We have been very lucky here in Newbiggin by the Sea with the weather. We've had some warm, sunny days that have allowed myself and my partner John Graham, to get out on our bikes for a couple of hours and cycle along the coast. After 7 weeks of limited movement during the Covid-19 lockdown, getting back out to enjoy our beautiful Northumberland coastline again was wonderful. Here I share some photos of that day plus photos of recent artworks in progress or completed. Finally, a bird rarity to Newbiggin!
Newbiggin in the sun
Last week we went out for a bike ride along the coast. We cycled up to Beacon's Point, which is a popular spot for birdwatchers, being that it turns up rarities from time to time. It was a warm day and we sat on the cliff edge for a while before heading towards Lynemouth power station in the search for Flycatchers and Whinchats. We walked along the path at the side of the golf course which is covered in gorse bushes and an ideal place for birds to nest. This was where John once photographed a Red-spotted Bluethroat. A rarity which attracted a large group of photographers from miles around who set up their cameras on the beach and waited for hours in the hope they got a look, some did, others wasn't so lucky (me included) The latest rarity that turned up in Newbiggin can be found at the bottom of this blog.
'On the Easel' - Kingfisher in Acrylics
I have had some relaxing evenings in the studio recently. Having set my sights on completing some of my unfinished paintings which have been sitting on the shelf for a while, I got the paints back out. The Kingfisher painting is a simple composition, but this is what makes it so effective. This bird overpowers its drab surroundings so extra detail is not really needed. The wooden post was created using a mix of paint and texture gel and the raindrops added at the end helped to frame the bird perfectly. This is a 9" x 12" acrylic painting which is available for sale framed or unframed. You ca see some framed examples below.
Get in touch for details about purchasing this painting.
The reference image used for this painting was taken by John last year. Being surrounded by open fields and small, woodland areas, there is always an abundance of wildlife. The Kingfisher momentarily posed on the wooden post early one morning, giving John enough time to capture a few images, before it departed.
'On the Easel' - Bullfinch & Apple Blossom acrylic painting
This painting was created using two reference images, the Bullfinch and the blossom. There is a cycle path close to home, which has a long row of apple blossom trees where you often see Bullfinches. Although I was able to get photos of the trees in blossom, I was not lucky enough to get a Bullfinch posing at the same time and so used one of John's Bullfinch images.
This is an 8" x 8" acrylic painting which will be available for sale upon completion, either framed or unframed. Contact me for details about purchasing this portrait.
What a find!
John was extremely lucky one morning to capture a glimpse of the stunning European Bee-Eater as it flew over a lake close to home. Although it was a long way off, there is no mistaking the Bee-Eater with its long beak and vibrant colours. Although there have been sightings of Bee-Eaters around the country, this is the first time a Bee-Eater has been seen in Newbiggin by the sea.
Murphie - Large Traditional Heart Memorial portrait
Murphie sadly passed away in December 2015 aged 20 years of age and her Mum was looking for something special as a memorial to Murphie and came across my Traditional Hearts portraits and got in touch. It is always a real challenge when it comes to black & white animals as you tend to find that a lot of definition is lost in photos as it is very difficult to strike a balance of these colours whilst still retaining detail however, through various layering of
paint colours including grey and brown tones added to the black fur and with greys added to the white fur I was able to create an equal balance of colour and detail to ensure perspectives were kept in check and the final portrait was as close a likeness to Murphie's photo as possible. Feedback from Murphie's Mum upon receipt told me that I had done a good job!
Bailey - 10" x 12" Coloured pencil pet portrait
Bailey is the second portrait completed in Coloured pencils for his Mum after heartbreakingly losing both Bailey and Casey (the first portrait) in close succession of each other and was gifted both portraits by a good friend. Bailey was originally sat on a green stripey rug but I thought it would suit the portraits if they were both sat on the same wooden
flooring so that they would compliment each other once framed and hung next to each other.
" Bailey just arrived! Well, about 15 minutes of tape removal ago. We are so chuffed! Bailey was loved by all of us, but loves my husband best, he was over the moon! We are blessed by your talent!
Obe - 11" x 14" Boxer Dog Acrylic painting
I was asked to create an Acrylic painting of Obie the Boxer dog as a surprise gift to a lady in the USA. The reference photo was a beautiful pose and of great quality and I was able to gather lots of detail from the reference image to create this special memorial painting of Obe.
All my Acrylic paintings are created using a mixture of professional paint colours and mediums which offer texture to the painting. The background texture was created using a palette knife and texture was limited on Obie himself except for a light layering of fur texture. Nearly 40 Facebook friends clubbed together to book this surprise portrait of Obe and it was lovely to hear how happy the recipient was upon receiving such a thoughtful gift from great friends!
I have had my eye on a stunning photograph of a Black long haired Daschund called Miss Molly taken by a lovely lady and Molly's Mum who lives in the USA, I asked if I could use the photo to recreate into an Acrylic painting and Molly's Mum said 'YES!' Here is the progress of Molly so far - an Acrylic painting always starts off looking rather messy whilst I lay down the rough base tones. Details are defined and refined as I go along creating finer details and applying washes where necessary.
As you can see on the last photo, Molly has more finer details now but there is still much to do on the Cherry Blossoms in the background. If you wish to follow progress of this portrait, you can find the official page by clicking the link below:
Thinking of booking your own Acrylics Commission? Get in quick as the current Introductory prices are only available for a short time only, find out more on my ACRYLICS page or click any of the links below:
I have begun a couple of new Acrylic paintings to join my ever growing collection. After painting our Springer Spaniel swimming, having 2 Labradors also I wanted to create a trio of paintings of them and after thoroughly enjoying painting the water in Casper's painting, I decided that this would be the theme of the trio and so went off to Woodhorn's QEII park here in Northumberland to get some photographs of him. Haze is rather excitable and went off jumping in to the water on numerous occasions, which caused him to sprain his tail! poor boy! Luckily, it was ok after a few days and it did not bother him much, so I got a lovely, natural photograph of him enjoying his swim on a sunny Sunday! Here is progress so far of the rough base layers, this is also a 11" x 14" on Gessobord.
The 2nd painting is a 12" x 12" of a beautiful little Black Daschund called Miss Molly. She lives in the USA with her family and the stunning composition image had been posted by her Mom sometime last year and I fell in love with it straight away and asked if I would be able to use it for this painting, luckily her Mom was more than happy for me to use it and I got started. Molly is surrounded by Cherry Blossoms and so this painting is going to take a good few hours to lay down all the rough base layers before I even get to adding the fine details!! Both these paintings will have texture added in places applied with a palette knife to give the unique finish to every painting I do.
2016 sees the introduction of a range of frames that can be booked with all my 3mm Acrylic portraits with prices starting from just £35.00 extra. Every frame has been hand picked by myself to offer a good range of colours & styles suitable for every painting. There are also a few FSC/PEFC frames to choose from ensuring the wood of these frames have come from sustainable sources. Click on either image below to go to my FRAMING page.
Having recently returned from a long break in my old hometown of Chesterfield, Derbyshire (note all the frame names!), I took a visit to my framers to pick out the frame for my current painting and thought I would share a few images. This is our Springer Spaniel called Casper, who simply loves swimming - as I now live on the coast of Northumberland, I wanted a 'washed' effect frame and so went for the 'Highfield' option. The cream edging does not overpower the painting and the Graphite coloured edge helps to frame the subject perfectly. Now I just have to complete the painting!
Each portrait is hand painted on a heart shaped 18mm deep sheet of MDF using professional quality Heavy Body GOLDEN Acrylics which have unique pure pigments to offer excellent permanency and lightfastness. Hearts can be free-standing, hung or framed depending on your preferences and can make a real statement. In addition to the painted portraits, you can also opt to have a name(s) added too. A dedicated Gallery page will be added to this website when more Artworks are available to view but for now you can find out more about them on the HEARTS page - if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
and happiness to their owners and deserve their memorial portraits, reminding us every day of those happy times spent together and the special bond we have.
There were a few pieces I was unable to complete for the deadline (Springer Spaniel above) as I did not want to rush them being so detailed however, all these pieces will be added to my website with their dedicated page as to how they were completed and for those available for sale, a chance to purchase the original or buy a print or 2.
Details will be added on my News page once the Magazine is out (June Issue) with a link to the website where you can purchase a Print copy or a digital copy to download. This magazine is a must for any Coloured pencil lover or for anyone simply wishing to read 'my story' as it's the one and only time I'll share it publicly.
Costs are as follows:
Printed Copy $5.99 £3.87* €5.46* Delivery (1 - 2 weeks) USA $4.06 UK £2.96*
Digital Copy $2.99 £1.93* €2.72*
*Due to exchange rate, these prices may vary
For anyone who does not know, I also have an official website dedicated to my Art Tutoring & 1 Day Workshops called 'Step by Step Art' - it has recently had a complete overhaul and as well as offering 1 Day Art Workshops in the UK, it has now been extended to offer online Art information and helpful articles to Artists Worldwide. Read on to find out more....
So if you have an interest in Art, why not visit my Step by Step Art website, there may be some tiny nugget of advice found within these pages that helps save the life of a drawing or painting! Please feel free to share this article with other Arty friends and if anyone has any interesting Articles that they wish to submit for the site, please get in touch, I would love to hear from you!
Karen M Berisford