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Getting choked up.. what a weekend!

The weekend of July 2022 will not be forgotten. My first ever show certainly wasn't a small one, go big or go home as they say.. After going to the game fair for many years as a visitor I took the plunge to get a stand but not the smallest size. I decided 6x6 meter was a must. My stand and artwork took 8 months in the planning as I'm predominantly a commissioned artist I didn't have a huge volume of work ready for sale. I certainly didn't have any of my stand set up like my till counter or sideboard ( Made by myself ) there was a lot of work went into it.

Why gundog artwork

I would describe myself as team Lab. I grew up with my first black Labrador, Tess who showed me so many different aspects of the field. We started off like most in the beating line which the gamekeeper at the time was my grandfather, Bryan Stubbins. I always very much looked forward to those days. Tess more turned self employed and decided bringing back the birds to me in the beating line was much more fun. She wasn't wrong! We soon switched to standing on the peg with both my grandfather and father, Tim Stubbins. I got so much enjoyment watching my dog collect their birds and still have very vivid memories of some amazing runners that were found by her. That proud feeling of walking back with a bird thought to be lost, only a fellow dog handler will understand.

Some years later I now have 3 Labradors and am sure it wont stop there! My Father more of a spaniel man I found it so interesting the different ways the breeds work. This started to spark my inspiration, being out in the field how could it not spread into my work today. I have even started branching into the minority breeds which aren't often painted in the more traditional medium.

So.. how did it go?

After cramming all my stuff into 2 vans we headed off on the 2 1/2 hour journey from Lincolnshire to Warwickshire on the Wednesday. After 2 days of setting up the stand was ready! Friday morning was the day of opening. I was up at the crack of dawn, the nerves began to set in as the realization of the 120,000 visitors were about to set eyes on my work!

Thankfully my nerves soon passed with both my partner (Stefan) and Dad (Tim) with me every step of the way. I was actually blown away by the positive response. My cheekers were tired by the end of the day from smiling.

I was actually live drawing most of the 3 days. I really enjoyed showing people how the pieces were created with some people coming back consecutive days to check out my progress.

I met some gorgeous dogs, including the clumber 'Atticus' featured above sat below my original clumber drawing 'Great British Gundog'.

There has been some truly special moments from the weekend. Such as a lovely family I have been in contact with from USA who actually came over to the show to collect a Clumber spaniel print! I also met another lovely couple from the Netherlands who booked in a commission of their amazing GSP that works with his owner hunting wild boar! As well as meeting some of the models that inspired my originals such as Wilma who I first discovered from Instagram. It was as if I knew her after spending hours sat drawing her. I also had a commission collected which we had worked really hard to keep a complete surprise. To say his wife was shocked was an understatement. That's only a small handful of best moments from the show! I also met some truly amazing other artists and exhibitors who really took me under their wing and gave much such valuable insights.

After getting back home and reunited with my dogs I am only just coming to terms how big the whole weekend for Ellie Louise Art was. My commissions list is now around 1 1/2 years which is crazy to think I only become full time 2 years ago.

What's next?

Understandably I will be getting on with so many beautiful commissions. I am feeling super excited with the different breeds and gorgeous dogs that are lined up. At this rate I will have to start learning how to draw with both hands!

I will defiantly be looking into future game and country shows see which ones I wish to book into. As well as expanding my range of breeds. I've been really listening to what dog breeds you would like to see in my artwork, I have so many ideas floating around in my head. I am certainly going to be busy!

Also I would like to expand my range into merchandise not just art prints. So keep a look out!

As a final note I would just like to thank everyone whether you stepped foot in my stand or was cheering me on from social media. It really means everything to me and cannot thank you enough!

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