Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Show of Two Halves

First week of the Newcastle City Library Show has passed with some success with Bob and I making well over a dozen sales between us.
Strangely all my sales came from one side of the screen, meaning on Tuesday I had to go down and re-stock as it was looking pretty bare, not that I'm complaining. It seems to be appealing to the Xmas gift market with the small watercolours and prints priced at £25 or under being the top sellers.

Side 1 - selling like hot cakes
(More pictures now installed)

Side 2 - selling like cold cakes
(but attracting more comment)

I received this email last night from one happy visitor :

"Just wanted to say how much my mum and I enjoyed looking at your exhibition in City Library yesterday. My mum lives in west Yorkshire and loves to spot red kites, so she was particularly taken with these images, although we thought everything was great - such an interesting mix of styles and media."

Stephanie T. (Newcastle)

Thanks very much Stephanie, glad you enjoyed it.

And there's still plenty of time to get down for a look as the show is on until next Wednesday evening. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Up and Running . . .

Well it took two days, but finished putting up the Newcastle Library Show this morning, and as has happened at my last four shows now, I sold my first picture before they were all up on the wall. :)

A good first full day all round in fact as both me and Bob sold two small pics each, and a third one of mine has been reserved. Here are a few photos of our display, not great due to the reflective nature of the site and today's bright sunshine. 
One part of my display

Oh Dear, gaps appearing already

One part of Bob's display

I won't be back floor-walking 'til Tuesday at the earliest, but Bob will be on hand Sat and Mon (10-5pm) for sales and enquiries.


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Countdown to the Show, 1 day to go . . .

Preparations all done, show starts tomorrow :

Anyone wanting to visit the show we're at Newcastle City Library from tomorrow afternoon (by the time the hanging is done) til December 4th.
The display screens are situated just inside the Northumberland Street Entrance, or up the first flight of stairs from the Laing Gallery side.
It looks like I'll be hanging half my display tomorrow and half on Friday due to the number of pictures to transport and the weather forecast. We're aiming to finish hanging by mid-day so I'll be on site from then until 2pm tomorrow and at least 11 - 2pm Friday. I'm afraid I won't be able to get down at the weekend, but my co-artist Bob will be 'walking the floor' and sell or reserve any pictures.

It's a selling show for Christmas so all pictures are at good value prices and may be taken from the display on day of purchase if the buyer cannot return. However I wish to keep the display intact for a few days at least so if any interest is shown before Monday I will do my best to just 'red-spot' the picture and arrange a collection date. I will re-stock at the end of next week if there are too many gaps (wishful thinking) so anyone wishing to see the full display I'd advise to have a look this weekend or as soon as poss thereafter (just going off last year's event when our show proved very popular, though you never know and this one might be a big flop).

Fingers crossed ;)


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Countdown to the Show, 2 days to go . . .

Finally picked up the remainder of my frames this morning so now have the complete display framed, bagged and tagged, and scattered all over the house. No doubt my better half will be only too pleased when they disappear at the end of the week and no doubt (like me) she hopes they don't come back (but for a different reason).

So the final pictures, six individual 'birds in character', original watercolours framed in white 26 x 20cms. Hope they prove as popular here as they did at Washington Wildfowl Centre in the summer.

The Garden bird selection (clockwise top left) : Blackbird, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Robin, Long-tailed Tit, Bullfinch.
Great Christmas gifts for lovers of garden birds. That's all my images, can't wait to get them all up on display, roll on Thursday :)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Countdown to the Show, 3 days to go . . .

Still haven't been for my last half-dozen frames as forgot about a meeting at the school today (must get tomorrow or I'll start to panic)
So in the time I had available I laminated a few posters, artist statements and labels for the show.

Since I started out I've tried many styles and media as (like most interests) art is one long learning process, and though I'm narrowing it down now I still try to put a good mix whenever I have an exhibition. So added to the mix of traditional and contemporary works are a few images adapted from the Twisted Nature cartoon series which ran in BBC Wildlife magazine from 2008-2011.

Wotter Surprise - 16 x 16cms

Badger and Snail - 35 x 35cms (unframed)

Apondcalypse Now - 35 x 35cms (unframed)

And a set of cartoon watercolour ducks which would make a nice update for Hilda Ogden's wall :)

Goldeneye, Teal and Goosander - all 16.5 x 16.5 cms

Aye there's something to suit all tastes that's for sure :)


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Countdown to the Show, 4 days to go . . .

Wildlife has always been my inspiration for making art, and since my interest in dragonflies came to the fore I've been looking for different ways of getting them down on paper. I've been photographing the local species over the last three summers and have a bucketfull of references and ideas through observations which I hope one day soon will transfer to a whole exhibition of dragonfly related artworks.

Meantime I've started pretty safe, made a few small and simply-composed damselfly pics which sold at craft fairs and have another similar work at the Library show,  Azure damselfly (23 x 23cms) :

I've also recently posted some illustrations I made in ink and watercolour of some of my favourite local species, and if I say so myself each one improved on the previous as I fine-tuned the technique. They're all A4 size and from top left (clockwise) are Four-spotted Chaser, Broad-bodied Chaser, Ruddy Darter, Black Darter (outer dimensions 33.5 x 23.5cms).

The added splash of colour and contemporary-style black frames transforms them from 'mere' illustrations to give a more arty look and feel. I'm looking forward to seeing them all displayed together and finding out how they go down with the punters.
Getting my final frames tomorrow for my 'character' bird watercolours (I hope) otherwise I'm gonna be cutting it a bit fine :O  

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Countdown to the Show, 5 days to go . . .

The long and the tall (not the short) . . .

A few pictures in the Newcastle Library show (Nov 21-Dec 4) veer from the traditional square or fat rectangle shapes, being long and thin or tall and thin, offering a different dynamic in composition and funnily enough they've all been changed from their original look.

The first is an ink and watercolour of a brown trout, an experiment in loose line and quick worked washes which turned out quite well I thought though the photo here isn't the best.

Originally the background was cobalt blue which on reflection was a bit 'loud' so I toned it down with white gouache.

 The frame measures 25 x 53 cms so is one of the larger pictures in the exhibition.

Next a digital print entitled Night Owl, from a cracking photograph taken locally by Steven Fryer ( A tweak of composition, a bit of tonal contrast and photoshop did the rest.

It's a good composition but to be honest I think the original photograph captures the atmospherics of the night even better.

original photo by Steven Fryer

Night Owl (framed) measures 23 x 42 cms.

The third and final 'stretchy piece' is a watercolour again from an original photograph by Steven Fryer of a swallow dipping in to drink from Shibdon Pond.

original photo by Steven Fryer
 Steven caught the moment perfectly in his photo but by changing the shape of the picture by cropping it dramatically and homing in on the bird I gave it a more arty composition in watercolours.

This picture is actually one of my favourites, has the imaginitive title of Swallow at Shibdon Pond and measures 25 x 53cms 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Countdown to the show, 6 days to go . . .

Spent most of the day stringing my pictures for the Newcastle Library show, forgot how fiddly and time-consuming this is, but not as bad as trying to remove the last piece of dirt from behind the glass of the frame when putting the picture in.
Just when you think you've got rid of it all, put the backing on and have another look, as if by magic another piece of grit/hair/random miniscule muck has appeared somewhere else in the picture. It's always just one piece, and so obvious you can't leave it, so have to take the back off again, remove the picture, carefully locate and remove the offending dirt and replace the picture, look from the front, all clear so put the back on the frame, have another look . . . and find another miniscule piece of muck has somehow sneaked in behind the glass,  . . . . (repeat process for a further 10 - 20 times) . . . . and when you're on a roll the process of framing one picture can take literally hours (at least it seems like it), it becomes a personal battle and I turn from cool dude artist to a sweary Basil Fawlty type.
Anyway I still have another six frames to get yet so will have to sample the delights of framing all over again come Monday.
Meantime here is another selection of pictures for the show, a more contemporary bunch of the small gift type for the special person in your life.

Clockwise from top left :
Luvbirds - 18 x 24cms archival print taken from original watercolour depicting a pair of bullfinches in 'character' style.
Lovey Dovey - 18 x 24cms archival print, a pair of collared doves again taken from an original watercolour in 'character' style.
Square Hare - 25 x 25cms original watercolour of a hare in a square (hence the title)
Garden birds medley II - 25 x 25cms archival print of 8 assorted garden 'character' birds and a feeder arranged in a cute and colourful composition.
Tawny Owl  - 24 x 18cms original watercolour in 'character' style (everybody loves owls)

More tomorrow . . .

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Countdown to the Show, 7 days to go . . .

Only one week to go to the Xmas selling show at Newcastle Central Library. Two artists, 60+ pictures, nowt over £70, some as little as a fiver. Be original this Christmas, treat someone to a fine art gift, or just treat yourself ;)

That's the advert over with, and with over 30 pictures to get ready I've been framing like mad, here are a few of the more traditional pieces I'll be putting on show :

Top left : Stonechat (outer dimensions 16 x 20cms) original bird-on-a-stick type watercolour.
Top right : Phoenix of the Lakes (39 x 49cms) original watercolour made a few years ago to celebrate the return of the Osprey to England.
Middle left : Liberty (32 x 39cms) archival print of a soaring red kite scene with Gibside's column to British Liberty in the background.
Middle right : Kingfisher Portrait (31 x 39cms) original watercolour of our most colourful bird perched on a rush.
Bottom left : Eagle Sunset (28 x 37cms) archival print of a golden eagle silhouetted against the setting sun.
Bottom middle : Waxwing 'Impression' (20 x 26cms) original watercolour. An experimental piece made from a personal observation, with strong contrasting colours due to the low winter sun behind the bird.
Bottom right : Derwent Valley Kites II (31 x 39cms) archival print of two soaring kites in reverse perspective making an intriguing composition.

More tomorrow . . . .