Archives for posts with tag: Art

Painting in all its forms is a somewhat toxic pastime or job and it pays to have some extra knowledge when using paint or disposing of it. I have built up some methodology over a number of years which I apply to the various media I use on a regular basis. In the main I paint in oils and as the paint I use is oil based ( although there are now water based oil paints) it is a question of finding less toxic paint thinners and brush cleaners, and not using domestic drains as a disposal point.

As a thinner I use Winsor and Newton Liquin Fine Detail, this is less toxic than using turpentine, but still needs some care as it contains some suspect compounds. It needs to be used relatively quickly as it soon darkens in colour, eventually turning into a solid block.

The brush cleaner I use is Weber turpenoid natural which is a fabulous non – toxic brush cleaner and conditioner, which makes the paint miscible with water. If you follow the instructions carefully you can keep all the brush cleanings from producing a 70 X 50 cm canvas in a standard sized jam jar.

When you finish your painting take a cat litter tray and fill it with the granule type of litter – pour the diluted paint evenly over the litter and leave to dry, preferably outside. When perfectly dry the litter can be scraped into a black bin bag and disposed of by sending to landfill where it will degrade. This is by far a superior alternative to allowing toxic paint and brush cleaner to enter our sewers.

Dave '71 copy


It was back in the late fifties when I started to get interested in the bass. I then thought that the relatively new electric bass guitars were the answer for those musicians reluctant to cart around a full size double bass.
Little did I know how much other stuff was needed in order to create an acceptable bass sound. Electronics was my fathers profession in the RAF and he was very keen to try to build me a suitable amplifier. Unfortunately he was not so keen on the explosion of new music which had taken over the airwaves and had no idea about the kind of kit that I would need.
Eventually he came up with a small blue amplifier with a built in speaker, this was fine for the amplified acoustic which used an ‘overhead’ pick-up made from telephone magnets, but would have been blown to pieces with the bass guitar.
I used this tiny amplifier using a six string guitar for bass, also playing some rhythm guitar. In those days we had all the amplifiers in front of us in a line across the stage and the drummer in the middle of a line of musicians. As bigger equipment started to take the stage the more conventional system of drummer at the back, next the amplifiers, with the musicians out front.

Later I managed to buy a second hand home-made speaker cabinet containing an 18″ speaker which I powered with a 30 watt Leak hi fi amplifier, this made quite an acceptable sound amplifying my Burns Sonic bass. The speaker cabinet had been especially designed in order to get the correct frequencies of sound out of that large Goodman’s speaker.
I used this type of amplification for quite some years, eventually replacing the Leak Varislope with a 50 watt Linear Conchord amp.
The first ‘Heavy’ group I saw was when we supported Liverpool’s Big Three who were reputed to be the Beatles favourite band. They were using colossal block board cabinets as speaker cabinets not only for Johnny Gustafson the bassist, but also for guitar and an even bigger set up for the p.a. They used as you’ve probably guessed six 50 watt Linear Conchords, I think the four massive speaker cabinets each contained eight 15″ speakers.  That night in Sheffield playing with ‘The Roadrunners’ I heard them call these massive cabinets ‘the coffins’. This was perhaps the start of bands employing weight-lifters as roadies.
For those of you that were around…. what on earth would we have done without the 30 watt and 50 watt Linear Conchord amplifier?
What would we have thought if we could have taken a glimpse of the future and seen Blue Oyster Cult, Jefferson Airplane and the countless Heavy Rock bands that were to follow.
Pete Townsend’s uncle is non other than Jim Marshall, and I presume that the band tried out prototypes of his world of music changing, Marshall amplification.
The night that I saw them at the Esquire, I didn’t recognise anybody, that was because it was a team of roadies that were putting this colossal stash of gear onto the stage.
I counted ten Marshall cabinets. I couldn’t understand what was going on, but later learned that they were using a 200 watt p.a. and Pete and John 100 watt Marshall stacks. This equipment, along with Keith’s amplified drum kit took up the entire stage. Suddenly in walked the three musicians who looked in disgust at the cluttered stage, then played their entire set on the dance-floor in front of a stage exploding with unbelievable volumes of sound.
I had a life long love affair with Marshall amps after that night starting with a 50 watt amplifier and cabinet containing 4×12 heavy duty Celestions.
Eventually I bought another 50 watt straight cabinet (my first one was angled) and a 100 watt amplifier – I now had the classic green Marshall 100 watt stack. I had fun getting the cabinet back to my London flat from a West End music shop…. You’ve guessed it …..on the tube!
Later on I bought another stack during Marshall’s time of making coloured amps in the seventies. It was bright red.
Apart from using one 50 watt and a 100 watt stack together for some time I did once borrow a Marshall stack which had a 200 watt top and two cabs each containing four heavy duty 15″ Celestions. When you played a certain note it virtually lifted you off the ground.
Of course nowadays amplifiers are even more powerful, but I just have a very light, transportable 200 watt Ashdown combo!

David 80 copy

Seems a while ago now and yes it certainly is.
You know what, I don’t feel any less cool, even as the summer starts to take on heat.
Over the years I eased myself through some amazing changes in gear. On the guitar front I started with a crap sunburst acoustic that had a bent neck and stayed in tune for about half a song, after this I had a Futurama 2 with a strange coaxial plug.
It was then time to switch to Bass, the coolest job on the planet.
To start with I had a Hofner semi-acoustic blonde bass, with mother of pearl markers on the fingerboard and silver plated machine-heads.
I later sold this magnificent instrument to John ‘Red’ Fleet, bass player with Dave Berry’s Cruisers.
Next I had a nice little short-scale in red and black, a Burns sonic bass.
By this time around 1963, I was playing with (then Sheffield’s top group Steve Allen and the Vikings) and we decided to have matching guitars.
Why not the Shadows were all the rage at the time and Steve Allen looked a lot like Cliff.
We sent away to the States, Cincinnati to be precise, for a sunburst Fender Stratocaster, a sunburst Fender Jaguar and a Sunburst Fender Jazz Bass.
I kept that one,’cos it’s undoubtedly the best bass guitar in the world, but have also had a black Fender Jazz and a black and white Rickenbacker, Mono Bass.
Some time I’ll tell you about amplifiers and how in the old days, 50’s and early 60’s that was, we often had to build our own!

David Robinson played for Champion Jack Dupree, Essential Bop and almost two dozen other bands based in London, Sheffield and Bristol.

Now, at the beginning of June, the orchids are beginning to lose flowers and gain fresh green leaves. I still stick to my tried and tested regime which has kept the phalaenopsis orchids growing well for many years.
The ‘Flare Spots’ flower was photographed on the ex – Keiki which I removed from the parent plant a year ago.

I guess it is time to give the growing conditions once again:-

  1. Grown in a south-facing bathroom with obscure glass -high humidity and temperature.
  2. Once a week I run rainwater (equilibrated to room temperature) through each pot in turn.
  3. I mist the aerial roots with similar rainwater.
  4. I add 5 drops of a good quality orchid food dissolved and well mixed with 500 mls (approx) of same rainwater.
  5. Finally I mist all the leaves with a quality orchid mist solution.

The final result -beautiful orchids for a total time of 30 minutes per week!


As you can see before long there won’t be anywhere to wash in the en-suite.
The oldest orchid has a new flower spike with close on twenty blooms. The spotted orchid has seven blooms still going strong.
The twin miniatures have one spike each with many blooms.
In fact the only two not flowering at present are the single miniature, which at the moment has a very strong new stem which may be growing a keiki, or it could be new flowers, but there is certainly leaves developing up top there.


It is a long time since I talked about Digital Finger Painting, on the iPad. I have done quite a lot more since the last blog that included it in August 2012.

   I am still finding the technique very valuable, and whilst not everything is as easy as working in more conventional media, it is extremely useful to try things out.

   Working with fine lines is the most difficult aspect from my own point of view, but that may be because I do not work exclusively with the iPad and therefore do not get practice painting with it every day.

   It is especially good to see the effect of painting on a high resolution, HD screen, the colours are magnificent and therefore always look so much more impressive than prints.

   Butterflies, birds and flowers are ideal subjects, and if you use a good App like ‘Procreate’, for example, there is no end to the effects that you can produce, providing of course that you have the time to experiment. I have started to use a stylus now, but unfortunately it is still quite difficult to put detail in the right place.

    As well as doing quite detailed work as shown below, the iPad is great, if a little expensive to use as an easily erasable sketch book too!

Polly 2012-12-13 (17.31.40-277)Girl From Carmel. 2012-09-09 (12.17.24-484)RobinWild and FreeSmall Tortoisehell on BuddleiaAdmiralpainted lady

Starting to paint a Comma butterfly. (can you name the others?)

Starting to paint a Comma butterfly.
(can you name the others?)


Before I ever came to live in the town of  Clevedon, I was aware of the spectacular sunsets to be seen here, especially in the winter months. The naturally beautiful sunsets are further enhanced by particulate pollution coming out of the chimneys of Port Talbot and Avonmouth, and on occasions this leads to some memorable sunrises  too.

Clevedon is situated on the Severn estuary, so much of the time the sea looks a dirty brown colour, due to silt rather than any worse form of pollution, but at that special time of evening when the sun starts to set, the sea is often transformed to a beautiful turquoise hue, with the contrasting reds, oranges and yellows of the sunsets.

Clevedon Sunrise

Clevedon Sunrise


Copy of IMG_0092Copy of IMG_0130IMG_0193

IMG_1055_1ZUMMERZETTING !The colours in the photographs never do justice to the spectacular, real thing – do they ! ?


Winter sunrise 3