Thank you for visiting to have a look at my information.
A love of sketching and drawing daily underpins all of my work. I am “lost” without a pencil in my hand, and find drawing by far and away the best form of communication. I consider myself to be so lucky to have this natural inclination to express myself through various artistic endeavours and never more so than during 2020/21 the years of the pandemic.
These “artistic endeavours” are reflected in my varied portfolio which ranges from contemporary work to prints, and pastels to watercolour.
The variety in no small way reflects my background. I trained as an Architect and ran a successful practice (Derek Hicks & Thew) in Liverpool for many years. My art in those days was architectural perspectives and holiday watercolours and sketches.
In 2005 I forsook the world of architecture and undertook a Fine Art degree at John Moores University in Liverpool. I loved every minute of being a mature student, talking and making art all day and was rewarded with a First Class Honours degree. Following qualification I travelled to Austria for a show of some of my contemporary art and had exhibitions in London, the North-West and a residency in one of Liverpool’s cutting edge gallery/studios.
However as time has progressed I returned to my core skills of drawing, watercolour and print-work . I converted the garage at home into a studio to create some space, to spread out, accommodate the mass of work I was accumulating and, as it turned out, have some room to conduct art classes.
I started teaching watercolour painting to adults looking to take up art as a retirement hobby (or refine a latent skill) . I no longer run group classes in the studio but still undertake one on one (or two) lessons for those starting out, as a retirement gift , birthday present or similar. I also run group classes for local societies and art groups and also do demonstrations and workshop days . In addition I have organised workshop and interest days at the Williamson Art gallery in Urban Sketching and Beginning in Watercolour.
2014 I was shortlisted as “Artist of the Year” by the “Artists and Illustrators journal” for my picture “Cobi’s Garden”, and enjoyed the prestige of exhibiting in London’s Mall Galleries. I have also been featured in “Cheshire Life” magazine and appeared as winning contestant on the B.B.C. programme “Home is Where the Art Is” The picture I produced for the programme , a”mosaic of memories'” led to a large number of commissions for pictures in the same style and I regularly accept new requests for this type of picture even now some three years later. Never underestimate the power of T.V.!
I am a committed “urban sketcher” and never happier and more content than when I am out and about (when allowed!) with my sketchbook. I started the Wirral Urban Sketchers Group in June 2016 . The group meets on the last Sunday of each month come rain or shine. No subs, no register just a band of friends meeting up to sketch together and chat about our work. We regularly get over 50 at the meetings and now have 500+ “Friends” for our page on Facebook. During the pandemic whilst we were unable to get out together I set bi-weekly ” challenges” for the group and this resulted not only in an increase in our numbers but also a real sense of mutual support, fun, and reassuring involvement with others.
I am also a member of an on-line group “Virtual Sketchwalkers” who work from posted photographic sources from across the world. Again the level of mutual beneficial support and enthusiasm in the group is a great source of inspiration and reassurance in the way the human spirit rises to an occasion.
I have included a selection of my sketchbook work in the gallery as I think it is there you will see some of my most relaxed and natural work.
I regularly take part in the annual Wirral Open Studios Tour and regularly exhibit in local galleries, with Local Art Societies and at the Williamson Gallery with Wirral Arts Society and in the Wirral Open Exhibitions. I was also appointed as a visiting tutor for an art holiday company in the Algarve and will be running a week-long course there in October 2024.Teaching watercolour skills on cruise ships has been a great benefit of tutoring and I have worked on “Celebrity” ships and recently aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria for a trip to Europe and then down to the Mediterranean.
My thoughts about the “direction” I should take with my Art fluctuate daily .
Of late I have returned to more contemporary style of work attempting to arrive at an approach to a radical use of watercolour that allows for the beauty of spontaneous and happy accidents that can only be achieved with this medium and will intrigue and delight the viewer. I should love for watercolour to be taken more seriously as a medium for contemporary work and have a life long yearning to be accepted for the “John Moores exhibition of painting”
Even now I think it is important to maintain a “dream”!
However my constant investigation into how I could bring this about has led me not forwards but backwards, many centuries to 10th century Chinese painting. I have “discovered” Liang Kai (often called Madman Liang) who I think was light years ahead of the contemporary “isms” of the 19th and 20th centuries with his approach to painting, his objective was to evoke a subject or atmosphere with a minimum use of detail. This required “a profound mastery of painting technique and perfect concentration” but also allowed for the beauty of accidental effects. The more I look into this, the more I want to know. J.M.W.Turner also remains a great inspiration , and I especially enjoyed a recent Tate exhibition of his seascapes including many of his sketchbooks.That all sounded a bit “arty” didn’t it! I really do think about art every day though and just love it!
I am also revisiting all my “Horizon Project” work as I have realised I have amassed quite a body of pictorial work: print, paint and line as well as the collection of quotes, video and associated works. I feel I need to pull it all together for either an exhibition, book or video.
Of all this, one thing I am sure of , is that there is nothing in this world that I would rather be doing and I am so lucky for that reason!
If you are in the area please pop in to see the studio, have a cuppa and enjoy a chat about art the universe and everything 🙂 Graham
Education and Qualifications.
B.A. Hons Architecture. Liverpool University 1974.
B.Arch. Hons Architecture. Liverpool University 1978.
B.A. Hons Fine Art. (First Class). Liverpool John Moores University 2009.
Qualified Access consultant 1999 N.R.A.C. (advising on the adaptation of buildings and other issues for people with disabilities)
Background Professional Experience
1974-2006 Architect working in Public and Private Practice
1985 Senior Partner The Derek Hicks & Thew Architectural Practice.
2004 The Derek Hicks and Thew Partnership Ltd merged with Nightingale Associates
2004 Appointed Managing Director of the Liverpool office , an Executive Director of Nightingale Associates, and Group Marketing Director North of England.
April 2006 Left Architectural Practice in order to pursue career as an artist.
October 2006 Having worked for a while as a watercolour artist decided there was potentially far more to the world of art and gained a place as a mature student at John Moores University School of Art Liverpool in order to learn about the practice of contemporary art.
Dissertation topic; The Conservation of Contemporary and Conceptual art.
June 2009 qualified with a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art.
Art Exhibitions and Successes
Three’s Company Exhibition May 2004 Dee fine Arts Gallery Wirral
Regional Winner and Finalist in the Lloyds/ T.S.B. National Competition in 2007 exhibition in London. Lloyds T.S.B. purchased work.
Artist in residence 2007 Met Quarter (shopping mall) Liverpool
Work selected for the Eye Fund Art exhibition Birkenhead 2009
“Triple Echo” 2009 work selected for a travelling exhibition of printworks shown at venues including; University of Central Lancs’, J.M.U.Liverpool, Wirral Metropolitan College.
Upton Hall School, Wirral. July 2009. Installation work selected for exhibition at art festival in addition to mentoring sixth form students
International Exhibition at Palais T&T, Thun Bregenz Austria
October 3 –November 8 2009. 3 person show entitled
“The significance of the previous group should be considered in the negative” Invited as part of Bregenz’ “Zur Zeit” the best of work from European Cities
Oct. 2009 Residency at “Unit 4” Art & Architecture Studio. An experimental Studio at “Static Gallery”. A collaboration between Architecture & Fine Art students & practitioners and International Artists leading up to the 2010 Biennial funded by J.M.U. and the R.I.B.A.
Oct. 2009 Appointed as a Creative Practitioner by “Curious Minds” (part of the Creative Partnerships Programme). A practitioner works in partnership with schools to produce creative learning projects in association with Teachers
Nov. 2009 Appointed as a Board member of the “Independents” Biennial Liverpool
March. 2010 “Triple Vision” Exhibition (with 2 others) Artists Club Liverpool.
Oct. 2010 Wirral Open Williamson Art Gallery
Nov. 2010 Exhibition at Seagrass studios Hoylake
2011 work in exhibitions at Williamson art gallery, Wirral society of Arts and Wirral council exhibitions
2012-15 Exhibiting with: Local Art Exhibitions, Heswall Arts festival, Festival of Firsts Wirral. Wirral open studios Tour. Independants Biennial, Liverpool. Acorn Gallery.
2014 Shortlisted in the “Artist of the Year” competition organised by the “Artists and Illustrators” magazine (from over 3000 entrants)
Nov. 2014 Elected as Chairperson Wirral Society of Arts
2015 Exhibited, Mall Galleries London.
March 2015/16/17. Wirral Open Williamson Art Gallery.
September 2014/15/16/17/18. “Open” and “Closed” exhibitions with Wirral Society of Arts
June 2013/14/15/16/18Wirral Open Studios Tour.
2011-present teaching and tutoring Watercolour Painting
From studio in Meols. Single class of six at first – however through word of mouth and recommendation, began extra sessions building up to current (Feb. 2015) number of five classes a week, four in studio (up to 6 people) and one at the local community centre (up to 12 people). Teaching all watercolour skills to beginners, those seeking to refine existing skills, and people choosing art as a retirement hobby. Now over thirty people a week. In addition to taking groups of people out over the summer on sketching and painting days.
2013 -present Demonstrations , workshops and classes for art societies including Heswall. Neston, Irby and Churchtown groups, and various other art societies
2015 joined Liverpool Urban sketchers/ Wirral Open Studios Tour participant/ accepted submissions for Wirral Open and the W.S.A. exhibitions/ commissioned work views of Wallasey Golf Club
2015 Teaching on the Cruise ship “Celebrity Reflection” transatlantic crossing 18 day trip classes of over 60!
July 2016 Founded Wirral Urban Sketchers. free to join collective of artists both professional and amateur who meet regularly on the last Sunday of every month to sketch and draw.
2017, Exhibited Wirral Open, (Williamson Art Gallery), / Deeside Arts Group Exhibition, /Seagrass Studios Open Art Competition, /Wirral Society of Arts Open exhibition. /Wallasey Golf club commission to paint views of Course.
2018, Exhibited: Wirral Open. /Wirral Society of Arts exhibition. /Participated Wirral Open Studios Tour./ Featured artist “Once upon a Tide” Gallery, New Brighton.
Continuing with demonstrations for art groups, /Heswall, / Neston, /Hoylake, / W.I. Heswall.
“One on one” art classes, and commissions
2018 Wirral Urban Sketching group now plus 250 on Facebook regularly attracting over 40 participants to get-togethers.
2019 Contestant on B.B.C. programme “Home is where the Art is”, Featured in “Cheshire Life” magazine May edition. Pictures in “Williamson Open Exhibition” run by Wirral B.C.
2019. Many commissions, many arising from T.V. programme appearance. Also requests for demos at , Heswall groups, West Kirby Art groups (including D.A.G) and others, more one-on-one teaching and Exhibitions.
2020!. Actively setting bi-weekly art challenges for the Urban sketching groups and spending a lot more time in the studio!
2021 Wirral Open Studios Tour in September after lockdowns etc.
2021. Pop-up exhibition at Chemist and co in Hoylake.
2021. Wall panel for the Hoylake Seabirds Tour “Wader’s Walk”
Member of the following Societies and Clubs
Founding member, Wirral Urban Sketchers and active member Liverpool Urban Sketchers and The Virtual Sketchwalkers
Wirral Society of Arts (past Chairman and committee member.) Deeside Arts Group, Grosvenor Art Society
Hillbark Players Amateur Dramatic Shakespeare Players