Friday, 2 December 2011

Open Studio Success!

Well this weekend’s Ouseburn Open Studios went marvellously. I was at Mushroom Works, where lots of visitors came to look around, have a drink and a bit chat and buy lovely 20x20s – original works of art and prints measuring 20cm square (ish) for only £20. If you don’t buy art much, let me tell you that this is VERY good value! They make really good Christmas presents because they’re so original (unlike bland, predictable, mass-produced prints from the high street).

I’m pleased to say that all my drawings sold within the first couple of hours and that I’m kicking myself for not doing any more. I also met a lovely lady who has commissioned me to do a painting for her husband for Christmas. Here's phhotos of 5 of mine (sorry about the copyright stamps).




 
These events are great opportunities to get involved in the arts and local community, if you missed this one, keep your eyes peeled for more!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ouseburn Open Studios 2011

The last week in November sees the return of the annual Open Studios event. Several local cultural venues fling open their doors and invite you in for a look round. I’ll be at the Mushroom Works, my favouritest of the venues, where you can go meet the artists in their studios, look at their work and have a little drinkie.

click to enlarge - Artist Sarah Blood's studio at Mushroom Works

Mushroom Works also hosts the fabulous 20x20 show – where you can buy fantastic pieces of art measuring 20 cms square for only 20 quid. Total bargain and they make brilliant Christmas presents. You can even buy an original, framed Victoria McParlin! For 20 quid!
http://ouseburnopenstudios.org/venues/mushroom-works

Get it in your diaries.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Honourable Mention

Pleased to find a mention on the gorgeous Travelling For Pleasure blog by illustrator Lara Robinson, who also runs Laravans - lovely little caravans for hire. This is from the Papergirl event:

http://travellingforpleasure.blogspot.com/2011/10/papergirls-and-paperboys.html

Sunday, 13 November 2011

You Got The Silver


I’ve been learning Silversmithing on a course run by jewellery designer/maker Imogen of Imogen Shafto Design, who really knows her stuff.

I love playing with tools and I’ve really enjoyed the course, learning how to use, measure, cut, work, shape, affix and manipulate different metals and how to make my designs on paper into a real, tangible product. It’s mostly a detailed and fiddly process, which I love, thought I have to remember to rein in my natural impulses to add too much detail and overwork things. I’m never satisfied and always think I can improve my work if I keep going, which ironically is exactly the sort of thing which can ruin it instead.

So far, I’ve made a copper ring, a pendant of a little bird on a brass perch and a silver bangle inspired by the recent octopus tattoo. The open ends of the bangle look like a curled tentacle complete with silver suckers which were unbelievably challenging, shall we say, to do. I got an immense amount of satisfaction at getting it finished though.

click to enlarge

There were some fantastic pieces of work produced by the class and some impressive and innovative designs from the other students.

If you want to commission a piece, please contact me the usual way on msmcp@hotmail.com.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Octopus Ink

You regular readers may remember that for last year’s 20x20 show at the Mushroom Works for Open Studios 2010, I showed some vintage-style tattoo paintings of my own design.

The client who bought the sugar skull painting was recently in touch and commissioned a drawing in the same style, of an octopus wrapped around an anchor. He gave me free rein on the composition and colours, the only specification being that it had to feature evil eyes and lots of suckers! This is a lil bit of the finished drawing:

click to enlarge
Well, he’s only gone and had it tattooed on his arm! I am so flattered that someone likes one of my drawings so much, that they’d actually have it permanently inked onto their skin. I asked for a photo so you could see. This is the outline and main colour, so only halfway through - I’ll post a photo of the final piece once the detail is completed:

click to enlarge

I harbour secret desires to be a tattoo artist, this might be the first of many, especially as I’ll be working on some Day of the Dead designs with a local tattooist over the next week or two.
If you want to commission a design, please contact me in the usual way on msmcp@hotmail.co.uk.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

1 Day until D-Day (that's D for Delivery)

Papergirl Newcastle is getting closer and I for one, cannot wait (if you have no idea what Papergirl is, have a quick peep at the previous post).

Tomorrow, The Project Club will be rolling up and packaging the prints and having a mass bake-off to make some cakes for when the cyclists stop for a break halfway through their distribution route on Saturday.

Lara Robinson, illustrator and owner of Laravans, will be setting up stall with one of her beautiful wee caravans, along with The *TeaShed, a lovely, quirky local tea and homeware business. Afterwards, we'll be meeting at Hey, Baby Chief Panda in Heaton. I shall be there with encouragement, cake and a few cakestands I've made. If you like that kind of thing, I'll shortly be selling them on Etsy - but I'll tell you about that nearer the time.

If you’re around on Saturday and see a group of cyclists on decorated bikes with cardboard tubes poking out of their Papergirl bags, keep ‘em peeled, you could be in for some fantastic free art!

Click to enlarge - painstakingly screenprinted especially for D-Day


Relevant links:

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Papergirl Newcastle is HERE!

Hurrah! This amazing do-and-share project kicks off tonight!

Images copyright of Papergirl Newcastle

Founded in Berlin by Aisha Ronnigan in 2006, the Newcastle faction is co-ordinated by the incredibly talented Carlos Rosati of The Cloud Commission. How it works is that artists and illustrators send Papergirl some 2D artwork. A piece from each artist/illustrator is included in an exhibition, giving us all something lovely to look at and raise awareness of the project. A couple of weeks later, the exhibition is taken down, a few pieces in varying styles are rolled up into a tube then distributed by bicycle-riding Papergirl people to the public for free.
There’s some incredible local talent taking part, whoever gets some free art action is very lucky! Have a sneaky-peeky on the PG Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/papergirlnewcastle?sk=info


Created by Aisha Ronniger in 2006 in Berlin, we finally bring the rolls to the streets of Newcastle

Papergirl is a no bones, lets do and share, give away art on bikes operation. The plan is for yous lot to send in work to a designated address... and we give it out on a fixed date. This of course will be paired up with exhibitions of the work sent in, parties, cyclists breaskfasts and all sorts of silliness.

There are no guidelines as to format, subject matter or quantity, so originals, prints, photos, copies etc. come together. Each roll contains several different works, meaning that each one will be a right mixed bag.In the style of American paper-boys, Papergirl distributes rolled art pieces by bicycle to passers-by.

Created by Aisha Ronniger in 2006 in Berlin, we finally bring the rolls to the streets of Newcastle

Papergirl is a no bones, lets do and share, give away art on bikes operation. The plan is for yous lot to send in work to a designated address... and we give it out on a fixed date. This of course will be paired up with exhibitions of the work sent in, parties, cyclists breaskfasts and all sorts of silliness.

There are no guidelines as to format, subject matter or quantity, so originals, prints, photos, copies etc. come together. Each roll contains several different works, meaning that each one will be a right mixed bag.In the style of American paper-boys, Papergirl distributes rolled art pieces by bicycle to passers-by.

Created by Aisha Ronniger in 2006 in Berlin, we finally bring the rolls to the streets of Newcastle

Papergirl is a no bones, lets do and share, give away art on bikes operation. The plan is for yous lot to send in work to a designated address... and we give it out on a fixed date. This of course will be paired up with exhibitions of the work sent in, parties, cyclists breaskfasts and all sorts of silliness.

There are no guidelines as to format, subject matter or quantity, so originals, prints, photos, copies etc. come together. Each roll contains several different works, meaning that each one will be a right mixed bag.
The exhibition is at the Settle Down Cafe on Thornton Street in Newcastle. Tonight’s preview kicks off at 7pm and includes a bar, badges, pick 'n' mix and Sega Megadrive-offs! See you there!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Jacked Up

I love the Union Jack. Not in a Nick-Griffin-got-one-pinned-above-the-bed kind of way or in this context, even a ‘lets think about what the flag actually stands for’ kind of way but in the sense that I like it as a piece of design. It’s one of the more interesting flags to look at. Makes the Aussie flag prettier. More striking than Poland, less showy-offy than Papau New Guinea. 

Anyway, I have a future project in mind involving flag designs but I don’t want to wait to show you this fantastic Union Jack flooring by Scott Carter-Dowding of SCD Flooring. I like how just changing one colour makes it look so different. Scott did all the flooring in my home, I wish I’d thought of this before he finished though.

click to enlarge

Scott’s a Master Fitter and if you’re looking for new carpet or decorative flooring including specialist work, you can reach him on 07753 747910, by email at: info@scdflooring.co.uk, or check out his website www.scdflooring.co.uk, or facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/SCD-Flooring/189006351130943?sk=info.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Olympics Schmolympics


A year today until the London 2012 Olympics start. I’ll admit to being non-plussed by the whole shebang for numerous reasons but partly because some of the enormous amount of money it is costing to stage/host is coming from the Government pot for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Oh, and because of that gawd-awful logo which, to my mind, looks a bit rude.

However, I do want to share with you some brilliant Olympic-related design I came across online when looking at vintage poster design, click the link.


http://www.mapsofworld.com/olympic-trivia/olympic-poster.html


Shut Up Shop


I’ve been involved in a brilliant project run by Gateshead Council to makeover empty shops to bring a bit of colour to Gateshead High street, making it a more vibrant and attractive place to spend time in, encourage more visitors and showcase the work of local artists.

I worked with Gateshead-based artist Jen McHugh painting the roller-shutters of a scruffy disused takeaway, which has now been relaunched as a shiny new homelessness support centre. It was a real challenge working with such a textured surface full of nooks and crannies, with the badly-behaved metal paints against the rain, hail and wind but I really like the finished design (called Home From The Sea) with a boat sailing up the River Tyne in front of a setting sun and a tilting Millennium Bridge. Some of the other shutters have quirky stencil art and I love that they make you look twice as you notice them whilst walking around Gateshead. Have a look and tell me what you think, even better, have a look in person at 336 High Street South, Gateshead, NE8 1EN. 

Jen McHugh has a blog at http://jenmchugh.tumblr.com/ and there is more information on the artworks at http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/Business%20and%20Industry/support/ShopArt/ShopArt.aspx.

(click twice to enlarge)

 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Happy National Ceramics Week!

Get the balloons blown up and the party poppers out! It’s that time of year I’m sure you’ve been looking forward to since ooohh, this time last year!

I wish I knew how to make beautiful ceramics. I think this every time I go into the Newcastle Arts Centre and see all the lovely things made by local artists. I did a college course back in the day, which gave you tasters of different arts and design disciplines before specialising, but I passed up ceramics to do textiles. Shame I couldn’t do both, still, might learn one of these days.

Anyway, I might not know how to make ceramics, but I do know how to paint them. Here’s the christening plate I recently did for two gorgeous little twin girls I mentioned in the last blog entry.
Click to enlarge

If you would like to order a plate for a birth, christening, wedding, birthday, anniversary etc, just send me an email at: msmcp@hotmail.co.uk.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is..

Oh I LOVE spring! When everything is new and green and pretty and the nights are lighter and you can go sit in the beer garden in a dress drinking cold cider marvelling with your friends how 3 weeks ago you were still putting the heating on and wearing a jumper to bed..

Anyway, I have been a very busy bee of late doing wedding-y things, baby plates, cups, eggcups and painting walls etc. I’m making a wedding gift for my brother and sister in law to be (SILTB) and I really hope they like it as it is massively time-consuming. My brother has always been very positive about things I make and my SILTB is very supportive too but I don’t know if I have as good a handle on her taste yet as I do his. Well, I’ll make it and if they don’t want it, I’ll have it, haha. I’ll put it on my living room wall along with the 50 other pieces up there. What else am I doing today? Erm, I’m sewing feathers onto a lovely hat an aunty is wearing to the wedding and painting a christening plate for twin girls too, two right little cuties, then painting in a different way by adding Brooklyn Nights to the bedroom walls. I’d rather put the decorating away mind, seeing as it’s a lovely day.

Anyways, something I lurve about spring is all the new wildlife, especially the new birds. I am slightly obsessed with birdies, though not as much as my mate Beth. I once mentioned her being obsessed and she denied it, until I pointed out that she was denying being obsessed with birds whilst wearing a bird-print top, sitting under 3 flying porcelain swallows going up the wall and next to a collection of about 20 ornamental birds, bird pictures, bird calendars, bird jewellery and decorative boxes with birds on the lids. She was forced to admit she might have bird obsession denial. Here she is showing some love for one of her many bird ornaments whilst wearing the bird-print top.

My dad loves a bit of nature too and has built a bird table which he’s put up in his back garden. It’s been attracting loads of weeny little birds. I’ve seen blue tits, robins, a pair of magpies and the fattest pigeon you’ve ever seen. I love the pigeon best, he’s one of the pretty pastelly-coloured wood pigeony ones and his stupid squat stance and pigeon-toes make me smile. Here are some of my spring birdie drawings made from tiny dots.

click to enlarge

Friday, 25 March 2011

Charidee, mate

On Friday I went to the beautiful Mansion House in Jesmond, Newcastle, for a charity art sale in aid of the Alzheimer's Society http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/. There was an auction of high profile artwork and a postcard sale with lovely things to suit all budgets and a talk by local artist Sarah-Jane Szikora on her work and a champagne reception. Apologies for not telling you in advance, I did write a blog post about it but blogspot wouldn't let me publish it.

I donated one of my little framed vintage tattoo paintings which sold, woop! I started working with vintage tattoo designs for the Open Studios event last year and really got into it, I love the history, meanings, stories and symbolism. I produced half a dozen designs, mixing the vintage themes, lettering and styles with some modern imagery. I have secret designs to be a tattoo artist. Have you seen Miami Ink? It's a program set in a tattoo shop in Miami and features some great artists making some amazing art. It's where I first saw Kat Von D's work http://www.katvond.net/. She does the most incredible portrait tattoos, look at her photo gallery and see for yourself. I have a total girl crush on her, I want to be her friend and do tattoos in her shop in LA.

The painting I donated is the blue one in the photo below (sorry about the flash glare, the frames have an iridescent glaze). The purple one is my favourite so I'm keeping it for myself. The red one with the swallows and a rose is my last one and available to buy at a terribly reasonable price. It's an original ink and watercolour and comes with the frame. If you're interested, please email me on msmcp@hotmail.co.uk.


click to enlarge

Anyway, back to the art event - there was some lovely work in every medium going and something to suit all tastes. Some people got some real bargains too. Top bid of the night was a small original drawing of gingerbread men by the artist giving the talk earlier on in the night which went for an amazing £1000. If I find out how much we raised for the Alzheimer's Society, I'll let you know. Wish I'd brought more cash we me, I'll know for next time!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Measure twice, cut once..

That is good advice by the way..
I’ve not long finished making 100 or so handmade wedding invitations for my brother and sister-in-law to be for their wedding later this year. They had their own ideas of what they wanted so I didn’t do much except show them what the ideas in their heads looked like as an actual invite and do a little drawing of the venue which features on the front of each one. Then I assembled all the ingredients and made them pretty.
The wedding isn’t for a while yet so I shan’t reveal the finished invites, but I will show you the wedding invite factory (dining table) when I was still at the planning and trial and error stages and trying out measurements, papers and layouts. I loved having a special role in the wedding plans and I’m really pleased with how they turned out, simple and elegant.. unlike their creator. Look forward to showing you the finished articles later on in the year.


Planning stages

Go Bananas Bear Biscuits - a vital part of the creative process!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Works of heart (ba dum tish!)

Happy St. Valentine’s Day dear blog readers. I never celebrate it myself, but I do love to use love as a theme in my work. I’ve been playing around lately with vintage tattoos, my current obsession. I like the really old, grainy from ones back in the days when only sailors and convicts had tattoos. They lend themselves brilliantly to love-themes and I especially love the saucy pinup girls and stylised roses which can be effectively teamed with more modern imagery. I’ll show you some little watercolours I’ve done all in this style soon so you can see what I mean.
As a lovely Valentine’s day treat (ooh!) I’m going to show you some photos taken today, including a small painting I’ve just finished. The colours haven’t scanned so well, so you’ll have to imagine a watery blue sky and billows of rich purple in the little girl’s coat and the sharp orange and red of her hair. Actually, the red frame contains one of those vintage tattoo inspired watercolours if you squint hard!

click to enlarge

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Tea-Leaves!

You might have noticed I have replaced my blog photos with ones with watermarks on saying something like ‘copyright Victoria McParlin 2011’. I don’t like watermarks meself, I think they look unattractive and stop you seeing the image as well but, unfortunately, I have found a couple of light-fingered websites have been stealing my images to use as their own. I’ve got them to take my work off their sites now, but I am proper miffed. And told them so. For a company to rip off an artist’s work instead of buying it seems highly immoral to me, especially as it’s a field which is the first to face cuts during hard times. I’ve recently seen a few blog entries from other illustrators whose designs have been stolen by large companies who make hundreds of thousands of pounds profit on someone else’s ideas and work, whilst avoiding paying a small fee for the design. Grr..

A watermark on a picture identifies me as the owner and is an inconvenience for the tea-leaves to remove. So, I’m sorry if you dislike them as much as I do, but that’s the reason why they’re on now and why they’re here to stay. Soz.

Anyway, I hate to leave a blog post on a sour note so here’s a lovely picture of a set of cups and saucers I got from a charity shop this week, with a cracking orange and brown retro print. Can anyone else see the cats faces in the design or is it just me?

Monday, 10 January 2011

Happy 2011!

Goodbye 2010, you were a funny old mixed bag - said goodbye to some much-loved people, said hello to some new ones. Well hi there 2011, do come in, would you like a cup of tea? Ok, so I'm a bit late with new year wishes but it's still January so I'm allowed (I think that's how the rules work). I haven't made any resolutions as I have the breaking strain of a kitkat, but I do hope that this coming year is a marvellous one for you all and you all get your hearts desires x