The Great North Elmer Parade: Wild in Art

Creating The BRIGHTSIDE Elmer ….
I really don’t post that often ! Most of my processes go onto Stories on Instagram, sometimes YouTube but never really stay updated with a blog.

So I hope you’ll forgive me when I update the Elmer posts in one go, telling you all what happened the next few weeks after the preparation.


So sanding down the coarser texture of the fibreglass was a bit dustier than I planned, I ended up using cardboard to both protect the floor and to give my knees / feet some padding as I knelt for the harder to reach places. Despite being advised on the demo we had from Wild in Art to sand and to varnish from the top of the Elmer to the bottom, I decided to go from the trunk to the tail.

Similarly with my painting I started with some lush vibrant blues from Windsor and Newton professional range on the trunk. The little video I made hardly doing the mixing any justice. I love layering my paint on quite thick ! So the tones I got from the paint stood out and went on like almost a thick cream. All the paints I was using were good quality, however there were certain luminescent paints available in Daler Rowney System 3 that looked interesting. So I continued this way with different paint for the brighter green, a massive mistake! The paint started bubbling !!!! Initially I thought it had been the temperature of the room. The summer heat and little ventilation, added to the thick application could have played a part! I returned another day having to resand and reapply the primer.

Changing the paint and redoing the main body gave me a better perspective of how I wanted the texture. In the original drawings I had used a watercolour Ink, but this gradient effect was harder to achieve on the 3D object and in acrylics. So after applying a gradient of colours over the Elmer, I added another layer of another spectrum of tones in a feather like pattern. I kept to the original design for the eyes but added a Lumiere True Gold. The leaves around the eyes accentuated the effect.

My curator James came back to me during the process and asked if could change the Earl Grey part of my drawing and take out the tea cup. This area in the middle of the elephant at this point was a blank space. I modified the original design and added more of Grey Street, and left out the tea references. This was in all to make it more suitable for any sponsors who wanted it.

I then added a super black, using Stuart Temples Black 2.0, partly as it’s super easy to apply and is almost as fluid and manageable as a posca ! I would then go on to use Poscas anyway to modify some areas (like the fine lines on the Grey Street design and the henna pattern on the feet) It was important for me to keep the vibrancy in the original drawings I submitted for the Elmer proposal. The proposal was called Earl Grey, but got changed to Brightside due to all the colours.

After doing this and getting confirmation to go ahead, I sealed the areas with the posca using a water based spray sealant (Less fumes for a communal area and it dried quicker!)

I’d come back after this to tweek Brightside a little, before adding the tin of varnish I got from St.Oswalds.

So far I’ve only had to go and repair Brightside once so far He got a little chipped on moving to Eldon Gardens. I think I woke up at 5am on a Saturday morning to go for 6am before the shopping centre was open to the public ( and to let the varnish I’d use dry) I had to take my toddler with me, so lucky he’s so well behaved and loves helping.


I used the communal place from St.Oswald’s Hospice at Quorum Business Park. That was so nerve wrecking going in! I had happened to meet another artist at her day job when she recognised the address for the Elmer Artists form at the Post Office. I went and Instagram stalked her almost immediately and had a chat at the  was demo.It was this artist I went over to and she gave me a hand moving my Elmer onto some cardboard. She ALSO lent me some primer. I find it quite lucky I’d met someone so nice early on. It makes a great difference being able to socialise and be friends with fellow artists. In fact all of the artists I met in the communal space where all friendly, and it was great seeing so many people from various backgrounds being part of this art trail for the hospice. Naturally we all looked at each others designs, fascinated by others skills & techniques. I remember getting an ice-cream lolly and cuppa on separate occasions from other artists too. It makes a difference when you have quite far to travel to a communal space, and when you go at random times being a full time mother. I do hope this atmosphere we had on the Great North Elmer Parade was on other Wild in Art campaigns.

The team at St.Oswalds were so supportive. Often running about doing a million things at once. This small team really made an impression on me, I had no idea the AMOUNT of hard work that goes into projects such as these with fundraising, finding sponsors, creating an app and more. Yet they still had time to engage with and make sure every artist was okay, getting their Elmer done and providing the varnishes we all needed at the end.

I’m REALLY enjoying looking at all the photos of the Great North Elmers on social media. The amount of joy they bring to people is so heart warming.


I really enjoyed going on BBC Newcastle’s radio show too ! With the amazing Tamsin Robson (who by the way is the easiest person in the world to talk to) This kinda happened before the Elmer trail AND my exhibition at For the Love of the North in Whitley Bay (I’ll post about that later) It was a great way to talk about the trail on local radio and let more people know about what’s happening in the North East.

The opening preview night was really when all the large Elmers where together and could be viewed as a herd before being moved to their respective places across the North East. The art trail itself going on until the 1st November 2019. Where you can see Brightside displayed proudly in front of its sponsor Leazes Financial in Eldon Garden. 

There’s a farewell event on the 9th and 10th November at Newcastle Racecourse !

Finally, all the Elmers will be auctioned on the 12th November at Newcastle Racecourse to provide the much needed funds for St.Oswald’s Hospice.