Be Canny Wild & Free

Delighted to have been asked to be part of Love of the Norths Exhibition in Spanish City.

I’d been noticing spring emerging and various insects emerging. After a little bit of research (and a wander down the local nature reserve ) I’d found out about various butterfly species that frequent the North East Coast. Can you spot and name them ?

Originally inspired by a design of a trio of butterflies on a vintage matchbox, these butterflies were displayed on fresh spring green leaves with a bright pink background. I’ve made this a little different to what I’ve illustrated in the past with a smaller font and a singular border. This one off A2 canvas will be available to buy during exhibition starting tomorrow 4th April 2022


Artist for Bay Create

Since August I’ve been lucky enough to work with Whitley Bay Big Local and Barnardos the Base in delivering workshops around the mindfulness of mandalas. After a ‘dragons den’ style interview where the participants interviewed me in June I started work on planning this participatory art project straight away.

Working with age groups from 12-90 years of age, and introducing co-creation amongst them has been a worthwhile experience. To many of the participants this was an opportunity to emerge from isolation, and the negative effects of Covid-19 on their mental health. To be able to speak to them and provide a safe environment to create was key with Whitley Bay Big Local and Barnardo’s The Base.

The variants of experience and personal stories has been profound. They all contributed to the final outcome of artwork, constructed together like their many narratives in the Whitley Bay community. This cross generational team all blossomed week after week, with different ideas and experimentation of techniques.

Dependent on what the group wanted to do we explored themes like : sustainability, recycled materials, natural inks (we looked at blackberry picking and using spices), mandala making, geometric symmetry, using leaves and flowers, stencils, Stamp making, designed post cards, used acrylics and watercolour pens in our sessions. On taking feedback from what the groups wanted I would create worksheets and bring materials in for them to explore the following session. As it was a drop in session too the groups evolved with different dynamics as time went on.

August- December flew by. At the end of the project I had four large canvases 1m by 1m ready to display at Whitley Bay Library. One solely by Marsden Bridge Middle School Art Club. Alongside the group work with Jason Eason and the documentary photos in the middle – it makes a great exhibition. On view now in Whitley Bay Library for a month 🙂

See the Matterport link for a 3D rendition:

Many thanks to the amazing staff involved who are so supportive :

Jason Eason was the Bay Create artist working alongside me exploring photography and collage. Helen and Sarah, who managed the project & are all around amazing human beings.

Thanks to all the amazing groups involved:

Whitley Bay Big Local

Barnardos The BASE Young People’s Center

Marden Bridge Middle School Art Club

1st Forest Hall Guides

North Tyneside Carers Centre

Unity group at the BASE

Funday Friday group at The BASE

Caitlains programme group at the BASE

4TH Monkseaton Guides

Eothen Residential care home

Eastbourne Residential care home

Whitley Bay Big Local drop-in participants

Mind map
Three mandala canvases. All shapes were made my multiple participants across the project. From left to right: constructed into mandala shape by the Barnardo’s the Base Group, Whitley Bay Big Local Group and Marsden Bridge Middle School Art Club

The project was funded by spiritof2012hq and carries on to another year with new artists in 2022.

New Special Edition Matchboxes

After a planned exhibition, where I had agreed to make physical matchboxes alongside some newly designed prints, was rescheduled for next year- I started to think how this could be translated into an artwork that I could make during lock down.

I’m still making the ones for said exhibition, but need to keep those 10 designs hush hush for 2021.

The idea evolved into a larger box, which has hand painted and hand drawn elements. The inner box painted with acrylic and Posca pens. I’ve released two designs, the Newcastle Hyem Sweet Hyem and Spanish City (two best seller prints). Though a little time consuming, the boxes are actually fun to make. Hand drawn details over a separate white strip added to the design front of the box, on the top and beneath a panel of printed paper. I used the same paper I normally do for premium prints, to get the maximum amount of colour and saturation. Each series is limited to only 50 boxes and comes with certificates of authenticity. I plan to send these in premium little gift boxes if they’re not framed for storage purposes. Framing options include a box frame, with the edition of the artwork/sig on the front.

Pics below!


Using Winsor and Newton Professional Acrylics & Posca Pens

April …

Sometimes it takes me a while to do a design. I came up with the Matchbox ideas from my Punjabi background, the old school designs really inspired me to make my own Victorianesque designs with famous North East places.

These are the most recent two. The first was from one of my first designs with ‘Fog on the Tyne’ – that I changed The text of to ‘Hope’, including leaving out the fancy saucer ! Part of me hoped it would resonate with others during this time, as we all miss our loved ones, and its good to keep in touch to make sure they’re okay.

The second Matchbox was definitely from me missing St.mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay. My favourite time of the day is twilight, when the sun is going down, the light is warm and pink, and the tide’s started to come in. I imagined all these things, the sounds and the sights of the enigmatic sky.

I hope to make some more soon. If you have any suggestions let me know in the comments below or via Instagram 🙂

Stay Safe and Take Care Everyone !