Wednesday, 16 August 2017

#99Birds

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.

Dragonscape
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 :

Wheatear
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).

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.