Well doesn't a year go fast, who would have thought that a year into our new art gallery business we would be 13 days into a nationwide lockdown due to a virus pandemic? Me neither!
But here we are closed for business with an uncertain future. Up until now it had been a fantastic first year for us. We absolutely love being based in Cullercoats, the local community have been so supportive and welcomed us in. It has a great village community vibe going on while at the same time appealing to visitors as a great day out at the coast.
The gallery was just what we needed, a lovely space to welcome people in to view my paintings at their leisure. I'm charmed that people keep popping back to see whats new! My paintings have been selling well and I've worked on several new private commission over the year.
Renovations on the building itself is an ongoing task, we have more recently worked with our neighbouring shop to block pave the surface in front of the gallery tidying up the aesthetic of the street. I'm planning on a few window boxes for flowers in the summer months but that's still on the to-do list!
I have now designed a new Cullercoats tea towel and greetings card to keep my local audience happy and have plans to expand my collection to include a Longsands Beach, King Edwards Bay and Low Lights design.
In the last year behind the scenes we have built a new retail website and also have added a wholesale website for our trade customers. I am always learning new skills and keeping up with technology is one of them!
Elmer's Great North Parade was a huge part of the success of 2019 it was such a fun and rewarding project to be part of, raising £15,000 for St Oswolds Hospice. It was great PR for the gallery with a T.V. appreance on Look North and a feature on BBC Radio Newcastle and I'm really proud that my design Elephish won the best public vote.
Earlier in 2020 we exhibited at two trade shows, Scotlands Trade Fair and Spring Fair at the NEC. They were a great success, expanding our number of stockists around the country. We took on three new greetings card agents to help us find new stockists and were about to start distribution of my greetings cards into Europe! Sadly this has all ground to a halt with all non essential shops, like us being closed.
I will continue to paint and create new work over the coming weeks in isolation, alongside home schooling my children. Maybe some time with my sketch book will be a good thing!
These are certainly worrying times, but the priority right now is the health and wellbeing of our fellow humans and hopefully in time we can come out the other side of this with a new vision for the future. Stay home and stay safe x