Art in the Pen 2021

Art in the Pen 2021

Art in the Pen 2021

After the disappointment of cancelled events in 2020 (no explanation required as to the reason for this!) it felt wonderful to be back at an art fair and my first experience of the very well respected and established ‘Art in the Pen’.

This event is held annually at the auction mart in Skipton. Usually a busy cattle and livestock market, the gated pens are transformed for the weekend into vibrant, interesting and colourful art and craft stalls – over 200 individual artists and makers under one huge roof.

Art in the PenI was a little overwhelmed when I arrived at the venue as the pen is so bare and it was hard to work out how we could transform it into a welcoming art gallery. Luckily it had been thoroughly washed and was nice and clean – although there was definitely a lingering farm smell, but that’s all part of the atmosphere of the event I guess!

I was very grateful to my daughter who came along to help; she kept me organised and together we worked out how to set things up.

I thought it would take us a couple of hours to unload the car and set up but I think it was closer to five hours in the end! IMG 6750 2

There was a real buzz about the place with fellow artists and makers all trying to set their stalls up – some simple and others slightly more complex. We saw some artists building temporary walls, display stands and hanging frames.

In the end, I was pretty happy with how our pen looked – I think the art was well displayed and I hope it looked friendly and welcoming. We had a range of original art, framed prints, canvas prints, mounted prints and a few little sketches and unique pieces from my studio. In addition to my animal artwork, I also displayed some of my portraits which received a great deal of attention.

F56E4083 D4E3 418F 858F 9144E7176B04 1 201 a

Art in the Pen is a two day event and this year entry was via pre-paid tickets to avoid overcrowding and try and facilitate social distancing. All the tickets were sold (with the exception of the last hour on each day) and the visitor numbers were just under 2000 on each day.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet people and to talk about my artwork in person. People were keen to browse and we did very well on both days in terms of sales – a good mixture of original work, mounted prints and greeting cards. I was also able to answer questions and discuss my inspiration, techniques and materials.

Art in the Pen 2021

As this was my first time exhibiting at Art in the Pen I also took time to visit other stalls and chat with fellow artists. Everyone was so friendly and I found it interesting to see how differently people had set their pens up. I certainly took away some hints and tips for next year.

So, a really enjoyable event – lots of work, but lots of fun too. I am already thinking about what I would do differently next year and how to simplify the setup so it’s quicker and easier to install. I also think I will apply for a double pen…… 🙂

Art in the Pen – Website

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Holiday Sketchbook

Holiday Sketchbook

Holiday Sketchbook

Although I usually take my sketchbook on holiday, I don’t always get much chance to sketch and draw as we tend to be rather active when we’re away. However, it’s surprising what you can achieve with a quiet five minutes here and there.

A recent family trip to the Scottish Highlands provided the perfect inspirational landscapes and abundance of wildlife to really get in the creative vibe. I particularly enjoyed watching the plethora of sea birds that inhabited the wild shores near our cottage.

 

Travel kit for sketchingMy very basic travel kit consists of watercolour paper (a sketchbook and some loose sheets), pencils, ink pens and a little tin of watercolour paints. This is enough for what I need.
I like to combine quick, spontaneous pencil sketches with areas of finer details, watery washes and some dashes of more vibrant colour hues. I finish with outlines and details with the black fine-liner ink pens.
I fill the sheets randomly with a variety of sketches and poses. I use direct observation in addition to referring to photographs to help understand the subject a little better.
These little sketches can then be used to inform larger pieces of work on my return to the studio.

 

Whilst out and about exploring the shore of the sea loch I encountered lots of oyster catchers and herons. In fact, whilst enjoying a leisurely kayak up the shoreline, I spotted ten herons flying off the rock in front of me. Although I spot a lot of herons here in North Yorkshire, I usually only see a solitary bird, so ten in one go was quite a spectacular sight. Their wing span and tall, skinny stature is very distinctive. I presume they have plenty to eat here!
Watercolour sketches seabirds
I really enjoy doing these little sketches and I find it extremely relaxing. It also helps me take note of my surroundings and pay attention to the abundance of wildlife. I have noticed since becoming an artist I am more visually aware and take note of how light falls on a subject and striking colour combinations.
By drawing on holiday it also means you have a unique souvenir of your time away. However, on this occasion I decided to leave our lovely hosts my drawings as a thank you for our stay. They were delighted with this and have told me they are going to frame them and display them in the cottage which is really lovely. 

If you haven’t been to the stunning West Coast of Scotland I would highly recommend it! We stayed near to Skye and the Kyle of Lochalsh. This is an excellent location to explore from and to enjoy the landscapes and wildlife. The midges can be a real problem at this time of year, but we were really lucky as they weren’t too bad at all since it had been so dry prior to our stay.
A real highlight of our trip was seeing dolphin when we took a boat trip from Portree Harbour. The food is also pretty amazing – especially the Plockton Prawns!!

Plockton Prawns

Highland Cow Calf

In addition to the sketches I undertook during the stay, I was also looking out for inspiration for future artwork projects. To that end, I was lucky to get some up-close photos of some gorgeous Highland Cows and I will definitely be using these to inspire further work when back in the studio.
I do already have some Highland Cow pictures available and they are extremely popular.

Shop – Sketchy Coo

Shop – Coo with a Yellow Earring

Shop – Heilan Coo (limited edition print)

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Product Focus – Greeting Cards

There are currently twenty-eight unique designs in my greeting card range, with new ones being added all the time. All designs are taken from my bright, bold and dynamic original artwork and printed onto quality card to make a delightful and thoughtful card. They can be used for a variety of occasions such as birthday, Christmas, or as a ‘thank you’ card. You could even just send a note to a loved one to say you are thinking of them. 

 

Stag greeting card by Vicki Davidson

Each greeting card is printed onto 350gsm superior quality card, which produces striking full colour work.
They are supplied with 100gsm gummed, diamond flap, white envelopes and cellophane sleeves (if you prefer to opt out of the cello sleeve then just leave a message at checkout and we’ll ship without).
All cards are blank inside ready for your personal message.
This bright and colourful stag’s head, titled ‘Caught in the Headlights’ is a popular greeting card and really packs a punch in terms of colour palette! This card is landscape in orientation and is A5 in size.

Fountain pen image

In today’s increasingly digital world, there is something so special about receiving a hand-written and hand-delivered personal note or letter.
Cards can be sent for a variety of reasons such as a birthday, Christmas or event. You may even just want to let someone know you are thinking about them! The recent lockdowns has meant we have had to be a little more creative and thoughtful in how we stay in touch and a card landing on their doormat can really make someone’s day!

 

 

 

Cycling cards by Vicki Davidson
Above you can see the two different sizes available; A5 (portrait orientation in this case) and the square format measures 147mm x 147mm.
This is my current cycling range, so perfect for that cycling enthusiast in the family! Each piece is designed to capture the colour, speed and drama of road cycling. Here in Yorkshire is a very popular cycling location with plenty of hills to get stuck into, complimented by breathtaking views. Probably best to bring your cagoule though!
The top blue image and the red/blue and yellow card on the bottom right were both captured in soft pastels, with bold lines, vibrant colours and soft blending.
The abstracted time-trial cyclist on the bottom left was created with acrylic paint on canvas.
All of these images are also available as fine art prints
Poppy Hare greeting card by Vicki Davidson
I have a large range of animal-themed cards, with plenty of my favourite hares of course! These are some of my most popular images and are suitable for a wide-range of occasions.
Sometimes the cards are bought with the intention of framing them which is a wonderful idea. Please note though, the printing process on cards is entirely different to that of fine art prints and your card will fade with time and also the print quality and colour matching is not the same.
The image seen here is ‘Poppy Hare‘ on an A5 gift card in portrait orientation.
Vicki Davidson robin greeting cards for Christmas
Several of my cards lend themselves perfectly as Christmas cards and my robins are a very popular design during the festive season. Robins are one of my favourite birds (along with owls, blackbirds and blue tits!) and are enduringly popular on Christmas card designs.
Here we have fat, fluffy little robin and a more traditional snowy robin. Both are extremely popular cards.
Each robin card is 147 x 147mm
Both are also available as a fine art print
Snowfall Hare by Vicki Davidson
Another hugely popular card (and print) at Christmas-time is ‘Snowfall Hare‘ and this is an A5 card in portrait orientation.
This image is from an original oil on linen canvas with ‘splatters’ of paint in soft white and blues to depict the falling snow.
Have you noticed how the shadows on the snow where the hare is sitting are blue-toned? I love that!

 

 

 

NHS pandemic greeting cardsThere are also two charity cards to choose from. These paintings were both created during the pandemic lockdowns and the original pieces are donated to the hospital trust where I work as a nurse.
Proceeds from the sale of these cards and prints all go to the charities. Sales of ‘Sending Hope’ go to the Therapeutic Care Team at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and proceeds from the sale of ‘Sending Love’ go jointly to Friends of the Friarage Hospital and Herriot Hospice Homecare.

 

BUY – SENDING HOPE HERE

BUY – SENDING LOVE HERE

So, why not stock up on your favourite cards and send a ‘smile in an envelope’ to someone special. I don’t think they will be disappointed.

Also, keep an eye out for new designs coming into the range. Expect more cycling, more birds, more animals……and probably more hares!

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Diamond Painting

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Diamond Painting

I am thrilled to be working with Diamond Art Studio UK Ltd as a new licensed artist for their fantastic diamond paintings.

I must confess, when the company first approached me about licensing artwork I wasn’t familiar with diamond painting. A quick Google and YouTube search and I soon discovered diamond painting is a relatively new but hugely popular hobby with fans around the world.

It is a little like painting by numbers, in that you follow a colour sequence for the picture, however, in place of paints you use colourful little diamond-shaped beads (known as ‘drills’) to create the image.

The finished artwork is absolutely stunning with a depth and glow all of its own. It really shimmers and captures the light. Many people frame their final pieces.

 

Stag Diamond PaintingInitially there are three exclusive ‘Vicki Davidson’ licensed diamond paintings for enthusiasts to enjoy.

The first one to be released is ‘Caught in the Headlights’ which is from an original oil painting with an abstract background and blocks of vivid colour. The stag’s head and antlers are created with bold, dark brushstrokes which sits well against the contrasting background.

The mixture of colour blocks and variation will make this a really fun challenge and I can’t wait to see images of the finished result. I suspect he may look pretty good in shiny diamonds!

If you fancy trying this one for yourself, he can be purchased here

Pink rose diamond paintingThe second exclusive image that has recently been released (stock due any day now) is one of my early pieces and one of the only florals I have done. ‘Pink Rose’ was created with soft pastels and I have always liked this picture for the pink and grey colour palette and soft edges.

This will be a particularly special diamond painting set as it contains ‘AB’ drills. This stand for Aurora Borealis and means these drills have a pearlescent effect and add a little extra pizzazz!

Personally, I will look forward to working on this one in particular as I really do love the colour pink and it will be wonderful to see all the subtle colour variations used to create this.

There is also a third image licensed and will be revealed by the company very soon, but I won’t spoil any surprises here!

And, due to such a positive response, we are already in the process of signing up two more of my artworks so there will be plenty to choose from.

 

So, what can you expect if you order a diamond painting set from Diamond Art Studio? Well, firstly you get a beautifully packaged box, with quite a lot of purple! It’s wrapped in brown Kraft paper and tied with a bespoke ribbon which makes it feel rather special – like a birthday treat!

You receive a small tray which is used to hold the drills as you work and a pen-like tool that is used to pick up the drills and apply to the canvas. There is also some wax which you dip the pen in and this enables you to pick up the drills before placing them to the corresponding colour on your picture.

The drills themselves each have a universal code (DMC) and there is also a legend to the side of your canvas so you can easily identify what colour goes where (although you definitely need good eyesight and I would recommend working with a good light too).

The canvas itself is excellent quality and the picture can be seen faintly. There are lots of tiny little squares and each has a symbol that identifies the colour to be placed. The canvas is scalloped around the edges and has the company logo along with artist’s logo and name in the case of licensed artwork.

Diamond painting stock image from PixabayThe process of painting is very straightforward and I soon found it to be extremely relaxing and a lot of fun. It’s not at all difficult; I thought it might be more tricky and fiddly than it was.

I have only worked on a small sample before and it took me a couple of days to complete, taking a couple of hours at a time. The large paintings are going to take a good while to complete and I think it must be very satisfying to finish!

The completed artwork can then be stored, or even framed. They really do look stunning once finished and the sparkly ‘diamonds’ bring such depth and life to the picture.

Please visit the website to find out more about diamond painting, or search YouTube to see some lovely time-lapse videos so you can see more of what’s involved.

I really recommend diamond painting to anyone who enjoys craft-type hobbies and also if you are looking for a calming and relaxing pastime. The kits would also make excellent gifts.

I do think diamond painting should come with a warning though – it is highly addictive!!

 

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New Gallery Representation

New Gallery Representation

New Gallery Representation

 

 

I am delighted to join Artios Gallery as a represented artist

I first joined Artios in Summer 2020 for an online international group exhibition; ‘Art of Being Alone’. Three of my portraits were chosen for this exhibition and I will now be a represented artist with some of my portrait works.

Artios are based in Manhattan, New York and works can be viewed online

Art of Being Alone, Artios Gallery Brochure, 2020

The gallery represent a number of international contemporary artists and I look forward to working with them!Artios Gallery Brochure, Art of Being Alone, 2020

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Sending Love

Sending Love

Sending Love

As the pandemic looked set to continue through the winter months, I wanted to create a second painting to mark this continuing journey. My first painting, ’Sending Hope’, had been so well received, with sales generating thousands of pounds for charity, I felt there was probably an appetite for a second painting. People were also beginning to ask when ‘Sending Hope 2’ would be released?!

With a week’s annual leave booked in November, and not able to go away anywhere due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions this was the perfect opportunity to create the artwork. I bought the same size canvas as the original of Sending Hope (100cm x 70cm) and started to work through some concept sketches for the painting. 

 

I felt the painting needed to reflect the darker mood and also the dark winter months with bare trees and more sombre colours. One of the things that has hit me hardest throughout the pandemic has been the visiting restrictions in the hospital and the impact this has on patients and their families. Community volunteers have been making knitted and fabric hearts to give to patients and families as a way of connecting them when they can’t see each other and I wanted to represent this in my painting.

 

Because it is now apparent this is a longer journey than we all initially anticipated, I also wanted the painting to reflect a journey – an uphill one! Of course, the bright and hopeful rainbow is there to greet us just over the brow of the hill.

 

The painting is designed to be a mirror image of Sending Hope and so they will make a neat pair when hung together. However, the original paintings will not hang together as I was delighted that managers at The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton (part of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) agreed to display the painting in their main atrium. Northallerton is my local hospital and also where my daughter was born so I am especially pleased to support The Friarage. 

Another really big thank you to Andy Richardson at Wensleydale Galleries and Framing for supplying the frame. https://wensleydalegalleries.co.uk/

**Prints and greeting cards are now available, with proceeds going to the Friends of the Friarage Hospital and Herriot Hospice Homecare**

https://www.herriothh.org.uk

https://www.friendsofthefriarage.org.uk

B1BAF1FC 066D 4254 87F7 382A76E81031
Sending Hope NHS

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New York Gallery. Juried Exhibition

New York Gallery. Juried Exhibition

New York Gallery. Juried Exhibition

It is very exciting to take part in my first juried gallery exhibition.

This is an international group exhibition with New York based Artios Gallery

https://www.artiosgallery.com/

Hooped Earrings by Vicki Davidson

 

The exhibition is titled ‘Art Of Being Alone: The Memorable Moments Of My Life’.

‘Because of an unexpected global pandemic crisis, a notion of Surrealism became our Reality. Cloistered in homes, everyone had plenty of time for reflection and self-observation. Struggling with new challenges, people tried to find a balance in everyday life. For artists, this struggle has ended in possible and productive way – the creation of ART’

 

 

 

This year, I had big plans for my fledgling art career and I have most definitely made considerable progress but not at all in the way I planned! It is therefore quite fitting to be part of this exhibition which celebrates art and artists who, during the pandemic,  have used their creativity as a way to find balance and focus. Although, I absolutely was not ‘cloistered’ in my home, rather juggling my art around my demanding hospital-based job and the needs of my family. It’s just as well I like to be busy and I like to be challenged!

 

Elyse by Vicki Davidson

 

Three of my works have been selected and the virtual gallery can be viewed here; Vicki Davidson. Headdresshttps://www.artiosgallery.com/virtual-gallery Curator – Elena Dobrovolskaya www.ElenaDobrovolskaya.com

 

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Portraits for NHS Heroes – Book to be Published

Portraits for NHS Heroes – Book to be Published

Portraits for NHS Heroes – Book to be Published

I am thrilled my painting of ‘Surgeon-Turned-Nurse’, Mr Joel Dunning, is to be featured in a new hardback book this November. The book has been curated by the mastermind behind the Instagram initiative of ‘Portraits for NHS Heroes’ (#portraitsfornhsheroes), artist Tom Croft, and published by Bloomsbury Publishers.

For artists, lockdown was difficult with their galleries and studios closed to the public and art fairs and exhibitions cancelled. Social media was where many turned for collective support and inspiration. Artist Tom Croft started the ‘Portraits for NHS Heroes’ (#portraitsfornhsheroes) initiative to support hospital workers on the frontline of the pandemic, and it quickly gathered momentum. Artists could advertise on their Instagram account, using the ‘portraits for NHS heroes’ hashtag and healthcare workers could team up with an artist who painted their portrait for free.

Very soon, Instagram feeds were full of artists sharing their incredible work. I looked on with envy as I was too busy at work in the hospital to participate, but I very much enjoyed seeing an ever increasing gallery of work.

Before long, I really couldn’t resist but decided to pick my own ‘NHS hero’ – my privilege I reckoned for being a nurse and an artist!

I approached my colleague, Mr Joel Dunning -a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon- as I was so impressed by his inspirational response to the pandemic. Joel quickly realised that, with his routine lists cancelled and high numbers of patients expected in critical care, it was nursing hands we were likely to be short of. Critically ill patients in intensive care require a 1:1 nurse to patient ratio, and with plans to expand out critical care capacity to unprecedented levels in response to the developing pandemic, our nursing resource was going to be stretched to breaking point. Therefore, Joel put himself forward to receive training in critical care nursing and started his grueling 12 hour shifts in full PPE.

I was so inspired by Joel’s willingness to do whatever was required and his brilliant leadership. Luckily, he was willing to let me paint his portrait and supplied me with some suitable photographs to work from.

It never meant to be a ‘three-in-one’ portrait – my most ambitious to date- but hopefully it tells the story of a surgeon during a global pandemic who takes on the role of nurse. It did involve a few late nights to complete the work, but hopefully the result has been worth it.

The original picture is now at the entrance to our STRIVE Academic Centre at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to not only remind us of healthcare during these unprecedented times, but also to inspire our future generation of medical and healthcare staff.

NHS Heroes Book CoverThousands of portraits were created as a result of this initiative, with professional and amateur artists all depicting their NHS heroes with varying techniques, mediums and styles. The hardback book contains over 350 portraits created during the pandemic lockdown. The book is due to be released on November 12th and is available for pre-order now via Bloomsbury Publishing or Amazon.

The best bit……all proceeds and royalties go directly to NHS Charities.

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New Product

New Product

New Product

Whilst exhibiting at The Art Crowd, Northallerton High Street, my fresh-off-the-easel painting, titled ‘Yorkshire Hare’ was given pride of place in the window display. He generated a lot of interest and sold very quickly.

However, I had recently learned that my printers, Nidd Imaging, could generate fine art prints on canvas and these are a very close match to the original painting. The canvas print is stretched over a pine frame and the image is ‘wrapped’ around the edges of the canvas. It is then given a couple of coats of protective varnish and comes complete with a hanger; literally ready to go straight on the wall!

I have had a lot of enquiries regarding ‘Yorkshire Hare’ since sharing via Vicki Davidson Art on Instagram and Facebook. Customers are disappointed that the original painting has sold already, but it is nice I can offer an alternative product that can still look every bit as good as the original. I am super impressed with the quality of these canvas prints. I think they are a brilliant idea and I am considering selecting some of my other prints to try in this format, along with the more traditional mounted prints I already offer.

These canvas prints are fully archival and can be sized according to the hanging space with sizes available in 2” increments.

 

You can read more about the product here;

http://www.niddimaging.co.uk/canvas/

 

You can also read about Vicki Davidson at The Art Crowd, High Street, Northallerton, until September 10th.

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/18661938.new-guest-artist-announced/

 

Yorkshire Hare home above fireplaceAnd, finally, here is a picture sent to me from a very happy customer after her ‘Yorkshire Hare’ canvas print was given a very prominent spot in her living room.  I think he has found a very nice home, what do you think?!

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Sending Hope

Sending Hope

Sending Hope

Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, our hospital – The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough- has been closed to visitors and public to help protect people and minimise the risk of viral transmission. In addition, routine surgery and out-patients have been paused.

The hospital can feel rather bare and lonely without the usual hustle and bustle and our amazing ‘Therapeutic Care Team’, along with an army of volunteers, have set about brightening the walls of the wards and corridors with beautiful laminated artwork by our local children. It really has had such an impact and lifted the spirits of both patients and staff. As the overriding symbol of hope during this pandemic, the rainbow has featured in much of this work!

I was incredibly honoured when asked to create an artwork that would serve as a permanent reminder of this time. We have achieved incredible things by working together and supporting colleagues to provide the best care possible to our patients during this unprecedented time.

I decided to work on the concept of ‘hope’, depicted by a child creating a rainbow, bringing light and colour to a dark world. She has been playing with her teddy who wears an ‘NHS’ mask and this leads her to think about how she may contribute to the collective effort, and thus creates her rainbow picture. Of course, she uses her tin of rainbow paint to do this!

The artwork is now on permanent display in our main hospital atrium following a brief – socially distanced – ceremony. The ribbon was kindly cut by a former ITU patient who has recovered from COVID-19, along with her granddaughter who has volunteered in the hospital throughout.

The response to the painting has been overwhelming, it really seems to resonate with many people – each perhaps taking their own message and response to the painting and what COVID-19 has meant to them.

A huge thank you to The Art Shops in Northallerton and Ilkley for kindly donating the canvas and paints for this project. https://theartshops.co.uk/

Also, a really big thanks to Andy Richardson at Wensleydale Galleries and Framing for supplying the frame. https://wensleydalegalleries.co.uk/

What a team effort it has been!

**Prints and greetings cards are now available, with proceeds going to the Therapeutic Care Team at the hospital**

Sending Hope 2
Sending Hope NHS

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Painting Will Young

Painting Will Young

Painting Will Young

One of my favourite TV programmes – Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year – has also been adapting to lockdown. In order to unite the art community and provide a fun, interactive way to challenge artists they have been running weekly ‘live’ celebrity portrait sittings via Facebook Live, named Portrait Artist of the Week!

Unfortunately I have been too busy recently with NHS work and my painting commissions to participate fully but I didn’t want to think I had missed out entirely! So, I tuned in on May 24th to see my favourite artist – and past winner of Sky Portrait Artist of the Year – Cristian Hook, paint singer (and original Pop Idol!) Will Young.

I was only able to watch the first couple of hours and really enjoyed the conversation between Will and Cristian, so much so that I didn’t do any ‘live’ painting. Instead I took a series of screenshots on my iPad to work on through the week.

I chose to work in acrylic on aluminium panel. Acrylic paints dry much quicker than oils – which has advantages and disadvantages! The aluminium panel provides a smooth surface and I enjoy the end result with aluminium.

To enter the competition, the images are shared on Instagram with the hashtag #myPAOTW . There were thousands of paintings and drawings submitted from all over the world – absolutely incredible! The judges must have had a very difficult task in singling out the top three, but the three they chose were indeed superb paintings.

Overall, a really enjoyable experience and I’m a little bit sad not to have been able to participate every week.

And, although the judges didn’t pick out my work, I am delighted to say that Will Young contacted me later and chose to buy the portrait from me!

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Painting Big and Bold

Painting Big and Bold

Painting Big and Bold

We were lucky enough to get away recently for a short family break to the Scottish Highlands and Isle of Skye. I did of course take my sketchbook but we were so busy with walking, cycling, sightseeing and eating scrummy food that I didn’t find much time to sketch. I managed a quick watercolour of the iconic Eilean Donan Castle at Dornie when we stopped briefly on our way to Skye and I hope this will guide a larger painting at some point. The scenery in this region is absolutely stunning and we got plenty of fresh air and exercise, so feeling well rested.

Vicki Davidson Painting Large Acrylic HareOn return home I was itching to get back to my paints and easel and decided to continue on my ‘hare’ series, working big and bold. My canvas measures 80cmx80cm and I think this painting will make quite some statement! I chose a reference photo from the incredibly talented Sue Cross (IG – @suecross) although I don’t go for photo realistic copy, preferring to adjust and interpret in my own way. I never use a photograph without permission, although sometimes I refer to images from creative commons zero sites such as Pixabay and Unsplash.

I decided to work in acrylics, mainly because of the shortened drying time compared to oil. I absolutely love working in oil paints, especially with the ease of blending colours. However the long drying time (months!) can be a real downside, especially as I would like to use this painting as a window piece in an upcoming exhibition this month.

I enjoy acrylic much more than I used to and throughout this painting I used a glazing technique. Glazing involves applying thin washes of colour over sections of the painting and is rather effective at creating a uniformity of colour and building up depth in the painting.

The size of the canvas has been a real challenge and it has taken many hours, especially working on the fur. The finishing touches will be the whiskers and I should be able to call him finished this week. I will then take the painting to the brilliant Nidd Imaging in picturesque Pateley Bridge for digitisation so we can produce prints and greetings cards.

Next up on the easel will be a very special commission which I am looking forward to. I won’t be working on quite such a big canvas though, and it’s a human subject, not a hare!

 

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Portraits for NHS Heroes – Book to be Published

Portraits for NHS Heroes

Portraits for NHS Heroes

With much of the world in lockdown, and an ever increasing focus on the ‘frontline’ workers, and particularly the NHS, many people have been left wondering how they will adapt and work differently.

For artists, lockdown has been a particular challenge, with their galleries and studios closed to the public and art fairs and exhibitions cancelled. Social media has been where many have turned for collective support and inspiration. The brainchild of portrait artist Tom Croft, #portraitsfornhsheroes was started and quickly gathered momentum. Artists could advertise on their Instagram account, using the ‘portraits for NHS heroes’ hashtag and healthcare workers could team up with an artist who painted their portrait for free.

Very soon, Instagram feeds were full of artists sharing their incredible work. I looked on with envy as I was too busy at work to participate but enjoyed seeing an ever increasing gallery of work – visors, facemasks, scrubs, doctors, nurses, support workers, radiographers, physiotherapists, paramedics, porters- the portraits were really capturing the moment.

Before long, I really couldn’t resist but decided to pick my own ‘NHS hero’ – my privilege I reckoned for being a nurse and an artist!

I approached my colleague, Mr Joel Dunning -a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon- as I was so impressed by his inspirational response to the pandemic. Joel had quickly realised that, with his routine lists cancelled and high numbers of patients expected in critical care, it was nursing hands we were likely to be short of. Critically ill patients in intensive care require a 1:1 nurse patient ratio, and with plans to expand out critical care capacity to unprecedented levels in response to the developing pandemic, our nursing resource was going to be stretched to breaking point. Therefore, Joel put himself forward to receive training in critical care nursing and started his gruelling 12 hour shifts in full PPE.

I was so inspired by Joel’s willingness to do whatever was required and his brilliant leadership. Luckily, he was up for the challenge and bravely supplied me with some photos to work from.

It never meant to turn out as a ‘three in one’ portrait – my most ambitious to date- but hopefully it tells the story of a surgeon during a global pandemic who takes on the role of nurse. It did involve a few late nights to complete the work, but hopefully the result has been worth it.

What a brilliant role-model – thank you Joel!

The original picture will now hang in our STRIVE Academic Centre at the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to not only remind us of healthcare during these unprecedented times, but also to inspire our future generation of medical and healthcare staff.

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