There is nothing more I love than receiving a commission – I have painted pigs, dogs, horses and scenery, to name a few, but my latest commission was something a little bit different…
Richard Nellis, an existing customer, came to me back in June with an idea for his new bar and restaurant in Newcastle upon Tyne which would be based in an old Grade II Edwardian building and influenced by 1920’s elegance and glamour. The venture was designed to be a place where Richard and business partner Stevie Pattinson and their friends would want to drink and eat with a recognition of Richard and Stevie’s love of the countryside. Visiting my studio, Richard chose a number of paintings and prints from the existing collection when he decided he would like a painting to reflect the bar’s name – Hibou Blanc. An interpretation of Hibou Blanc is literally White Owl and so I set about creating a piece which would take centre stage in the bar and create a real wow factor when people entered.
Unlike many other artists I start with my canvas in front of me as oppose to sketching any ideas I have on paper first so what comes into my mind is interpreted onto my canvas. Hibou Blanc took shape on a dark charcoal background with Richard and Stevie keen to frame the owl in a gold gilt frame. The large 1.2m x 1m painting took shape with Hibou Blanc being a white owl in flight.
Whilst painting, Richard and Stevie came to me for help with other sides of the project too including the design of the logo, the feel of the décor and branding. It has been so refreshing to work on something a little different from the norm and it certainly got my creative juices flowing!
It was a nervous time waiting for the big reveal to Richard and Stevie. I was so excited to see what Hibou Blanc would look like in the bar as well as seeing how my other paintings and prints would be received by the drinkers and diners.
So, Hibou Blanc looks very much at home in her place in the bar and restaurant’s entrance. And I have loved receiving all the social media tags when people visit the bar for the first time and not only recognize Hibou Blanc but also some of my popular prints. My cushions have also made it into the décor and make the comfy leather seating even more comfy and perfect for an evening settling down with a favourite bottle of wine!
If you find yourself in Newcastle upon Tyne then why not go along and meet Hibou Blanc for yourself? The venue is stunning, and I can highly recommend the Queen scallops and the Ribeye sharing platter. And why not wash it down with a White Owl cocktail?