Tag Archives: Art

Artists inspiration

I’ve just come back from a holiday in Scotland, where the weather was warmer than Southampton. I was lucky to be loaned a camera for the trip a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ48. Compared with my phone it is brilliant, so I took a lot of pictures. Photographs from Scotland some will eventually become inspiration for pictures and some are art in their own right.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii a pink one - Culloden

Yesterday I took the camera for a rove around our local common it was a glorious sunny day and I had great fun taking pictures of birds, insects and plants. Southampton Common photographs


I seem to be obsessed with bees and other pollinators recently having contributed a set of 20 hand drawn cards to the latest Art House exhibition. I went to the opening night and found some framed on the wall it was wonderful to see. If you happen to be in Southampton in August go into the Art house and have a look, try the cake while you are there.


Paying for art

Recently I’ve been discussing monetary value of things. I was discussing how we price art but I think there is a wider issue about how people value art in general.

I am what some term as an amateur artist, I make art in my spare time. I don’t have to spend a lot of my time marketing my work to make sure I sell it to keep body and soul together. Many artists do. I exhibit my work and do commissions. I normally charge a small amount for these since if I charged a living wage for them (currently £7.85 in the UK) no one would buy one. For instance an A4 single colour drawing takes about 24 hours (spread over a couple of weeks) to do, so that is about £190. One of the A2 ones is anything from a month to 6 months.

Many artists have faced this issue how much do you charge for your work. I think very few of them charge a living wage for them, and like me are afraid that if they did no one would buy it. So we undervalue what we create often or just give it away.

One of the artists I greatly admire Amanda Palmer has talked about this a lot, yesterday she announced on Facebook that she had started a Patreon page

It works like this:
The artist puts together a package like Kickstarter, but the sponsorship is per item over the long term. Since yesterday 1,496 patrons are willing to give her $13,507.19 per thing. Which is pretty amazing. You can also put a cap on your sponsorship. So for instance I’ve set it at $3 per item to a max of $15 per month. Which means I control how much cash I pay out and the beauty of it is that I still get the material. There is no guarantee but also no money will be taken if she never creates another thing. And I trust her.

I think it is a pretty liberating thing to do. So every time she creates a piece of art we get it. The artist is free to create and do their magic and knows that at the end of it they will get a sum of money which will allow them to pay for their electric or phone bills, staff, food, etc. Does it sound familiar? It should it is how doing a job and being paid a salary works. You agree with your company to do work they pay you a sum of money for it.

Most artists don’t work like that. Most struggle day to day from commission to commission. Many have to have a paid job as well to keep themselves going while they create their art. Isn’t it time we recognised Artist as a legitimate job just like school teacher or administrator.

This way when Amanda creates a thing, she can push it straight out to the fans and won’t have to spend all her time pushing it out into the public domain, so she can create more art for more people.

I’ve read a few comments on people being negative about this approach but who said artists (whatever their art) have to live on the poverty line and live in a garret. Why shouldn’t they be paid enough money to live a decent life.

Since I last checked her page is now 1,527 patrons $13,680.19 per thing. I for one am very happy for her.

I wonder how it would work for an unknown, for instance what would happen if I did it? I wouldn’t expect anyone to give anything like this to me. But could I be paid a sum of money to create art to legitimise (if I need to) what I do? To give myself hope that my art is worth something? On the other hand do I care? I’d still do it without the payment.

What do you think?

Have a look at the other Patreon stories.




Early work – painted jackets

Painted in acrylics on a leather jacket I found and couldn’t be separated from. I really like the colour and I love Orca (killer whales).

Dragon and Orca jacket

Dragon with Orca on Vanella Mead’s leather jacket

The crash helmet was painted in acrylics, after we had worked out if it was safe to do so on one. It look a long time to get it just right but it is still one of my favourites. Born to be a tad naughty!

Mohawk crash helmet

painted crash helmet to look like a Mohawk

My friend Jason broke this guitar so I took it away and painted it up.

Guitar dragons pink

Ying Yang dragons from the early 90s painted onto an electric guitar

Based on Giger’s Baphomet

demon jacket paint

Leather jacket painting

I do like doing covers from 200AD

Painting on a leather jacket from a 2000AD comic

Painting on a leather jacket from a 2000AD comic

Faith and the Muse jacket

Painting from Faith and the Muse on a leather jacket

Painting from Faith and the Muse on a leather jacket

My friend Pete keeps all sorts of snakes so when asked to do his jacket Grass snakes seemed like the perfect choice.

grass snakes on a jacket

painting of inter weaved grass snakes on a leather jacket

Celtic knots

celtic knots

Celtic knot style on a leather jacket


My flickr stream

I’ve been a bit absent recently. I’ve started a new job helping to refresh our council website. It is consuming all my time and when I get back from work I just feel like doing something calming. I haven’t even had much time to play any games.

I have started using my Flickr account much more, I find the quality of the pictures to be better than Facebook. So feel free to check them out. I’ve also uploaded a bunch of photographs that may or may not turn up in my pictures at a later date. As you can see I’m happy to take a shot of the most innocuous stuff from drains to dandelions.

Big Chief

One of a selection of new pictures I have done in the last few weeks. I’ve been trying to contain my art into A4 sheets its proved quite hard and has resulted in a lot of images. If you click on the image it will take you to the Facebook gallery of the new art

Society of Wildlife Artists – 50th Annual Exhibition

I often go to art shows because I am fascinated by other peoples art, I think all artists are. We like to see how others have done it. Sometimes I go to because a friend has recommended it. This week I went because my sister is the president and I knew I was in for a treat.

The Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) are celebrating their 50th annual show this year and my sister Harriet Mead is currently the president. I’m sure most of the thousand or so people who went to the private view, did so for the wonderful Sir David Attenborough. Who opened the show and inspired everyone there, all over again, to go out create art and pass on the message of conservation. But if I’m honest I went because I am immensely proud of my sister and everything she has achieved since becoming president in 2009. I know our dad would have been very proud of her and everything she has done for conservation, art and research.

This year is the 50th annual exhibition and it was wonderful. I squeezed my way through the crowd, to see the pictures of birds and animals and to admire the sculpture and be jealous at all the talent in the room. I was admiring one of Brin Edward’s wonderful pieces and trying to decide if I could afford to buy, when I realised I was surrounded by my family. My aunt, both uncles, cousin, other sister Miranda with partner and son had come to the show as well. It has been a long time since all of us were in the same room together and Harriet had achieved that (over and above the public side). Miranda and I got to catch up, which is something we haven’t done for many years and I promised to try and be more organised and stay in touch. Her son got a special treat of a private audience with Sir David to talk over all things wild.

I had the pleasure of meeting some of the exhibiting artists, having been introduced by Harriet. But I also am very grateful to the person who suggested that the artists wore name badges as I got to grab Tim Wootton as he went passed. I am very lucky to know Tim on Facebook and also to own two wonderful sketches but as we live a very long way apart (he is based in Orkney and I am in Southampton) I didn’t think we would get a chance to meet. I am very glad I did he is an exceptionally talented artist and a thoroughly lovely chap. It was a real incite to wander the exhibition with him and to see the artworks from a different perspective.

If all the effort to get the show up and running wasn’t enough Harriet and the team have also produced a book. The Natural Eye Art Book One. It is packed with picture by contributing artists. If you are interested in wildlife art I recommend you buy a copy and several for your friends.

I spent many hours at the show but they flew by and I realised on the train home that I didn’t take any photographs so this isn’t much of a review I do however recommend that you read Katherine Tyrrell’s excellent review Making a Mark.

If you are in London over the next week or so please take the opportunity to go to the exhibition at the Mall Galleries off Pall Mall just round the corner from Trafalgar square (Map). It is open until 1pm on 10 November.


My art is inspired by all sorts of things I don’t often think before I start but I normally like the results. Occasionally I do something get to the end and think ummm no doesn’t work.