Monday, 18 December 2017

My Interpretation (panel)

Earlier this year I was approached by Gateshead Wildlife Group who wished to put up an interpretation panel about the wildlife found in the Derwent Valley near the Nine-arches Viaduct on the Derwent Walk.

Being on my 'patch' it was a job I really wanted to do, but also something I'd never tackled before. I wanted it to stand out and represent my individual style, so persuaded the GWG to allow me to do it  my way (didn't take much persuading if truth be told) which involved my birdy characterizations placed in a digital background, a technique which has served me well over the years.
And so began a summer of initially wandering the area and taking photographs, digitally manipulating these and constructing a basic background on computer. The watercolour characters I already had a few stock images so used these for problem solving, with much to-ing and fro-ing of emails as the panel gradually took shape with new characters and much input from both sides to get over hurdles of composition, subject inclusion (very hard to trim the selection down) and technical and design issues to suit requirements. It was a real challenge, and one I enjoyed immensely.

Six months later it was completed to everyone's satisfaction, then beautifully printed by local experts Chromazone, and put into place on the Derwent Walk just last week for all to see :

The Completed Artwork file, art and design by yours truly
Text supplied by GWG

Viewed from the north coming over the viaduct

Viewed from the south, viaduct in the distance

Arrowed signpost leads to the depicted meadows

The panel in situ

GWG were very pleased with the result, as was I, like I said, the colours came out beautifully in the A1 print, my photos were taken on a very grey day so don't really show it at its best. An A2 version will be displayed on the walls of Thornley Woodlands Centre, but its only a short walk around the sculpture trail and down the steps to the viaduct to see the real thing.

Once again many thanks to Gateshead Wildlife Group ( for trusting me with their vision, and to Chromazone ( for the brilliant print job.

It's a bit different from the usual illustrated info panels, hopefully appeal to the local kids and the many families who use the Derwent Walk Country Parks. Let me know what you think if you venture along to see it, feedback always welcome. 

Friday, 8 December 2017

Loco for Logos

A new way of making use of my Birdie characters came about when I was contacted by a local wildlife group in need of a logo.

A fresh challenge, the group in question (Natural Newbiggin) wanted the logo to contain an image of the local 'star bird', the Mediterranean Gull. Numbers have been increasing there over the last decade or so, not sure why the gulls have chosen Newbiggin to settle, but I've been there to see them meself in years gone by, beautiful birds in their summer finest, which is how I portrayed the bird for my logo :

Natural Newbiggin logo with Med. Gull

On completion I was asked for a second logo, this time of a White-beaked Dolphin in similar style, something I've never attempted before but you know me, I like a challenge, and the logo turned out not too shabby :

Natural Newbiggin logo with White-beaked Dolphin

I supplied both logos in electronic form as jpegs on white and blue background (as shown), and as a transparent PNG file to cover all needs hopefully. The original watercolours were signed and sent off too.
The client well pleased with the results, so another way of utilising my character style is born. So should you know of anyone with a nature-based group in need of an attractive family-friendly logo, get in touch, rates are reasonable to suit small concerns as well as larger big-budget groups. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Mini and Micro Prints

As there's no Xmas gift show at Newcastle City Library this year (for reasons beyond my control) I've put a few of my smaller framed prints (which I would usually show at the library) in the North East Art Collective.

Priced at just £25 for a miniprint and £15 for a microprint they are great value, and can be wall-hung or stand freely on the mantelpiece, window sill or whatever.

Outer measurements 17.5cms x 12.5 cms

Outer measurements 11cms x 10cms

Those shown are currently the only ones on sale. To order phone North East Art Collective 0191 2312483 or email and quote your choice :

Miniprint - Kingfisher
Miniprint - Red Kite
Miniprint - Starling
Miniprint - Tawny Owl
Microprint - Beardie
Microprint - Long-tailed Tit
Microprint - Nuthatch
Microprint - Wren

And NEAC also offers free UK postage so the price quoted is the price you pay. Be quick ;-)

Update (2 hours later) - You'll need to be a bit quicker I'm afraid, I hear the Microprints have sold out on their first day of sale :-) More on the way soon.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

New at the Gallery

I dropped off a new selection of original watercolours earlier this week at the North East Art Collective in Newcastle's Eldon Gardens, and for the first time venturing into the mammalian world with a locally observed Fox and Roe Deer, created for another project but news on that later.

All new original watercolours.
Framed in white - Deer £110, all others £80

A decent stock in NEAC at the moment as Christmas levers itself up on to the horizon, to see all the pics I have in store at the moment click on the following link :

Remember, most of my images past and present are available in print form, so if you know what you want but don't see what you're looking for on my page, email the Gallery and they'll order a framed print for you, with free UK postage.
Couldn't be simpler :-)    

Sunday, 10 September 2017

No Show

Disappointing news this week from Newcastle City Library that our annual xmas show has had to be cancelled as they need the exhibition space for some reason.
As you can imagine both myself and Bob Laine are a wee bit unhappy at this late development, our xmas show has always been a nice little earner (this would have been our 6th year), and its too late now to get booked up for anywhere else.
If anyone out there does know of a suitable venue which has a vacancy for a one or two week art show in the Newcastle area between mid November and early December, please get in touch.

Posters from previous years, our first show in 2012
didn't have one.


Friday, 25 August 2017

Buy Online

The Picture says it all. The North East Art Collective Gallery in Eldon Gardens, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which houses my quirky bird artwork has a brilliant new website, whereby folk from anywhere in the world can purchase a picture currently hanging on the walls of the Gallery, with any UK purchase dispatched free of charge.

All my pictures currently on display can be seen via this direct link to my page :

But be aware a scary photo of my fizzog will appear when the link is clicked.

I currently have a dozen or so pictures hanging in the Gallery, with framed originals from £80 and prints from £40, a few are shown here :

It is also possible to order a framed print direct from the Gallery if you want a particular bird you've seen previously or on my website but is not currently on display. All are supplied in white frames (outer measurements 20 x 26cms), image size 12 x 17 cms and priced at £40. Here are samples of the larger collection it's possible to order :

Quote bird species when ordering
Framed in stylish white

I now have over 30 species in my back catalogue, but will also take commissions through the Gallery for any species not currently catered for, prices starting from £80. These take no time to organise, just enquire via the email on the website.
Or simply take a browse through the artists, there's something for everyone.  

Tuesday, 22 August 2017


A hark back to my old Twisted Nature days earlier this year got me some serious approval on social media back in January.
Every now and again I sketch a new cartoon when an idea hits, and post it on Twitter (well it's pointless keeping it to myself), and looking at a post on one of the many nature blogs I follow gave me an idea for a cartoon when my tired eyes on a small iPad screen read the title 'Shore lark' as 'Sherlock'.
An idea was born and next day I sketched it out while still fresh in my mind and posted it on Twitter :

Over the next few days my notifications went ballistic as the cartoon was retweeted over 150 times and liked by over 350 twitterers, about 10 times the usual response I get, probably due to the popularity of the Sherlock TV series which was running on BBC at the time (which incidentally I can't abide, though I appear to be in the minority) and received lots of excellent feedback, always nice when people take the time to make a response as well as just pushing the like button. I even sold a copy of the cartoon as a print.

It's 5 years since my last Twisted Nature cartoon appeared in BBC Wildlife Magazine, and I'm pleased to see their website still holds a page dedicated to those cartoons printed in the first year of my association with them at    
Nice to know I've still got it (in more ways than one)  :-)

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


It's been a while since I posted any updates, in truth it's been a bit of a slack year so far, mostly my own fault as I've been stuck in a creative rut, dithering on a new direction, and most of the things I'd planned to do this year fell by the wayside as I just haven't been committed enough to want to see things through (like I said, dithering).
Currently I'm busy with an interpretation panel project (more on that soon) which is taking up all my work time at the moment, making good progress and hoping to finish some time in September, but it's the only big commission I've taken on this year with all this dithering over the future (did I mention I'd been dithering?)

Apart from that, one thing I did get involved with way back in July 2016 (it took a long time to come to fruition) was a Book of bird artwork organised on Twitter and auctioned for charity earlier this year.

Titled #99Birds it consisted of 99 pages of original artwork done individually by complete strangers all over the country (nay world) and sent to the organiser, the enigmatic twitter-based champion of persecuted wildlife Yolo Birder, who put all the pages together and had them bound into a book which was then auctioned on ebay in May of this year, after appearing in an article in Birdwatch Magazine and on TV in BBC's Springwatch Unsprung where Chris Packham gave it some richly deserved publicity (Chris himself has a page in the book too).
Soon after that, the auction took place and it was bought by someone who had actually seen it on Springwatch for the princely sum of £2000, making wildlife charities UK Little Owls and the Curlew Appeal that much richer. Proud to be a small part of it, here's some pics :

The Title

A selection of artwork unbound, showing the eclectic mix involved. 

Chris Packham's cryptic contribution

My contribution, a Kingfisher in my 'character' style 

The article from Birdwatch Magazine May 2017

The completed book, ready to be dispatched to one lucky soul.
  A great idea, a great result, a big well done to all involved :-)

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Like Father Like Son

The kids love playing games on their tablets, Angry Birds having been a particular favourite (even I was addicted to it for a while). My eldest (now 11) has been a fan for years, collecting all the games, play sets and plush toy characters for as long as I can remember.

But lately Angry birds Friends on Facebook has been the only game of the series in which we partake with any great frequency, it's a competitive game played out in leagues with a promotion and relegation system and rewards for performance to help your scores along. Each tournament contains 6 levels, with 2 tournaments a week, so enough to keep the interest going.

Late last year they invited players to submit ideas for new levels, with the best ones being made up into a 'Designed by You' tournament sometime in the new year. Sprog1 drew up a level and I submitted it, but with over 500 replies I played down his chances of success.

However, a few weeks back I logged onto the tournament, not realising it was the Designed by You week, and reaching level 5 I thought it looked familiar, then it dawned on me that the Boy's design had been made into an actual level :-O

The Boy's design :
King Pigs Secret Bunker

How it looked (with a few modifications) on actual gameplay 

Top of the League

Sprog1 was well chuffed (as was I) and we played on it all evening (as unfortunately I didn't log on until the last day of the tournament) but we both ensured we got top scores in our respective leagues, it was an absolute treat to play his own design, and like I say, only 12 designs were picked from well over 500. Well done 'The Boy'.  :-)   

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Tales of the Unexpected . . .

In the last few weeks I've had correspondence completely out of the blue from a couple of folk re my artwork which just shows what a funny old world it is.
Firstly I got an email from someone in Kent saying how much they liked a picture of mine they'd picked up in a second-hand shop in Maidstone (?)
From the description I looked back through my records to find it was one which had sold at the  Newcastle City Library Xmas Show in November 2014, my first experimental 'Dragonfly Landscape' picture, one of three on display but the only one that sold so was easy to narrow down.

Born in Gateshead, now living in Maidenhead (via Newcastle)  

I told the story to my colleague Bob who was manning the show that day and he remembers the sale, a young couple from Kent buying Christmas gifts as they bought one of his as well. Obviously the gift wasn't to the recipients liking (strange, but I sometimes joke with Bob that people would only buy my pictures as gifts to give them to people they don't like) but at least now (by some strange twist of fate) it has gone to an appreciative home. I thank the sender for getting in touch, a great tale to recount. :-)

Then early last week I received another email concerning an even stranger twist of fate. A guy in the Nottingham area wanted to know if I could supply a print of a cartoon his wife had spotted in a magazine she was browsing through in her dentist's waiting room. He tracked me down from some basic details with a good piece of detective work.
The cartoon in question was from my Twisted Nature days in the BBC Wildlife Magazine, and was dated January 2011 ! (so the jokes about the age of magazines in doctors/dentists waiting rooms are true), and here it is :

Andy Warthog
BBC Wildlife Magazine January 2011

Luckily I still have all my cartoons on file as I occasionally display and sell them in various guises at craft fairs and exhibitions locally, so happily I was able to comply with the request.
Funny old world, fate works in strange ways, but two quirky stories with happy endings. It's great to know people like your work enough to take the time to get in touch. And I love it when my creations put a smile on someone's face. :-)  


Friday, 27 January 2017

In the Gallery Today . . . . .

Made a delivery to Newcastle's premier Gallery ie North East Art Collective in Eldon Gardens yesterday; ten framed pictures, six for the Gallery walls and four pre-ordered, and here they are :

The three originals I painted last week
(l-r Wheatear, Great Tit, Sparrowhawk)

Three old favourites in print form
(l-r nuthatch, tawny owl, green woodpecker)

Four pre-ordered for a lady who wanted these specifically as
they are all regular visitors to her garden. Lucky her :-)
(clockwise from top left - treecreeper, bullfinch, nuthatch, long-tailed tit)

That lot should fill the gaps on the walls left over from the Christmas sales. Hopefully they'll continue to sell and I'll soon have to take another batch down. Meanwhile, those above and about eight others can be seen at North East Art Collective, Eldon Gardens (Next to Sinton's Jewellers), the whole gallery space is worth a browse even if you don't plan to buy, there's something for everyone and all by local talent. 

Thursday, 26 January 2017

New Year, New Pics . . .

After all the stresses of our pre-xmas house move things have started to settle down a bit, so my first task of the year (apart from filing my tax return) was to paint a few new pics for my representative Gallery, the North East Art Collective (Eldon Gardens, Newcastle).
The run up to Christmas gave the best sales figures yet for my bird 'character' pictures so with more needed to replace the gaps in the wall I thought I'd do a few more originals as I haven't done any in a while, so here are the three I painted last week :

I actually started this one around six months back but
didn't get around to finishing it until now.
In an A4 size it will retail at £110 

Great Tit
Don't know why it's taken so long to do a Great Tit, but at the new house
we're getting a lot of these on the feeders so thought it about time.
Framed 24 x 18 cms it retails at £80

Sprawk (Sparrowhawk)
Not easy to get birds of prey to look cute, all I can say is
looks can be deceptive.
Another A4 size original it retails at £110
I have them all framed up now so will be taking them in to the North East Art Collective on Friday for display, and (hopefully) sale (see Gallery link on the right).