These obviously decorative cannons face over the walk of the castle and into the harbour. Oslo is a rather severe city and these brightly painted implements added a much needed shot of colour. Tourists as well as locals strolled these heights enjoying the gardens and looking down at the harbour which was crowded with crafts, both pleasure and commercial.
In a speech in London, England in 2001, Prince Charles railed against the proliferation in public spaces of modern sculpture that resemble “giant turds” (his words, not mine). Isn’t it strange that a society supposedly so advanced and sophisticated cannot come close to matching the aesthetically-pleasing and spirit-boosting sculpture such as this piece found in the middle of Stockholm just blocks away from the Nobel Prize venue.
This painting from the upper deck of the Pacific Princess in 1997 was produced under pleasant and tranquil conditions. Our day stop here was part of a cruise around the British Isles. After completing a difficult sketch in the middle of the city, I hurried back to the ship for a calm panoramic view of this ancient town.
In my memory some things improve as the years go on, but Barcelona was not one of these. In fact, since I was last in Spain thirty-five years ago, my mental image of that country had taken on a grim derelict quality. When our cruise from South America ended in Barcelona, we almost didn’t book extra time there. That would have been a foolish decision. We were fortunate to visit on a holiday and to become part of the audience watching a parade of costumed characters from the provinces being drawn through the streets in elegant carriages.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor in a converted barn, Alison, a five year old with a Dutch-cut hair style, explained about her dog named Pig. The black lab lounged next to her chewing on a stone. “He doesn’t have any pockets, you see, so he must keep his stone in his mouth.”
This painting is a montage of views from Welford-on-Avon in the heart of England’s Shakespeare Country. Welford is a small community three streets deep and two blocks long. This pretty, quiet, Warwickshire village is only five miles downstream from the bustle of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Although we had visited the Republic of Ireland several times, this was our first experience in Northern Ireland. Since our cruise stop was to be brief, we had to choose very carefully how we were to spend our precious half-day. I had the feeling that wherever we went, I would find something to paint so the decision was made by my bride to visit a National Trust garden just 45 minutes outside of Belfast.
We drove our car from the narrow pea-gravel road out onto a knoll bordered on three sides by granite boulders. Marilyn and I set up our easels and with our car doors open, we could listen to Irish radio. We were not in Ireland; however, we were painting on the Mull of Galloway, the southernmost point in Scotland. Only 20 miles across the Irish Sea, Northern Ireland crouched blue-gray and out of focus.
When we arrived in our room at the Miller Howe Hotel on Lake Windermere, we were somewhat prepared for the dramatic approach that that Hotelkeeper, John Tovey, practiced. A retired actor, he brought a theatrical presentation that few hotels can match to that luxury English hotel with its panoramic views.
I suppose that a psychiatrist would be able to tell many things about me by viewing a gallery of my paintings. What would he say when he discovered that over the years I have painted many pieces that focus on doors or doorways? Might there be a desperate meaning to the fact that almost always in my paintings the doors are closed? In fact, I can only recall one work, a view into a walled garden, where the door is ajar.