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About this blog

A blog by Vic Rolfe - (user name smb on this site) - featuring some of my early attempts at pastel painting, some very amateur photography - and the odd bit of travelling that I do from time to time.

Entries in this blog

Not much travel recently

Well... Like most people, I haven't had a lot of travel to write about over the last year. I finally got off a cable ship where I had been stranded for months, in Dubai on the 2nd of June 2020 - and I have been in sunny Somerset ever since. Added to that, I have had a severe bout of illness, (not Covid), for the last three months, whereby I have been virtually housebound - with or without travel restrictions. Anyway, it is still cold but the sun is shining. There are signs of spring al

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Denmark in the summertime

Well, I did say that it would be a while before I managed to get around to uploading the photos from my brief little break in Denmark at the end of July/first week in August this year. September is nearly over now, but I have been busy with work - (which, for me, working on ships, generally means very poor to non-existent internet...) And, aside from that, I had to earn some money first, in order to be able to renew my subscription for the software that artfreaks.com runs on, so that I could get

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It's good to be home in Manila!

I love the Philippines. Filipinos are, without a doubt, some of the friendliest, most fun-loving, outgoing and easygoing people in the world. And that is quite an awesome combination! I call Manila 'home' - and PAL (Philippine Airlines) also happens to be my favourite airline. I also quite like Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)... It's nothing special in terms of modernity or facilities but checking in, Security, Immigration, Customs and all of the usual rigmarole generally wor

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Welcome, to the Shinkansen!! :D

'Not too much time for painting in recent years... I have a portrait of my youngest daughter on the go - and I will definitely finish it one day. (I started it when she was 16. She is now 19 - so I will have to finish it while she is, technically at least, still a teenager!) Photography... Well, this little blog of mine is also supposed to be about some of my attempts at photography, so here are a few snaps I took of the Shinkansen, on a recent (work-related) trip to Japan.   Welc

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ArtFreaks.com rescued from death's own door!

Well... Another failed software upgrade, resulting in the site "hanging" yet again, was the final straw! Cut a long story short - but I actually asked Liquid Web to just cancel my server contract and delete my two remaining websites. It was only when I remembered that I still need a couple of the artfreaks.com email addresses, that I decided to keep artfreaks.com going, in some form, at least. The other site is now well and truly history. I personally deleted all the files for it,

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Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire

The title to this entry is an allusion to the break-up of my first, slightly unsuccessful marriage - and my descent into the pits of hell with the second. That was all over ten years ago but, today, I find myself wondering why I devote so much time and energy, (never mind money,) to a bunch of websites... It costs me well over $US 400 a month, just to keep them "on air." I can only take so much of my paid job, so could this just be a diversion to keep me busy and keep my mind away from thin

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Two firsts!

The completion of my latest painting represents two 'firsts' for me!   Firstly, having been struggling with issues of lack of inspiration, finding the time and actually being able to complete my previous painting, (started last year sometime) - this is my first complete painting of the year 2012   Secondly, this is my first ever painting that was not based on a photograph - and no photographic reference material was used - not even for the large (lily-like?) flower...  

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A blank sheet of paper springs to life with something from my imagination!

Today, I managed to get started on a new pastel painting. (Apart from finishing-off another one that I started last year sometime, this is my first art of 2012!!)     The initial outline of my painting, at the end of the first session.     Up until today, I had only ever painted from photographs. Photography is a hobby of mine and, as much as possible, I try to use my own photographs as reference material. However, my printer has been out of ink for some time

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The struggle continues...

My first complete painting of 2011...   Pretty Po Kami 001   From a selfie taken by a pretty young teenage Filipina girl member of the Pretty Po Kami girls group on Facebook.com     There was another painting that I finished in January but it was started back in November of 2010. It was supposed to be erotic art - but it is certainly one of the worst paintings that I have managed to produce in recent years:   The struggle continues, as they say!

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Finally!

This thing had been sitting around in my living room, half finished for about nine months:     Mindanao palayan - almost ready for planting rice   I finally got around to finishing it a few days ago.   'Feels good to be back in the swing...   I was almost starting to get really cheesed-off with the thing, as I frantically tried to get it finished the other day. But I managed to resist the temptation of over-doing it and ending-up with a complete

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Artistic inspiration and missed photo opportunities

I'm just on my way back to Manila after spending a very pleasant week in a very remote farm in Davao del Sur, Mindanao, (in the Southern part of the Philippines). 'Extremely primitive conditions but the hospitality was great and I had a whole stretch of clean, clear and warm river water to myself! And it was great fun riding a motorcycle with four of us on it, going to the local market... Me, the driver and two very pretty and innocent country girls - one 17 years young and the other one just tu

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Satisfaction at last!! :)

Benjemin - One (Pastel painting of a German Shepherd dog)   Well. The landscape background might be a bit crude but I can honestly say that this is the first painting that I have made that I am truly satisfied with!! I could say that I was deliberately concentrating on the dog, in order to "bring it forward" or something - but that would be a lie. Notwithstanding, after three years of trying hard, I can honestly say that I am damned chuffed with this one!   Four months in the

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Jumong and Shoubi

I haven't had much time for painting lately but one I did manage to finish recently was a little commemorative pastel for a lovely dog...     Jumong and Shoubi     Just a small pastel painting that I done as a way of remembering Shoubi's best mate, Jumong - who sadly died while I was away on my recent commission at sea.   The official story that I was given was that Jumong got sick and died. Not surprising really, as he spent most of the last months

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Manic-depressive painting and trying to get back into the swing...

I've been manically busy with this and some of my other websites for most of my present vacation, (from my work as a seaman.) And yes - I have also been going through one or two pretty minor depressions. Nothing serious, you understand - just the normal stuff that anyone would suffer, when they have been putting their heart, sole, all their energy and almost every waking hour; day after day into a task that they know may or may not eventually reap rewards - or might just as easily end-up in comp

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A Disastrous First Exhibition

Originally posted in the Forums: Oct 16 2007, 09:44 PM I just had my first - (totally disastrous!!) exhibition - where I didn't even sell a single painting... I was ripped-off for PHP40,000 by the Lilet Artista Art Gallery in MH Del Pilar Street, Ermita, Manila. The half page press release that I was supposed to get in the Manila Bulletin, ended up as a single paragraph in Tikatik - or some such cheap rubbish tabloid newspaper. 😂 No flowers, as promised - and not even a tin of Skyfl

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The Finished Product!

Originally posted in the Forums: Jan 21 2007, 11:58 AM And the finished product: Pastel painting of a pretty, smiling teenage country girl in the Philippines, sitting on her elder sister's motorbike. Jelyn Nakaupo sa Motor ni Ate - (More-or-less finished) I will probably have to work on the hen and chicks some more. Jelyn's shirt could also do with some more white and shading. But, if at all, I will do this immediately before framing...  

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Not Quite so Much of a Struggle Now!

Originally posted in the Forums: Jan 2 2007, 08:04 AM Not so much of a struggle now! Here's my latest 'work in progress...' Jelyn Nakaupo sa Motor ni Ate! - (In progress) Who knows how this will turn out. All I can say is that I am enjoying myself here!   Watch this space!    

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Filipina country girls - Sheine Mae and Jelyn

Originally posted in the Forums: Dec 25 2006, 06:08 AM Here's my latest attempt... Sheine Mae and Jelyn It should have looked something like this... Sheine Mae and Jelyn I'm not aiming for photo-realism here - (even if I did have the skill and the patience to do it). In fact, I like a little bit of style... But, looking at the photo and the painting together like this, I realized that I made Sheine Mae's head far too big. I'll have to try this one again

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One I Didn't Burn! Painting of a beautiful blonde girl with lovely breasts

Originally posted in the Forums: Nov 13 2006, 03:51 AM Oh, Here's one that I didn't burn... A sexy, very pretty blonde girl with lovely breasts!! I know that most people will think it is a pretty corny painting but, who gives a damn?! I enjoyed doing it, and I like it! And, I have to admit, it was done mostly in Rembrandts... So why am I getting hot under the collar about Rembrandts? Because I have completely run out of my Schmingke SOFT pastels, I can't afford to order

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Are Rembrandt Pastels Really that Soft?

Originally posted in the forums: Nov 13 2006, 03:42 AM Rembrandts are a soft pastel? I don't think so!!!!! Depending on the colour, they range from hard to rock hard. You can keep them! And where did this all come about from? I've just wasted a PHP250.00 sheet of 300gsm watercolour paper and God only knows how much fixative and poxy Rembrandts - on a painting that I have just burned. Sorry... I should have taken a picture first, in order to show you how bad it was? In al

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Getting Carried Away with Pastels Children of the Quake

Originally posted in the forums: May 10 2006, 08:36 PM I've been getting a bit carried away with my pastels lately. Here's a fairly recent painting that I was quite proud of: This was based on a newspaper photograph, depicting a couple of children trying to keep warm around a camp fire after an earthquake in Nepal.  

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More Practise Needed!

Originally posted in the forums: Jun 11 2005, 03:44 AM So now, after about 2 weeks of practice - and with the aid of the most excellent book: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain I have come up with a couple of passable drawings.   Ok, I know that my attempts at drawing are far from perfect... Life doesn't have to be perfect and neither do my attempts at art!! The main thing is that I am happy with what I produced. Not bad, eh?!!   When I made the

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First Drawings

Originally posted in the forums: Jun 4 2005, 04:45 AM Ok... Now I have exposed myself to ridicule!!! It's about 33 years since I last attempted to make any of my own art so these are very much the "Before" drawings. Hopefully, the "After" (reading a few books and a lot of practise) ones will be a little better... Learning to draw is an exciting challenge for me. And although the standard of my work is a bit of a joke at the moment, I have to say that I am NOT in the least bit disappointed wit

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How I got started

Originally posted in the forums: May 29 2005, 02:20 AM   At the tender young age of 47 years, I've finally decided to have another go at making some art... I was never any good at drawing but, at around age 14, I did once produce what I considered to be a pretty good oil painting of an A4 Pacific- (steam locomotive) hauled train, speeding down the tracks (supposedly! ) on its world record-breaking 126mph run. Having spoken to a few artist friends, I have come to the conclusion that I need t

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