Developing a distinctive product.

When I first moved to Dorset I looked around for local scenes with Christmas cards. At the time in 2016 I didn’t find any but have seen some since. I decided that I could use this idea of Christmas cards to draw some well known local views which many people have done but in a new way.

So approaching Christmas 2017 I designed my first two cards – my theme – “Santa Over Purbeck” and I produced two scenes / 7″ by 5″ card designs. These were drawn originally at a slightly larger scale and then printed as cards.

The more successful design has been “Santa Over Swanage”, early comments included that Santa was on the water rather than in the air, but I was fine with that. I used the classic view north of Durlston Castle showing: Durlston Bay, Peveril Point, Ballard Point and Old Harry Rocks with Bournemouth in the background. The card sold well in 2017 and has continued to do so in 2018 also.

Drawn in Winsor and Newton Promarkers like most of my coloured work, Santa gave a reason to draw a deeper night sky.

The second card in the series also produced for 2017 shows a view you have to travel off the beaten track to see and is beat seen on foot. It shows Houns Tout, the headland I live on standing above Chapman’s Pool with the silhouette of the Isle of Portland in the background. A lower selling design but an idea that I will add to as there are several favourite landmarks found on foot here that you can not see as easily, it is why this coastline appeals to many walkers.

The cards were a success during Artisans on the Beach 2017. During the event I chose my next areas to include. I drew an original A4 piece for Wareham but then modified the design as I wanted to include the bridge as well as the Quay. This original remains available (If interested, please contact me)

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The revised version was drawn at size to fit an 8″ by 4″ card template. I have been pleasantly surprised and this card has sold in better numbers than I expected in 2018. In fact if I had cards printed in time for PAW18 I could have sold Christmas cards in May/June which was a genuine surprise.

The fourth design and extremely successful design for 2018, almost catching the sales for the Swanage card is Santa Over Corfe Castle. Living on the edge of Kingston on the limestone ridge in Purbeck I am used to looking down into the valley upon Corfe Castle and Poole Harbour beyond through the gap in the chalk Purbeck Hills ridge. I have used this sort of view before for my piece North of the ridge. It is also a popular local angle used by photographers capturing Corfe in the mist.

This picture sold its original in 2017 and the print is proving popular too.

My first successful Lino print drawn by hand and then took hand painting with printing ink to get a satisfactory outcome as it was hand rolled. (This picture is in my private collection).

Both card designs had been drawn and proofs printed by February 2018 but cards weren’t ordered until August when they started to sell. For 2019 I have two designs in mind, again I shall be drawing them this month and having proofs made but there will be cards of all six designs ready for PAW19 just in case the demand is there again.

I am so pleased to have gone ahead with this idea and it has been very successful now accounting for up to 30% of my greeting card sales to date. I have had ideas suggested by visitors / customers and there may be a new “Santa Over….” series starting in 2019. If that happens you will be able to read about it here.

Informal sketching Meet-ups

For 2019 I have proposed to Purbeck Art Weeks especially the Visual Arts Forum about holding informal sketching meet ups rather than a formalised programme. It develops what I was doing in the autumn at Purbeck Artisan Yard where I advertised an event each time I was on duty for people to join me and try my art markers and / or draw.

So, the first one is next Sunday January 13th, the obstacle with the Artisan yard is that it is always very cold but I would love to meet up with other artists for such meet ups more often in Purbeck. There is an Urban sketching group now based in Bournemouth and Poole who meet on a regular basis too.

Later in the year I will look at some informal events around my Open Studio during Purbeck Art Weeks (Saturday May 25 to Sunday June 9). Also later in the year exploring more local landscapes including Studland, Chapman’s Pool, Dancing Ledge, Swanage Bay etc.

Your thoughts and feedback are welcomed. This is not intended as a sole effort and I am not creating another organisational role for myself.

Drawing on myself….not the usual way to sketch, but an interesting challenge during Artisans on the Beach 2018.

Drawing during PAW open studios on a sunny day – a friend who is also an artist taking the opportunity.

Trying a new media with drawing inks during PAW 18, the resulting picture is shown below.

Enthusiasm abounds

Today I went for a walk and then lunch at Studland Bay on the Purbeck Coast with Anne. We walked through the dunes, heathers and gorse and then returned along the beach to the National Trust Knoll beach cafe. This is often the place where I have left items of napkin art previously with most pictures being of Old Harry rocks.

A good lunch and then yes, a napkin piece of Old Harry was left on the raised table by the window. I later posted about leaving it on Instagram and received a response that it was found by one of the National Trust staff, this is the second person on their team who has enjoyed finding one of these pieces.

This is the Instagram edited version, the full picture is a panorama.

So an art achievement, enough then?? No, as I had gone on an early walk this morning taking photos of drystone walls and frosted area pieces to use as inspiration. Also, this afternoon I have paid my PAW membership for 2019 and completed my Open Studio application and emailed my chosen brochure image.

PAW studio in the snow – March 2018.

I have also upgraded my Flickr membership to allow more cloud storage of images as they have become important as a way to keep a record of my art portfolio but also images that inspire or help me to develop pieces of art work.

A busy day and now some rest is warranted.

January 2019

So, Artisans on the Beach has completed bar the wash up meeting on Thursday 10th, I need to make some notes to share what was involved and also aspects of the event to work on. One that has come up in discussion is the importance of clear communication during the event and the importance of artisan peer support.

Tidying up after an event – an event can remove much of that artwork that dominates your home for a period. After the event there is bound for many of us to be work that returns home and restoring it to reduce friction with partners etc. I am in that phase currently.

Practical artwork, to be honest a few days off to just be and fight off lingering germs and start to reintroduce a daily nap when needed.

Planning ahead and items I will be blogging about;

– boiler suits and wearable art

– developing an ongoing range, for me; Santa over Purbeck series

– new ventures, possibly involvement in PAW sketching programme, I was volunteered but will have to see

– PAW19 membership and entry for open studio application due before end of the month

– develop some work linked to PAW theme possibly

– rationalising stock, materials and using accounts to plan how to spread costs more evenly.

– Purbeck Artisan Yard Bay rearrangements

A print framed and edited for client’s intended recipient, now totally unique – apparently very well received.

Colouring yourself in, in public – attention seeking boiler suit art during Artisans on the Beach and a lasting original idea.

Santa over Purbeck series – Swanage card after two seasons still in the lead, closely followed by this one of Corfe Castle in its first season on sale.

A sunny day in PAW18 having to draw in the shade outside Open Studio as too hot in the sun. Experimenting with drawing inks.