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 :-)