Sunday, 17 September 2017

I landed directly in Lisbon.

In a 3 star hotel with good company. I am a lucky man!

Looking for a cheaper bed and work for 3 weeks.



Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Granada Bubble.

It is a trap.

You will never go hungry here. In fact the bubble offers all you need on a day to day subsistence level. In many ways, nobody wants to burst that bubble. As constrictive as it can be, soporific in summer, it does offer a very fragile security. An uneasy security usually bolstered with booze. A beautiful, but very frustrating city. Only way out of the Granada bubble is to be bold enough to burst it yourself and see where you fall. I'm aiming for Madrid. However, I could just as easily fall in Cordoba, or Seville, or anywhere in the vague direction of Lisbon.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Huelva, Seville, Granada... Madrid.

Back to Spain.

I am currently in Granada, and heading to Madrid very soon. Anyone who expressed an interest in sketches from Madrid, please let me know. My phone is working again.

My plan from Madrid is to return to Portugal. Very simply, I loved it so much, I want to spend much more time there. Probably sketching for cash on the streets of Porto and Lisbon during weekends, whilst basing myself in a small coastal town for the winter months. Trying to make time to complete exhibition work, whilst chasing work painting surfboards! It is a possibility - who knows. If you don't ask, you don't get.

I am very interested in any work offers in Madrid, Lisbon and Porto. Madrid until the end of October. Porto and Lisbon until April 20017, and possibly longer.

More details of exhibition work will be here later. I am still looking for advance buyers and investors.

Granada now. Madrid very soon.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Reasons To Be Cheerful. Part 3.

For some reason Ian Dury and The Blockheads are whistling out of my brains today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcjh1a9Yoao


This post is partly in response to the childish comments I have been deleting. I would like to explain why I maintain this blog, and what my travelling existence is all about.

I travel for work. I travel for adventure. I love to hike.

I am not hiking on some sort of endurance test. F*** that quite frankly. I move as slowly as possible. I am not out to win medals. I am not looking to gain accolades. I do not have any desire to earn brownie points to move my status up into some sort of higher echelon of 'been there - done that' travelling league of idiots. There is no potential for cheating - there is absolutely nothing to cheat, or lie about.

Travelling is a fundamental necessity in my life and search for the work I enjoy. I love the adventure. The experience. I even enjoy the hardship, pain and sacrifices that have to be made. If you don't experience the lows, where are the highs supposed to come from? It is not a life for everybody, but it suits me just fine for the time being, and hopefully for long into the future.

This blog is not designed as a chronological recording of evidence. It wasn't designed for anything other than my own amusement. It has become a very useful way to record my own recollections, stay in touch with friends and followers, let existing, and potential clients know I am still alive, still looking for work, and possibly heading their way.

I often try to explain that the majority of my income does not come from the cash I make on the streets. It comes from the people I meet on the streets. Working in capital cities throughout Europe, I meet many people who may well be art buyers. They are on holiday mode; relaxed - not at work. If they like what I am doing, like who I am, they happily give time, then we exchange contact details, and who knows? The day may come when they need the work of an artist. Travelling as I do is as much about networking and making connections as anything else. Cash on the streets, day to day helps cover my costs. That is about it.

The logistics of travelling as a hiker mean I don't always have an internet connection, or even charged batteries. Nowhere to plug my laptop in among all these Spanish Oaks. Often I will post retrospectively after consideration. I may not have power in my laptop, but I am an artist - I always have old fashioned pens and paper. Jotting down memories for possible publishing a few hours, days, or even weeks later is common practice for myself. The last post I made about Setubal was posted whilst I was in Santigo do Cancon some Two days after leaving Setubal. There isn't really a 'live' timeline to follow here.

I really haven't bothered to waste my valuable internet time deleting posts in the comments here. The spammers are frustrating, and do themselves more harm than good other than improving their Google rankings. But, downright malicious remarks for no good reason really isn't on. The cowardly way they read just depresses me. So, from now on, any posts in the comments I don't like will be deleted. I have left the last one just as an example of what I am on about. The guy is becoming obsessively abusive here and on a web forum I have used for many years. TBH, it is a little bit concerning.

Anyway, I am actually in Portimao today. Nice enough place, although I don't see much cash making opportunity here. I will sketch for enough cash to cover beer and tobacco to get me to the next destination. Hiking is an expensive way to move from A to B, but you can do it little by little in financial increments. I shall stay for the day, and walk this evening, or early morning to the next town.





Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Lagos and an Estonian connection.

It was Hemingway who said "there is One in every port". Seems he was right. I am on a bit of a Hemingway vibe presently simply because a mate in Granada called me Hemingway (you bastard M!).

I arrive in Lagos and get to work sketching a scene of a bar with trees and a church. A very lovely person then introduced themselves and told me a friend of a friend had one of my sketches in their house in Estonia. I meet Estonians' everywhere, and without exception have enjoyed their company much - possibly more about the travelling/walking circles I move in as much as anything else. Eight years ago I was in Santiago de Compostela where I met 'T' from Estonia (amongst others). Somebody else bought a sketch of the cathedral. And, so, Eight years later, here I am in The Algarve, and yet another sketch heads towards Estonia.

Strange how these things work. Thanks 'T' and all the other very agreeable Estonian people I have met.

 I am still thoroughly enjoying this journey. It is reaching it's final stages, but I really don't want it to end. Walking extremely slowly from here on!



Saturday, 19 August 2017

So, how does The Atlantic Ocean affect your life?

"Affect my life? It controls my life", someone told me. They went on to explain that they could shelter from the sea, but never escape it. It provides, it takes away, it is everything.

My own perception is a spiritual one. I appreciate all the affects of the sea, the life, the power, the food, the cleansing, the land environment - the plants, and all they feed. But, it is the almighty power which really grabs me most.

I'm not entirely sure what I mean by 'spiritual' other than it is something beyond my imagination and belief, but absolutely nothing to do with a God. I can look at a landscape and understand why it has a special ambience - the valleys, the hills, the skies and the seas will all play a part in creating a place with a very special, unique feel. The geography, geology - the science within nature, all makes much more sense to me than any belief in a mythical being.

I loved Nazare. It was there where I really felt the spirit of the Atlantic. I'm not alone. Someone decided it was good idea to claim the spirit for their God and build a very impressive church in a tiny village. The spirit was there long before the church, the chapel, or the Catholic believers.

The Atlantic - it is just an almighty force. It affects all of us, whether we are aware of it, or not.

Personally, I just find it incredibly invigorating, or "healthy as fuck" as someone in Nazare told me. It is still the best answer I have received yet. Simple and very bluntly straight to the point of life.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Moving...

Heading South towards the land of Daily Mail reading wronguns. I'm told the journey will be very beautiful. It had better be.

I'm very close to eating solely what I pick and fish. Lime juice is the only thing I am adding which hasn't been picked from the tree by my own hands. Perhaps there is an alternative.

Using small paper bags collected in Setubal, I am drying all the herbs I find inside my backpack. It seems to work, and herbs can make a big difference to flavours. Eating from the land is nothing new (believe it, or not :D). Many thousands of years ago nomadic life was the norm. I am cheating in that respect - much of what I pick is cultivated. There is plenty of wild stuff available, but the offer of picking a red pepper, or leek from a kind person's allotment is too good to refuse.

Why am I doing this? Very simply; because, I enjoy it. There is no real financial saving. With Two fishing rods and tackle costing over €70, I have caught just One mackerel. It was a very delicious mackerel mind. There is something very rewarding about catching your own fish, picking your own fruit, harvesting vegetables with your own hands. Then, preparing it, and cooking it all yourself. You become so much more aware of the nutritional value and the whole process involved in the growing. And, as it is so fresh, it tastes much better and has a far greater nutritional value. Every apple picked from a tree starts to die as soon as it's life source is cut off. As it fades, it loses nutritional value. How long does it usually take an apple to reach your mouth from the time it left the tree?

I am hiking for much the same reasons. It costs about 10x as much to hike from A to B than it does to take a bus. However, the rewards are immeasurable. I love it for all sorts of reasons. Pain in my foot is comfortably being ignored.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Setubal.

Pronounced: Eschtuba.

Possibly?

I am having to rest my foot for a few days. Here is as good a place as any.

Moving and harvesting and cooking again soon. In the meantime I am going to the best market ever everyday...


Not my photograph. See more here.



Friday, 11 August 2017

Montijo - Pinhal Nova - Setubal.

That was one of the most bizarre hikes I have ever done. Melilla to Nadar excepted (nothing can be stranger than that within 20KM).

This is neither suburbia, city, nor countryside. Plots of what may appear as madness to someone who grew up on the very strictly controlled planning laws of a very Conservative Welsh Borders.

Goats. Sheep. Pigs. Spanish oaks. Mega bathroom retail warehouse. Car dealers. Pharmaceutical research centres. Fruit orchards and vegetable fields. Meat packing factories. Old little houses with their own allotments. General no-mans land turned dirt tracks. Scrap yards. Stupidly expensive new mansions and even more stupid residential gated places. All this blown constantly by a relentless, decomposing, salty Atlantic wind. Military aircraft constantly overhead... Chaotic as fuck at first glance. Anarchistic even.

But, I guess if the goat guy does his thing, the cork depot person does their thing, the pharma co manager does their thing, the bathroom place keeps selling bathrooms, the little independent smallholders keep themselves to themselves, factories are just factories. It just seems to work. The apparent mess is not relevant to everyday life here. Even the rubbish (a lot of rubbish) and the huge stray dogs seem happy enough here. Somehow, there is a very gentle harmony in all this craziness.

I suppose if everyone is going in through the out door it doesn't really matter.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

All restored.

Laptop repaired and upgraded.

I am now in Montijo (south side of the bay from Lisbon). Once again, I am being treated exceptionally well by the people in Portugal. Very strange thing about my life is the people I meet on the street. A very nice strange thing. I can't remember exactly when I was in Aix en Provence, but I very clearly remember the person who bought my sketch and effectively 'bailed me out' of a tricky situation. And, so we met again in Lisbon. And, again it was an absolute pleasure - your kindness is greatly appreciated. Fabulous food, fabulous company. Hopefully we shall all meet again one day. Who knows?

I have hiked a long way without a functioning laptop. Reached Lisbon. Visited many places on the way, and now I'm over half way through this trek.

Sketching for cash. Then, searching for things to cook. There is a museum of agriculture here. I have to visit the exhibition of Atlantic agriculture. Pretty sure I could learn much stuff worth learning.

Updating more frequently now my laptop has been repaired.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

How does the Atlantic affect your life?

'It is healthy as fuck'.

I thank Nicole for that one. I think I agree. Other than a very over excerised right foot, I am feeling on top of the World despite being at sea level.

Boiled potatoes, carrots, broccoli and boiled egg with a fish. No idea what the fish was, but someone assured me it was good to eat, and it was.

Seaweed pudding with fig and blackberry sauce.

All 100% harvested fresh from the land and sea.

I'm heading to Lisbon to pick-up a new screen for my laptop. This is one of the unwritten taxes you have to pay as a perpetual traveller. Another unwritten tax is you have to give away 40% of all the tobacco you ever buy.

Nicole lives in Nazare. I absolutely loved the place. I Will explain why  in a bit more depth another day. In the meantime, it is just one of those very spiritual places where you feel as close to nature as it is possible to get. Vulnerable, yet very alive all at the same time. You don't need to walk far to get away from the tourists and enjoy the wilderness beaches. Very special.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Shut up and dance.


Coimbra.

https://youtu.be/7EOijaYIZVk

It is a Youtube link, but the 'insert video' thing doesn't seem to work.


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Liver in onion gravy with beet thing mash.

3 Kilo's of liver and kidneys came my way. Not quite direct from the land, but free nonetheless. It counts.

Liver in onion gravy was an obvious option. But, 3 Kilo's! What to do with the rest?

There are Chinese bazaars here which sell everything you could ever imagine you didn't need. I use them for cheap paint brushes and little, tiny jam jars for mixing my paints. Little jam jars perfect for pate. Wild herbs are everywhere for free. Onions are abundant also. I think, if all is properly sterilised, little jars of pate will be good for 10 days, or so when buried deep in my backpack insulated from the heat by my sleeping bag. Meat protein and iron intakes sorted for a couple of weeks.

My gas canister may just about last for one more meal. That is working out at about 50 Cents per session. I need to find where to replace it.

Monday, 24 July 2017

How does the sea affect your life?

Someone yesterday told me "it separates them from a lot of people". Best answer yet. Wish I was staying around to get to know you better, but I am moving...


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Seabirds.












I whistle. There is rarely a moment a tune, or a song is not in my head. Whilst I'm on the coast with the gulls 'Seabirds' is spiraling around my brains.

'He called out to the seabirds "Take me now,
I'm no longer afraid to die"
but they pretended not to hear him
and just watched him with their hard and bright black eyes'...

The Triffids are possibly my favourite Australian band (ACDC and Olivia Newton John excepted). (We need humour). David McComb's lyrics were brutal in their simplicity. Some may say crude, or just too unsophisticated, but hey - this is rock. I felt his pain. Enjoyed it, and was deeply saddened when he died.

To be an artist you have to open yourself to emotions without barriers. This can be dangerous. The highest of highs will often be countered with very painful lows. You develop an empathy on a very extraordinary level. You can hurt yourself, and just as easily hurt others!

I am listening to The Triffids this evening. Four class albums with sod all recognition, or financial compensation. It is quite a tragic story, but very few musicians, or artists ever get there. 'In the Pines', 'Born Sandy Devotional',  'Calenture' and 'Black Swan'. All fabulous albums without a weak moment.

------------

I'm not paying for a bed tonight. I am blessed with the ability to go days without sleep with no brain wobbles (well, no more than usual). Physically, I will be fucked, but I am going to enjoy solitary hiking from day break. I'm aiming for Figueira da Foz with an empty wallet. I shall be whistling as I go.

--------------

My Portuspanglish is proving to be very ineffective. Many non-native English practitioners ask me to explain the difference between 'affect' and 'effect'. It is not an easy one! Everyone who talks to me, gives me time, I ask; "how do you think living by the Atlantic affects your culture?". It is currently my favourite question.

In Spain, the sea is referred to as 'el mar', or 'la mar'. Both are correct in any context. My understanding is that 'el mar' means the sea, or the seas as a whole. 'La mar' means the sea as in 'the Bay of Biscay', or 'the Med''. The closer you get to the sea, more commonly it is referred to as 'la mar'. Fishermen will only ever talk about 'la mar'.

The Atlantic - almighty powerful. How can it not affect your life if it is there everyday?

Shrimp and beet thing stew.



I'm not going to get bored of beet things. I think they must be Iberian raddish????

No idea really, but I like them.

One huge cheat here. I bought the shrimps from Spar. Perhaps they came from a shrimp farm on the coast? Went through a packaging and distribution company? Nope - they came from China. WTBloodyFuck? How is this possible? The sea is just over there. China is a very long way away. They were shelled shrimps. I suppose this is it. Manually shelled shrimps from those who are probably paid about 1/10th of the minimum wage here in the EU.

I will never buy supermarket seafood again.


I'm off to the Aveiro on the other side of the canal to think about nothing :)

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Aveiro, marjoram and beat thing mash.

Once again, I am finding the people of Portugal to be very friendly and helpful. On arrival I asked someone where a shop selling beer would be open. "They are all closed after 8.30PM" came the rely. The guy then showed me to a fabulous little bar. I could have searched this city for weeks without finding a bar I like more. Golfinho Bar. Amongst all the tourist bars between Praça Julio 14, and Praça Peixe (the fish market) at the end of Rua Tenente Resende. Lovely people, great prices. Typically traditional Portuguese snacks and a large beer (caneca???) for €1.90.

I sold a sketch to a couple who have filled me in on information about local villages I can't wait to visit. I need to stay here to save enough money to take a leisurely hike in the direction of a village named Figueira da Foz - it sounds very nice. Thanks for the info´.

Thanks also to Cristiano and Clown Mario Faisca for treating me to a couple of large glass of local red wine and a Bohemia beer.

I visited a gastro bar full of iPhone people last night, but it was actually nice. There were pots of marjoram on the tables, so I asked if I could take a small sprig. My plan today is to catch the fish market just before closing time and take the cheapest, or free option. Stuff it with marjoram and tomatoes to serve on a bed of beet thingies mash (these are everywhere for free, and I like them) with a sweet chili, lime and coriander salsa. I will try to photograph as and when.

Aveiro is much smaller than I was expecting. I'll see how I get on sketching this afternoon. Perhaps Two days working here, them marching on at a very slow pace.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Spicey vegetable stew. No! Spicey 'seasonal' vegetable stew.

I will go into the ins and outs another day.

We have...











On top of what I have, and what I had, we take...
Leek (30 Cents), beet things - have to admit I am a bit clueless. Huge tomato and fresh parsley (it may have been hemlock, but I am still alive, so I guess it is actually parsley).

I fancied a vegetable stew, and I trust my instincts.

Olive oil in pan. Finely chop garlic and onion with a crushed chili. Simmer until all are soft. Next bit is easy. Add a bit of water. Chop and slice everything else (except tomato and leek), chuck in pan and boil hard for 15 minutes. When all is to your taste, add herbs - parsley and thyme today. Finely chop a small bit of lime peel (no more than a square centimeter). Add that with chopped tomatoes and thin sliced leek (aloha frances here apparently). Simmer for 10 minutes. Then leave to stand for a further 10 minutes.












Notice how I am sheltering from the wind to save gas and control temperature. I am in a car park looking like some sort of English weirdo, eccentric tramp sort of person. Did I say 'looking like'?












Delicious.

I have just spent Two hours alone in a pool hall. My pool hall memories are precious. I may tell another day.

When I have a decent camera, I will pay attention to my culinary presentation!


Santa Maria da Feira, and the smell of freshly mown grass.

It has been a long, long time. The powerful memories your sense of smell can evoke. Being based in Southern Spain, the smell of fresh mown lawns is a very rare thing away from the Costas, and British ex-pat resorts. As a child I suffered horribly from hay fever, however that doesn't seem to have affected my fond memories of summer growing up on the Welsh borders of England. Very nice smells here.

Equally, in Madrid a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of things associated with 'dead space'. The absolute base smell of lifelessness. Not even the bacterial stench of rot - just dry dust and nothingness. Underground car parks in summer. Metro systems. Long road tunnels. Perhaps an occasional hint of spent oil, but nothing more. Yet, that smell holds a promise of the chaotic life on the sunlit streets above. It is a smell full of latent excitement.

Here in Santa Maria da Feira the smell is clean, freash and very organic. A very pretty little town centre recently restored. A new hotel opened just a few months ago. The place is full of interesting buildings; old and new. Two huge churches and many, many funky and contemporary bars. The place has a bit of a sophisticated air about it. It also has a turreted castle and an annual medieval festival. I am told there is even a Buddhist temple close by.

The town is surrounded by beautiful parkland and countryside. It is a very nice place. All of which makes me wonder where all the tourists are. So close to Porto and the coast. If I was driving around the North of Portugal, this would be a perfect base. I imagine the place is chocker blocked during the fayre, but in mid July it is as peaceful as.

Everyone in Portugal has been extremely friendly. This makes a huge difference to a visit. Thank you to both who bought sketches!














I have harvested goodies to cook. More tomorrow. I need to work now. I call it 'work', but you know...


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Living off the Land as an Itinerant Artist.

 
Myself at work in Porto. Photo sent by Alex. Thanks.

Living off the land as you travel? This would save money and is something I have always wanted to try. During the years of this blog I have hiked over 10,000 KM across Europe (and, a little across Africa). Within Spain especially I pass all sorts of interesting foods growing at all times of year. Unsurprisingly, Portugal seems to be equally abundant. I love fishing. There is a lot of coast, and many rivers.

Next to accommodation, the biggest expense for a travelling artist like myself is food. Finally I have decided it is worth carrying a camping stove, pot and pan with utensils to cook my own meals. I love cooking and miss having my own kitchen as much as I miss friends and my own bed.

One year in Granada I kept a list of everything I picked and ate from fields, hedgerows and woods. Over 40 different plants, fruits, nuts, herbs etc. That was without even really thinking about it. So, on this slow hike through Portugal I will be harvesting as much as possible from the land and the sea. Or, bartering for fresh produce in return for sketches, or other work. My intention is to live solely on local produce, freshly picked, freshly caught, or making use of preserved food stuffs. So far I have spent just a single €uro on food since walking from Porto (I should reach Aveiro tomorrow).

The €1 bought a fresh mackerel. Potatoes, broad beans, herbs, lettuce came from fields and allotments belonging to people I met as I walked. Other food has been recycled from spoils at small outdoor markets. Plenty here grows wild in hedgerows and on the side of roads and footpaths. I also have no problem with helping myself to a cob of corn from a large, commercial field if there is no-one around to ask! The list of possible sources and food types is endless.

A very healthy, cheap and fun way to live and eat. A little extra work each day, but the quality of what I am eating beats a €10 menu of the day hands down.

As well as my pots and pans with stove I am carrying a bottle of olive oil, small jar of chilies, a garlic, and will buy limes (to use instead of salt - I don't use salt, so another good reason for avoiding cafe foods). It is not the season for lime picking. I can't cook fish dishes without lime juice. I may also buy a small bag of flour. Other than that, everything I eat will come fresh from the land and the sea for as little as possible. I intend to use shops and bars for beer alone.

So far, I have harvested/gathered/caught/recycled/robbed...

Mackerel, thyme, mint, potatoes, tomatoes, broad beans, lettuce, corriander, grapes, apples, pears, onions, red pepper and eggs.

I am going to miss cheese unless I get lucky and meet a cheese maker. More than happy to live without meat, but would rarely say 'no' if it becomes available. All will be recorded here daily if possible. ATM I am using an awful webcam. A new camera should come my way soon.

Very loose plan on direction. May well even backtrack at times. Who knows?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Hiking very slowly south.

Very slowly!

Currently in Santa Maria da Fiera. It is very nice and very posh and apparently there is a Buddhist temple here.

I am foraging for food as I go. Look what I cooked today for just €1!




















All came for free from the land except for the fish which came for €1 from the sea.

Potato and broad been salad with mackerel in a grape and chili sauce cooked on my new camping stove. Some people say I am stealing. I'm not so sure.


Friday, 14 July 2017

A few Porto Observations...

I really, really like the place as a visitor.

A few general observations from a personal perspective.

I am still really enjoying Porto. Let's get the negative stuff out of the way firstly - it is very minor. Almost insignificant, but needs to be mentioned for the entire story. My painting box was stolen last night. I'm not really bothered, because I was going to pass it on to a fellow artist before starting to hike anyway. My own fault for sleeping out in a vulnerable place on a half bottle of ruby port. I took the risk simply because I felt there was no risk. It is incredibly safe here. No obvious risk of muggings, or bag snatching - nothing like that whatsoever. I should consider myself fortunate that they didn't get anything of real value. Paints and brushes can be replaced easily for about €100. I saved €35 on a bed anyway. Nothing has spoiled my experience yet.

The biggest risk here comes from short changing/over charging. Be careful. If you hand over a €20 note for a small purchase, say 'Twenty' and make eye contact when doing so. It is sadly very prevalent here in the heart of the tourist town.

I spend free time out in the suburbs. Touristville is my work - I come from a very different perspective to the average visitor. The average visitor will never see the real Porto. Very easy to forget about the 'other' city when it is screened from view by the hills on the river bank. I haven't managed to find an 'alternative' barrio. There doesn't seem to be a centre for artists, musicians, writers and the like - everything and everyone is all over the city mingling together.

Generally the atmosphere is much more gentle than Spain. Less noise (except for the way parents seem to shout at their children as is they're dogs). There is no macho bravado. Everything is a little more sophisticated and refined. Cafes and bars to suit all tastes in decor and food. Plenty of 100% vegan places. Almost all half decent places offer vegetarian menus. Get away from the high business rates and rents of the old town, and you will find stupidly cheap fruit and veg shops stocked with seasonal, local produce. I just bought Three juicy peaches for 30 Cents!

Beer is more expensive than Spain. Super Bock (stupid name and shit beer) seem to have a bit of a monopoly here. Alternatives are not easy to find. Tax plays a bigger part in most things. Want to receive a parcel of goodies from ebay here? You pay 25% tax on the value of goods plus an administration fee. Go look at the shipping options for Portugal on any website - many don't even offer delivery to Portugal.

Port is as cheap as you would expect. €5 will buy a bottle of reasonable quality, famous name Tawny, Ruby, or White. If you want to die young from liver rot and lose your teeth prematurely you can do it very affordably here.

Cannabis is decriminalised as mentioned earlier. Police tell me personal possession allowance is 25 Grammes for weed, 5 Grammes for hash. Personally, I would stick to the 10 and 2 Gramme allowance I mentioned earlier. I could see an easy argument for 'intent to supply' if you're on the street with 25 Grammes in pocket.

Bar and cafe culture is fabulous. Possibly better than any other city I have visited. The choice is so varied. My personal favourite for treating myself is a bar not too far from the Ribeira named Cris. Not good for outdoor terraces, but the interior and the service makes you want to enjoy a good meal indoors.

I don't really have anything to complain about as a visitor. However, I wouldn't choose to live here. As a tourist you probably wouldn't notice. My own perspective is finding the Catholic conservatism, and the 'in your face' preaching from total strangers very oppressive. That's just me - I do my best to respect every belief, but if you start throwing bollocks in my ears I will start to spit.


A few general observations from a personal perspective.

I am still really enjoying Porto. Let's get the negative stuff out of the way firstly - it is very minor. Almost insignificant, but needs to be mentioned for the entire story. My painting box was stolen last night. I'm not really bothered, because I was going to pass it on to a fellow artist before starting to hike anyway. My own fault for sleeping out in a vulnerable place on a half bottle of ruby port. I took the risk simply because I felt there was no risk. It is incredibly safe here. No obvious risk of muggings, or bag snatching - nothing like that whatsoever. I should consider myself fortunate that they didn't get anything of real value. Paints and brushes can be replaced easily for about €100. I saved €35 on a bed anyway. Nothing has spoiled my experience yet.

The biggest risk here comes from short changing/over charging. Be careful. If you hand over a €20 note for a small purchase, say 'Twenty' and make eye contact when doing so. It is sadly very prevalent here in the heart of the tourist town.

I spend free time out in the suburbs. Touristville is my work - I come from a very different perspective to the average visitor. The average visitor will never see the real Porto. Very easy to forget about the 'other' city when it is screened from view by the hills on the river bank. I haven't managed to find an 'alternative' barrio. There doesn't seem to be a centre for artists, musicians, writers and the like - everything and everyone is all over the city mingling together.

Generally the atmosphere is much more gentle than Spain. Less noise (except for the way parents seem to shout at their children as is they're dogs). There is no macho bravado. Everything is a little more sophisticated and refined. Cafes and bars to suit all tastes in decor and food. Plenty of 100% vegan places. Almost all half decent places offer vegetarian menus. Get away from the high business rates and rents of the old town, and you will find stupidly cheap fruit and veg shops stocked with seasonal, local produce. I just bought Three juicy peaches for 30 Cents!

Beer is more expensive than Spain. Super Bock (stupid name and shit beer) seem to have a bit of a monopoly here. Alternatives are not easy to find. Tax plays a bigger part in most things. Want to receive a parcel of goodies from ebay here? You pay 25% tax on the value of goods plus an administration fee. Go look at the shipping options for Portugal on any website - many don't even offer delivery to Portugal.

Port is as cheap as you would expect. €5 will buy a bottle of reasonable quality, famous name Tawny, Ruby, or White. If you want to die young from liver rot and lose your teeth prematurely you can do it very affordably here.

Cannabis is decriminalised as mentioned earlier. Police tell me personal possession allowance is 25 Grammes for weed, 5 Grammes for hash. Personally, I would stick to the 10 and 2 Gramme allowance I mentioned earlier. I could see an easy argument for 'intent to supply' if you're on the street with 25 Grammes in pocket.

Bar and cafe culture is fabulous. Possibly better than any other city I have visited. The choice is so varied. My personal favourite for treating myself is a bar not too far from the Ribeira named Cris. Not good for outdoor terraces, but the interior and the service makes you want to enjoy a good meal indoors.

I don't really have anything to complain about as a visitor. However, I wouldn't choose to live here. As a tourist you probably wouldn't notice. My own perspective is finding the Catholic conservatism, and the 'in your face' preaching from total strangers very oppressive. That's just me - I do my best to respect every belief, but if you start throwing bollocks in my ears I will start to spit.
A few general observations from a personal perspective.

I am still really enjoying Porto. Let's get the negative stuff out of the way firstly - it is very minor. Almost insignificant, but needs to be mentioned for the entire story. My painting box was stolen last night. I'm not really bothered, because I was going to pass it on to a fellow artist before starting to hike anyway. My own fault for sleeping out in a vulnerable place on a half bottle of ruby port. I took the risk simply because I felt there was no risk. It is incredibly safe here. No obvious risk of muggings, or bag snatching - nothing like that whatsoever. I should consider myself fortunate that they didn't get anything of real value. Paints and brushes can be replaced easily for about €100. I saved €35 on a bed anyway. Nothing has spoiled my experience yet.

The biggest risk here comes from short changing/over charging. Be careful. If you hand over a €20 note for a small purchase, say 'Twenty' and make eye contact when doing so. It is sadly very prevalent here in the heart of the tourist town.

I spend free time out in the suburbs. Touristville is my work - I come from a very different perspective to the average visitor. The average visitor will never see the real Porto. Very easy to forget about the 'other' city when it is screened from view by the hills on the river bank. I haven't managed to find an 'alternative' barrio. There doesn't seem to be a centre for artists, musicians, writers and the like - everything and everyone is all over the city mingling together.

Generally the atmosphere is much more gentle than Spain. Less noise (except for the way parents seem to shout at their children as is they're dogs). There is no macho bravado. Everything is a little more sophisticated and refined. Cafes and bars to suit all tastes in decor and food. Plenty of 100% vegan places. Almost all half decent places offer vegetarian menus. Get away from the high business rates and rents of the old town, and you will find stupidly cheap fruit and veg shops stocked with seasonal, local produce. I just bought Three juicy peaches for 30 Cents!

Beer is more expensive than Spain. Super Bock (stupid name and shit beer) seem to have a bit of a monopoly here. Alternatives are not easy to find. Tax plays a bigger part in most things. Want to receive a parcel of goodies from ebay here? You pay 25% tax on the value of goods plus an administration fee. Go look at the shipping options for Portugal on any website - many don't even offer delivery to Portugal.

Port is as cheap as you would expect. €5 will buy a bottle of reasonable quality, famous name Tawny, Ruby, or White. If you want to die young from liver rot and lose your teeth prematurely you can do it very affordably here.

Cannabis is decriminalised as mentioned earlier. Police tell me personal possession allowance is 25 Grammes for weed, 5 Grammes for hash. Personally, I would stick to the 10 and 2 Gramme allowance I mentioned earlier. I could see an easy argument for 'intent to supply' if you're on the street with 25 Grammes in pocket.

Bar and cafe culture is fabulous. Possibly better than any other city I have visited. The choice is so varied. My personal favourite for treating myself is a bar not too far from the Ribeira named Cris. Not good for outdoor terraces, but the interior and the service makes you want to enjoy a good meal indoors.

I don't really have anything to complain about as a visitor. However, I wouldn't choose to live here. As a tourist you probably wouldn't notice. My own perspective is finding the Catholic conservatism, and the 'in your face' preaching from total strangers very oppressive. That's just me - I do my best to respect every belief, but if you start throwing bollocks in my ears I will start to spit.
A few general observations from a personal perspective.

I am still really enjoying Porto. Let's get the negative stuff out of the way firstly - it is very minor. Almost insignificant, but needs to be mentioned for the entire story. My painting box was stolen last night. I'm not really bothered, because I was going to pass it on to a fellow artist before starting to hike anyway. My own fault for sleeping out in a vulnerable place on a half bottle of ruby port. I took the risk simply because I felt there was no risk. It is incredibly safe here. No obvious risk of muggings, or bag snatching - nothing like that whatsoever. I should consider myself fortunate that they didn't get anything of real value. Paints and brushes can be replaced easily for about €100. I saved €35 on a bed anyway. Nothing has spoiled my experience yet.

The biggest risk here comes from short changing/over charging. Be careful. If you hand over a €20 note for a small purchase, say 'Twenty' and make eye contact when doing so. It is sadly very prevalent here in the heart of the tourist town.

I spend free time out in the suburbs. Touristville is my work - I come from a very different perspective to the average visitor. The average visitor will never see the real Porto. Very easy to forget about the 'other' city when it is screened from view by the hills on the river bank. I haven't managed to find an 'alternative' barrio. There doesn't seem to be a centre for artists, musicians, writers and the like - everything and everyone is all over the city mingling together.

Generally the atmosphere is much more gentle than Spain. Less noise (except for the way parents seem to shout at their children as is they're dogs). There is no macho bravado. Everything is a little more sophisticated and refined. Cafes and bars to suit all tastes in decor and food. Plenty of 100% vegan places. Almost all half decent places offer vegetarian menus. Get away from the high business rates and rents of the old town, and you will find stupidly cheap fruit and veg shops stocked with seasonal, local produce. I just bought Three juicy peaches for 30 Cents!

Beer is more expensive than Spain. Super Bock (stupid name and shit beer) seem to have a bit of a monopoly here. Alternatives are not easy to find. Tax plays a bigger part in most things. Want to receive a parcel of goodies from ebay here? You pay 25% tax on the value of goods plus an administration fee. Go look at the shipping options for Portugal on any website - many don't even offer delivery to Portugal.

Port is as cheap as you would expect. €5 will buy a bottle of reasonable quality, famous name Tawny, Ruby, or White. If you want to die young from liver rot and lose your teeth prematurely you can do it very affordably here.

Cannabis is decriminalised as mentioned earlier. Police tell me personal possession allowance is 25 Grammes for weed, 5 Grammes for hash. Personally, I would stick to the 10 and 2 Gramme allowance I mentioned earlier. I could see an easy argument for 'intent to supply' if you're on the street with 25 Grammes in pocket.

Bar and cafe culture is fabulous. Possibly better than any other city I have visited. The choice is so varied. My personal favourite for treating myself is a bar not too far from the Ribeira named Cris. Not good for outdoor terraces, but the interior and the service makes you want to enjoy a good meal indoors.

I don't really have anything to complain about as a visitor. However, I wouldn't choose to live here. As a tourist you probably wouldn't notice. My own perspective is finding the Catholic conservatism, and the 'in your face' preaching from total strangers very oppressive. That's just me - I do my best to respect every belief, but if you start throwing bollocks in my ears I will start to spit.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Porto.





















Beautiful weather. Happy sketching.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Portugal.

Currently in Porto - very nice. More later. My mobile number does not appear to be roaming ATM. Email is better for the time being if you want to contact me.

Plan is to make my way very slowly south along the Atlantic coast. No idea how far I will get. Vague plan is to continue until September before returning to Granada and then going wherever work takes me. Evolution of a Goddess will continue then. As will theworldsmostexpensivechocolate project.

About to do my very first Portugal sketch. It will appear here later.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Hey spammers...

Thanks for acknowledging 10 years of work here. Thanks for saying 'hi'. Thanks for asking if you can promote your business on my very personal, advertising free blog. You do realise that your links make you look like con artists who nobody would ever wish to do business with?

I am not going to take the time and effort to delete all spam posts in the comments. You want to steal from me in a very public way? You carry on - no skin off my back.

Or, you could just fuck off and show a bit of respect. The sort of respect prospective clients look for.

Next person/company to abuse this site gets a fuck load of personal shit from me in return. You really don't want that!

Monday, 8 May 2017

A merry band of happy travellers.

I am back in Granada. Have been for a couple of weeks now. There isn't anywhere I feel happier, more content, and healthy basically. It is a very nice place to be. No money, but - well, hey! There are many things much more important in life than TheWorldsMostExpensiveChocolate.

Sitting in Plaza Nueva, drinking a beer (did I need to mention 'drinking a beer'?), I saw someone wearing a Mutefish T-shirt. Some members of Mutefish I first met in Malaga I think. I then met Bo on my last visit to Ibiza. Sometimes these travelling circles make for a very small world. This is Mutefish. A very cool bunch of very hard working, very talented travelling folk. We come from all sorts of circles. All sorts.

Ambition. Of all the travelling people I meet - there are many, many, many - the majority of people I meet possibly. Travelling. There are travellers and travellers as there are people and people. More than anything else in people I meet I respect ambition. Fuck your background, fuck your history, fuck everything else, just show me you have dreams to chase. Personally, if you have no dreams to realise you might as well be compost.

This is why I enjoy bands like Mutefish. You hear it in their music. Chazbo Zelena is currently heading towards Sumatra (I hope?). He has a nice boat. I am very envious, but I love the guy to bits for his dreams, ambition and raw, beautiful music. When I say 'beautiful' I don't always mean 'beautiful'. This is not important. It is music with passion. Music with a real heart beat. And, most importantly he has the ambition to make his dreams happen. They will happen.

I have enough cash in pocket to spend Five whole fucking days just painting. Five whole fucking days without having to consider cash. Five days of my ambition and dream realised.

The result will, of course, be here for all to see soon. Six days possibly.


Friday, 14 April 2017

Xi Cacao

Xi Cacao [shee kuh-kah-oh, -key-oh]is an imaginary Goddess. 

Goddess of chocolate. Goddess of the World's most expensive chocolate. This is a background project I have been mulling for a couple of years, or so. She will be a very beautiful painting. She will also be much more.

www.theworldsmostexpensivechocolate.com is a conceptual art project like no other conceptual art! Keep an eye on the link. Nothing there right now. Give it time.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Remembering film.


An email arrived in my in box recently. It was from a company called Light who have produced a very interesting compact camera. Digital photography is fantastic for all sorts of reasons. However, I'm going to talk about my favourite film camera - the camera I considered the perfect all rounder - not just the perfect travel camera.















Near Quesada. Ilford Delta with heavy red filter, graduated ND filter and polarising filter. 2003


The first camera I bought (well, my Mum bought it really, but I cut out all the tokens from the cornflakes packets and handed them for safe keeping as a very subtle hint for my 6th Birthday) was a Kodak Instamatic. A camera so easy to use even a 6 year old could make it work. You hoped you made it work, but you could never be sure until the printed results came back from Boots a week later.

I was hooked for life at a very early age.

Light have started a prjoect named  #VantagePoint. They're looking for feedback. This is the start of my feedback. Check their website - a camera with 16, or 17 lenses and sensors!

















Sierra de Baza. Ilford Delta 100 with red filter. 2003


Briefly, they mentioned questions about my favourite location to shoot in my hometown, or from 'my awesome travel adventures'. My travel adventures aren't always awesome :(  I consider Granada my hometown, but I am rarely there. I'm starting with a set from Andalucia - a place I love.

I travel very slowly most of the time. Walking from one town to the next. I also like to photograph very slowly. Sitting on a single viewpoint absorbing the environment. Waiting for that critical change in light















Cazorla Parque Natural. Agfa 50 ISO with graduated ND plus polarising filters. 2003

When I first started walking I carried a Contax Aria with a standard Carl Zeiss lens discretely hidden in my pocket. The perfect little travel camera. Relatively expensive, but representing good value secondhand. Contax owners were true enthusiasts who treasured their cameras. Everything bought on ebay (in the early days of the web) would arrive in 'as new' condition. I loved these little cameras. Full manual SLR control and functionality in a compact, robust pocket sized body with a very beautiful Carl Zeiss lens.













Embalse de Negratin. Agfa 50 ISO with polarising filter. 2003

Took me a long time to become as enthusiastic about digital photography. It has always been great for convenience and economics. It just lacked something I couldn't understand. Yet, I always dreamed of the day that 50MP+ capture would become affordable. Again, I was looking for something as close as possible to human visual perception. Those 50,000,000 pixels could imitate the 50,000,000 rod and cone receptors in the human eye. Would output technology ever match? Imagine that!













Castril. Agfa film with graduated ND, polarising and red filters. 2003

Access to this sort of quality is no longer an exclusive domain. We can all use it at a realistic price. We don't need to be professionals justifying an investment for financial return. We don't need deep pockets. We don't even need big pockets. Digital technology is finally delivering something I was only ever dreaming about. A pocket sized camera with lots of MegaPixel capture. The perfect travelling companion?

...

Lets' go to Berlin - a very photogenic city.













Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001


Why did I photograph a wall on a 2001 trip to Berlin? What are we going to do with all those megapixels? 

I am a lens snob. I am a visual information freak. I have some of the most critical eyes in the World (erm... ignore that). Photography is a love, because it represents my reality. A recording of a real thing in a real World. I want camera manufacturers to recognise what I like.













Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001

My eye from my mind is my vantage point wherever it may be. With film I used cameras I could trust. Learn about the limitations. Find out how to get the best from the optics, the film, the mechanics, the electronics. One reason I loved the Contax Aria so much was I trusted it. I could rely on the metering to be consistent. Set the aperture to the smallest possible opening and concentrate on what was happening in the view finder knowing that my knowledge and the camera would get the best possible results.













Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001

In many respects I used the Aria with a standard, fixed focus lens as a rangefinder! However, occasionally it was good to have the flexibility of a SLR, and use other lenses when appropriate. The shot above would be nothing without a shallow depth of field.














Agfa 50 ISO. Berlin. 2001
I love to work with low light. I travel walking by day and exploring at the end of the day. Twilight is my favourite time of day. Nature is going to bed whilst the manmade starts to glow with the promise of 24 hour eveything. Back in Adalucia...















Fujifilm Velvia 100.


I also like to work in very low light, and very bright light. In a small village in the mountains of Andalucia I met this bunch. It was siesta in August. A sleepy little whitewashed town with light bouncing all over the place.














The Kids from Pozo Alcon.  Ilford Delta 100. Red plus polarising filters. 2003

Heavily filtered. Just one chance. The best lens my money could buy. Years and years of knowledge. A dependable, trusted little, go anywhere camera.

The day has arrived when the digital equivalent is available. It still isn't cheap, but a certain manufacturer has hit the spot for me.

Light.co haven't for me. As much as I love the innovation, the use of many lenses and sensors, the small size - I would still like to have a play. A serious play. But, I want a decent sized sensor in a reasonably compact body, with reliability, a proven lens (what is the point in having all those megapixels if you're using small lenses in an array?), RAW capture, totally manual control, or electronically assisted control. Somebody else is already doing this in a classically styled camera that will give much more pleasure than just taking photographs alone.

Light.co need to look at that.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Placa de Parc.

In all of Ibiza's efforts to attract the 'other tourists' they've created the World's prettiest concrete dump from the only character they had left to promote.

I understand that both Placa de Parc and Vara de Rey were dug up for drainage, gas and cable reasons. Surely this was a reason to improve, not destroy.

Tacky. Like, really, really wasted tacky.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Original painting is Sold. But, prints are available via email. Prices inclusive of post & packing within Europe.

Mounted and signed A5 print €10.
Archival limited edition (30) print. A2 on acid free cotton rag paper €220.


















Details.


















Goddess Nº2 is about to be started.


Monday, 16 January 2017

21 large format oil paintings.

I have made a start. This is going to take time. I could be based in Ibiza for the next Two years at least.

As ever; any work is greatly appreciated.