Our Out and About with Thomas Bewick project is well underway, with some fantastic artwork created by our face-to-face and online groups taking part.

Depsite the challenges of being online and in different musuems and venues each week, artists and the team have thought creativiely to bring Bewick's inspiring collections to everyone.

We kicked off at the Shipley Art Gallery with a short talk from Peter Quinn, President of the Bewick Society, who impressed everyone with his enthusiasm and stories about the humorous side of Bewick’s work.  Then wildlife artist John Foker, who has spent a lifetime drawing and painting birds, introduced us to some simple drawing techniques to begin our creative exploration of Bewick’s most famous book, The History of British Birds. 

Bringing Bewick's work to life, we headed to the Great North Museum (Hancock) for a rare opportunity to see some of the bird specimens drawn by Bewick for his famous book more than two hundred years ago.

With expert tuition from John, the group drew from observation, using pencil, charcoal and coloured pencils to build their images. We explored the backgrounds in which Bewick set his birds and the stories he created around them, using these as inspiration for our own compositions. 

Whilst at the Hancock we took the opportunity to visit the Library of the Natural History Society of Northumbria, where we discovered a rich store of books about wildlife, as well a special display of Bewick material. 

Having gathered all these images and information, it was back to the Shipley Art Gallery for our final workshop with John, bringing all the work together in gloriously colourful and expressive monoprints.   

Over the coming weeks we’ll be visiting Bewick collections at the Laing Art Gallery Newcastle City Library and Cherryburn, and we’ll be trying our hand at wood engraving with artist Bernadette Koranteng.