21 February 2019

So we bought a shop!

Exciting times ahead as last October we bought an old pet shop in Cullercoats. Ross and I have always wanted to run our own gallery. We have been looking for premises for a couple of years but it was tricky to find a large enough space for a gallery and studio, with an office, close to the seafront.....my list of requirements was quite large! 
We thought this property was already sold but by chance we passed in the car and saw it back on the market.....with only a few days until the auction. It was a huge risk but we went for it and made an offer. 
 As you can see it was in need of a bit of work, the property is 1930's I think and has been a Pet Shop for some 20-30 years prior. We know this as most of Ross' school friend bought their family pets from here!

We took out a large cupboard in the the back room to make more space for my studio. When I say we, I mean our builder Martin and his team!  As with all old buildings we have discovered rotten floorboards, had to strengthen the roof with steal beams, install central heating, new windows, insulation, new w.c. etc etc. 

I couldn't resist keeping a few features like the brick pillars. I would have loved to have kept the old brick fireplace too, but it was in a poor condition.

It's been a big learning curve and the builders, electricians, plumber and joiner have been very patient with my indecision and constant changes of plans. We started out with a biro sketch with a few ideas of what we wanted...not exactly architectural plans but we seem to have winged it so far!  

Ross getting his hands dirty.
New flooring.

So that is progress so far...we still have a way to go with the finishing touches but we are hoping to be open by the end of March!

17 September 2018

Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage

Early September brings about one of my favourite Arts Festivals of the year. Set in the beautiful fishing village of Staithes in North Yorkshire, the village hosts a weekend art trail intertwined with heritage talks, entertainment, music, light shows and public art.

For the duration of the festival I get hosted in York House by the very kind owners and my work contributes as one of the venues on the art trail around the village. This amazing property has stunning views of the harbour below and has all the charm and character that you would expect from a coastal property. Perfect for a coastal artist like myself!
This year the festival attracted over six thousand visitors. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet the public and talk about my work. Many come back year after year to see my deckchair artworks! So many more visitors bought cards from me this year, many referencing the "Just a Card" campaign. So thanks for all of your support. All the little purchases do add up and enable me to continue my practice as an artist.   

One of the best parts of staying in the village for the festival is getting to see the evening sunsets, and this year did not disappoint. You may see a few new sunset paintings coming soon. 

Finishing up with this polar bear image by sculptor Emma Stothard  It is an amazing piece of work set in prime position on the harbour wall looking out to sea.  

If you didn't make it this year next years event is on the 8th & 9th September, book early if you are staying over as accommodation books up fast!

19 October 2016

Tails of the Sea

"Tails of the Sea" was my second snowdog design to be selected by the Sponsor "Primary Times" Sticking with a nautical theme this design features a Salty Seadog inspired by North East Fishermen, tattoos and all!

 It was a pleasure to have this design chosen by Primary Times as I have young Children and read this magazine every term. I painted "Tails"  in the Bridge Gallery in Tynemouth Station so that people could see my work in progress. Thanks to everyone who gave the design a thumbs up as they viewed through the windows.  He was an exciting dog to paint. His beard took me two days alone to paint and I loved painting on the tattoos!

Tails of the Sea will be on display in Sunderlands Keel Square for the ten weeks.

If you think you would like to give him a good home, he is well trained, enjoys sailing and likes to eat the occasional fish! Contact me for your invite to the auction to raise funds for St Oswolds Children's Hospice on the 6th December.

1 October 2016

Skipper the Great North Snowdog

Skipper the Snowdog is one of 60 Great North Snowdogs is an exciting public art trail, based on the Snowman and the Snowdog, by Raymond Briggs. The project by Wild in Art and St Oswolds Childrens Hospice brings together locally and nationally acclaimed artists, North East businesses, schools, community groups and the general public to create a sculpture trail across the North East. The trail will run from the 19th September for 10 weeks, followed by a public auction for the Sculptures to raise funds for St Oswolds Childrens Hospice.

My involvement in the project began earlier this year when I entered the competition to paint a Great North Snowdog. Hedging my bets I entered two designs hoping to maybe get one picked, but luckily for me both of my designs took the fancy of the Sponsors.
One of my designs based on the North Shields Fish Quay was selected by the sponsor DFDS Seaways and named Skipper the Snowdog. It was a perfect match! DFDS had some exciting plans for Skipper, including a video and a trip on Princess Seaways to Amsterdam.

Painting Skipper took over a week to paint and I videoed the whole process. It is the first time I have ever painted a 3d sculpture and it proved an exciting challenge. Skipper was too large to paint in my studio so I joined an army of other artists to paint him in a warehouse at a top secret location! 

Once he was finished DFDS interviewed me about the project and made this video clip about Skipper and his travels to Amsterdam. We had great fun working together on such a unique project and it was a delight to be able to take my family on board ship to see him in place on board the ferry. 

You can see Skipper on North Shields Fish Quay during the trail and remember to take a selfie with him using the hashtag #skipperthesnowdog and #greatnorthsnowdogs. If you post your pictures on the DFDS facebook page they are running a competition to win an original painting of mine.

If you think you could give Skipper a good home he will be auctioned off on the 6th December to raise funds for St Oswolds Childrens Hospice. Contact me for your invite!

Happy Snowdog hunting! 

27 June 2016

Back to the Beach

Back to the Beach is my latest exhibition and my most exciting to date!  Set in the historic Tynemouth Station Bridge Gallery, the seaside location is the most perfect setting for my summer exhibition. 

Six months ago I was approached by Ylana First the curator of the Bridge Gallery and long time friend of Tynemouth Station. She notice that I had recently been working on a deckchair for the Staithes Arts Festival and mention she had 10 vintage Whitley Bay District Council 1950's deckchairs in storage and asked if I would be able to make an exhibition out of them? And so the idea was born!

Four months of hard work later and a collaboration with my sons local primary school in North Shields I put together the exhibition called Back to the Beach.
The exhibition explores the revival of the British coastline and celebrates the love for our local beaches.The deckchair was once synonymous with the great British seaside holiday. It saw a decline in the 1960’s with rise in package holidays abroad leading people away from our once thriving coastline. I brought back to life these original 1950’s deckchairs by creating new chair slings with my artwork, which combines painting, collage and stitching techniques. 

Local is the essence of this show. I made sailing boats from driftwood collected at Tynemouth Haven. I used maps of the area and collaged them into each deckchair sling and of course the old deckchair frames themselves that used to adorn the beaches of our North Tyneside coast.

The exhibition also combines my own artwork with a collection of deckchairs designed by pupils from Whitehouse Primary School in North Shields. I worked with the local school children to create some stunning designs using their colourful seaside drawings. It was fabulous working with the children and together we also made the colourful bunting that decorates the exhibition.

It is the biggest exhibition of my career so far and one of the most challenging spaces create to work for. Viewing is from all sides and it encouraged me to work larger scale with more 3D pieces. 
The exhibition runs from the 11th June to 31st August 2016 in the Bridge Gallery in Tynemouth Station (The actual bridge that takes visitors over the metro railway!)

You can also watch me paint live in the gallery on the 3rd 10th & 17th July Followed by a sneaky peek at 3pm for a closer look inside the gallery space.