Starry Starry Night…..

It’s a hint! Another motorcycle sketch in my constant search for artistic merit and loose rendition whilst still rendering subjects as recognisable. This was painted straight to the board without pre-drawing. (which explains the oversized front wheel!). So the  header will hopefully tell the variety of ‘bike depicted for those who care…….It’s a marque now financially out of reach to us mere mortals.

Sennelier Oil Pastels were the medium here and they’re quite new to me. The image was done very quickly too – which was nice. Those pastels are quite strange – like your wax crayons of old. But priced as professional materials!  They might be good for working “in the field” – and I know my pal George IS looking for a painting of his lovely Moto-Guzzi single of the late 1930s.Revised Vincent wee I’ll have to buy some Bright Reds……

Same- but Much Different


Have been footering about to little effect for the last few months.  Mostly due to a computer slowly expiring – the offender sadly now with the Great Re-cycler – and from having abortive trips in search of a 1950’s 350cc Matchless or AJS to suit my standards. All too demanding for the depth of my pockets it would seem…….Ah! well. One day one will appear just like this………..


So I’ve returned to the discipline of painting Aireys. One of my recent attempts there sold at the Guild’s show in July and folks seemed to think it a worthy attempt, so I’ve resolved to do it again in another form. For a start it will be a watercolour rather than in oils and a different view to the previous “Balkan Baroudeur”. I hope the terrain will look much the same though. The main aeroplane – once again a Halberstadt DII and it’s again confronted with a French Caudron G4. Or perhaps two of them again? There may be enough airspace! As is my pedantic wont, the Halberstadt was drawn by trial and error with no mechanical or digital help save for having a 3-view drawing and photos. This is a method I never tire of repeating in the current easily-originated world of Aviation “artists”.

So – Work in Progress of the current image. If I post now I’ll HAVE to finish it!

Barodeur Two


Halberstadt DII – Finished – Gone!

Self -praise, I’m aware, is no praise at all – so I’d best not admit I was chuffed with this one when finally finished.  It turned out to be the first of my pictures to sell at the Guild’s Annual show this year. As I’ve posted a “work in progress” of said Halberstadt here before I thought I’d post the finished article. Plus I need to get used to this damn blog thing again……….

wee Balkan Barodeur


A brace of Beezas….

….and each in different styles. While my own quest for a “classic” and affordable British thumper continues I’ve been peeling-off from aeroplanes as art-subjects and leaning towards motorcycles. But beasts of a certain vintage as the modern motorcycle leaves me cold. My quest for a less “literal” style of art continues – although you wouldn’t know it from the first painting here.This is a BSA 500cc “Sloper” of the early 1930’s  painted at the request of the proud owner. Lucky man!



Recently a pal got it touch having discovered a sad and neglected old BSA 250cc of the same vintage as the Sloper and sent me a snap of the hulk languishing in a cellar “somewhere in Scotland”. Unfortunately, after enquiries, the bike was confirmed as not for sale.The photo was however quite inspiring and led to the pic below. Pretty chuffed with this as a step forward in my search for a less photographic rendering. Watercolours again, but this time copying the photograph directly onto the paper with no pre-drawing in pencil. A dark satanic Beeza which remains in its cellar still. But a wee picture I’m pleased to say is mine. We won’t dwell on the somewhat increased fork-rake. Artistic Licence, see!

Barn Find


As a pro. photographer, probably the least thing I can think about posting here is a mere photograph. But we dropped into Dysart yesterday and on a grey day this seemed to be a most fine sculpture at the harbour. As with most photies created these days – no camera was abused.


Grey Sculpture

Even wrinklies can get something with a PHONE…….

Merry Christmas to YOU!

That means you! In fact anyone I forgot to send a card to – and all who read this or have a penchant for aeroplanes and history and many other interesting things……..

End of Empires - Brandenburg C1 for MOO Card

The Brandenburg C1 is as accurate as possible, but having finished the painting, I find the bridge – which is the Mehmed Pasha bridge over the Drina at Visegrad – is quite inaccurate in two major ways.

To be revealed in 2015!

Loosen Up!

Some wee drawings of late in an attempt to get less totally representational. The one thing that scunners me about my chosen sphere of Aero-Art is its almost total adherence to photographic representation. I include myself in this, more’s the pity, and would love to discover the way to break out of it.


Pens and BrushPens at the moment. I suspect strong drink would help too. Recently I was led towards smooth gesso-primed boards and they certainly allow tiny detail to be incorporated in a small painting. But is that what I really want?



What to do, eh?


It seems like an age since I last tried a wee bloggie. And it is at least six months ago, so anything of earth-shattering significance been happening?
Well- lots of photos taken of events at “my” school, an awareness of the increasing allure of old motorcycles, a chance meeting with a boyhood hero, a return to saxophone lessons, a self-imposed reduction of one fingertip and even after much soul-searching, an awareness of how much my painting actually means to me.
This last was underlined a few days back as I turned to “December” on the Cross and Cockade calendar for 2014.


My RE7 painting from the Guild’s 2013 show. Happily sold but still with me – in print.
Next year’s calendar has another painting of mine too,
although sadly its reproduction is not in the same league as this.

So to Bicycle Maintenance. A lesson well-learned a month ago. After a complete replacement of transmission components on the Winter Fixed-wheel.
Keep inquisitive fingers clear of spinning chainwheel and chain or much pain-filled troubles will ensue. THAT buggered-up the saxophone lessons…..Ooooya! B……!

Went to the Scottish Motorcycle show with pal Peter a couple of months ago, when one Guest of the Day was a man whose exploits I grew up reading of in Motor Cycle News. The multiple Word Champion in 500cc and 350cc classes, the incomparable Giacomo Agostini.
As we knew the show’s M.C., we were imvited “backstage” for a coffee and sandwich. There, looking a bit bored and anxious to get back to his hotel – the Campionissimo himself. To cut it short, Pete and I ended up taking him for a conducted tour of Festival Edinburgh before delivering him back to that hotel.

I had to stop and pick up Ruth who had absolutely no awareness of the legend in the passengers’ seat!
I read recently that another World Champion – Phil Read – had described Ago as “Insular”.
Well, maybe to you, mate.
We found him warm, grateful, erudite and happy to talk of his exploits without any way resorting to arrogance.
Not sure if the same could be said of Read!

Headin’ West……..

North -West.
The weather has been so depressing of late that I’ve decided to live in the past. Again.
So, last Summer – Ruthie and I drove up to Fort William and took a train to Mallaig. The weather was sunny and warm and the power-source was fairly warm too.


This is the most beautiful railway line in Britain and how lucky we were to see it on such a day.
To be behind that lusty Black Five was a real treat but there was to be another and less usual steam experience later on the route.
The well-kent viaduct at Glenfinnan is quite breathtaking and all constructed from concrete by the pioneering Robert McAlpine.



Further down the line from Glenfinnan is another fine McAlpine bridge over the bay at Loch nan Uamh. This is followed by a tunnel and then the 1 in 48 climb of Beasdale Bank. This being a tourist train the trip was taken at a fairly leisurely pace. Too leisurely for The Bank it turned out, as the speed slowed and slowed until every piston-beat shuddered through the train.
Which finally just stopped!
This inevitably led to much discussion and sage recommendations from the knowing enthusiasts and congnoscenti within the coaches who now noticed the train was speeding backwards for some two miles. Whilst no doubt much frantic shovelling was being carried out at the Black End.
Stanier’s best then fairly belted-it at the gradient which had no answer to such a determined assault.
And so to Mallaig and a welcome meal of Fish and Chips. What else???
The journey back was largely downhill – so uneventful except for the surroundings. What a place to live eh?
All this and steam too.

en route

en route

Rotten, Black as Muck…….

I recently had a fine wee trip to Durham Cathedral and noticed a couple of rather fetching sculptings. The header here is arguably the work of the Creator upon the created work of His creations.
And talking of creations, after a recent Burns Supper I’ve given myself the task of learning that epic creation of Rabbie’s – Tam o’ Shanter.
So I duly downloaded an online version and printed it out. Just recently however I did the same for my mobile ‘phone via a Kindle connection.
I was a bit surprised to find the word “Lord’s” had been KINDLE’d to “L-d’s” but not as affronted as to find further on that four “offensive” lines of Rab’s had been completely censored by the Kindle’s politically/religiously correct version. These are they…………….
“Three lawyers’ tongues, turned inside oot
Wi’ lies seam’d like a beggar’s clout,
Three priests’ hearts, rotten, black as muck,
Lay stinkin’, vile in every neuk……….”
Now Rabbie’s respect for the clergy is well enough known – as was their respect (!) for him. Lawyers machinations too it seems.
But – how to respect a system of publishing which feels the need to censor those four lines from such an epic – so as not to offend the sensibilities of some over-sensitive, litigious, pressure-group bammers who may be lurking OUT THERE. Pathetic.