Things the Same and Things Different

Now that the dust (and glitter!) has well and truly settled from Christmas, I thought I had better wish you a belated happy new year! January is usually a time for retiring to the back office to have a think and a plan and this year is no different. I have been trying to make some improvements to my website, including a new hosting, which was every bit the headache I expected! Thanks to Boom studios website club for keeping me on track with this!

I am also between three studios, my old home studio, my current very small space in Boom and (at least in my head) a bigger space in Boom that I hope to get into in February or March. Box packing, runs to the dump, trying to persuade fellow artists that they might have a use for my old tat and figuring out how and what to move from A to B to C! Hopefully most of this will be resolved by the end of March.

In between all this, I have been trying to take advantage of the fact that I now live walking distance from the beach by getting out and doing some fieldwork. I would like to get some good drawing days before the wintering birds head north to breed. Above is one of my first efforts, a lovely stonechat I watched feeding in the heaped up seaweed at the top of the beach!

But in the meantime, things are already getting quite busy! This weekend I will be doing my first fair of the year in Belfast and two group exhibitions are opening in February which mean I have to put the studio packing aside and turn my attention to them!

Fine and Dandy in the Titanic Hotel

The Fine and Dandy Market is at long last returning to Belfast and I am very happy to be taking part in the first one. They are starting big with the Titanic Hotel. You can find me there with my paper birds on this coming weekend Sunday 5th February. Table 38, Drawing room one!

Sunday 5th February

1- 5pm

Titanic Hotel Belfast, 6 Queens Road, Belfast, BT3 9DT

Find out more…
The Fine and Dandy Market
The Titanic Hotel

A Valentines Day Opening in Bangor

the North Down Craft Collective are once again organising a spring exhibition to showcase the wealth and diversity of talent and skills that their group has. North Down Museum are kindly hosting us in the Coffee Cure cafe space.

The show opens on 14th February and some of the artists, myself included, will be there that morning for an informal opening. You are most welcome to pop in,  meet the artists, peruse the artwork and have coffee all in one place!


14 February – 26 March

North Down Museum Cafe, Castle Park, Bangor, BT20 4BT

Informal opening:

Tuesday 14 February 10am – Noon

The Hypno Bunny Returns!

If you missed the Paper Magic exhibition in October at Craft NI, Fear not, for we are going to do it all again! Paper Magic will be at the Sunburst Gallery in Ards Arts Centre Fom 23 February until 25 March.

If you did catch us in Belfast, do check the show out again as there are a few changes. We have two new exhibitors joining us – Aimee Magee and Simon Hall. Since a couple of my pieces from the first show sold, I will be exhibiting a few of my Catalan Butterflies pieces that were created as part of a collaboration with poet Laurence O’Dwyer. That collaboration came about as as result of my being awarded a bursary from Ards and North Down Borough Council for a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, so I am pleased to have the opportunity to show part of that work here. 

We would like to invite you to join us for a opening preview of the show on Thursday 23 February from 7pm until 9pm.

Paper Magic

23 February – 25 March

Sunburst Gallery

Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square, BT23 4NP

Opening Preview: 

Thursday 23 February 7pm – 9pm.

Find out More…
Ards Arts Centre

Birdwatchers in the Tourist Office

And finally, during March, North Down Birdwatching Club will be having a display in Ards Tourist Information Centre to promote the club and the bird life of the local area. Along with other club members, I will be contributing a few bits and pieces. We have some talented photographers in the club, so do pop in and have a look if you are passing!

Ards Visitor Information Centre
1 – 31 March
31 Regent Street, Newtownards, BT23 4AD

Find out more…
Newtownards Tourist Information Centre

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Insects all over the Place this Autumn

There is a nip in the air and it seems summer may finally be over. I hope you had a good one and managed to enjoy the good weather. I have been busier than ever, and not complaining despite nearly losing sight of myself a few times! I am hoping that once the dust settles and I get the chance to reflect on all the activities and hard work I have put in this year, I will find I have made some progress. But in the mean time, there is plenty to be getting on with, Autumn may be upon us, but I am taking a few summer vibes on into September and October…

Paper Magic, Belfast

Opening this week at Craft NI in Belfast, Paper Magic promises to be an eclectic and slightly bonkers exhibition by 5 artists working in paper (yes, I’m not the only one!). I am very happy to be exhibiting along with Sue Cathcart (of Mr Papers fame), Susan McKeever, Jayne Cherry and Emma Whitehead (of Top Floor Art fame!). I have chosen to make my pieces about wasps because they invented paper. And pigeons, because I like pigeons. There will also be collages, strange hats, butterflies and a giant rabbit, Don’t miss it, we may never see the like again!

Official Opening: Thursday 22 September 6-8pm

Late Night Art: Thursday 6 October 6-8 pm

Keep an eye on Craft Ni social media for workshops and demos taking place as part of the ongoing entertainments!

The Natural Eye, London

The Natural Eye is the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists. It is probably the UK’s most prestigious wildlife art exhibition so I am delighted to report that 4 of my aphid drawings which some of you may have seen in Ards arts centre in June, have been accepted into the show this year. It gives me the opportunity to show alongside some of the finest wildlife artists working today, many of whom I am in awe of! It also means I am planning my first trip to London since before Covid and looking forward to catching up with some friends and fellow wildlife artists.

13 – 22 October 2022

10am – 5pm

The Mall Galleries, London SW1


Catalan Butterflies, Waterford

At the end of October, I will be returning to the Waterford Imagine festival with poet, Laurence O’Dwyer. Last year we presented work in progress from our collaboration “Catalan Butteflies”. Larry asked me to create pop up butterflies in response to some of the poems in his collection inspired by his travels in the Pyrenees and a Catalan field guide to butterflies that he bought along the way. The Imagine festival kindly provided us with further funding to present more developed work at this years festival. Larry’s collection is to be published in the near future and I am also happy to report that an image of my piece “Vanessa Atalanta” is to be used on the cover. 

An evening of music and spoken-word poetry and pop up butterflies!

Friday 28 October at 6pm

Christchurch Catherdral, Waterford


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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

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