I described recently a trip we had made to Portugal. At the end of it we visited an old university friend of mine who has retired to the Algarve. Well, he has retired there recently, but for twenty years his wife has lived in the villa. I started a painting of their house as a present for them, but the painting went a bit pear shaped and I said I’d do one on my return.

When I returned home I saw a photograph my wife had taken. I had done my first painting from below the house in what can be loosely described as the orchard, but my wife’s photo was taken from the pool deck and showed the place in a much better light. However, there were bits of furniture and a big metal cube covered in gauze where you could sit in the mosquito season by the pool. Some of these objects looked odd. So I decided to put Bob and Grace into the painting to conceal the gap I had created by these omitting the strange furniture.

The view had a Hockneyish, Californian, feel about it. So I thought that I would plonk a cat onto Grace’s lap to echo the painting of the Clarks by Hockney – they also own a cat. It got worse, I added some palm trees which I could see from the orchard and had included them in my first painting – though I think they are hidden behind the villa in this view.

So here we have the painting. I may tweak it a bit more before I show it to them. They already have a few paintings of mine which were on the walls when we visited, for the first time, so hopefully it might amuse them – even though it’s a bit more than the painting of their house I initially promised.

Other townscapes are available for purchase on my website:


We have reached the end of our walks, arriving in Sagres in the Algarve yesterday – although it isnt over for us as tomorrow we visit friends near Faro for another few days. Sagres is a fishing port in southern Portugal and here are a couple of old boats sunning themselves in their retirement.

On the way to Sagres we walked along many clifftops and beaches and you keep taking photos as each place seems stunning at the time. In the end realise you have too many views of cliffs and beaches. So here is a painting of some cliffs instead.

Then, after a few miles of cliff you hit a beach and a small settlement and hundreds of surfers looking for the perfect wave. From a distance, and in their wet-suits, they look like the tadpoles that populate my pond in the spring.

And finally, yet another beach nestling amongst the cliffs. The others had gone for ice cream whilst I stayed to paint the scene for you.

There may be more sketches before we return. I have plenty of paper left.

Other landscapes and beach scenes are available for sale on my website:


We have decamped to Portugal for a few days of walking down the coast of Alentejo and the Algarve coastlines in the south of the country. So, in hindsight, it was bad planning of me to follow up some local beach scenes with more from Portugal – maybe I was getting excited about having a holiday at last.

We started at Vila Nova de Milfontes on the mouth of the river Miro. A really lovely old, small town. The above sketch is of the beach and cliffs on the way from Milfontes, south to Almograve as we walked along the fisherman’s path on the top of the cliffs. We sat on the beach to eat lunch and I did this sketch in between bites of my sandwich.

This is the pontoon at the foot of our hotel at Milfontes. The sea is in the background with the pontoon on the river. Shoals of mullet were frothing the water and in the distance is a small headland at the river’s mouth. The river water is calm in comparison to the Atlantic breakers at the head of the river.

I did this quick sketch of Cabo Sardao Lighthouse sat in the dugout on the football pitch which was adjacent to the lighthouse. I had about 30 minutes to do it as our tour guides organised the transport to get us back from the day’s walk.

The lighthouse is famously built backwards with the living quarters opening out into the prevailing winds and the light at the back

As we headed south the cliffs got higher and were made of Schist which had broken up in planes to give great light and shadow areas. This was a painting I started on a lunch break which for no apparent reason got curtailed. Hence a lack of much detail. Though it was a good practice piece to explore the rock textures.

So I am about to go out again for a walk on my own, so there may be some more sketches – you lucky people,

Other seascapes and beach scenes are available on my website: