Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Have a fantastic Christmas and fun filled New Year.  Photos of  the gala day (which was closed early to enormous amount of snow) and our Christmas meal out will follow after the big day tomorrow.

It has been an eventful and exciting year and we know that 2011 will prove even more so.  Thank you for following this blog thus far and keep reading...

Stay safe and warm.

B Gallery xxx

Friday, 17 December 2010

One Year Tomorrow

So it is official, the gallery has been open for one year.  What a year it has been.  The Introduction to Art lectures are a huge success and if you haven't already read it, there is a review here. Exciting artists are showcasing a variety of techniques and talent.  Our place in the community is also developing and hopefully the intimidation that can often be associated with a gallery is diminishing.

Amidst the frantic planning and organisation for tomorrow's gala day, I took the opportunity of asking b Gallery founder's Julie and Mel what they are most proud of in the past year; what do they feel is their biggest achievement.

I think our biggest achievement for me is the quality and diversity of the artwork displayed.  Not only do we have fabulous fine artwork displayed by well known artists including Rolf Harris with limited addition copies, but we have a phenomenal array of local talent exhibiting.  The variety from glass work to tapestry, jewellery to portraits for me is breathtaking and something i am immensely proud of. - Julie
I am overwhelmed to be surrounded by such a passionate and talented team at the gallery. When we first started a year ago it was just myself and Julie, but along the way people have recognised our potential and have dedicated their time and energy.  The photography studio is up and running and already a hit with a hugely talented and creative, imaginative photographer. Naomi's Introduction to Art lectures were an instant hit and working alongside Linda they have bought together another dimension to the gallery, including the regular and popular workshops.  The passion of the team has made the adventure possible and it is ever growing with the art directory the next step, our talent spotter Aimi is already looking out for artists to exhibit. - Mel
So tomorrow is Gala day, with local artists demonstrating their styles and techniques, Naomi giving taster sessions of her lectures and the all important visit from Santa. 

If you have been to the gallery, please share your favourite bits here and lets look forward to another fun-filled adventurous year.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Weekday, weekend and Children/student's workshops

The latest list of workshops has now been printed and it includes the brand new Busy Bees and Art Explorers.  Busy Bees is a children's art club (age 5-9) and is run on the last Saturday of each month.  The first session is on the 29th January 2011 from 10am - 12 midday.  The first one is called a Saturday Art trolley and is creative fun under the guiding hand of a professional artist.

The following one is exciting for any of you mums with a daughter. It is called Dads and Daughters, the clue is in the name. Dads get to indulge their hidden pink and sparkly calling whilst spending quality time with their daughters. However, the following month they can become all macho again with their sons when there is a session called "boys". Paint stick and invent, a time to get messy and invent the impossible,

The details will be on the event page of this blog but as always can be found on our facebook page.  If you haven't become a fan yet, please do as it is the easiest way to be updated on up and coming events at the gallery.

Lastly on a wintry note, as I was walking or should I say sliding through the village this week, I pounced upon a photo opportunity.  This is the back of the gallery which leads onto the Church graveyard.  How pretty.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Christmas is here

Snow in Toddington really does transform the village into a beautiful Christmas Card Picture. What better way to add to this then by responding to the above invitation and decorating the gallery windows.  Situated by the church just off the village green, the gallery will be central to all the festivities on Monday evening. It is lovely to be given the opportunity or rather excuse to get creative with our windows.  Naomi is already on the job and walking back from the post office this morning I got a sneaky peek.

AS you can see the snow decorating as begun. Keep checking back to see the final display. If you are at the gallery or on the green on Monday, please comment and let us know what you think of our pretty windows. We always want feedback

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

First review

Check out our first review of an art soiree under the review tab or click here.  If you are interested in finding out more on the next art soiree check out the facebook page for more details

Exciting Times

On the 18th December the gallery will be celebrating it's first birthday.  If this event wasn't exciting enough it is also launch day for our website and our on-line art directory.

The art directory is a huge collection of talented artists showcased in one big directory. Inclusion is by invitation and recommendation only but for those interested in joining, now is the time to register your interest. The directory is for a whole range of artists including visual artists, photographers, jewellery makers, sculptors, musicians, creative writers and so the list goes on.

Our aim is to raise the profile of talented artists and designers to the buying public and commercial sector. It will make buying art far more accessible and affordable.  The site will also feature an extensive portfolio of published artists such as Rolf Harris and Beryl Cook where signed limited editions will be sold to collectors.

We are hugely excited about the launch of this directory and the platform it will give to new and established artists. We are working to ensure that these galleries will be easy for artists to manage and update.  There will be an individual shop and pay facilities plus tailored search options for visitors to browse the site and find artists with ease; no commission will be taken.  As a company we will be doing the marketing for the directory bringing the public to the artists.

Not only this but b Gallery now has an official talent spotter who will be trailing through the various sites online spotting potential members of the directory, giving them the opportunity to apply.

The official launch date of the directory is the 18th December and by launch there will be around 300 artists already on the directory each with their own online gallery.  If you are interested and indeed why wouldn't you be, leave a comment here, on our facebook page or email direct.

The exact cost of annual membership to the directory has yet to be confirmed but will be less than £100 per year.

As an exhibiting artist already, our new talent spotter is hugely excited about the directory, so who knows it could be you being approached. If you want to find out all about her watch this space as a one to one interview will be posted here soon.

Plus coming up in December, plans for our Gala day at the gallery, our first blog give away and more tutorials.

Here are a few photos to show you the success of our gala day last Christmas


Exhibiting artists at work

Friday, 26 November 2010

Jane Robbins

For those of you yet to visit the gallery, I will quickly explain a bit about it's layout.  The ground floor is mainly dedicated to fine art and the walls are covered with fantastic pieces of artwork ranging from Rolf Harris and Timmy Mallett (yes Timmy Mallett) to John Luce Lockett and Beryl Cole.  The second floor is our member's area where local artists exhibit their own work.  Currently we have 200 artists on our books.  The range is incredibly diverse and interesting. We  hold workshops downstairs and have an exhibition room for our solo exhibitions.
Dotted amongst the paintings are sculptures, jewellery, glass, textiles and many other things to catch the eye.  At the moment we are fortunate to have  Jane Robbin's figures for sale in the gallery.  The coloured resin dancing figures are called the "Three Sisters" and are currently on display on the ground floor.

The Three Sisters
Jane, who is currently  artist of the month in this web magazine, grew up in Merseyside.  Trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Jane worked in theatre and television painting sets and sculpting. Her sculpting ranged from fake heads to polystyrene gargoyles. Jane went on to train in figurative sculpture at Stafford Art College and now specialises in  portrait sculpture from her studio in Shrewsbury Shropshire.

Her commissions include famous names such as Percy Thrower, Linda McCartney, cartoon character Andy Capp and the Queen Mother.
Jane will be unveiling a centenary bronze Mining Memorial for The Pretoria pit Disaster in Westhoughton Lancashire on Dec.19th

centenary bronze Mining Memorial for The Pretoria pit Disaster in Westhoughton Lancashire

Jane also teaches sculpture throughout the UK and is working with the charity "Saving Faces" a charity set up to support facially disfigured patients in hospital.

Come and view her work first hand in the gallery and tell us what you think.

More of her work can be seen on her website  

* above background info taken from

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Tutorial 1

Taking a look at the importance of Image Capture

Artists often have difficulty in getting a like for like copy of their artwork produced.   One of the reasons is the size of the file is just too small, imagine trying to produce a crisp finely detailed engraving from a worn and scratched metal plate, you cant just as you cant produce a good quality print from a digital file that is out of focus, too small or lacking detail and depth.  Printers will complain that artists are under the impression that any problems with their digital file can be resolved using Photoshop.  Photoshop includes a number of features that help sharpen images, but not to the level required for fine art print work.   It pays to have your work professionally photographed, however for many artists this is just one more added expense so the golden rule is to make sure your digital file contains 300dpi (dots per inch) when sized to the physical dimensions of the finished print.  For example if you wanted to create a printed image twice the size of the original you would need the artwork to be captured at 600dpi.  Once the image has been photographed it is best to supply the image saved as a TIFF file, which means they do not degrade each time they are opened.  If you save the image as a JPG it means the image is compressed then re-compressed each time it is saved which results in loss of data.  However I know a lot of people only have their work saved in JPG format and printers will do their very best but the artists need to know and understand the quality may be good but perhaps not as good as it could have been. 


Check out our new Tutorials page which will have answers to many of the frequently asked questions.  If you a burning issue please let us know and we will do our best to answer it.

Stressed mother turned published artist

34 years ago Sue Howells walked into an adult education centre looking for a hobby.

"Taking up something like yoga seemed a sensible idea seeing as I was a very stressed mother so I deposited my 2 year old in the creche and settled into the lotus position. But all I could hear during my breathing exercises was my daughter crying in the next room. I made my apologies and headed for the reception asking which class is the furthest from the creche! "The art classes" was the reply- so I joined a group of elderly ladies and diligently made watercolours of primroses.  I soon got a little bored and went out and bought a 4" brush, so that the watercolours could speak for themselves.  My spontaneous approach and love of the medium of watercolour came to me instinctively right from the start. I began painting flowers then moved onto landscapes. I sold my first picture when a friend with a restaurant asked if she could hang a few to cheer the place up.  I was most surprised when people started to buy them. I then went round other shops and cafes and although i had a lot of rejections I came back stronger.  I joined artist's groups and exhibited in a gallery where i relished the camaraderie and the feeling that i wasn't alone, my work got noticed and I made sales.  I have been with my publishing company for 13 years now and often wonder what would have happened if I had been directed to the bricklaying class on the fateful day 34 years ago".

Has anyone else "stumbled" into painting/sewing/photography only to realise that they are actually pretty good? Share your story and also know that b Gallery are always on the look out for new talent.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Oh yes its Ladies Night and the feeling WAS right

Ladies Evening at the gallery was held last Friday, 12th November and was a huge success. Local crafters showed off a large array of handmade goods and people that had never visited the gallery before came through the door. It was just a fiver on the door and after that wine was free flowing and nibbles were placed on every surface.  Vintage clothing, handmade jewellery and a childrens' mural designer were some of the stalls situated on both floors of the gallery. You can see by the following photos what a gorgeous evening it was.

Custom, made to order bags

Hazel's textiles - lovely door stops, book covers etc
Sally's beautiful handmade goodies

The feedback from visitors so far has been extremely positive and requests for similar events have already been received which is a massive compliment.  One of the gallery's aims is to become a big part of the local community and hopefully this is one more step in the right direction.

Vintage clothing (very yummy)

Handmade jewellery

Another exciting change to the gallery is the much awaited door painting.  The door needed brightening up and this has certainly done the job.  Against the white wash of the walls it really brights up what is already a stunning building. So, what do you think of the colour, let us know your thoughts.

Coming soon, more news from the gallery and info on art soirees.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Interview with Andrea Carter

Andrea's personality is as colourful and attention grabbing as her paintings.  Standing surrounded by her artwork, it was an absolute joy to chat to Andrea about her life, reason for painting and her inspirations. As it was simply a chat rather than a question and answer scenario, I have written it up as such.

Andrea's adventure with painting came relatively late in life; although a keen artist in school, she didn't pursue painting until 2001.  In was whilst in  Latvia with husband that Andrea had a sudden calling to the world of art she explains it as waking up with the thought "I am going to paint".  Anyone who has witnessed her art will be ever thankful that she had that thought.

Having always suffered from nightmares much of her inspiration is drawn from her dreams, making the process of painting extremely therapeutic.  Indeed her first painting was that of a vampire, swiftly moving on to painting devils including a devil in cyber space!

It was via contacts with her husband's position in the Foreign Office that she was able to get into Latvia's National Academy of Art under Professor Alexander Naumovs where Andrea completed two courses.

Andrea's paintings are dynamic and draw you immediately into the scene, whether that be a field of spiders legs, an alien planet's landscape or the sorrow of a clown. To your taste or not, it is impossible to ignore Andrea's art. Good or bad, an impression is formed and a conversation started.  Surely this is the point of any great painting. When asked about selling her work, Andrea explained how sales are harder to come by in the UK and she has always enjoyed greater success elsewhere especially Bermuda where she lived after leaving Latvia.  However, her main aim is to have people take the time to look at her paintings and if someone likes them then she is ecstatic. "I broke down and sobbed at my first sale and am still humbled when people buy my art".

Looking around Andrea's solo exhibition, I was struck by the diverse range of her paintings; from science fiction to still life, an eerie tree to a Bermudan landscape.  When I asked Andrea about this, she replied that she painted according to what inspired her at the time and refused to be put into a niche, or classification. "Who is to say what style is what? how is one to differentiate?"  In fact at the moment, Andrea is trying her hand at Impressionism through the workshops offered at the gallery with Lynda Daniels.

Working in oils on canvas, many of her paintings take weeks to complete as layer upon layer of paint is applied building up the texture required. However, paintings such as the Aging Warrior took only 2 days.  I was constantly struck by the vividness of her imagination and how she seems more at home painting surreal landscapes or "horror story" pictures.

What came through above all else, was Andrea's passion not only for her own paintings but for art in general. Although not working on anything at the moment, Andrea's need to paint can hit at any moment.  It is impossible to spend any time with her and not be completely enthralled with her personality.

Her exhibition at b Gallery will be running until 4th January. Make a date in your diary to go and see it, you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Andrea Helen Carter Exhibition - Preview

Alone at Last
We are very excited to announce that the solo exhibition for Andrea Helen Carter starts tomorrow 4th November and will run for a full two months until 4th January 2011. 

Born in 1941 in Yorkshire, England, Andrea didn't begin painting until 2001 whilst living in the Baltic state of Latvia.  After studying at Latvia's National Acadamy of Art under Professor Alexander Naumovs, Andrea moved to Bermuda in 2003 and completed two courses at the Fine Art Department of Bermuda College.

"My subjects are where inspiration takes me; from a delicate flower to a stormy sea.  My reward is the wonderful feeling I get when someone loves my painting enough to make it part of their own world.  The money for the sale is secondary."

The Aging Warrior
Mainly painting with Oils on Canvas, Andrea is very interested in texture and has used Acrylics, Egg Tempera, Air Brush and Pastels.

"At my easel, brush in hand, I endeavour to convey to canvas my innermost thoughts, feelings, joys and fears."

A preview evening is being held tomorrow - 4th November - from 6.30pm until 9.30pm.  Not only will you get to meet the artist but an introductory 10% off her work is also being offered for preview evening only. Wine and nibbles supplied. For more details leave a comment here or email the gallery at  Further details are also on our facebook page.

I will be meeting Andrea at the preview evening tomorrow, so if you have any questions about her work that you would like to ask, please post them here and I will do my best.  A full interview will be posted soon.

The Blues

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Gallery Workshops

Have you ever thought about trying something new? Or maybe you already have a talent/hobby that you want to further.  The gallery runs regular workshops and they are run in a peaceful, inspiring environment with like-minded people.  Check out these photos.  If you fancy seeing a list of workshops check out the details available on this blog, or email for more info.

In the next post, information on an exhibition and my first experience of an HIstory of Art soiree evening.

Monday, 25 October 2010


Hello and welcome to the new blog for b Gallery, a popular art destination in the lovely village of Toddington, Bedfordshire
What can you expect from this blog? Pictures, information, background and gossip from  inside the gallery.  Interviews with local artists, up and coming events, competitions, maybe even the odd give away. Hopefully, the reason behind the name b Gallery will also be shared. Firstly though i think it is important that we meet the people behind the gallery.  The ever explanding team, of which i am their newest member, is an ecclectic mix of passion and talent and over the next few posts we will hopefully get to meet them.  So keep popping by to see what is the latest news from the white building on the corner.