for one, a snow scene the blueish whites of which were painted using Titanium white and which now have a slightly yellowish cast due to the known problem that linseed tends to migrate to the surface of thick layers of Titanium white!
In my opinion stability of the paint and thus its longevity is all down to discipline and technique and of course the material the painting is made upon be it wood, canvas or metal it must be stable. And yet conversely consider ancient cave paintings made many thousands of years ago they were painted in earth ocher's (the most stable of pigments) fixed with a plant gum binder and residing in what is a certainly a  hostile environment yet incredibly most are still perfectly visible.
Today for convenience most of us use manufactured canvas with panels primed in an acrylic white and we naively put our trust in the manufacturer?

The old paintings I mentioned above all had panels that were all hand made by myself in the following manner, first the raw canvas was boiled, dried and ironed, sheets of hardboard were cut to size the smooth side rubbed with fine sandpaper and then both sides given a coat of hot rabbit skin glue. When the panel had dried canvas was cut with a two inch overlap around each panel, placed over the smooth side of the panel and flooded with hot rabbit skin glue, when dry it was turned over and the overlap glued to the rear, again with rabbit glue. When dry the painting side was rubbed down with fine sandpaper then given a final coat of glue and left for a couple of days before applying the primer.
The best primer would have been a lead based white however I opted for Daler Rowney “hardboard primer” (no longer available) which gave me a fine non absorbent foundation to work on.

As can be seen it was a long winded process but I did make several at a time, and they have certainly stood the test of time, I wonder if the manufactured boards however expensive and supposedly stable will stand the test?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lawhaden castle

This blog is no longer part of my artist website, I could not restrain it to subjects purely of “art” despite my best intentions, so it's been exiled to cyberspace and downgraded to a mere link on my website.

Have not posted for quite a while now, well it summer, holidays, walks, and lots of jobs to be done outside (oh happy days!). The last year or so I have had several paintings on the go at any one time, sales however have been very sporadic and as a consequence I have a fair store of completed paintings and in light of this I have slowed down production and re engaged in some of my old interests like poetry and electronics, we now have several nice harmless interests, painting, poetry and building a death ray!

The “Lawhaden castle” painting I mentioned some time ago is still ongoing, shown below is the progress to date. Lawhaden is a small sleepy village with an impressive ruined castle, a mighty awesome castle that was in fact not a castle in the military sense but was a bishops palace. Those old religious guys new how to look after themselves, only the very very best for them!

The first picture shows the drawing  in Acrylic Umber on a red imprimatura,
The support is a 50x40 cm canvas. 

In the second shot the castle has been blocked in using very fluid paint (i.e. quite a lot of thinners.)

The painting is now fully blocked in using  well diluted paint.

Now the underpainting has dried within a couple of days and the real painting can start by overlaying and developing form using undiluted paint.

Not much to do now, I will add more photo's as the stages progress to a finish. 

Here we are, couple of months after Britex and the Britain has not yet descended into chaos, well at least no more than it was before Britex and probably a wee bit less? Still its early days and politicians contrary to anything they say can never be trusted, even that so called paragon of virtue “Jessa Corbin”! With the Virgin train fiasco the daft old duffer has proved himself a liar in the grand political tradition! Yes we all know the railways are utter expensive crap with rush hour standing room only most days, delays, postponements etc, they have been so for years and you would have to be blind and daft not to know that railway management is desperately bad and needs positive change, this does not in  anyway mitigate old Jessa's actions, the video was supposed to represent the truth however at the time it was made it was in fact lying and we have had far to much “lying to prove a point” of late from the likes of the Blair, Brown and Cameron administration.