Light the North trail

This 2.5 meter tall lighthouse was great to paint!

My design Shimmering Shoal was inspired by shoals of shimmering mackerel swimming amongst the stripes of the Scottish Sea. I love that each silvery shimmering mackerel has beautiful distinctive tiger like patterns. I have them swimming together round the lighthouse. In my work I love to capture a sense of place and retain the hand painted quality of wonky lines and subtle mark making to give added texture and movement in my work. 

My lighthouse is part of Light the North in the north east, Moray, Shetland and Orkney raising money for Clan Cancer Support. Big thanks to Anderson Anderson Brown LLP for selecting my design. If you spot Shimmering Shoal in the Rose Garden (Cathedral Walk), Seaton Park in Aberdeen, please tag me in on social media or send me a photo by email hello@louisekirby.com Here are some work in progress photos

painting the mackerel

I love taking part in the Wild In Art trails as they allow me to use my skills of applying colour and pattern to 3d shapes. They raise money for charities and the trails themselves are great at encouraging people to get out and about and explore the area.

I popped up to Aberdeen to see it in person on a lovey sunny day and I’m delighted on the beautiful location of Seaton Park, it’s located in the Rose Garden on Cathedral walk. If you’ve got kids there is a great playpark next to it and a wee snack van.

You can check out my other Wild in Art Sculptures on my website along with other examples of my work here.

You can check out all about the Light the North trail here with maps to download or theres an app to download to see where they are all postitioned.

Thanks for reading and happy hunting!

Painted Elephant Trail

Photo by Derek Gerrard Photography

I loved painting this lush and leafy design onto a plain elephant, it was a great shape to paint on. I built up layers of greens, turquoise and olives to create depth and the feeling of a tropical rainforest. I then added hibiscus and ditzy flowers with tropical leaves in an allover pattern. And of course a striped trunk and tail! I named it Lush + Leafy, I was inspired by elephants of the tropical jungle of Borneo, camouflaged in the luscious tropical patterns.

Work in progress video

Work in progress video

My elephant is part of The Big Trunk Trail in Luton raising money for Keech Hospice Care. Big thanks to the sponsor HBD Places. If you are in Luton you will spot Lush + Leafy in The Moor Park, please tag me in on social media or send me a photo! hello@louisekirby.com Here are some work in progress photos

The elephant sculpture was massive and wasn’t going to fit into my studio on the 4th floor at Wasps studios. I’m super grateful for the kindness of Derek from Circle Signs offering me space in his workshop to paint!

Thanks to the Sandra Webster for escorting my elephant to Luton with her colourful elephant also on the trail.

Finished painted elephant – Lush + Leafy

I love taking part in the Wild In Art trails as they allow me to use my skills of applying colour and pattern to objects and surfaces. They raise money for charities and the trails themselves are great at encouraging people to get out and about and explore the area.

Next one to look out for is my Lighthouse, part of the Light The North Trail. You can see my other Wild In Art painted sculptures on my website

Thanks for reading!

Artwork for your home

I loved painting these 2 bespoke murals in a cool kitchen.

Process involve, a chat with the lovely couple about what they wanted, we talked about their favourite things, love of vintage style and what they liked about my signature style. This helped me form the brief and created a couple of sketches of ideas that they chose from (options to have changes but loved what I created.) From there we picked dates to suit, and defined the vintage colour palette. Then I painting all the layers of colour and pattern, which was joyful. (See me in action)

I’m grateful they were brave to ask me and trusted I would create something they’d love! They wanted 2 murals, one next to the alcove and a homely one next to the wood burning stove, they look good individually and also connect through colour and imagery so work together in the room. 

I think they turned out well, what do you think? Can you imagine a mural in your home or office? I love taking people’s ideas and creating bespoke designs.

LOUISE KIRBY X JERRY RANDALLS Music and Art Collaboration

I was asked by composer Jerry Randalls to collaborate with him to create some visual to go with his new Laxmi composition.

I created a series of abstract compositions called Counterpoint in response to repeatedly listening to the Laxmi composition. I used gestural marks and movement with the brushes to create colourful textural marks in watercolour.  The individual pieces were sliced and re-composed to create new compositions of juxtaposing colour and pattern.  Colours were inspired by the Laxmi Hindu goddess.

Counterpoint 1
White mount size 21cm x 29.7cm
£45
Counterpoint 2
White mount size 21cm x 29.7cm
£45 – SOLD
Counterpoint 3
White mount size 21cm x 29.7cm
£45
Counterpoint 4
White mount size 21cm x 21cm
£35
Counterpoint 5
White mount size 21cm x 21cm
£40
Counterpoint 6
White mount size 21cm x 21cm
£45 – SOLD
Counterpoint 7
White mount size 21cm x 21cm
£40
Counterpoint 8
White mount size 21cm x 21cm
£40
Counterpoint 9
White mount size 21cm x 21cm
£30 – SOLD
Counterpoint 10
White mount size 21cm x 29.7cm
£45
Counterpoint 11
White mount size 21cm x 29.7cm
£40
Counterpoint 12
White mount size 21cm x 21cm
£35
Counterpoint 13
White mount size 21cm x 21cm
£35

If you are interested in any of the pieces for your home or office, please email hello@louisekirby.com They are all one off watercolour collages ranging from £30 – £45.

To listen to the collaboration click here

Jerry writes “Laxmi (also known as Lakshmi) – for Flute trio, jazz trio and cello

I have fused a jazzy arpeggiated melodic pattern with a 17th century harmonic progression which suggests more than a nod to J S Bach, but is also, as it happens, a staple of the jazz world. The piece concludes with a brief blues break which merges into a classic Baroque final cadence.

Louise has a striking and wholly individual style which resonates with the renaissance of her home town of Dundee as a leading citadel of contemporary creative arts. Her work is always confident, fresh and dynamic – and echoes techniques and principles which also guide my composition technique: line, patterns and sequences, energetic rhythms, tone colour, momentum and structure. I love how she has taken the idea of counterpoint – melody against melody – and applies it to visual art. I couldn’t have imagined a more spectacular exhibition to accompany my music. “

Art Shows the Way

ART Shows The Way!

New dementia-friendly art and design projects at three Perthshire sheltered housing units have been created to help residents find their way around the complexes while adding new positive character.

Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) in partnership with Perth & Kinross Council has commissioned these creative art and design solutions at the Carpenter Court and Strathmore Street sheltered housing units in Perth and at James Court in Pitlochry

Developed using dementia-friendly principles, the artworks and enhanced design will help make navigation around the buildings easier for the tenants.  

THAT commissioned designer Louise Kirby to hold consultation workshops with staff and tenants looking at themes and colours that residents responded well too. Louise then devised different plans, each appropriate to the individual sites. The concept was to use imagery that was based around the changing seasons and nature, and reflected the established colour coding system for each floor of the Carpenter Court and Strathmore Street. Within the third unit at James Court Pitlochry these designs reflected tenants’ and staffs’ love of the local animals and landscape and provided positive images that brighten up the corridor.

Louise said: “I loved the challenge of using my design skills to improve how tenants find their way around and across these sheltered housing units. The buildings are very different in size and layout and so required different solutions, but the principle is the same. The design elements link and flow with the established colour coding to provide positive visual markers for people. This has been a great opportunity to see how my design can help people living in these complexes.”

Perth & Kinross Council’s Housing and Communities Convener, Councillor Bob Brawn, added: “These   are lovely images and we have been getting a lot of positive comments about them from both tenants and visitors, who are really enjoying the colour they’ve brought to the complexes. They are a great addition to all the units and our tenants and staff are really pleased with the outcome.”

THAT promotes the therapeutic value of the arts based programmes to enhance environments, quality of life, and promote social inclusion by empowering individuals to make an important contribution to their health and wellbeing.

For more information about the THAT project, please contact Karine Neill Development Officer THAT on 01382 835509 or if you would like to chat to Louise Kirby about enhancing your space contact hello@louisekirby.com

Rediscover Dundee Delights

It’s great to see places starting to open up here in Dundee, we are so lucky to have so many cultural buildings and events on our doorstep.  Here is my round up of some of my favourite places if you fancy getting out and about and rediscovering the city again. *I’ve popped links to all the places so you can check for any bookings or restrictions.

15th August – It’s great that Dundee’s Farmers Market is set to start back up monthly, you can pick up local produce from breads, jams to veggies.

20th AugustThe McManus Galleries is favourite building of mine, stashed full of interesting objects. I love the Stephen Bird ceramic piece it’s worth stopping and having a closer look at it.  The David Batchelor sculpture brings a smile to my face with the brightly coloured bottles too. It’s great to see my Dundee Delights illustrated products available to buy again from their shop.

27th AugustV&A Dundee I’m so looking forward to seeing the Mary Quant exhibition – as you know I love colour and pattern and my background is in printed textiles!  Can’t believe I’ve not been in the building since March, normally I would be in regularly delivering workshops for schools and families.

4th SeptemberDundee Contemporary Arts It’ll be nice to see Arty the penguin again at Jute Café Bar, I’m sure Arty has been a good guard while the building has been closed. I’ve always loved the DCA for their cinema, beer garden on a sunny day and picking up cool cards and gifts from the shop. You will be able to pick up my Dundee Delights greetings cards, magnets and tea towels here .  The galleries will be opening the following week.

Places already open include: Dundee Transport Museum  good for a bit of nostalgia. Camperdown Zoo somewhere I like to take my son (and I like it too), check the website to book a slot. Verdant Works is a great space, remember to look up at the cool rafters. And if you like boats and history visit RRS Discovery or HMS Unicorn . You can also check out www.Dundee.com  for more things happening.

If you would like to see the full Dundee Delights collections inspired by Dundee landmarks and foods you can see them here with free postage on all orders. You’ll also spot some new prints inspired by the wildflower growing during lockdown.

Thanks for reading!

Explore Dundee Guide

Dundee’s location is the best! I love that I can be in the city, on the beach or in the countryside so quickly.  I love to get out in the fresh air and be inspired by what I see! Here are some of my top places to walk and explore.

Broughty Ferry Beach is a regular spot for me and Rhubarb the dog.  I’m always on the lookout for interesting colours, textures and patterns and Rhubarb is on the lookout for crabs!   You can sometimes spot dolphins too if you’re lucky! 

Barnhill Rock Garden always looks great with an abundance of textures of plants and flowers. Visocchis is a must for an ice cream and Jessies Kitchen for lunch or coffee and I highly recommend their strawberry tarts! Pretty Fly is great for gifts or treating yourself.  You can pick up some of my Dundee Delights products there – prints, tea towels, cards, pins, bags and notepads!

7 Arches walk is part of the Monifieth Path and is great for exploring along the banks of the Dighty. On my walks I’ve spotted deer and love the wildflowers plus listening the the songbirds early in the morning.

Somewhere I’m going to check out is the Spaces for Places in Union Street as it’s now pedestrianised with planters and outdoor seating just next to the penguin sculptures. You can explore some of the streets you don’t normally go down part of the Open Close Trail in the city centre, and you can do it in Stobswell too. I love that this project brings colour and art to the city! My favourite doors are Jen Collins next to Forte cafe on Dura Street and Lindsay Brown owl on a wee lane behind Albert Square.

There are some new murals down near the V&A Dundee of the whales and check out the amazing artwork of Fraser Gray and Martin McGuinnes on the legs of the Tay road bridge. You can read more about it here.

On a clear day The Law is great for 360 degree views of the city, and going uphill really gets those leg muscles going but I do admit I’ve driven up to the top too! Balgay Hill walk up to the observatory (not currently open) is nice and you can go over the blue bridge to the graveyard. I love seeing the highland cows and great views over the river Tay on the Riverside Nature Trail.

As a student I used to spend lots of time drawing the cacti in the glass houses at the Botanical Garden and its a lovely place to wander amongst the range of trees and plants in their outdoor space.

Further afield Crombie County Park is a perfect length of walk amongst the trees around the loch. For me it’s really inspiring and I have lots of photos of things that inspire me from here! Monikie Country Park is great for feeding the ducks (they like peas and seeds instead of bread) and you can pick up an ice cream or coffee from Byzantium Cafe.

Kinshaldy Beach has the great combination of the beach and the woodland area, and check out the Crepe Shack if it’s there too. East Haven beach past Carnoustie has such a picturesque feeling.

For those of you who like the water I’ve seen some really cool pics from people going on the Outdoor Explore trips on the river Tay and Clunie loch.

I’ve always  got my camera capturing some inspiration for my designs everything from wildflowers, textures to patterns in the sand.  My designs bring into focus the positives to capture a sense of place so it connects people to the local area. You can read more about my design work here.

Recently I’ve been inspired by the wildflowers growing during lockdown and started to add this into my Dundee Cityscape. You can see the full Dundee Delights collections here with free postage on all orders.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LouiseKirbyShop

Colours and pattens inspired by the River Tay for Artist Support Pledge.

During lockdown the simple things in life became even more important to me, from watching the waves in the River Tay to spending time painting for fun on the kitchen table.  During this time I created a series of watercolour collages playing with rhythms of stripes with the juxtaposition of colour and pattern inspired by my local surroundings of the River Tay. It’s great what’s on our doorstep here in Dundee.

Prices range from £15 – £25 each, if you would like one for your home or office drop me an email on hello@louisekirby.com   Each one is a one-off original piece, initialled with free delivery. Each one is numbered under the image so please quote that in your email.


26.Costal Calm Watercolour Collage B. (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £15 – SOLD

31.Mindful Watercolour Collage B. (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £18

35.Sandy Shore Watercolour Collage C. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £18

41.Meditation Watercolour Collage D. (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

42.Meditation Watercolour Collage E. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

43 Colour Study Watercolour Collage A. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20 – SOLD

44.Zesty Summer Watercolour Collage. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

45.Colour Study Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

46.Tranquil Tay A Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

48.Seaweed Watercolour Collage. (Fits in a standard 8” x 6” frame).  £20

49.Rustic Watercolour Collage (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

51.Ripple Watercolour Collage A (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

52.Ripple Watercolour Collage B. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

53.Rhythm Watercolour Collage A. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

54.Rhythm Watercolour Collage B. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

55.Teal Tay Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

56.Journey Watercolour Collage A. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

58.Accent Watercolour Collage A. (Fits in a standard 8” x 8” frame).  £25

59.Accent Watercolour Collage B (fits a standard 8” x 8” frame). £25

60.Accent Watercolour Collage C. (Fits into a standard 8” x 8” frame) £25

62.Costal Calm Watercolour Collage F. (Fits a standard 8” x 8” frame) £25 – SOLD

64. Sand Meets Seat and Sky Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20 – SOLD

65. Brightness After the Rain A Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

66. Brightness After the Rain B Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

67. Rhythm A Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

68. Rhythm B Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

When my sales reach £1000 I pledge to buy £200 from another artist to help support others artists through this difficult time. This initiative was set up by Mathew Burrows Studio to support artists who have lost commissions, teaching and gallery work through the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you’re interested in my design commissions or Dundee Delights products you can see more about them here

Artist Support Pledge

artist support pledge

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have found themselves without work, teaching, technical support, gallery work. Exhibitions and sales have disappeared. In an attempt to help alleviate some of this stress, artists are committing to the ARTIST SUPPORT PLEDGE. Thanks to @matthewburrowstudio who started it. I pledge to buy £200 of art from another artist’s work when my sales reach £1000.
.
Please email me directly message if you have any questions on the pieces or would like to buy anything. hello@louisekirby.com

Number 1 – 11 one-off hand screen printed on 16mm birch ply telling the stories of design in Dundee. Number 12 – 15 hand screen printed on paper.

  1. Under one roof 40cm x 40cm £175
  2. Fashion Textiles 40cm x 40cm £175
  3. Hands of X1 24cm x 24cm £60
  4. Hands of X3 24cm x 26cm £60
  5. Precious 40cm x 40cm £175
  6. Sonic 40cm x 40cm £110
  7. Sonic on Pattern 40cm x 40cm £110
  8. Building New Worlds 40cm x 24cm £120
  9. Warp and Weft 40cm x 24cm £75
  10. Tayberry 40cm x 24cm £90
  11. Fleet 40cm x 24cm £74
  12. Precious on Paper 29cm x 31cm £38
  13. Dundee Cake Check 28cm x28cm £42
  14. Dundee Marmalade Pattern 28cm x 28cm £42 – SOLD
  15. Dundee Marmalade in gold 28cm x 28cm £38


1. Under one roof 40cm x 40cm £175
2. Fashion Textiles 40cm x 40cm £175
3. Hands of X1 24cm x 24cm £60
4. Hands of X3 24cm x 26cm £60
5.Precious 40cm x 40cm £175
6.Sonic 40cm x 40cm £110
7.Sonic on Pattern 40cm x 40cm £110
8. Building New Worlds 40cm x 24cm £120
9. Warp and Weft 40cm x 24cm £75
10. Tayberry 40cm x 24cm £90
11. Fleet 40cm x 24cm £74
12. Precious on Paper 29cm x 31cm £38
13. Dundee Cake Check 28cm x28cm £42
14. Dundee Marmalade Pattern 28cm x 28cm £42 – SOLD
15. Dundee Marmalade in gold 28cm x 28cm £38

Thanks you for looking at my work. If you would like to see more about the work I do, check out my website www.louisekirby.com

Hogmanay Scottish First Foot Tradition

Here in Scotland its tradition on Hogmanay (New Years Eve) to give a first foot gift after midnight.  Traditionally gifts would be whisky to represent financial prosperity and good cheer, a lump of coal to represent warmth and to keep the fire burning, or a black bun or shortbread to symbolise that the receiving family would not go hungry during the forthcoming year.

Or a Dundee tradition I’ve been hearing about through Lynne Campbell (local folk singer) is the Dundee tradition of dressed herring in paper bonnets and skirts, which is meant to be a good luck charm (not for eating).  Never seen it but sounds pretty unusual and cool!
A couple of alternative Scottish First Foot Gifts in Dundee would be a Dundee Cake Tea Towel from my Dundee Delights collection of illustrated gift products or some Char Coal cheese from The Cheesery (Broughty Ferry or Exchange Street), which the first all black delicious vintage cheddar cheese with charcoal.  Message me on social media or by email of what you like to be gifted as a first foot?

At the bells a Robert Burns song of Auld Lang Syne is often sung (or belted out!) or the bag pipes or some cheesy tunes.

All round Scotland on New Years Day some brave people take part in The Dook, where you go in the freezing water whatever the weather.  You’ve got no chance of me doing that but I’ll will be watching The Dook in Broughty Ferry, with all the fun costumes and brave people.  More info on it here.

What will you be doing for Hogmanay?  Tucked up cosy in bed before the bells of partying the night away.  What ever you’re doing enjoy and all the best for 2020!

 

 

 

Photo credit: David Band Photography