Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Spring Exhibition

The week-long Exhibition at Newcastle City Library in early March didn't turn out too bad, I thought it might be a bit soon after our successful Christmas Show and as the first quarter is traditionally the slack period for art sales we weren't predicting massive sales this time around, but we sold two watercolours each, and I also sold five prints, making it a worthwhile exercise. Must say a big thanks to Bob who manned the show for the most part.

From Humble Beginnings . . . .

My life in the arts began in the autumn of 2000, when (as a mature student) I enrolled on an Access course to Art and Design at Sunderland College, studying modules in Art in 2D, 3D, Photography, Life Drawing, History of Art and an introduction to Photoshop.
It was a great course, setting me and my colleagues on the way to the University of Sunderland, for another three brilliant years, studying Fine Art, Illustration, Hot Glass, Computer Imaging and History of Art, completing my studies in the summer of 2004 and graduating with a BA Hons. in Illustration and Design.
A six month break followed, then at the beginning of 2005 I registered as self-employed and embarked on becoming an artist/illustrator. I was still a mad keen birdwatcher and all I wanted to do then was draw and paint the birds I observed and fortunately for me I was gifted a great opportunity when the RSPB began a reintroduction project for that most spectacular bird of prey, the Red Kite, right on my doorstep in the lower Derwent Valley, releasing 94 birds over four years from the summer of 2004.
I was enchanted by these birds from the first time I saw them soaring over our village and just wanted to paint them over and over.
Then tragedy as one of the first birds released was found poisoned on grouse moors in Northumberland just months later, a wake up call to the reality of human nature when birds of prey come into conflict with commercial gain, no matter how little threat they pose.
I did a large scale painting entitled Flash (for that was the bird’s name given by the school which had adopted him) and together with other red kite and bird paintings I had completed I exhibited at the local Thornley Woodlands Centre, and received press coverage due to the tragic story of Flash.

From the Journal 26th June 2005
(click on image to read article)

From the Network Artists Newsletter July 2005
(click on image to read article)

After the exhibition I decided to donate the portrait of Flash to the woodlands centre, where it still adorns the walls today, with a personal statement about the sad episode as a reminder that illegal poisoning still goes on today, and the more people that become outraged about it, the better chance we have of stamping it out.

This exhibition set me on my way, I soon got involved with the Northern Kites Project and subsequently completed high profile commissions for Gateshead Council, the RSPB and Tesco. At the other end of the scale I also had a successful run of wildlife cartoons published in the prestigious BBC Wildlife magazine.

To find out more about aspects of my work and individual projects click on the headed links at the top of the page.