Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Getting Stressed for Christmas

The Show is Over . . .

The Newcastle City Library Show ended last week, always a relief as it's a very busy fortnight (three weeks if you count the preparation week beforehand) and suddenly the Christmas season is upon us.
I'm happy to say the show was a success, with myself and bob sharing 25 sales between us there were more red dots than at a measles convention, but now I have more preparations to do as I have an Art Market at St. Nicholas's Cathedral on the 10th, and the NEAC is running low on stocks of birdy pics for the run up to Christmas.

So it's all getting a bit hectic with commissions to finish as well, three excited kids to plan Christmas for, and the added stress of a house move hopefully coming up in the next couple of weeks. A fun/busy/stressful time to end 2016.


Sunday, 13 November 2016

Up and Running

Our Annual Show at Newcastle City Library is now up and running; you have until November 23rd to have a look or grab a bargain.

Here's what you can see from me :

And from Bob :

Five sales in the first two days so not a bad start. Buy someone an original gift for Christmas, Bob is on site most days, I'll be getting in when I can,  hope to see you there.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Annual Xmas Show

This week sees the start of the 5th annual Christmas Gift Show at Newcastle City Library, with myself and my good mate Bob Laine displaying a host of excellently priced pictures aimed specifically at the Christmas gift market, from as little as £10 it's art for all, to suit every pocket and many tastes :

As usual my display will be mainly of wildlife, with many miniature prints of my popular 'Character birds' and a selection of prints from my back catalogue. Very few new pictures on display this year as events have meant it hasn't been such a productive year for me, but I recently produced a couple of ink and pencils of one of my favourite birds for the show, something a bit different :

Brent Geese - a handsome goose, sleek and compact, and appearing in large
numbers off the Northumberland coast around Holy Island.  

All of these will be on show at the Library,
gonna take a while to get them all up :-/
Bob will have a varied selection of original works in a range of media and subject, with landscapes featuring well ; local scenes, popular European 'scapes and a few from his imagination.
All going well the display should be up by early Thursday afternoon (10th) and run for two weeks until we take down late on Wednesday November 23rd.

Bob will be on site most days for sales and enquiries, and I'll be popping in when I can.
See you there :-)  

Thursday, 13 October 2016

It's Never too early for Xmas

It might be just mid-October but being in a business which relies on sales I find it's never too early to flaunt your wares with the gift season almost upon us.

My 'Wildlife in Character' birds are proving to be more popular than ever at the moment, with a few new characters selling particularly well at North East Art Collective in Eldon Gardens, Newcastle (see link in Outlets, right).
With stocks running low (see previous post) I took in another batch last week (below) . . .

. . . and already six of those nine have winged their way to new homes, so I've been asked to take in yet more as Xmas approaches and sales are taking off (pun intended).

So with Xmas in mind, an early heads-up for an event I'm taking part in, an Art Fair at St. Nicholas' Cathedral in Newcastle in December. It will be the first event of this kind I've attended for about four years but with my new 'characters' on display in smaller size and price, I'm hoping it'll be a good 'un.

Spot my little Robin in a starring role on the promotional literature.
No doubt I'll be issuing reminders nearer the date. See you there ?  


Thursday, 29 September 2016

Flying In and Out of the Gallery

With stock of my popular 'Character' birds dwindling in the North East Art Collective (Eldon Gardens, Newcastle) I took a new batch along last week to fill up some gaps on the wall ; a mix of old favourites and first-timers in both original and print form :

The Garden Medley (a one-off print as no two contain birds in the same order) is now at number XVII in the series and apparently sold before I'd even got home again, so number XVIII is ready to take down next week.

Garden Medley XVII, gone in 60 minutes.
It's been a good month for sales; most recently I was informed two of my characters based on local specialities had sold in the same day. Dunno why but I get most satisfaction out of people admiring the work I produce which is based on my local avifauna . . . .

Red Kite and Dipper, two local favourites

. . . . the Red Kite is the 'flagship' bird of the Lower Derwent Valley where I live, being reintroduced by the RSPB 12 years ago as a high profile project (the first so near to a busy urban landscape) and now a daily feature of our lives here.
And the Dipper, a localised species of fast-flowing rivers mostly in wild unpopulated areas. The Derwent holds a healthy population and it always amazes me to see one perched midstream on a rock near the Blaydon Rugby Club, no more than 15 yards from a busy main road. Great birds to watch in action, and a lovely warbling song if you're lucky enough to hear it over the rumbling sound of the white water habitat in which it thrives.            

Saturday, 3 September 2016


I recently finished my latest Pet Portrait commission. Meet Sid, a French Bulldog :


My brief was to do a head and shoulders portrait from the photograph, keeping the head tilted. I enlarged the photo on my computer and worked from a print initially to build up the lines and main areas.

Initial pencil drawing

ink dotted in

base washes

Next I had to work up the detail and all was going well until an unfortunate incident with my laptop meant I could no longer access the actual photograph and had to finish off using the low quality print again. This wasn't too much of a problem apart from getting his colouring right, resulting in a monochrome version of Sid :

Sid looking a bit pale

Luckily I was able to borrow an iPad and was sent new photographs by the client, allowing me to see his true colours, and was able to finish the portrait to her satisfaction :

Mixed media portrait of Sid
watercolour/ink/coloursoft pencils
Finally a comparison to see how close I got :

Not perfect but the client was happy and so was I :-)

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Off the Walls

The Summer Show at Washington WWT went pretty well in the end. Sales were slow at first but a late flurry meant that when I turned up to take down the display at the end of July I certainly didn't need both the suitcase and large holdall I'd brought them along in four weeks earlier. As can be seen by the photos below, there were quite a few gaps on the walls :

July 2nd . . .

. . . and July 31st

July 2nd . . .

. . . and July 31st

Not complaining, four years in a row now I've done very well there, once again my 'character birds' proved very popular. I suppose it's a case of horses for courses, or in this case wild birds for wildfowl centres :-) 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Summer Show 2016 - Washington WWT

At the weekend I hung my fourth annual summer show at Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre which will run until the end of July.
It's always a pleasure to exhibit at one of our favourite family 'days out' and an ideal venue for my wildlife-based art.This year I have the usual mix of old and new, but with a more prominent display of my 'Character' birds which prove ever popular whenever I display them and now I'm testing out a new value-sized micro-print, which are ideal for gifts or for people to collect their favourite birds from my ever-increasing array of characters, though I realise I've forgotten to photograph them before I displayed them (excellent marketing skills, not). You'll just have to pay a visit and see for yourselves.

But here are a few of the newer characters being shown for the first time in mini-print form :

The Kingfisher - always a treat to see on the local pond or river

Grey Wagtail - another riverine favourite

Tawny Owl
many in local woodland but more often heard than seen

And some more pics in the display before they were hung :
Cubist Magpie, Garden Medley and Dali Llama

Dragonflies, Red Kites, Little Owls and interesting
triple-print of the popular Chilean Flamingo  

Finally the display in situ, 36 pictures, all great value, guaranteed to brighten up any room. Nature at its most colourful :

Some of the new micro-prints just above the little boy's cap 

Not all birds, there's a fish there as well :-)

A little gap there, one sold already :-)

Badgers, abstract swans and dragonflies, and a few originals as well.

There are more (and better) photos from the exhibition on the Washington WWT Facebook page :

And like I say the exhibition now runs until July 31st, please let me know via the comments if you view, like, dislike or buy, it's always nice to get feedback.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Red Kite Viaduct Viewpoint

I came across a newly installed (new to me anyway) Red Kite interpretation panel at the north end of the Nine-Arches Viaduct while out on my travels last week, featuring the artwork I did for the Northern Kite Project back in 2007. Great to see it's still in use but this new panel only serves to show how jaded the rest of the panels are now looking.

The new panel in place beside the viaduct,
a great place for viewing Red Kites all year round, with large
numbers roosting at Gibside (over to the left) in winter.

On reading I find it's been erected as a memorial to Ruth Glover, a wildlife lover and (I presume) former member of FoRK (the Friends of Red Kites) who have kindly put the panel in place. Though I did not know Ruth at all, it's a lovely way to be remembered, and my best wishes go out to her remaining family.     

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Spring Show 2016

Today saw the start of our (4th) annual Spring Show at Newcastle City Library with my good mate Bob Laine :

Bob has a good selection of old and new originals in a variety of subject and medium, with a few iPad painted prints thrown in as well, many quality pieces at great value prices.
I've gone for a cheap and cheerful selection of £10 mini-prints comprising many old favourites plus a few originals making up the numbers :

Postcard and miniature prints
Red Kites and Character birds, all @ £10
More £10 miniatures and an original Brown Trout
in watercolour and ink

It's not all wildlife though, Newcastle's own Willson-Pilcher
Over a century old and sold at auction for £250,000
my picture will cost you a tiny fraction of that ;-)  

The exhibition is only on for one week, so if you're in Newcastle pop in and pick up a bargain or two. Bob will be on hand every day but Sunday to deal with sales and enquiries.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Busy Bee . . .

 . . . That's me.
Making up for time lost during the first couple of months of the year I've been on a bit of a painting spree the last couple of weeks, now that I'm able to work in my greenhouse studio with the weather turning (ever so slightly) milder.

I spent a few days sketching quite a pile of new ideas then selected half a dozen or so to draw out properly and began a conveyor belt of painting, getting five new pictures done in under two weeks before having to put it on pause again to prepare for the forthcoming Spring Show at Newcastle Library.

Grey Wagtail
A local favourite, love to find one on the river
Lately I counted no less than eight at one local site, what an
explosion of colour that was :-)

The few birds we had locally were
tragically killed off during the harsh
winter of 2010. They still haven't made a
 recovery but one or two have been
sighted recently which gives hope.

Stonechat II
The male singing from atop a gorse is a
sight to behold. Dark brown with white flashes
and an orange chest he's a handsome chap
against a pale blue sky.

Little Owl
Quite a few of these in the area holding long-standing
territories. Not shy they hold you in a piercing gaze
with those big yellow eyes, charming characters.

Meet The Family
A family of Little Owls perched in a dilapidated farm building is not an
uncommon sight, I tried to capture their sentry-like presence in this picture
which has a great deal more background detail than others in my
character series.  

I still have another two to do from the sketches I made but got a lot on this week and the kids are still off school, so hopefully I'll get those painted next week, then it'll be quite literally 'back to the drawing board' again :-)

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Here Now and Coming Soon . . .

Earlier in the week I at last (been meaning to get up for three weeks now) made the 20 minute yomp along to Thornley Woodlands Centre to fill a few gaps on the wall of my exhibition space with some miniature  and micro-prints :

Thornley Woodlands Centre
Back wall exhibition space
(off the A694 between Winlaton Mill and Rowlands Gill, well worth a visit
as it now hosts a smashing little café each day between 11 and 3,and centres
around a woodlands sculpture trail, a nice family half-day out)

The micro-prints are a new platform for my 'birds in character' I'm testing out. All your favourite birds on tiny 6x7cm prints in 10x11cm (outer dimensions) frames at the bargain price of £10. Chunky frames which can be hung on the wall or stood on a mantelpiece or window sill (or wherever). Even stacked on top of each other :

Bullfinch Micro-Print
(with £2 coin for scale)

Long-tailed Tit Micro-Print
(with £2 coin for scale)

Hang 'em on the wall or stack 'em up

Collect all your favourite birds

Those samples will be on show at Thornley Woodlands Centre until early April, when the display will be taken down and relocated (with a lot of other stuff) to Newcastle Central Library for my annual Spring Show with my good mate Bob Laine (now in its 4th year) :

After that I'll be putting them online, there's quite a selection now so hope they'll be popular. More news on that soon, and further details about the Spring show as well.

Bye for now.