This exhibition is a celebration of a six-month project funded by the Arts Council England called ‘Developing your Creative Practice’. I applied for the grant as I wanted to explore new territory as an illustrator and learn to create digital illustrations on an iPad. The name reflects the freedom I feel when I am in tune with nature and my imagination. It also represents the ever-present character of the seagull/s who appear in some of the illustrations. I see them from my balcony, they follow me on my walks and hear them early in the morning! they have been a constant companion throughout lockdown. So characterful through their presence. Sometimes they’re annoying and sometimes I love them.
I really enjoy studying something intensely, looking at shape, anatomy, light and colour. I love to draw and keep a sketchbook which helps me develop my ideas for creating my artwork. Choosing to focus on the seagull, its character, its habits, observing how they fly, their relationship with the sea, people and the environment focused my mind and allowed me the freedom to explore this new way of working. I’ve created illustrations where the seagull is the main focus and some on location where they’re present but you’ll have to look harder to find them.
Allowing my imagination to soar above the situation gave me a higher perspective in such strange circumstances. Activities like cold water swimming, watching the sunrise and sunset, exploring Worthing and walking during low-tide preserved my wellbeing and became the inspiration for my illustrations. The seagull is a symbol of the freedom my creativity gave me to get through the isolation.
During the exhibition I’ll be putting my new found skills into practice by completing a sketch a day on my iPad documenting life through the window at Colonnade House. I’ll share them on social media and invite you to get involved. Where would you like me to sketch on my iPad?
I’d also like to thank John Bond for being an excellent Mentor.
Who is Amanda Beck Artist?
Amanda Beck is an artist, illustrator and tutor. She recently moved from Oxford (Having spent the last 10 years working at Ashmolean Museum as an Events Artist and Teacher) and is now showing her work at East Beach Studios with Thomas Freer. She specialises in Reportage Illustration (the art of visual story telling) enjoying working directly from life in her sketchbook as well as on her iPad.
As an Events Artist she’s documented some major events and festivals. At the Ashmolean The Founders and One World festivals. The Drawing Circus (affiliated with Brighton Draw) for ‘The Sleep of Reason’ at Old Market Theatre Hove Brighton. At Bicester Heritage (an historic site dedicated to automotive engineering) live sketching and exhibiting at several of their iconic Sunday Scrambles.
A major highlight of her career was her residency documenting the fabrication of the Blue Whale Skeleton ‘Hope’ which now hangs in Hintze Hall in the Natural History Museum in London. She was commissioned by Research Casting International Canada Ltd and completed over 50 paintings behind the scenes during a 5-month period. She then went on to sketch dinosaurs being built in RCI’s workshop in Canada!
You can see some examples of her work here.
You can read more about her behind the scenes experiences at Bicester Heritage and The Natural History Museum London here.
Become part of the picture!
All you have to do is look through the window and I’ll sketch you! I’m documenting all the people who visit Colonnade House and Warwick Street in Worthing. I would love to see you in the picture. Come and visit my exhibition 6th – 10th July 10am – 5pm in the studio gallery. I’ll be there to welcome you and capture your portrait in a sketch. All ages welcome! Four legged friends can also join in outside to get sketched. I’ll post sketches on Instagram and at the end of the week create a piece of artwork which reflects my experience and all the people who’ve taken part. You just have to spot yourself once it gets published.
The artwork will go on display on my website and I’ll create a blog post all about it. The post will be shared with the local community and on the Colonnade House website.
There’s no obligation to purchase your portrait but If you would like a digital copy ready to print, I can arrange to send you one for a small fee of £5.
Portrait of Guy Smith