Ards and North Down

A page of gull studies in pencil and watercolour

Workshops, a fair and a New Craft Kit

Getting Ready for the Spring to be Sprung!

Easter is behind us, but the weather has only just realised today that it is time to stop blowing us sideways into a hedge! This has put a bit of a halt to my fieldwork trips to the beach over the last 2 or 3 weeks. Fortunately there is always plenty of admin to be getting on with while I am waiting for better weather as the end of another financial year has come around. To start off the year I have some workshops, a fair and a new craft kit!

New pieces online

The drawing I did manage to get done earlier in the winter has, however, enabled a refresh of my pieces in the Scottish Ornithologists Club online shop. You can see the shop here:

A quick trip to Norfolk

The last week in March found me getting a quick trip away to London and Norwich. A much needed break and a lovely catch up with old college friends. I was, of course, accompanied by the famous Bob! A drive out to Blakeney Point on the North Norfolk Coast brought us sightings of marsh Harrier and dark bellied brent geese. Both not often seen here. And a visit to the lovely Birdscapes Gallery to see their exhibition of Society of Wildlife Artists work

Trying my hand at lithography

While I was away, I also had an opportunity to spend an afternoon trying my hand at stone lithography. This is a facinating and slightly magical process that allows very free drawing and mark making to be captured in print form and, as such, is right up my street.

I was very fortunate to have the expert guidance of Simon Burder of Oaks Fine Art to keep me right. Basically I had a very enjoyable time playing with some crayons and then followed instructions! The result was this little print of a curlew, a bird I have sketched quite a few times this winter.

a small image of a lithograph drawing featuring a curlew in front of rocks and seaweed with 3 starlings in the background on the rocks

Where you can find me in the next few weeks

Back in the studio, there is plenty to plan for in 2024. Later this year I will be part of large exhibitions in Whitehead and Portadown, but in the meantime, here are a few local events coming up in the next few weeks:

May Day Celebrations in Holywood

The popular May Day celebrations in Holywood will take place on Monday 6 May bank holiday.

The town centre will be transformed into a pedestrianised hub of activity centred on the town’s historic Maypole with displays of dance by local school children, and other traditions such as the Bonnie Baby competition and the crowning of the May Queen!

colourful logo of Art on the Rails

Art on the Rails

Art on the rails will be part of the bank holiday event with stalls in the main street

You will find me somewhere among the Art on the Rails stalls from 10am – 5pm

More details can be found on the Ards and North Down Borough website
Merry May Day promotional image. White text on a light blue background with a stylised maypole and council logos

Two New workshop dates

A photograph of paper birds hanging from beech twigs inserted into a white ceramic pot. Red text reads"Paper Bird Making Workshop, Tuesday 21 May 2024, 7-9pm, the Craft Room Newtownards

Paper bird making

My next paper bird making workshops will be at The Craft Room in Newtownards on Tuesday 21 May from 7 – 9pm

This will be a very relaxed and informal couple of hours. I will introduce you to a couple of useful tools and a few simple cutting and folding techniques. Hopefully everyone will go away with a Robin and a Blue tit. There are still places available. Bookings can be made on the Craft Room NI website.

Tuesday 21 May
7 – 9pm
The Craft Room, Newtownards

Bug Drawing workshop

On Saturday 15 June, I’ll be doing bug drawing workshops in the Walled Garden Bangor.

These will be 2 one hour drop ins. I will have some bugs from the garden ready to observe and draw and a selection of materials to use. You are welcome to bring along your own sketch book and materials if you wish

Sat 15 June 2024, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Saturday 15 June 2024, 1:00 – 2:00pm

Bangor Castle Walled Garden

Valentine Road
BT20 4BT

FREE (pre-booking recommended)

The contents and packaging of a craft kit to make a paper blue tit are laid out next to each other

New Kit now available!

While developing the materials for the workshops I have also come up with another kit to compliment the make your own Bob kit.

Now you can also make your own blue tit! These are already available in The Craft Room.

Workshops, a fair and a New Craft Kit Read More »

Summer Festivals and Exhibitions Galore!

With Creative Peninsula and August Craft Month about to kick off, I won’t trouble you with a long introduction. Suffice to say there is a lot going on and not just what is listed below. You can check out all the events on offer for you delectation and delight this summer via the Craft NI and Creative peninsula websites and, while you are at it, have a look at the summer events in Boom Studios!:

August Craft Month

Creative Peninsula


Oh and one more little plug – I am very happy to say that some of my new original drawings from earlier in the year are now rubbing shoulders with some very fab wildlife artists in the Scottish Ornithologists Club online shop.


Exhibition Wildlife Art

This is a great and well established weekend exhibition of wildlife art taking place in Gordale Garden Center on the Wirral Peninsula from 28 to 30 July. This year I am taking part remotely and have 8 pieces in their online gallery which goes live on 28 July. All the pieces will remain available for the rest of the year.

Creative Peninsula Exhibition at Ards Arts Centre

The exhibition opening and official launch of the Creative Peninsula festival will be 6.30 – 8.30 on Thursday 27 July and includes an opening talk and demonstration

This year the exhibition has a theme – “Inspired By”. No prizes for guessing what I am inspired by, but you’ll have to come along to se exactly what I came up with as its a bit different.

Thursday 27 July – Thursday 24 August.

August Craft Month Exhibition at Craft NI

I am delighted to be taking part in this exhibition. Again its something a bit different, so you’ll have to wait for the exhibition before I reveal it! Why not join us for the official opening and late night art in the Gallery on Thursday 3 August from 6-9.

Thursday 3 August – Friday 15 September 2023

Monday – Saturday 10 -5

Late Night Art Thursday August 6pm – 9pm

Creative peninsula exhibition at North Down Museum

Another of my winter bird drawings from the beach at Millisle will be showing in this exhibition, Bangor’s Creative Peninsula celebration of local artists and crafts people.

Thursday 3rd August until Sunday 4 September

during museum opening hours

Craft Fairs

Creative Peninsula Twighlight Market and Arts Night

This event has a new twist this year being an evening event. The usual mix of local crafts people and artsits, myself included, exhibiting, demonstrating and selling in a one night only craft village in Conway Square, with live music, and drop in childrens crafts with Boom studios. Meanwhile the Arts Centre will be buzzing with creative goings on where you can see demonstrations and even try your hand at a new skill.

Friday 4 August

4 – 9pm

Conway Square, Newtownards 4-9pm

North Down Craft Collective in the Court House

Following from our very successful fair at Christmas, North Down Craft Collective will be back in Bangors Newest venue for an August Craft Month Event.

I’ll be at both these fairs with my all my usual stuff and a new thing or two to tempt you with!

Sunday 20 August

12 – 5 pm

Workshops and Demos

Sketching Landscape and Wildlife

On the afternoon of Sunday 30 July, I’ll be hosting a relaxed sunday sketching workshop at Cockle Row Cottages in Groomsport. This is a free drop in event, I will have some materials to use, but feel free to bring along your own weapons of choice! Here’s hoping the weather is kind to us

Sunday 30th July


Cockle Row Cottages, Groomsport

Make a Paper Bird Workshop, Newtownards

For the Creative Peninsula festival, I have a paper bird making workshop now available to book. We will learn about some basic paper cutting techniques and tools. You should come away with at least one paper bird decoration.

Tuesday 1 August

7 -9 pm

Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards

Alfresco Art

Another free event. This one always has a lovely relaxed Sunday vibe enjoyed by makers and public alike. Get yourself a brew from the Coffee Cure at North Down Museum and enjoy seeing local artists and crafts people demonstrating their skills in the courtyard. I’ll be there from 12 -2 pm, but there will be more makers in the afternoon.

Sunday 6 August

The Courtyard, North Down Museum, Bangor

12 -4pm

Make a Paper Bird Workshop, Lisburn

If you can’t make it to the Creative Peninsula paper bird making workshop, there is a another opportunity as I will be delivering it again in Lisburn as part of the Island Arts Centre August Craft Month Program. Bookings are now open.

Saturday 19 August


The Island Arts Centre, Lisburn

Open Studios

Bangor Art Tour and Tipple

Join the Creative Peninsula team for a tour of Bangor’s creative spaces. Starting at North Down museum, where you will find me doing a short demo of paper crafting, then on for a peek behind the scenes at Boom Studios and Seacourt Print. With drinks along the way!

Wednesday 2 August

8-9 pm

Summer at Boom

Come and get a nosey round Boom studios, meet and chat with some of the artists in their studios , and see what we get up to all day. I’ll have my studio, over the road in Boom 2 open, so why not call in and say hello!

Saturday 12 August

11am – 5pm

Open House Festival evening Art Walk

Join Boom Studios Director, Marainne Kennerly, for a tour of creative spaces in Bangor and a glimpse into the vibrant artistic life of the city. I’ll be in Boom 2 waiting for a chat!

Thursday 24 August


Summer Festivals and Exhibitions Galore! Read More »

Creative Peninsula and August Craft Month 2022

It is that time of year again when all we go just a bit art and craft mad! The Creative Peninsula, Ards and North Down’s major art festival, launched last week with the opening of the exhibitions in Ards Arts Centre. There is also an exhibition in North Down Museum. I have a piece in each. There is plenty going on. You can check out all the events on the Creative Peninsula website or pop into the Arts Centre and pick up a booklet

And its not just Ards and North Down, August Craft Month is also under way. This year Craft NI are working with the Design and Crafts Council in Kilkenny to highlight events North and South. You can see everything by visiting the Craft NI August Craft Month page.

I am pretty busy over the next few weeks, so take a deep breath – here is my list!

Creative Peninsula in the Square and Alfresco Art

Creative Peninsula in the Square

Friday 5th August 11am – 5pm

This is one of the main events of the Creative Peninsula. Conway square, in front of the town hall, will be transformed into a tented art and craft village. Come down and meet artists living and working in Ards and North Down.

Alfresco Art

Sunday 7th August 12-4pm

This event is a favourite with artists and visitors alike. Spend a relaxed sunday afternoon in the courtyard of North Down Museum in Bangor watching local artists demonstrate their skills Maybe even try your hand at something yourself. And there is nothing better to go with alfresco art than alfresco refreshments from the Coffee Cure. I’ll be there from 12 making a variety of paper birds.

Photo: Janine Boyd

Workshop – Developing Skills for Sketching from Life 

I’ll be running a workshop at Ards Arts Centre to help you develop your drawing from life skills. There will be lots of short drawing exercises and plenty of paper and pencils to play with. Weather and time permitting we might go out into conway square to try and put it all into practice. It will be challenging, but hopefully fun as well!

Wednesday 10 August 10am – 1pm

If you are interested, you can book a place on the Creative Peninsula website here:

Creative Peninsula at the Ulster Folk Museum

Saturday 20th August 11am – 3pm

This is a new event for 2022. I am looking forward to spending the day demonstrating how I make my paper pigeons. You can find me in the school house!

North Down Craft Collective Pop up in Comber!

The North Down Craft Collective will be taking over a pop up shop at 4 Castle street, Comber from Tuesday 16th August, until Saturday 20th August. There will be different makers in residence each day from 10am – 4:00 pm.

I’ll be taking my turn on Wednesday 17th August,do call in and say hello if you are passing!

Creative Peninsula at Boom Studios!

Now that I am part of the Boom studios family, I also get to join in with their August events as well!

Open Studios at Boom

Boom studio artists will be opening their doors for the Creative Peninsula. Call in to meet and buy from the artists, and get a look inside Bangor’s creative hub.  Due to other commitments I will be there on Sunday 14th of August only this year.

Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August
10am – 12pm
2pm – 4pm

Boom Studios pop up in Bloomfield Shopping Centre!

For the whole of August Boom studios will be taking over a unit in Bloomfeld shopping centre. You will be able to see and buy work from your friendly local artists who work in Boom studios in Bangor.

The shop will be open Thursday to Saturday for the month of August.

Creative Peninsula and August Craft Month 2022 Read More »

New Solo exhibition at Ards Arts Centre

‘In the Field’

Sunburst Gallery, Ards Arts Centre

Tuesday 7 June – Saturday 16 July

There will be an informal Wine reception on the evening of:
Thursday 9 June, 7pm – 9pm
all welcome to attend

New solo Exhibition

I am excited to announce that I have a new solo exhibition opening this week. Ards Arts Centre are giving me the opportunity to share a body of new work that I have been developing for a couple of years.

The works I will be showing are all Field studies, that is, they were all made form life in the presence of the creatures they depict. Drawing in this way and experiencing nature directly has always been central to my practice. For this exhibition I wanted , for once, to show a body of work all completed in the Field, with all the scuffs, smudges, coffee cup stains and footprints collected along the way! There are squiggles that went nowhere, my subject having abruptly departed about its Business. In one case slugs ate part of a drawing! The rough and ready nature of these works is a trade off for the immediacy and vibrancy that I am never able replicate in the studio.

These drawings began life as a response to the Covid 19 pandemic. As lockdowns began in 2020, it became clear that I would be unable to make my usual trips out to draw wintering birds. But as the initial shock of the situation subsided and the good weather settled in, I decided to experiment with sketching insects in the garden.

The experience proved eye opening, challenging and refreshing. I was amazed at the variety and abundance of insects and spiders sharing relatively small areas of foliage. The challenges were many. Firstly even seeing animals so small was difficult. Clip on magnifiers and a hand held magnifying glass were promptly ordered on line. Secondly, I know nothing about entymology, so everything I was drawing was new to me and I was unable to put a name to any of the species. I was forced to dig deep into my seeing and drawing skills to try to make sense of the constantly moving tangle of legs, antennae and wings. At the same time this was liberating. Unencumbered by knowledge or preconceptions about the animals before me, I was free to explore what I was seeing and express my excitement at this new experience. As 2021 brought more lockdowns and yet more warm weather, I was back in the garden with my magnifiers, pencils and watercolors braving bites and sunstroke and discovering that bumble bees do indeed have a sting.

Making this work has, in turn, had an effect on me. I have a greater awareness of the invertebrate life all around me, so much so, that even mowing the lawn now seems a gross act of violence! My interest piqued, I have started to explore the role of invertebrates in the ecosystem, their importance for soil health and thereby for carbon storage. This research has recently led me to the even more mindboggling topic of microbes.

Admission free. The Gallery opening hours are:

  • Tuesday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm
  • Saturday 10.00am – 1.00pm
  • Sunday and Monday Closed

For more information and directions pease see the Ards Arts Centre website

New Solo exhibition at Ards Arts Centre Read More »

Exhibitions, Fairs and Pop up Shops

Here is a quick run down of where you can find me and my work in the run up to Christmas this year.

The Ulster Watercolour Society’s Annual Exhibition

There are still a few days to see the Ulster Watercolour Society’s 44th exhibition at Merville House in Merville Garden Village. There are unframed works available as well as the framed pieces. I have two of each in the exhibition.

The exhibition will be open
Wednesday 17th November – Sunday 28 November.

(closes at 1pm on the last day)
11am – 4pm daily (including Saturday and Sunday)

Christmas Market at Kylestone Nurseries

Saturday 27th November
9am – 5pm

I am looking forward to being back at Kylestone Nurseries, Groomsport, for the grande finale of the North Down Craft Collective Christmas showcases. There will be 25 makers feeling festive in the glass houses where there will be plenty of space and ventilation. Bangor Ladies Choir will be serenading us at 11am, plus the nursery will have locally sourced christmas trees for sale!

Before the 27th, there is, of course, another showcase of 5 makers on 20th November. You can see which makers will be there by following the North Down Craft Collective Facebook page.

Christmas with the Creative Peninsula

Creative Peninsula Christmas Edit Pop-up Shop and Exhibition

Saturday 27 November – Friday 17 December 2021

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm
Late Night: Thurs 9 and Fri 10 December

Ards Arts Centre

There will be a chance to meet some of the makers, though, as we are all volunteering to man the show in Ards Arts Centre. If you want to come and say hello , here are the dates and times that I will be there:

Tuesday 30th November 1pm – 4pm
Friday 10th December 6pm – 9pm
Tuesday 14th December 10am – 1pm

North Down Museum Christmas Made in AND

Wednesday 24 November 2021 – Sunday 2 January 2022

Museum opening times:
Tuesday -Saturday 10am-4:00pm, Sundays 12noon-4:00pm, Closed on Mondays.

North Down Museum

Exhibitions, Fairs and Pop up Shops Read More »