Arty changes

In September I posted “Arty things in the pipeline” . Everything has come to pass. I am now booked to deliver four sessions for Art Workshop in January 2020.

The biggest change is that on Saturday November 2nd I got the keys to Unit 7, Tilly Mead, 1-5 Commercial Road, Swanage BH19 1DF. This address used to house “Lucy’s Farm” the hq for Lucy Tidbury who I got to know through Purbeck Artisan Yard. When she announced that she was moving two units to a new shop myself and Jo Porter a fellow artisan yard member put together a plan to open a shared art studio / shop. We have done this all in the last three weeks.

Our studio/ shop is called “The Courtyard Studio: Art in the Heart of Swanage”. In the last 4 days we have started to move our work into the shop and to create our new identity. The scaffolding board wall and counter that Lucy left are linking to a theme that we are continuing.

Already we have our own Facebook page


An Instagram account


So the new adventure develops.

This year will be my last Artisans on the Beach as I was already heavily involved in organising the event so pulling out was not an option. In 2020 the focus will be on he shop.

Our “USP” is the “Art for Fun” table / area at the back of the shop where I will continue the activity I have offered during PAW at my open studio; during events at Purbeck Artisan Yard; with Swanage Library and also links to my work with Swanage Primary school. The idea is to encourage others to draw whatever age they are for fun, if they want to share their work with others they can, if not there is no need to. I hope that this might develop into future workshops or art sessions with individuals.

Some early pictures in our first four days.

Arty things in the pipeline

Last month I shared my new pieces which are available from the Purbeck Artisan Yard. September has become traditionally the end to my boat season duties by the river Frome in Wareham. Recently I have sold more prints – framed and mounted versions which has been very encouraging.

In the next fortnight I will return to work alongside year 3 and 4 pupils at Swanage Primary school on Landscape art and sketching down in Swanage. This is a development of the work I did with the school back in February 2017 and I am still receiving positive feedback from that, I hope the children won’t be disappointed that the cloud suit is no longer what I tend to wear for events. I will be able to take copies of the prints produced when I last worked there.

On Saturday October 5 I get to deliver a second Art for Fun session at Swanage library, this time aimed at children. A chance to reinforce my message that we do art for our enjoyment, not to please others.

In November / December I will be exhibiting some of my work at the café at RSPB Arne as part of the ongoing linked programme with Purbeck ArtWeeks. I booked my slot almost 18 months ago.

Saturday 30 November will see me return to a beach hut on Shore Road, Swanage as part of Artisans on the Beach 2019, my third year involved in this great local event. I anticipate more drawing on my clothes and offering Art for Fun activities from my AndyKnillArt hut no. 33. The event runs through until January 2, the main focus is on weekends but as previous visitors know I shall be there most days whatever the weather.

2020 May start with involvement in delivering some other art sessions t.b.c.

Throughout all this time my work continues to be available at the Purbeck Artisan Yard in Wareham. Cards, prints and originals I share can all be ordered direct from me and card payment or bacs are available. I am hoping to see more sales of the now extended ‘Santa over Purbeck’ series and the new ‘Santa over Dorset’ series that has started this year too.

I am open to commissions – if interested please contact me directly.

Thanks for reading


Reviewing sales record

It is April and for the second year I have placed my order for the run up to Purbeck Art Weeks on the 26th. I visited the Artisan Yard yesterday to update my stock records and look at what is selling and deciding on my order.

As part of the process of organising my order I decided to compile a top 10 sales list for both greetings cards and giclée prints to date. These are my findings;

Greeting cards top 10 sellers

1. Swanage Beach Huts* 184

2. Santa over Swanage 138

3. Santa over Corfe Castle 137

4. Looking East* 129

5. Santa over Wareham Quay 97

6. From Prince Albert Gardens,

North across Swanage Bay 57

7. Santa over Chapmans Pool 52

8. Prince Albert Gardens and Bay 48

8. Spa Beach Huts* 48

10. Corfe Castle from GPS surgery 39

Here we have the first card I drew and sold cards to Swanage TiC along with Looking East and Spa Beach Huts which were commissioned designs by them too. In joint 8th place is my original design for TiC which I then edited for their card version. These were amongst my first cards available to buy in 2017.

All four Christmas card designs feature. Swanage and Chapmans Pool were available for 2017 and 2018. Corfe Castle and Wareham Quay went on sale from June 2018. So the new 2019 additions Kimmeridge and Studland will be available from Purbeck Art Weeks 2019.

Giclée prints top 10 sellers

1. “Hungry Hare” photo 8 Original not applicable

2. Swanage Beach Huts 7 Original sold

3. Year 3 sketching trip 5 Original donated to Swanage Primary

4. PAW studio in the snow 4 Original sold

4. Looking up at wintery sky 4 Original sold

4. From Prince Albert Gardens

North across Swanage Bay 4

7. Looking East 2

8. Winter sunset 2 Original sold

8. Sailing from Chapmans Pool 2 Original sold

8. North from Purbeck Ridge 2 Original sold

The encouraging aspect here is that only two of the originals remain available from this list. My printer James thought that Year 3 sketching trip was possibly not the wisest name but I stuck with it and it tells a tale of its own.

It will be interesting with time to repeat this exercise annually to see which remain the favourite designs.

Day three or December 5th for you gregorians

My third day at the hut. The weather forecast promised a damp morning with a wet afternoon, but forecasts can be wrong can’t they. Last night I typed up and laminated an opening times template for each hut based on the information they had given me on Sunday.

On arrival the seafront was dry and mild. I got to work as earlier than the opening time of 10 and put up the signs for all lower huts where I had information. Damp wood on the upper huts meant these will be done another day. My new hooks to put up my AndyKnillArt banner wouldn’t cooperate so a parcel tape job worked, that would do.

A quiet day but some social hut drinks with passing friends and pricing up of items that I have moved from the Purbeck Artisan Yard. I also completed an updated stock take based on work in the beach hut on my tablet copy of stock spreadsheet.

I have moved some items which are not originals, cards or prints as I try a more diversified range of items that allow me to share my artwork. Last year I completed some wooden boxes with local scenes, in 2018 I am trying some themed boxes. I received a commission for a client’s grandchild based on this idea a few weeks ago too, and to be honest they are fun to do.

So currently I have a Top Secret chest, two pirate treasure chests and a larger fairy cottage. These are plain boxes which I then draw onto using my usual pens.

I hope that they will all sell and possibly even lead to commissions for more pieces.

I have also moved some miniature and mini easel canvas pieces which I will share in a future post. I made one card sale today to a local artist whose son I had taught when working with a local primary school in February following last year’s event. We had a good chat about subjects, media and sketchbooks.

The afternoon saw more rain as promised and a number of photos of conditions to use as prompts for future pieces.

Bay H, AndyKnillArt, Purbeck Artisan Yard, Month 1

So, my art now has a space to be exhibited all the time. As I said in my previous post I moved items in on Monday March 5th. I bought a table, was given some chairs and added an easel of my own. Since then I have added my family coffee table from my parents’ house that has been part of my life for over 50 years. In helping clear items in the family home I also acquired a small suitcase from my maternal grandmother’s side of the family.

This post and subsequent ones will introduce you to the work in the bay. I will share the story behind pieces and prices. You can buy the items at the Purbeck Artisan Yard or email me and I can invoice you and post on items if interested. Obviously the longer term aim is to sell online through this site, my Etsy store and possibly my Facebook page too.

Month 1 – March 2018

The three photos show the initial layout of the bay from March 5th before the coffee table and suitcase were added.

Back wall – main exhibition wall

The back wall is what attracted me to the bay as it is lit from the window at the end of the bay and offers a ready hanging space with greater height than that available in other bays.

Top row (left to right)

1) Panorama Looking to the south of Swanage Bay

In 2017 I sold the original drawing for the Shore Road Beach Huts and based on a sketch in one of my sketchbooks was commissioned to produce a larger version as a commission. The land and buildings went well but the change in media – coloured pencils to Promarker did not work when it came to the water and the piece was unsold. I have kept the piece as a lesson to myself. Later when I had bought an A2 pad I redrew the scene and did the sea differently. The quantity of marker ink led to a wrinkling of the paper. I left the pad closed under a piece of furniture and forgot about it. In February I opened the pad to see the piece was now much flatter and mounted and framed it. It is not a direct replacement for the original commission but was a good exercise for me to redo.

This piece is available as a framed original only for £150. It is hand signed and no prints or cards are planned from it.

2) View from my beach hut

Drawn outside my beach hut during Artisans on the Beach 2017/18. This was drawn directly onto canvas and offered a chance to try a panoramic piece on location. It includes Ballard Down to the left of the picture and Swanage Pier with Peveril Point beyond to the right of the picture. I simplified elements of the picture which was drawn in Promarkers without the usual pen and ink scaffold I usually start with. I took this piece along with (3) to Swanage Primary School when looking at how an Artist’s interpretation and choices can vary the amount of detail in a piece. The children were very good at finding elements I had simplified or omitted.

This is a canvas original and is not framed. It is for sale for £150. No cards or prints are planned from this piece and it is hand signed.

3) World fatbike day 2017, Swanage

Again I was based in the beach hut and this piece was developed over two weeks whileI was at the beach. I5 was not drawn from life but the photographs taken by Charlie, local cycle shop owner of the event that he organised. I asked if he could send me the photo and I would try to do a piece based on it. Knowing that I usually avoided drawing people as my confidence is. Still limited this was a big challenge. I was sent the photograph as requested and saved it on my iPad to use as a reference picture. This piece took more planning and thought and a lot of pen and ink fineliner scaffolding. I worked on the piece outside the hut as much as possible and this drew a lot of interest from passers by and at one point by one of the cyclists who identified himself and whose wife pointed out I had made him slimmer.

Around the time this was going on I had reason to look to two charities linked to my family – Parkinsons UK and St Mungos and I decided that the sale of this piece would include a donation of 50% of the sale price split evenly between the two charities. However, my father passing away and the grief process and other factors meant that I lost the thread in trying to sell the piece and /or prints of it. I have not had prints made at this point but may still consider this. The original canvas is for sale for £200 with £50 going to each of the charities named.

4) Photocanvas of sunset through the trees looking south towards Houns Tout /Swyre Head, Kingston, Dorset. A photo set I took and used as a composite panorama for a photo canvas to use at home. This is a second copy of the canvas. This is the view from the home that I rent and shares how the silhouettes of the trees show the light changes as darkness falls in a place where there is no artificial light. This is for sale for £75.

In my next post I will explain the background to the mounted prints and original below the above pieces. Comments welcomed.

I have been an artist for a year . . .

So 31 January marked a whole year as AndyKnillArt. I had investigated and come up with the name in November 2016 about the time I had a breakdown and left teaching. I wasn’t in the right headspace so came back to it.

AndyKnillArt is different from my keeping sketchbooks for mindfulness. I was sticking my neck over an imaginary parapet and seeing if people would buy my art work. Friends had encouraged me that my work was good enough, but they are friends …

So it started commercially when I approached Swanage Tourist Information Centre and sold a card design and was commissioned to produce three more designs. This commissioning idea proved to be stressful and I wasn’t strong enough but luckily my second drafts passed. They continue to this day to be selling four designs by me. They are often mentioned in conversation as people say I have seen your work before.

I approached my landlord and gained consent to use an outbuilding for a studio for Purbeck Art Weeks 2017. The studio area wasn’t completed until the night before PAW started. I also tried some craft events where I met more artists and crafters but sold few pieces.

PAW 2017 was my first big success. I now had a range of greetings cards and prints of some of my Swanage pictures. I had joined Swanage Art Workshop after Easter and had some primitive attempts at acrylics. I also displayed some of my photo canvases I have had printed from my photos previously. My studio is on a track to the coast used by walkers and dog walkers, visitors were guided to park and walk 400 metres to reach me so I was one of the most remote studios. However I still attracted 250 visitors over the two weeks. I sold cards, some work on canvas including a rowing regatta original. Prints sold but only in small numbers. I took an active part in PAW through my use of social media especially Facebook which raised my profile. In the end I earnt 20% of the first year’s takings in PAW.

PAW offered some exhibition opportunities so I had work displayed at L’Artishe in Swanage (Artcubed exhibition). PAW at Etches museum, Kimmeridge; RSPB Arne on the theme of Dorset verges; Rollington Barn, PAW headquarters. I am also currently exhibiting as part of the PAW 2017 sketching programme exhibition at The Orchard Cafe, Holme Nurseries.

An active participation then and one which brought me to people’s attention. I had also sold prints to Qatar, Belgium and Germany and Canada more recently. I continued to attend Rempstone Road craft fairs monthly, one original sale made my table profits for the year.

My most successful event was to be the Artisans on the Beach from November 27 to January 07 on Swanage seafront. I had chatted to and met artists here in 2016 and produced my original Swanage beach huts piece that was to be my first sale. While I had sat there often very quiet and withdrawn in my own thoughts. In 2017 I was a new character – lively, engaging, hyper at times. I wore colourful outfits, I acted the fool, I drew outside my beach hut even when others found it much too cold and it worked. My enthusiasm was recognised by Tourist Information and I was awarded Artisan of the Year 2017. Most importantly many people saw me producing new art and talked with me about it. I also took 50% of my earnings for the year over 6 Weeks.

I was invited to go into Swanage Primary School as a local artist, for me this was very special as it had nothing to do with me the ex teacher, my artwork was the reason. This work is continuing.

So 2018, January plans fell behind slightly for various reasons beyond my control. I still have the portfolio photographic work to do. The Year has started well with the culmination of Artisans on the Beach; work on exhibition; Primary School work on landscape art and Paw entry for 2018 done. I have even booked a two month slot to exhibit at RSPB Arne for late 2019.

I no longer deny being a local artist, my sales prove that I am one of those. I enjoy the art community I now belong to and I look forward to many years of promoting the enjoyment of art as a participant or observer to locals and visitors of all ages.

Sketching with Purbeck Youngsters

On Thursday February 1 and Friday 2 I walked down to Prince Albert Gardens in Swanage with a class of young people and their teacher / teaching assistants to do some practical sketching.

Both days were dry but chilly. Each day we were out for about two hours in total. The children drew in their school sketchbooks and also on an art postcard using a selection of my Promarkers. While we were there I talked about framing your picture from the view so a selection was chosen. I also shared ideas to individuals and like the visit on Monday answered lots of questions.

During each trip I also worked on my own drawing. On Thursday I did the view towards Ballard Down, Old Harry rocks and Bournemouth. On Friday I looked back towards Swanage, 5e Purbeck Hills and the derelict pierhead building. Over the weekend I have worked on and completed my two pieces.

After half term I will be going back into school to share the work we all did. Look at ideas about developing our sketching skills and looking at all of their work and my example. I also promised to take some pieces in that show why some pieces take longer than others to complete using my fatbike day canvas as one example.

This activity has been very enjoyable to do and I hope I will get chances to do more in the future.

Thursday piece with Year 3

Friday piece with Year 4.

Art with Purbeck youngsters

This week as AndyKnillArt has moved from the end of its first year in business to the start of year 2 I have been enjoying the joys of art with 7 to 9 year olds from Swanage Primary School. During Artisans on the Beach I was approached whether I would like to go into school and work with the Year 3 and 4 classes as a local artist.

Arrangements were made and on Monday January 29 I went into school to do a personal introductory session. With both classes it became clear they had done some prior research on me.

I used a powerpoint slide show to frame our work together and a range of my work. This included three greeting card designs, my sketchbook collection to date (8) and a range of my pieces produced.

I hadn’t worn my cloud suit although some had seen me wearing it at the beach huts as I did not want to scare anyone. I made it clear that they should call me Andy and it was a refreshing change to not be called Sir or Mr Knill as I had in my teaching role.

I talked briefly about my former life as a teacher, my geography links to another of their current topics and this came up in several questions I was asked later. My health, I introduced the idea that I had a mental health (not physical health) condition called depression. I did not dwell on it but as this is an area that schools are being told to develop further I thought it was a good opportunity to include it. I showed my sketchbooks and explained how for me they act as a diary of what I have done and places I have been to. Later the children had an opportunity to refer to a range of the sketchbooks and several chose to focus on pictures from these for the next tasks. I was asked several questions in both classes, my favourite being – “are you a famous artist Andy?” To which I answered honestly, No. When one of the pupils explained their link to a local and well known artist who has over 150 sketchbooks I knew my place.

The tasks set were differentiated, a school term to mean set at different standards, so all of the class were able to take part. They had a choice of drawing their own copy of the image they chose or just answering the questions by writing about them. In the Year 3 class several chose to answer about pieces of work especially a Corfe Castle canvas. In Year 4 the Durdle Door card was most popular. When shown answers I was keen to move them onto the next stage and give more thought to their answers. While this activity went on I was visited or went around to see most of both classes working and answered many questions.

I modelled drawing a picture and talked through some of the things I think about when putting a picture together. With Year 3 I also drew a freehand world map which one young geographer was keen to correct! and with Year 4 I drew a freehand sketch of Corfe Castle.

I talked briefly about the sketch walk we would be doing on Thursday or Friday with each class. I and each class had our fingers to give a score out of 10. I had enjoyed two hours of keen young people. As I left the school the effect of two hours of constant questioning meant that I felt that my brain had been worked.

In my next post I will reflect on the two sketch walks completed on Thursday February 1 and Friday February 2.