After 1645 months in quarantine I was elated to get out and paint last week. I have craved big painting projects in lockdown. Sculptures and murals, I love them! Working on a big scale is an unparalleled creative experience. I feel expressive and a bit naughty like I am a kid drawing on a wall at home. Blooming love it though! I have been gurning to do some big painting for months. Finding out I was a successful artists for the trail during lockdown was a huge win for me. The promise of a painting project coming up was brilliant.
I am going to dedicate a future blog post entirely to this subject. Packing for painting off site is a tough thing to get totally right. Feeling a little rusty from not being able to leave the house, this took some extra thought this time. Paints, brushes, sarnies and podcasts sorted, I was ready!
We are painting in a super secret painting space. The staff at the Children’s Hospital have done a brilliant job of keeping us socially distanced and safe. It means that there are sadly less artists together at a time, but painting alongside even just a couple of people has been totally refreshing after life in quarantine. First impression is that these bears are HUGE! I think 7 ft tall? They even have a base to paint which I wasn’t expecting. I got a start on sanding and printing and accepting that my next few weeks will be a lot of time up and down ladders!
Getting the design right was the main theme of today. Translating a 2D design to a huge 3D an as is difficult. Not just in terms of scale but in following the sculpture shape. It took a while to work out where the components of the design were best to sit. You can never been too prescriptive in translating a flat design onto a shaped canvas. Things will need to move and change to suit the curves of the piece. The most challenging part as the bear’s head. A very flat picture is an elongated and complex shape in reality. Getting the flow of the piece right was a big focus of the day.
I took me until the third day to get my first layer of paint down fully. I started this on day 1. On such a huge sculpture it is such a big job! Trying to get as much paint down as possible and lock in the whole design was the flavour of the day. By the end of the third day I had just started on my second layers of colour in an attempt to flatten the design and make the colours bolder.
I have another three days booked in to paint next week. This is the first time I have had such a break halfway through painting. I needed it! Months in lockdown means I need a bit of warm up time. Painting big is a really physical job. It also means I have an extra few days to get excited before going back to hopefully finish the piece. Wish me luck!
Despite the big reveal being delayed I am dedicating this week’s blog to the Cows About Cambridge trail. Within it I’ll also get to reveal my final design (oooh!) .
This is the 5th and 6th sculpture I have done for my fourth Wild in Art trail. For this trail I have painting a full sized cow sculpture and a mini moo too. As with the other trails the cows will be auctioned off to raise money for charity. In this case the charity Break.
With each new sculpture I do I learn a little more too. From the best types of paint and how to varnish right down to the joy of bringing your own tea bags and slippers to the painting space. Soon I will do a blog piece specifically on my painting tips, but that will be another day!
My design is called ‘Around the City’ and is the first sculpture I designed and submitted following my first experience having actually painted one. It meant I went for bolder, bigger shapes, fewer more consistent colours and after the struggle on my ‘Our Island’ Gorilla, no yellow!
The design focuses on a map of the city surrounded by a cow filled green belt. The map is filled with famous landmarks from the city such as the Bridge of Sighs and Botanical Gardens. However, it also features homes of the residents of the city. Through this the design accentuates that a city is the sum of the people within in it. Their homes are therefore elevated to the status of ‘landmarks’ in this way. The theme of ‘community’ is prevalent in many of my Wild in Art designs.
I also painted a mini moo based on the winning design submitted by service users of Mind in collaboration with Thames Link.
Excitingly because of my sponsor I have known for a while where my cow sculpture is being based. Thames Link are the headline sponsor of the Cows About Cambridge trail and picked my design along with one by artist Emily Kaye. They even got exclusive pick of the bunch before the Sculpture Selection event even happened. Being a rail company and having Cambridge Train station feature so prominently on my designs we were a match made in heaven. It also meant that this would be where my sculpture would be placed for the duration of the trail. ‘Around the City’ will welcome visitors to the city in the station.
I will keep an eye on social media to see where the rest of the herd ends up, but remember to tag me in your pictures if you get them!
The Moor Otters project is a seasoned sculpture trail that I will be taking part in for the first time in 2020. My second sculpture painted in 2020 so far after my mini moo. The third that will be revealed though after the Cows About Cambridge trail goes live in March.
The Moor Otters project is based in Dartmoor National Park and raising money for Donate for Dartmoor. The funds will go towards protecting the local wildlife. This includes the homes of many otters on the nature reserve (hence the sculptures). There will be 80 otters displayed publicly in and around Dartmoor for the duration of the trail in Summer 2020. The sculptures will then be auctioned off to raise additional funds.
Doctor Doolittle Strikes Again
This otter is my sixth charity sculpture commission since my first in March 2019. So whilst painting them might be nothing new, bring in one home is! At just 1 metre tall and taking up very little floor space for a sculpture of its size (not to mention just how far away Dartmoor actually is!) the otter is the first sculpture to be panted in my home studio. It’s interesting to bring one home. Nice to paint amongst my home comforts but a job to navigate around day to day life. Different to when you have booked specific time away for it. Namely, I am talking about trying to paint with a puppy around! It’s one thing I hope will be much easier as Dot grows up. Perhaps the fear of her being covered in paint and smudging everything might subside a little.
I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that this design is going to feature a very familiar face. It is rare for me to paint people but for this design I have made an exception. I think when you see it you will understand why! The design is bright, colourful, happy and featuring a national treasure that I am sure folk will love. I just have to hope that I can do them justice!
Keep your eyes peeled when the otter designs all go live on the trail later on this year.
Plus my Wild In Art adventures.
How could this not be a highlight? To be commissioned to create two out if 40 sculptures that raised over a million quid? The highest Wild in Art raise ever! Featuring artists including Stuart Semple and DC’s Kenneth Rockafort, and cheerleader by Henry Cavill himself. It was the top rockstar moment of my career so far.
I even went as far as to say that I’ve peaked! As both a fundraiser and an artist. Even before the spectacular auction, the project was a highlight throughout. It marked my first visit to the island. With a distinctive continental flavour it was like a mini holiday with my art. I met some brilliant artists along the way too. My sculptures both got beautiful seaside locations, including just opposed the aging hire, I had stayed in tinlaint, beneath the castle. It meant that picturing the statue in place, despite being unable to visit, was much easier.
The night of the auction blew my mind, Our Island raised £27,000 at auction. Jersey Big raised £25,000. It was incredible, and all the sculptures went for one phenomenal amounts.Of course I have my tongue in my cheek when I talk about having peaked, but it feels like a tough act to follow. I felt like a proper artist though! My career is still new, and I have been drawing in the closet my whole life. These moments in the real world, where my work is being elevated so much, are still huge ‘pinch myself’ moments.
Other Wild In Art Adventures
These two sculptures joined my Wallabies Gone Wild Wallaby and my Great North Elmer as my Wild in Art 2019 contributions. Plus my Cows About Cambridge sculpture debuts in March 2020. My charity sculpture raise for the year is nearly at an incredible £60,000. A huge highlight for me indeed!
This piece is part of a three part blog series on my highlights from 2019.
I am excited to be announcing that I am an artist for cows about Cambridge!
YES! This will be my fifth sculpture for wild in art this year across 4 U.K. cities. That’s not counting the cheeky little York ghost hunt ghost Nellie. The trail won’t be live until 2020 though so there’s a little bit of time to wait for my sculpture to hit the streets.
Even More excitingly I am partnered with the projects headline sponsor Govia Thames link. It means that I already know where my sculpture will be based. Tying in with the theme of the design, it will be based in the train station. A building that will feature in the cow itself.
I love the idea of my cow welcoming people into the city! A mini map to be their first friendly intro to the city. The design features lots of local land marks, painted fun, bold and bright. It also features Gomes, escalated to the status of landmarks. This is to give a shout out to the local folk who make the city what it is.
Working with the headline sponsor means I’ll expect to be more involved in the trail that’s perhaps some of the others. I’m excited to see how it goes though.
How about the design?
Find my Instagram profile to see how I get on, and get a first peek at the sculpture. With such a great success of auctions of my other sculptures as of late, it will be amazing to break the £60,000 raised for charity mark with my sculptures.
Plus, stay turned for another Charity sculpture announcement…
Public art exhibition on Jersey island in support of Durrell Zoo.
I have been commissioned to paint two Gorilla sculptures for the trail.
Following my announcement that I am taking part in the Go Wild Gorillas Project with Wild in Art I am mega excited to announce my participation in another of their projects. I will be painting a 5ft tall fibreglass wallaby for Wallabies Gone Wild 2019.
Yep! The public arts trail will consist of twenty sculptures displayed at points around the Isle of Man over summer 2019. I am really looking forward to revisiting the island again to begin painting. I visited the island on family holidays on a number of occasions as a child. The last time I went to the island I was 8 years old but I still have memories of places that I want to revisit. The trail is in aid of the Isle of Man Hospice. Having worked as a Fundraiser in a local Hospice I understand what a valuable cause this is.
My sculpture will be in partnership with Villa Gaeity, a theatre and cinema complex in Douglas. I can’t say much about the sculpture but I can hint that it will reflect Villa Gaiety with a twist. As always the sculptures are top secret until they are officially launched but I can share them when they are.
Most of my commissions tend to come from small businesses, individuals, the arts sector, charities and community groups so this corporate experience is pretty new. I haven’t always been hot on identifying my appeal to corporate businesses. My audience tends to be quite young and my work is far from traditional or serious. It’s strength in this realm s that it gets good engagement. My work is bright and detailed and it makes people smile. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a direction for my work in future.
I had high hopes for getting to be part of a Wild in Art trail in 2019 so to be commissioned to produce 3 sculptures feels pretty incredible. The painting process will no doubt be intense and I will learn a lot through it too. I am just amazed and exhilarate to be selected by three sponsors.
I am massively excited to announce my participation as a selected artist for Go Wild Gorillas 2019. This high profile public art installation returns to Jersey for the second time this summer. The event is a fundraising collaboration between Durrell Zoo and Wild in Art. It consists of a series of large gorilla statues distributed across the picturesque island to form a sculpture trail.
Wild in Art have curated similar events internationally including Bee in the City Manchester and Herd of Sheffield. The event pairs artists with sponsors to produce each unique sculpture. The sculpture is then displayed at a point across the island for the duration of the summer. Afterwards each sculpture will be auctioned off to raise money for the zoo. Durrell are planning a huge revamp of their Gorilla enclosure which funds raised from the event will go towards.
Artists were encouraged to use the island as their inspiration for their design. Each will be provided the same fibreglass blank gorilla statue as the base for their work. Customising a giant blank sculpture must be every vinyl toy fan’s dream, and has certainly been mine! I can’t wait to put my stamp on it. It’ll also be interesting to see what other selected artists have envisioned for their sculptures too.
I will be producing two designs for the trail and will begin painting the sculptures in May. Designs are top secret until the trail is launched so I can’t say too much at present. What I can reveal though is that they will be multi media pieces and an ambitious challenge. Securing a commission of this kind was one of my goals for 2019 so I’m especially energised around participating.
And did I mention I’m really excited?
I’m keen to get cracking and preparations have already begun. As I have embraced the island’s history in both of my designs, I am really looking forward to visiting Jersey too. I am grateful to De Gruchy and Trust Ford for selecting and sponsoring my designs and giving me the opportunity to be part of such a brilliant project.
When my designs are unveiled I will share them on my blog with a more technical breakdown if their creation and materials used. If you get the chance to visit the trail, please share with me and tag me in your pictures.
Find out more about Go Wild Gorillas here.