You know what makes me grumpy? All the Grumpy Old Men who appeared on the BBC TV series were younger than me, that's what makes me grumpy. Mutter, mutter....

The Grumpy Old Artist

The Grumpy Old Artist
Would YOU pose for this man???

Exhibition Poster

Exhibition Poster
Catterline Event, 2011

Oil Painting by Jim Tait

Oil Painting by Jim Tait
Helford River, Cornwall

Oil Painting by Jim Tait

Oil Painting by Jim Tait
Full-riggers "Georg Stage" and "Danmark"

Other Recent Works

Other Recent Works
Fordyce Castle and Village

Hay's Dock, Lerwick

Shetland-model Boats at Burravoe, Yell

Tall Ships Seascape

The Tour Boat "Dunter III", with Gannets, off Noss

The "Karen Ann II" entering Fraserburgh harbour

Summer Evening, Boyndie Bay

1930s Lerwick Harbour

Johnshaven Harbour

"Seabourn Legend"

Greeting Cards!

Greeting Cards!
Now Available in Packs of Five or in Assorted Sets of Four

Sunday, 3 October 2010


While I much prefer summer to winter, I don't think I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (even the name doesn't make much sense to me). The long hours of summer daylight translate into more time at the easel, resulting in greater daily productivity, and the more work I get done, the happier I am. My mood varies according to the light conditions (leaving aside work output for now), so I think I will own up to a kind of weather affective disorder, or possibly gloom-induced depression, which is a strange expression indeed, come to think of it. Enough!

Monday was bright and sunny, with light winds (good mood weather), and I took advantage of the conditions to put some good work into the big man-o'-war painting. I put the final details into the masts, hull and rigging, and did a bit more on the sea around the ship. My sister Thelma came along for elevenses, which presented her with problems, as she had just had a tooth extracted (by her dentist, I hasten to add!), and the local anaesthetic was causing her to dribble a bit.

I phoned the people in charge of the Toll Clock Centre, to be told the bad news that I was too late to get Saturday slots for my stall in the run-up to Christmas. I settled for Thursdays, same as last year, from mid-November onwards. How early do I have to book to get a Saturday spot, for goodness sake? I received a quotation from DCS Printing Services for the production of greeting cards for the local branch of a well-known charity. I relayed this information to my sister Mary, who is the local organiser for the charity.

Tuesday saw the arrival of the last and largest cruise ship of the season. When I got up for my bath, at 6.30am, the "Grand Princess" looked impressive and luminous in the early morning half-light, filling a large section of my view of Breiwick Bay, as she came to anchor off the Knab. The wind rose during the day, and the sky clouded over ominously in the afternoon, but the rain held off until evening, so those of her 2,200 passengers who went for a run ashore would have had a decent day's sight-seeing. The port authority representative, who came on Radio Shetland that evening, was spinning the usual yarn of how important cruise ships are to the local economy, and I take issue with this. Apart from the port authority and the bus companies, which section of the local economy is benefitting? Perhaps the odd knitwear outlet might see some trade, but not much else. Very few cruise ship passengers buy anything from local businesses.

I worked again on the big picture, tidying up a few lines and angles, and doing a bit more on the sea in the immediate vicinity of the ship. Thelma arrived for elevenses again, and we had our usual natter about life, family and music. I made kedgeree for my lunch, and remembered to put out my bin-bag for collection, before taking a walk down to the corner shop for essential foodstuffs. I then worked on the Cornish scene painting for a while, although my heart wasn't really in the task. The sky was clouding over and the GID was coming over me again. And this continued into the evening, which should have been spent working on SEO projects for my newly-upgraded website (, but little of this was attempted or achieved on Tuesday.

Wednesday was dull, wet and increasingly windy, and I struggled with the light to get more done on the big seascape during the morning. In the afternoon, I started on a new "stock" work, a picture of Gourdon harbour based on photographs I took on my last little jaunt to the mainland, back in April. That now looks like being my last trip of the year.

Mary arrived after work, and we took a run out west, first stopping at her home at Strand for some of her delicious risotto before setting out again in the gale-driven rain to visit our mother in the Wastview Care Centre. She seemed to be well and enjoying her respite care period, and I enjoyed getting away from the flat, with all its paraphernalia of life as a self-employed artist, and breathe some unpolluted air, despite the atrocious weather conditions.

Thursday was the deadline which I had set myself (and was foolhardy enough to declare to my client) to have the work finished on the alterations to the big picture. I just about made it (I think) and phoned him with an upbeat progress report (I don't know who I'm trying to kid - him or myself!). I fully expect him to reject the work again, when I get it photographed and emailed to him in JPEG form, possibly on Saturday, if the weather allows (it's still pretty dismal and blowy today). This project has blown large holes in any confidence in my own ability I may have previously had.

I made a big pot of scotch broth on a lump of brisket I had found at the Whiteness shop when we called there on our way to Walls yesterday evening. Mary and I enjoyed the stuff, which is very tasty, but tends to have side effects which match the weather - wet and windy! In the afternoon I worked a bit more on the Gourdon harbour painting, the drawing of which is quite tricky. It's a very simple composition, but all the more care has to be taken over laying it out. In the early evening, I phoned my brother Arthur, to wish him many happy returns on his 60th birthday. Time marches on - for everyone.

Friday dawned bright and breezy, and my mood was more upbeat than it had been all week. The wind increased steadily during the day, and was touching storm force by late evening. I watched fishing boats heading for the shelter of Lerwick harbour during the morning - they'll be glad of the lee it affords. I went out early to get my copy of the Shetland Times, and spent my morning coffee break, along with hundreds of others around the islands, poring over the pages of this institutional publication!

I took the big picture off the easel and put it on my living-room radiator, to accelerate the drying process. I spent the rest of the daylight hours carefully examining it and doing little bits of "snagging". The thing takes up an awful lot of room, and will look good in a much larger space than is available to me in my little abode. As the wind whistled round my top-floor flat, I spent the evening attending to domestic and administrative tasks.

Saturday morning was bright and clear, with only a fresh southerly breeze after the previous night's gales, which did some minor damage to Mary's polytunnel at Strand. I had determined to plant some flower-bulbs at Whiteness when I go out there on Monday, so I took a walk down to the garden shop to get some of these. Last autumn I had deliberated upon doing it, ended up not doing it, and regretted my inaction since. Thelma popped along for a cuppa, before she headed out to our mother's to do some preparation for her return on Monday, so she took the bulbs and an old earthenware casserole pot (which I intend to use as a planter) out there with her.

I had arranged for Mary to give me a hand with photographing the big picture, so I prepared a meal of fried fish for the two of us, which I timed pretty well, considering that I only had an approximate time for her arrival. The digital operation was successful, with a few good JPEGs to show for it - these will form attachments to my next email to my client. Mary headed off to effect polytunnel repairs with her neighbour, and I settled down to an afternoon of work on the Cornish painting. Progress is slow on this one, as the colours and shades of this remarkable scene are very subtle, and take a bit of getting. With a quiet ensuing evening (I had considered going for a pint or two, but couldn't be bothered - changed days!), so passed a reasonably succesful Saturday.

This morning, I listened to the service on radio 4 before going for a walk down to the Co-op to get electricity meter tokens, as my power was about to go off. Remarkably it still hadn't done so by the time I returned some 40 minutes later. I had several emails to send before I could address myself to the task of writing this blog post. Tomorrow, I'll be heading out to Whiteness to see that all is ready for mother's return from respite care. If I have time, I'll plant the flower-bulbs too. I desperately need some good news this incoming week, and I hope yours goes well too!

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