Studio Gossip

My Blog

My Blog.

At last I have set up a dedicated Blog site,evdently a blog is a diary sort of thing to which items, anecdotes and articles,whatever can be added.They stay there and can be easily refered to by 'tags' which are keywords from the subject matter and act as an index..

Initialy viewers will find some of the tales from my past life as an artist, which I wanted to get set down, that they may have read here previously or heard in the talks that I used to give, so why not dive in and see whats there. You can also subscribe to it and be kept up to date of new postings.

The Old Landy
Land Rover Series II by Michael Coopedr

The Land Rover

Land Rover  R.I.P.  -The End of an Era

The Telegraph 

October 4

Land Rover, the world's longest-serving vehicle, is to roll off the production line for the last time after a continuous run of 67 years.

After all these years that famous work horse of the countryside is to disappear.Having started life in 1947 as a farming vehicle, painted in colours that were decided due to the availability of WW2 military surplus paint supplies  it has over the years stood as a symbol for English engineering all over the world.

(Above) The Old Landy - Open Edition Print-See Print Gallery

Seen Better Days
Land Rover Series I by Michael Cooper

Seen Better Days - Land Rover Series I

Signed Limited Edition Print from a painting originally done to celebrate 50 years of The Land Rover.

Available in the  Print Gallery


Memory Lane
George counting Cows

'That is not The Old Man of the Moors' I was told by a farming customer one day as he read the title of my picture of Old George  on South Moor
'That's the King of the Moors.'

A few years ago most folk round here that ever drove to Baltonsborough across South Moor will remember getting stuck behind old George on his bike as he wobbled his way along the road in front of them.
Anyone careless enough to  cut him up too close with their car ran the risk of him attacking their vehicle with his trusty walking stick as he made his way to his lonely little red brick cottage on the moor: where he had no power or running water and I am told that some of the  Meals on Wheels ladies were quite  terrified of him.

The local farmers used to pay George to keep an eye on their cattle grazing on the surrounding pastures. Which may account for his home being known as on the OSmaps as Watchwell House, possibly the home of generations of cattle watchers.
I have heard that up North they refer to such characters as 'The Looker' and that when any cattle they 'look' over are sold they get a share of the price.

More about George

As the buying up of old run down country cottages became more popular, more than one townie thinking George's place was a deserted and derelict ruin ripe for modernization had a hell of a shock as they tried clean a window with their hand to peer in, only to see a weather beaten old face peering back at them,shaking a fist and telling them to  'b....r off'

Legend has it that one dear lady having made him swerve into the rhyne (Ditch or dykeelsewhere in the country) had a real shock when she got hold of his leg to help him and his prosthesis came off in her hand.
However they weren't too far from the old Butleigh Cottage hostpital and they say she needed more reatment more  than old George.

As a habitué of the Greyhound at Baltonsborough or The Rose and Portculis at Butleigh George, I am also told, was even known to adjust his limb with binder twine in the bar. 

On finding him lying  in the road one day having taken liberally of Somerset's own amber liquid another farmer shoved him in the back of his Land Rover and took him off to the care of his niece, who promptly administered more cider in an effort to bring him round.

Obviously I have no substantial proof of the stories of the 'King of the Moors' they are just what various customers have told me over the years and I trust that any descendants of George will take this in good humour as a tribute to a local legend 
My picture'George Counting Cows' no longer in print I'm afraid, was not taken from life,it's just a memory image of George as he leant over the gates alongthe Baltonsborough Road watching over the herds.

Artist Proof Copies Few Left

Hidden in the shelves

Artist's Proofs tucked away in the shelves

Now it's over two years since we moved to Ashcott, I have almost got my studio sorted out and came across some artists proofs of Marcus Barn and The Old Field-Marshall ( only eleven of these) see the print gallery for details.

And oi thort you were dead!

Fame at Last

My wife and I were driving back from Wells one day when we had to stop for an elderly  farmer and his herd of cows.

He popped his head in the car side window saying "I should av stopped they others- but oi let em thro- but oi ad to stop you zur."

He then asked when we came from and recognising the address he said " Oi know you, you'r wottsis name arn't you. You'r Mr.. you know Mr.. tut  tut Mr?"

In the end my wife helped him out of his memory lapse "Cooper" she prompted.

"That's it Mr Cooper. Oi thort you werr dead!"


Bonsai -  an Art a Hobby or is it a way of life?

Ever since my days at Crispin Hall I have nutured a few of these specimens of what Susan  my dear wife cruely refers to as my Twigs in Pots. Regardless of her disparaging remarks about my little hobby I have decided to put pictures of some of my trees on here from time to time just to show you what else I get upto.

And if you are interested in the art of bonsai visit Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club's website

Food for thought
The Pipers Inn,Ashcott


 Cooper's on the Menu

Years ago William Wordsworth attended a wedding breakfast at the Pipers Inn on the Taunton Road/Bridgwater fork at Ashcott and Pricess Isabella of Spain stopped there on her way to London. If they had waited until 2013 for their visits then they could have had a good look at all the pictures that now hang on the restaurant walls as well, all by some local artist by the name of Cooper.
Tel:   01458 210030

Other  Local Eating Places

GigisItalian Restaurant Opposite the town hall in Glastonbury,we have been eating there as a family for many many years,need I say anything else?
Tel:  01458 834612

The Quarry - Keinton Mandeville- Really  good pub food , never had a bad meal there
Tel: 01458 223367

The Natterjack - On the A 371 Shepton Mallet toCastle Cary road near  Royal Bath and West ShowgroundUsed to go there years ago when we lived nearer, went again recently,still very good.
Tel:  01749 860253


Past works of interest
Delage by Michael Cooper

Vintage Delage captured in watercolour

This painting was a commission for the owner of this amazing car, one that had been in his familly since new possibly.It certainly still looks like new, not bad for for a vehicle built before before I was born..


Somerset Crafts


SOMERSET CRAFTS at The Avalon Marshes Centre

Every other Thursday I am doing a turn as steward at the Somerset Craft Centre which is part of the Avalon Marshes Centre. The base for English Nature and the RSPB on the nature reserves there.

The gallery has a large display of work from various craftsmen and women . Pottery, wood turning, glass, fabrics, stone sculpture, jewellery, silver, ironwork, wildlife photos, and exotic soaps  and of course paintings. Lots of goodies for Christmas presents .
Parking is free and refreshments are available at 'The Eco Friendly Bites'  till 4pm 



BIRDWATCHING On the Avalon Marshes - Somerset Levels

The gallery is only a few minutes away from the entrance to the Shapwick Heath Nature Reserve riverside walk, Noahs, Decoy  and Canada Farm Lakes where one can sit in the hides to watch the birdlife, butterflies and sometimes if you are lucky the otters.

A  walk down alongside the canal for about 15 or 20 minutes takes you past the bridge on the left, with a path through the woods to another hide, or to your right, another path through woods to the hide (up steps) at Noahs Lake. Noahs is where an Osprey or two generally call in for a while twice a year on their way north and back.
Continuing straight on along the path will bring you to a road, a pub and a small car park.Then straight across it will  bring you to the RSPB Ham Wall Reserve also very well worth a visit.

Ten minutes away by car there are two other Somerset Wildlife Trust Reserves-

Catcott Lows-  mainly a site for winter wetland wild fowl, where one can drive to within a few yards of the hide, great for anyone with mobility problems and in another direction Westhay Moor

View from the hides at Ham Wall RSPB Reserve
Ham Wall RSPB Reserve Somerset

Cat Nap Limited Edition Giclée Print




© Michael Cooper

All images on this site are copyright the artist, Michael Cooper. The purchase of original paintings does not include the purchase of the copyright. All rights remain the property of the artist and will remain the property of his estate or heirs for 70 years after death


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