Sunday 30 July 2017


Of all the First World War centenary anniversaries to come along, this one perhaps represents the most tragic.

Any modern-day historian who quibbles and moans about the fallacy of the "Lions led by donkeys" mantra, need look no more than this futile battle.

The worst conditions, the worst location and against enormous German fortifications, you had an utterly predictable outcome. Add the fact they threw huge amounts of high explosives onto the area, churning up the already waterlogged ground even more, made the whole battlefield a quagmire.

The arrogance and stupidity of Haig and his staff wasted thousands and thousands of lives.
Just the single word 'Passchendaele', has long since been associated with the wholesale waste and slaughter of a generation.

Any lessons and tactics learnt from the Somme a year earlier were simply thrown away.
The whole sorry saga started on July 31st 1917 and slogged onto 10th November 1917. Casualty figures, although much debated, stood at around a baffling 260,000 for the Allies and about the same for the Germans.

Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery near the village of Passchendaele, is the place to go to get a sense of the battle. It has 11,965 graves, and a Memorial to the Missing with the names of 33,783. 
Of course its a sobering place, with German pillboxes in amongst the graves and placed on crucial higher ground, giving you a view of the Cloth Hall tower in Ypres, barely a few miles away.

After visiting it a few years ago, I spotted a lone poppy just outside the entrance, on the edge of a field full of crops. A field where thousands of people died. 

Just a few of the names on the Memorial to the Missing at Tyne Cot.

Three postcards of the huge cemetery, dating to the late 1920s, early 30s. Note the still bare landscape in the background.

The totally ruined Cloth Hall at Ypres. This postcard was sent on the 1st August 1919, unbelievably, it had a Censor stamp on it. Meaning the military were still monitoring what people were saying.

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres, which holds the names of 54,896 soldiers from the surrounding battlefields, including Passchendaele.

Thursday 27 July 2017


Welcome to my latest Retro Football collage


It was great fun working on this as Wolves are a great club with a great history.

I always chose a legend of each club as a main image. However, there were so many players that fitted the bill, I had a huge list! But in the end I had to use the incomparable BILLY WRIGHT.

He was the first player to reach a 100 England caps, won 3 League Titles, an FA Cup, and captained Wolves and England with great distinction throughout the 1950s. He even married Joy, one of the famous Beverley Sisters, making them the Posh & Becks of their day!

The 50s really were Wolves' moment in time, lead by manager STAN CULLIS, the trophies kept coming, and they established themselves on the European stage with iconic floodlit friendlies with some of Europe's elite. It's a shame the club has been on a roller coaster ride ever since.

Cups, promotions, relegations, financial meltdowns, you name it, it's happened to Wolves!!

As my cut-off point for these retro tributes is the year 1989, the extraordinary goalscorer STEVE BULL just about makes it on here! His debut was 3 years earlier, before he embarked on scoring an absolute mountain of goals for Wolves.

See who you can spot in there!!

Below are a couple of bits to look out for:

Future Wolves manager, Stan Cullis, featured on a 1938 Churchman's Cigarettes Association Footballers card.

Rare metal pin badge celebrating Wolves' 1974 League Cup win over Man City.

Iconic 60s and 70s striker Derek Dougan.

And here is one item I just couldn't fit in:
At the top of the page, in amongst other Wolves players from the 1981/82 season.

I'm currently trying to complete the set of all the major Midlands clubs. At the moment I've nearly finished ASTON VILLA, and will then start work on WEST BROM and BIRMINGHAM.

I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Tuesday 18 July 2017


One of the many delights of living by the sea is finding driftwood on the beach after a storm.

But we at ArtPix Towers like to go a bit further. Not just picking up bits of wood, but coming back with whole bits of furniture!

We found this amazing and slightly bashed bench down on Chesil Beach a couple of months ago.
After hauling it up the hill and getting it home, I set about cleaning it up and working out what to do with it.

As it was missing its legs on one side, I sawed it virtually in half. Then stripped away the bits falling off and repaired the other legs.

After much sanding down, I painted it a rather dashing red and white, and hey presto, a lovely new bench for the back yard!!

So keep an eye out for washed up bits of furniture after a storm!

Wednesday 12 July 2017


Here is another decoupage that has just come off the ArtPix production line ...
As you can see there are some cool retro Space Invaders, raining down on a kaleidoscope of people.

I actually started thinking about this collage about 5 years ago, I painted the canvas bright yellow and collected the images, but have only really had the time to complete it now.  The canvas is 60cm deep x 45cm wide, so it was a nice size to work on.

It's a bit Sgt Pepper/Peter Blake as there are a few famous people in there, but they are mostly just cut from random spare magazines that were lying around. Although I was pleased to get John Betjeman on there, probably tutting at the horrible building!!

I've really enjoyed doing these collages, and I've also completed one on the Liverpool football team as well, that's already in my unit at The Customs House in West Bay.

I've been doing digital collages in Photoshop for about 20 years, so it was a completely different experience and way of working. Nice to get covered in glue and then realise you actually wanted that person over there, but is too late as you've already stuck it down!! A good tip is not to look at it too much when you finish, as you can't change anything, unlike a Photoshop collage!

Now I'm rooting around the ArtPix studio for any spare vintage magazines for my next venture!

Tuesday 4 July 2017


Just recently there has been a flurry of creativity at ArtPix Towers down on the Isle of Portland!
I've finally had a crack at doing a decoupage as well!!

Have been meaning to try it out for absolutely ages, but have never had the time or actually worked out how you do it, and what materials you need.

So I bought a small canvas, some PVA glue and gloss varnish and rescued a torn copy of a Beano from my unit at The Customs House, which I could no longer sell, and started to rip it up!

After working out where all the bits will go, I started sticking it all down. I'd never used PVA glue before and couldn't believe how easy and brilliant it was!! I'll no longer be surrounding myself with clouds of spray mount or getting stuck together with double-sided tape in the future!!!

Then after 3 coats of varnish it was all finished!

It was all an experiment really, to see if I could do it, and obviously using a Beano is hardly original, but it was great fun!

Although I hate to use and cut up original vintage items, I do have a few tatty 1950s Belgian magazines hanging around, that have amazing pictures and adverts in them. So as they are beyond selling I can use those.