Tuesday, 17 April 2018

It was a very nice bread.

I don't want to be seen as complaining too much. A loaf of wholemeal bread with whole seeds for just 99 Cents is a bargain.

Summer seems to be here. Fine weather - I am working my way through a back-log of orders which people have already paid for! Germany - you are top of the list. Possibly posted by Friday.

I can't magic shit on the First day of fine weather. If anything, the last couple of months have taught me I have to up my prices.

INFLATION!


Sunday, 8 April 2018

Cheating.

There are very few things I will moan about in Portugal.

How much do you think this bread costs?



















Well, I think it says €0.79. But, when you get to the check-out, it is 99 Cents.

MiniPreco. Fuck off - this is cheating as much as short changing is cheating. It very clearly states 'total to pay' 79.00 Cents. When I get to the check-out, I am asked for 99 Cents. Fuck-off. The people tell me it is only 79 Cents if I have a MiniPreco card. I can't see anything about that on the label.

MiniPreco. Perhaps you have a good loyalty scheme going on with the locals, but there are few locals here. We feel cheated.


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Swallows.

Well, hey - they may have been swifts, but you get my drift.

Very good news in the skies.

Weather forecasts. We have them instant on our phones these days. What makes me laugh is that Dutch people use a forecast from Holland, Norwegian people rely on a Norwegian forecast, German people check out the weather for Lisbon in Portugal on their German office post. It is the same meteorological information, just presented in different ways. But, surely, local knowledge counts for something.

When the skies turn grey, I look for the gulls. They tell me I have 3 minutes to pack up and find a dry place.

Swallows and sunshine! They may have been swifts, but they are good news regardless.

I use the BBC weather site ;)


Saturday, 17 March 2018

When it rains - it pours.

Another rainy day.

Sat in A Padaria Portuguesa making small sketches from postcards to sell tomorrow, because it is going to be sunny tomorrow. YES it f****** well is. I am not listening to anybody else who says otherwise. I have reached critical point.














That's about 30 days of rain so far. Not a single dry day!


Friday, 9 March 2018

1000 Umbrellas.

The city is littered with dead umbrellas. The rains persist.

Whenever it rains this much, whenever I see streets full of broken umbrellas, Two things come to mind. One is a work of art I saw first in Bilbao. A street sculpture with a very poetic written description explaining how "umbrellas sprouting like mushrooms" became representative of the Artist's city in spring.














The other thing that always springs to mind is a couple of songs from Skylarking by XTC. Ballet for a Rainy Day, and 1000 Umbrellas. A timeless album.

 

Now I know what March is all about in Lisbon, I will do my very best to ensure I am not here this time next year. It is very, very, very wet. Relentless rains with still no end in sight.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Oh - The Rains.

Nobody in Portugal has any right to moan, but... :D

This is unworkable for me. I am extremely grateful to be very busy with orders. Absolutely nothing I can do about the weather, so I have bolted down in Nazare until the forecast looks a little brighter. Working on small sketches from postcards, and doing a bit of painting :)

I really hope people don't mind, but we're just going to have to wait for the much needed rains to pass. I'll be back in Lisbon before Sunday.

This is Nazare looking very sombre. I like it. Peaceful, content, possibly even melancholic - a hide away from Atlantic storms.















Friday, 16 February 2018

Pens, pens, pens, and more pens.

I have a pretty serious habit. Not a lot I can't tell you about pens. Last had a clear-out in December. Time to lessen the load again. I really hate to bin them. But, eventually I reach the point where a major cull is necessary. Think I binned 80% of this batch.














I like pens :)

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Nazare Atlantico. Colours.

I tacky smartphone shot of Nazare waves at sunset. Not good photography, but great colour research for paintings of the almighty Atlantic. Or, at least paintings inspired by the sea. I am going to try and paint a 1 Meter x 1 Meter imaginary 'cube' of Atlantic sea. A sort of Square Kilometer space of deep sea represented one 1 dimension. Full of sea legends.

It will probably be April before I can start painting again, so I am just researching in the meantime.











Sunday, 4 February 2018

Friday, 2 February 2018

Where to start? Where to finish?

So many people who stop to chat ask me the same question; "Where do you start?". I started at the beginning.














It isn't really something I think about. You just start at the start. Then, you continue.














I think, if I start anywhere, I start at the most complicated bit. Then, continue.














Where to finish? This is a very different question. You can go too far and spoil. You are working to costs. You can work the light, and then work it some more. You can get carried away in a dream. When to stop?

This isn't quite the finished piece I am happy to let go to a good home. I worked a bit more. Personally, it is my best work in Lisbon so far (this is not the finished thing). I would love to keep it for myself. At the same time, I am happy it goes to a good home in return for paying for my home for a couple of nights.

The money thing. It doesn't have to interfere.


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Lisbon social life.

My work is pretty much my social life. I spend so much time sketching on the street, I meet many, many people everyday. On time off, I hang-out on the streets more often than I spend time in bars. The first view below will be familiar to most who have visited Lisbon. It is a fabulous place to chill, listen to music, meet people...



















When I am in bars to socialise you will often find me in Irish bars. They are popular everywhere in the World for good reason. This is Irish night...


















That was Birthday (extended) day off.

It was fun.


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

All I got for my Birthday...

...was this broken toe.

Many people who read here probably have a very romantic view of life as a travelling artist. Others may respect the more real, gritty side of this life. The dealing with police, street thieves, common wronguns, murderers on the run, drugs and dealers, crazy people who should be in hospital... the authorities, and all of us not so authoritarian types apparently running from something.

The real challenge in this life is dealing with unfamiliar situations in unfamiliar environments. Like an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar room, with an unfamiliar walk down an unfamiliar corridor to an unfamiliar bathroom. Try doing that at 4.30AM barefoot and desperate to leak after a heavy night out. Only the super lucky get away with it. Why I tried to get away with it is beyond me, but probably had much to do with alcohol and cannabis. It was a bad decision, but - hey; there are far worse decisions to make in life. I should fucking well know!

I also got nice messages and work questions for my Birthday. Thanks for those. x

51. Still going strong. Brains of a 19 year old being held together by the legs of an 80 year old.

Rock on!!!

Pics another time.


Monday, 29 January 2018

Fish & Chips, or Fish & Rice?

On web forums I have been posting enthusiastically about Portuguese cuisine on a budget. I like this one without vinegar. Two small cod tied head to tail, deep fried and served with salad and a bowl of rice in onion, red pepper and tomato salsa with red beans. It is ace!


















Struggling to get anything good from my smartphone on close-up, but I'm sure you get the picture (so to speak).

A quick thanks to my 'esteemed clients' as they seem to say here :)

Hotel Corpo Santo is a new 5 Star, historic hotel with an archaeological dig in the basement. Sort of. It is finished. The old town walls of the city are preserved and displayed in a fabulous space that doubles as a very effective conference room. To say these people have been nice to me is understating a fair amount. If I had the money, I would choose the place above any other in Lisbon. Fantastic hotel, interesting historically, but above all - service that is unlikely to be bettered anywhere. So, thanks to all at Hotel Corpo Santo. Greatly appreciated.

Lisbon Check-in is a new 'contemporary' guest house on the edge of Lisbon's emerging alternative scene - Santa Katarina/Rua Sao Paulo. Somewhere between a hostal and a hotel, you get your own very nice room en-suite in a 200 year old building (the style has been reformed) with flat screen etc, and access to a shared kitchen, common room etc. Best of both World's - privacy with a socialising option. Very, very reasonable rates, and, again - as friendly as they come.

There are more to mention and thank. I will do in time.

You can get great value here during February. It is never that cold!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

More happy clients :)

It is what I like most. I find it incredibly gratifying when people email photographs of my art in place in their homes. They come from all corners of the World. This one came locally. Thank you!














Everybody I have worked with in Portugal have been incredibly helpful, friendly, and above all else, appreciative. This sort of attitude just makes me want to do the very best I can. I will make a list of thanks to the hotels and other businesses who have given me work (and, continue to give me work) tomorrow. Thanks to all the private clients also. This has been the most comfortable January since I started this blog! So glad I came to Lisbon.

---//

The reason Portuguese people don't put vinegar on their chips is because, they don't need to. I should have known this. English chips need vinegar due to the fat saturation of our unhealthy cooking methods.

Good to know my sense of humour isn't lost here. Thanks for the explanation.

--//

Anyone else very excited about looking out for The Humanity Star in future night skies?

The most ridiculous waste of money I have ever found a place in my heart for.

http://www.thehumanitystar.com/


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Portuguese people do not put vinegar on their chips!

Seriously? WTF? Jesus wept!

This is not possible. How does a nation survive on a basic diet of potatoes with fish, or pork, and not get it. You have an abundance of bad wine you idiots - use it.

I am seriously WTF here. Someone tried to tell me I should have been putting olive oil on my chips instead of white wine vinegar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You bad people

Very, very bad people.
.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Monday is usually my day off.

I am still getting the luck. Plenty of work in the waiting. However, I am still on a strict budget.

A cheap snack in Lisbon means going to Minipreço Express in Sau Paulo for 3 hot, spicey sausages for €1.47, a dark bread bun for 25 Cents, and this pudding for just €5.49. It is on offer. It is only 17% Vol - I will be OK, and ready for work tomorrow.

Double espresso in a large paper cup filled to the brim with unbranded Bailey's. It is a fucking good pudding :)




Anyone for a Tuk-Tuk?

As essentially Lisbon as trams, quiosques and ornate wobbly paving you can't walk on. The Tuk-Tuks. Opinion seems to be divided. I love them. Most are electric - non-polluting (this is an original 2 stroke), they provide employment, and, most importantly of all, they are great fun. My top tip is to take a ride and tell the driver to just show you their own Lisbon. Forget the tourist stuff.

She's a little bit cute as fuck isn't she?



Sunday, 21 January 2018

Thee Oh Sees.

Thank you to whoever turned me on to this very healthy shit. It is about time rock woke again. Brilliant.

Good work :)

 
It is seriously about time rock and roll forgot about the money.

Love it, you Thee Oh Sees people.

Thank you so much.
 

Friday, 19 January 2018

And some art for the LOLS.

Another Praça do Camoes. I am getting good at this one. Practice makes perfect.
Some people think this is not work!
 


A laundromat self-portrait.

I am using US English, because, well, hey - American people, I know you are believers in democracy really.

I am now diving into deep history. Once upon a time I studied 'A' Level Photography and Media studies at Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology (SCAT for the laugh). I loved the photography bit. When I was supposed to be sitting my Maths exam I spent the afternoon on top of the Wrekin looking over the plains of Shropshire. It was a college for people who were not clever enough to go straight to university.

One of the first 'assignments' in photography class was a representational self-portrait. Piss easy - just empty my pockets and take a snap.

30+ years later, things haven't really changed that much. Here is my life from my pockets today. Seriously; fuck all has changed in 30+ years!

Pens. Tobacco. Ventolin. Condoms.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Rainy Days.

What to do on rainy days? They can be a good excuse for a day off if you have money in pocket. Trundle around all those galleries I've been wanting to visit. That would be nice. But, I need cash - setting up a new home takes money.

There was a time I would sit in cafes sketching from postcards, or even sketching from memory. Today, Google offers much more. So, I am sitting in a cafe searching Google Images for decent, high resolution images of Lisbon, or transferring pics from my phone to laptop and creating small, A4 sketches for sale another day.

When it is not raining I still much prefer to work BIG in the street. If I won the lottery tomorrow (I don't play the lottery, but...) I am pretty sure you would still find me sketching in the street on 3 Meter x 1 Meter, brown craft paper. When all is good, it is just a very pleasant way to pass time. Bottle of beer, sunshine, people, beautiful architecture to draw. It isn't always good, but most of the time I just love to do it. I have always been 'in it for the money' out of pure necessity, but most importantly, I am 'in it for the fun'.

Praça do Camoes, Lisbon. First large street sketch of the year...