The Humpty Dumpty investigation continues…..

New evidence comes to light

One of Humpty Dumpty’s drinking buddies when questioned said ‘ He was a top bloke, always full of fun and laughter. Sure he could put them away, but I never seen him unsteady on his feet. Humpty was scared of heights, so would not have climbed up on any wall. Have you seen the height of that wall in the painting? He could never have hauled himself onto it, even if he had wanted to. Humpty was a big lad. If you ask me it’s a fake.’





I have eventually finished my painting of blossom I started weeks ago. This was inspired by watching some kids run around under these trees telling their Mum it was snowing.


Distant relative ?

Frederick John Skill (1824-1881)
Aliases: J.F. Skill
Professions: Landscape painter; Portrait painter; Illustrator; Engraver; Water colorist
According to Russell Skill who has undertaken some research on this artist….
Frederick John Skill –  Artist. Landscape, & Rustic Genre. Illustrator & Engraver. FJS studied under Cotman. He has paintings in the Royal Albert Museum and his painting commands a respectable price and come up for auction from time to time. Members of his family also did well in painting and engraving. FJS had a Son Edward who became a wood cut artist producing art for magazines, he was so talented that news paper/magazine publisher in Sweden recruited him to produce and teach the art there. He died and was buried in Sweden and was awarded a medal for his contributions to industry in that country.
Here are some examples of his work that have come up for auction:

If anyone knows anything about this artist I would love to hear from you.

Painting at Haslams of Hallgate Gallery today

I had a great time today as artist in residence at my friend and fellow artist Ben Haslam’s Gallery in Hexham. I demonstrated some of the methods I use to depict woodland, with a slightly modern twist, using stickers to mask shapes within the folliage. The Hallgate Gallery is a beautiful space showing artists work from the North East of England.



In this painting I imagined myself as a Viking, landing on the beaches of Northumberland in search of gold and glory.  Which is exactly what you get in this picture: A nine year old boy, dressed in Viking garb, looking really uncomfortable  at the thought of marauding  through the land of the Prince Bishops with a bunch of blood thirsty Odin-worshiping thugs.


Pastel on paper
When we were kids my brother had a keen interest in railways. As well as messing about with electric model trains, making a layout with a station, sidings and landscape features, he also read avidly about the history of railways. Consequently days out were spent quite often at tourist railway sites then under construction. Wearing stout Wellingtons we would tramp around, muddy, sooty railway sites begging a ride on the footplate. York Railway Museum was not the clean smart site it is now outside the main sheds and the Tanfield railway was positively filthy. We also were lucky enough to have a Grandma who lived in Barmouth in Wales; this gave us a good excuse to ride on all the nearby narrow gauge railways that wind through the Welsh hills. I loved these days out and could understand my brothers enthusiasm and what drove the people who were helping to restore this part of our heritage with the gift of so much of their free time.
One of the high points of these days out was watching the Flying Scotsman speed past on its way to Scotland full of passengers in period costume waving at the crowds that stood cheering.  Little wonder then that I produced this pastel drawing and the accompanying Stevenson’s Rocket for my brother to pin up in the bedroom.


Pastel on paper
It’s no wonder everyone was so impressed with how fast his engine could go, if it came down a hill like that on its show trial !


‘Charlie and the Chocolate factory’ was read to me at school by one of my teachers.  I loved the story and must have been inspired enough by the tale to draw one of the central characters Willie Wonka. The idea of finding a chocolate bar in the street was good enough, but having your own chocolate factory seemed fabulous.  As an adult I now associate the story with the film version and in particular the Oompa-Loompas.  If you have seen it and have mentally visualised them, I bet you are singing to yourself that awful song they sing. ‘Oompa-Loompas didily doo’ ect .  It will be with you all day. You can hate me now if you like.