the art of ruddell



making the most of every journey . .

arriving late one night in Berlin I had a meeting in the morning and a flight to the UK in the afternoon . . I still took a walk before breakfast to absorb the historic atmosphere . . . the memories and photos from that walk remain: I caught up on my sleep a long time ago!!

on the trail of The Prisoner in north Wales . .

in one of Ed Abbott's experimental XJ6 Series IIIs, this one with prototype 5 speed gearbox, racing cams and Jaguar D-Type valves

where am I? . . . "in the village"
what do you want? . . . "information"
you won't get it . . .

"just fill in your race, religion, hobbies . . . what you like to read, what you like to eat, what you were . . . "

"what you wanted to be . . . any family illnesses, any politics . . . "

I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered!

my life is my own

Portmeirion, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis's architectural masterpiece, or in his words "a collection of fallen buildings", was a perfect location to film the enigmatic TV series in 1966-67

heading back to Browns Lane Monday morning . . utilising the 200bhp straight 6 we managed to outrun Orange Alert and escape the village . . . let's face it - the Mini Moke just doesn't cut it

operational headquarters for many ruddell demos up and down Germany and neighbouring countries . . my CDI colleague's beautiful home in Senne on the outskirts of Bielefeld

located on the teutoburgerwald I usually had a morning walk through the forest before breakfast . . here on a misty September morning . .

my walk circled round the local flugplatz, where occasionaly the tranquility was broken by a small aircraft taking off

the stand furniture for the ORBIT Computer Exhibition in Basel was handmade by ex-Jaguar craftsman John Roach. The Basel hotels were oversubscribed so . . .

we stayed in the Landhaus Brunhilde guesthouse in Schopfheim, at the southern end of the Black Forest, from where it was a relatively short drive down to Basel each morning

It was a great week: working in Switzerland, living in Germany and eating in France in the evenings!!

we were feeling pretty relaxed . . until we remembered that we were crossing in and out of the EU every day . . with a bootful of French wine from Turckheim!!

it is good to know that I was the Computerexperte aus Großbritannien . . .

flying into Salzburg on Mayday for an aerospace exhibition . . it was like arriving in paradise, such beauty and stunning scenery . .

complimented by a superior flying experience on Niki Lauda's airline where plastic cultlery, foil trays and paper napkins are banned: instead you are served a five star meal by waitresses dressed in jeans and racing caps!!

it was downhill from there . . I had to source my own Silicon Graphics monitor from somewhere in Salzburg, and it rained continously for the rest of the week. I spent the evenings tracking down film locations from The Sound of Music, but failed to find the "16 going on 17" gazebo . .

I did locate the site of the final escape scene - St Peter's Cemetery, which today is a lot more developed than it appeared in the 1965 film where it was a bare graveyard with derelict buildings.

good view of the lake and the French Alps as we descend towards Geneva for Telecom 91, a huge telecoms show . .

that consisted of amazingly complex exhibition stands the like of which I had never seen before!

we were with Mercury Communications demonstrating video conferencing and data transfer, where my colleague in the UK was passing me huge CAD models in real time, pre-dating broadband by 10 or 15 years, so it was advanced stuff for the period!!

accomodation was hard to find so we stayed in La Tour-de-Peliz, taking the train every morning to Geneva via Lausanne, a journey of 1 hour 17 minutes . . exactly . . every day! One morning I spotted a piece of litter beside the railway line just outside Geneva . . what a disgrace!!

it was a spectacular location: one minute's walk down the Rue du Château was the lake where I watched the onset of morning each day, gazing across at the 10,686 ft high Dents du Midi

one of several visits to motor city Italy - Turin, training engineers at SEPI . . later to become part of the Lear Corporation, a major supplier to FIAT

it was a great joy to travel around Europe, working alongside engineers in my own industry, but having the chance to understand something of their different culture.

trying to beat my students on the driving simulator at lunch break . . I never managed it!!

Valentino Park . . Enzo Ferrari sat on a bench in Valentino Park in 1921 to consider his future after FIAT had made him redundant. Maybe the very bench I was sitting on . .


exploring beyond the bounds . . ten hours into a journey to Brasilia we have left the coastal mountain ranges behind as the sun is rising on the central plateau some 1860 feet above sea level. .


the Itapemirim sleeper coaches pull into a rest stop and breakfast consists of some scrumptous misto quente sandwiches!!


we have stopped by the Três Marias lake in the state of Minas Gerais; this is a sharp contrast to the forests and mountains of Rio de Janeiro


Kate Adie entitled her autobiography The Kindness of Strangers I understand a little bit what she means . . a family I meet on the Itapemirim invite me to dinner in Brasilia, and then taxi me round Brasilia's architectural wonders!


the Brazilian National Congress, just part of the city's amazing architecture by Oscar Niemeyer

The beautiful Palácio da Alvorada, the president's palace and personal chapel . . . flat bottomed cumulus humilis drift silently overhead!!

"Meteoro", a sculpture by Bruno Giorgi, seems to float above the lake outside the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia.

the simple elegance of Niemeyer's touch . . the cathedral in Brasilia, that sits in a lake and is accessed by a dramatic subway. He just didn't care . .


the end of a great day . . the sun going down behind the National Congress . .

leaving the South of Brasil on a Tuesday morning to fly up to the Amazon: it was a great morning, drinking cafezino in the departure lounge; watching the sun rise on the mountains while my ex-colleagues slaved away at their drawing boards in rainy Coventry . . .

after some hours of travelling it's "everybody out, the aircraft has broken down!!" My travelling companion, a Brasilian entrepreneur, comes back from the desk "Good news" he says, "we won't be delayed long . . . just a day"

we are in Cuiabá, in the Mato Grosso, one of the hottest places in all of Brasil . .

so . . time to do a spot of industrial espionage with my companion, at a French owned rubber processing factory, where he makes use of my engineering skills to size up some machinery dimensions . . by eye!

The Amazon Basin is an immense flatness, as far as the eye can see . . .

The replacement 737 makes it up into Amazonia without further problems . . .

Sena Madureira, 2000 miles from the mouth of the Amazon River is the biggest town in the state of Acre, population 34,230 (2007)

this is a great picture . . it shows a cross-section of the local people as they wait for an anniverasry parade through the town

"Sr Jack" collects his thoughts prior to sharing his journey of faith with several families deep in the Amazonian rain forest ..

"The recent rain is the cause of many of the luxuriant fresh smells among the hanging vines, dead bamboo; hidden flowers and dense green tradução.

It is two hours since we left the treacherously slippy estrada and parked the truck among the bushes, before heading straight into the forest:

Antonio is in front, crouching as he goes, rifle in hand, Jack next, checking the path, buffer next carrying the bins and me last with camera and tape recorder."


" My eyes have grown accustomed to the many shades of green, the variety of trees and bushes; all picked out, in varying intensity by the sun, depending on how dense the tree canopy is high overhead.

Crickets squeak continuously but a multitude of other noises can be heard . . shrieking birds, hooting sounds that echo through the trees, trills, things that vibrate like tiny motors, all set against the backdrop of a thousand bird-songs!" . . written in my travel journal at the time

I spend some time painting John 10 verse 10 on the main wall inside the church . . .

. . . subsequent upgrades of the church interior have just gone over the text carefully so my Old English script is still there 40 years later!!

doing some sketching for the local children to while away a long hot afternoon . . .

after a month in Sena Madureira MAF fly us to Boca do Acre where we land on the main road outside the town " what - there's no airstrip?" the pilot asks Jack!!

circling round at a few hundred feet before landing . . . every tree is different, this is not forest, this is jungle

heading across the River Purus in our leaky canoe, being careful to avoid the local whirlpool, while I do my David Attenborough impression . .

the rain hammers down after lunch and brings a welcome chance to cool off a bit . . .

after the afternoon's tropical downpour the wet streets steam like a movie special effect . . . then the sun breaks out below the clouds - awesome

just a normal day on the Transamazonica after the afternoon rains . . .

afternoon downpour . . the temperature drops to around 30°C, the road becomes awash with water and people stay indoors . . . for a while. Love this view over to the old church, the school room and the new church, with more of my script writing visible above the entrance


last view of Sena Madureira as we leave the small Amazonian town and start the long journey back to England in December . . which sounds unappealingly cold . . so


from South America to South Africa . . my first view of Table Mountain and the Lion's Head as the SAA 727 banks round to land in Capetown

across the bay from Table Mountain and Capetown . . . this photo follows my custom of looking in the glossy travel books of famous cities to see good places to photograph from. This location was hard to find . . it was behind a run down industrial estate!!

a perfect autumn evening behind Table Mountain - the Constantia area . . .

it was a slightly overcast morning when we meandered our way down the Cape Peninsula, from Fish Hoek to the Cape of Good Hope, relishing each secluded little cove on the way, including Miller's Point . .

southernmost beach in Africa - Dias beach at the Cape of Good Hope - all is calm . . .

being averse to retracing my steps I cut across country to get back onto the Garden Route after visiting the Cango Caves . . . which gives me a fright . . it's dirt roads

safely back onto the Garden Route . .

one of the most memorable aspects of the Western Cape is the mountains . . when the sky is clear they appear to be a really intense blue colour! Tranquil Franschhoek . . on the famous wine route

I take some moments in the shadow of the Huguenot memorial to savour the peace, and consider what the monument signifies . . religious freedom.

the new world: my first experience of driving in the USA, in a friend's station wagon, with a manual gear shift, in the rain, in downtown Philadelphia. . .

later that same day in Pennsylvania . . it's still raining. Designers gouache and fibre tipped marker pen to capture the wondrous gazebo at Longwood Gardens

flying into La Guardia . . a great view of Manhattan, still with it's twin towers in 1980

typical San Franscisco weather on the Golden Gate bridge . . coastal mist

Sunday morning at the Grand Canyon's North Rim Lodge, where a small interdemoninational worship service took place overlooking the spectacular view.

the same morning: contemplating the meaning of life on the North Rim's Widforss Trail . . .

joining a small group of people at Cape Royal, watching in awed silence at sunset!

done on location in gouache on artboard. Time was a factor as the sun washed the canyon walls with continually changing colours!!

gouache on artboard. Painted in the shade of the trees at Indian Gardens, half way down the Bright Angel Trail, before tackling the exhausting climb back up to the South Rim . .

which is 4.8 miles back to the trail head . . but with a vertical ascent of 3000ft!! The trail head is just visible on this picture and Indian Gardens near the bottom.

The famous Half Dome is just visable in the morning light as the morning sun picks out the ephemeral Bridal Veil falls in Yosemite Valley. Watercolour, then pastel to create the morning light beams.

Vernal Falls, on the Merced River: where thousands of gallons of water plunge 317 feet to the pool below

after heading out the back of Yosemite Valley, over the Tioga Pass - a small one horse town in the Sierra Nevada on the way to Lake Tahoe

autumn in Minnesota: a quiet backwater in Little Falls

September sunset over The Mississippi in the Lindbergh State Park just north of Little Falls

Sand Creek bridge in Michigan, one of my favourite spots on the Aman Indian Trail near Grand Rapids . .

Hallowed Ground . . the CDI offices on East Beltline where the DesignConcept3D software was written in the early 90s . . . .

on my first visit I arrived late, picked up the company Pontiac, swung by Meijer 24 hours to stock up with food, then drove up here . . around midnight. There was frost sparkling in the moonlight, and a lone deer standing in the parking lot! I thought "I already love this place!"

snow and morning sun at the Residence Inn on East Beltline in Grand Rapids as I head out for a normal day at the office . .

deep snow in Grand Rapids, but this is the US of A and life goes on without any hold ups or dramas . .

on Michigan Avenue, heading west out of Grand Rapids towards the lake. . . my standard evening or week-end practice when working in this mid-west town.

Lake Michigan in March - sand and snow, and a beach to yourself . . . just the faint whiff of woodsmoke from the cliff top condos

same beach at Grand Haven in September, and still nobody about . . . .

whether it's coffee and morning papers at the week-end, evening grill and time round the Pool Table, or live jazz on a Tuesday, The Kirby Grill has to be the highlight of any visit to Grand Haven

Grand Haven lighthouse at sunset and time to reflect on the change of pace in my life. After 20 years in the car industry CDI Technologies is a new world: my activities for this amazing company would create many highlights for my travel journal

undercover cop . . I had a video camera set up on a tripod between the seats as I drove into Chicago on the I 90. Several motorists began to overtake me, then throttled back as they caught sight of my camera . . haha!!

driving into Detroit from Ann Arbor for the Silicon Graphics launch of the Indigo2 Extreme. Classified as the person who had travelled the farthest for the launch (from England) I won a T-Shirt . .

heading south on the I 710 out of LA. It's just another normal California day . . wall to wall sunshine!

In Long Beach I stopped and asked someone where the Hotel Queen Mary was . . they pointed to the ocean liner "That's it!" . . oh

The hotel occupies the front half of the Queen Mary, and the exhibition halls occupy the rear parts of the ship. Well that's different!

a short walk round the hotel before breakfast . . . along the deserted decks . .

All set up and ready to demo some virtual prototyping!! "Buy our software or else . . . "

the Apollo Soyuz exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, the 1975 mission was a symbol of the policy of détente that the two superpowers were pursuing at the time

wonderful full size model/prototype of the Lunar Excursion Module in the Apollo Building at the Kennedy Space Centre

Aldrin and Armstrong's view as they land in the Sea of Tranquillity in 1969 . . "drifting to the right a little"

the International Space Station production line . . . Destiny is now safely deployed in orbit

approaching the 526 feet high Vehicle Assembly Building, the largest single story building in the world! Even the Kennedy Space Centre bus drivers are still touched by the magic of the Apollo years.

eating lunch overlooking Atlantis STS-101 on launch pad 39A . . I returned for the launch on April 24th 2000, but it was cancelled at T-8 minutes due to high winds, grrrr . .

the first time to leave the shores of the UK in 1975. Not by ferry or by aeroplane though . . by Hoverlloyd, from Ramsgate to Dunkirk!!

although the snow was slightly thin on the ground it served it's purpose. This was my introduction to the amazing Schwarzwald air . .

Villingen Schwenningen was on the edge of the Black Forest . . near enough for access to the slopes . . . the weather was pure sunshine

air so clean and dry that it even tasted different . . the UK can be so damp

cuckoo clock factory that we visited in Shonach . . I spent some deutschmarks and bought a clock

the clock, with it's beautiful carving, is still on the wall of my studio, reminding me of that first exciting European adventure many years ago

I love this picture . . the M1 . . No traffic . . . or central reservation!!

early morning in the Black Forest getting ready for another day on the slopes

old school ski-ing: a coach, which pulled a trailer full of skis, and a local guesthouse to eat in at night

time exposure taken on a tripod of the cosy interior of the guesthouse restaurant: after a day on the snow covered mountains hot coffee and home made cake tastes extra good!!

there's nothing quite like mountain chalets, deep snow and bright sunshine to lift the spirits!!

I always liked this picture . . descending carefully through the Schwarzwald at the end of a week's ski-ing - the tint of the coach windscreen gives the colour to the top half of the picture

looking relaxed at Seoul's National Palace . . but looks are deceiving . .

my visits to South Korea seemed to be dogged with bad weather and re-occuring computer problems

many hours were spent in hotel rooms, using the original tri-band mobile phones to call the USA to get fixes for the hardware and software glitches . .

the sun rises but time waits for no man, nor for computer experts . . in a couple of hours I will face a roomful of people and they will expect everything to work perfectly . . no pressure then

not to mention afterwards having to sit on the floor . . . and negotiate another dinner of kimchi . .

well into serious discussions with the customers . . . it was a killer on my European legs . .

gazing out of a Seoul hotel window - I was actually watching the agent until he went round the corner. I had just spent an hour haggling over the terms of a maintenance contract while the bar musicians were trying to distract me by playing South American jazz . . .

back in UK . . a quiet autumn day at Westonbirt Arboretum

damp and misty - the light comes from the colour of the leaves . .

re-capturing the colours from that first autumn visit has been difficult but this year wasn't bad . .

the old days at Birmingham airport when you could stand outside a few metres away from arriving aircraft . . and sniff the aviation fuel . .

It is always a great feeling arriving at Dover Port . . knowing that the M25 is behind us and . . .

the hectic busy roads of France await . .

getting well down the A61 past Toulouse . . you really feel that you are putting some miles on the clock when you get this far towards the Mediterranean . . It's particularly nice to see the signs for "Barcelone" not many hours since sitting in M25 traffic jams!!

sitting down to breakfast in Perpignan . . the sunlight, the ambience and the smell of coffee signified the start of our summer . .

running alongside the Mediterranean, the mountains and the mesmerising charm of Spain beckon

located amongst the Botanical forest, Castell Beach is reached by a small country road that's not on the map

struggling on through the long afternoon . . . on the coastal path near Castell

the platja Castell - contains some interesting ruins

old Catalan buildings, scorching weather and lazy days

Llafranc: heading down for a swim across the bay before breakfast with Hannah

my last morning in Spain this summer is mellow after overnight rain: unknown couple walk past as I drink coffee at the Llevant

you walk up 129 steps out of Llafranc to get onto the coastal path, and pass this wonderful house at the top. Been planning to paint this for 5 years!! Watercolour and fine point marker.

the Centre Fraternal is a cultural centre, casino and coffee house in existence since 1887, located on the main square in Palafrugell

on a dull day you can spend many hours here partaking of the excellent tapas, wine and spanish cuisine . . the only thing is there are no dull days . .

the Costa Brava: the forgotten coast. Don't tell anyone . . its quiet . .