Selection for RBSA Exhibition

I am beyond delighted to let you know that my piece: ‘Derwent Water I’ has been selected for the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Friends Exhibition.

'The annual RBSA Friends Exhibition gives artists starting their membership journey with the RBSA the opportunity to exhibit work in the Gallery.

With the Friends scheme having been in existence since the 1900s, the RBSA was one of the first art societies to offer subscribers the opportunity to exhibit in a dedicated exhibition and the number of submissions has grown year on year. A significant number of Friends progress up the RBSA membership ladder to become Associates and, later, full Members, and many have also helped shape the future of the Society by becoming Council members.

The number of Friends currently stands at approximately 250 meaning that an enormously diverse range of artistic practices are represented in the exhibition. The work on display also demonstrates the wealth of talent within the Friends community’. (RBSA)

The exhibition will take place between 11th January and 10th February 2024 at the RBSA Gallery in St Paul’s Square Birmingham.

Had a brilliant time last weekend at Hockley Social Club for Gallery Pop Up 2.0 curated by the…

Had a brilliant time last weekend at Hockley Social Club for Gallery Pop Up 2.0 curated by the amazing Abbie Severn.

Alpha Works Exhbition

Some photo highlights from my recent exhibition at Alpha Tower in Birmingham. 

A big thank you to Amika Barnett for curating, Alpha Works for the support and The Snapzone for the photography.

Delighted to announce I’ve made the longlist for the Cosimo Art...

Delighted to announce I’ve made the longlist for the Cosimo Art Emerging Art Prize 2022!

Eco Friendly Art?

I said at the end of 2021 that I wanted to improve my business eco credentials so I thought I would give you a little update on how i’m getting on.

Why do I care? 

So something you may not know about me is that my degree is actually in Geography. I’m passionate about the environment and I try to reduce waste and recycle as much as I can in my everyday life, so why shouldn’t I be doing this for my business. 

Where I was this time last year. 

  • All my prints were on recycled paper
  • My Christmas cards had recycled envelopes and no plastic packaging.  
  • I recycled old canvases (it gives better texture anyway!)
  • My business cards are on recycled paper.
  • I save and reuse parcel packaging to ship your orders.

Where I am now.

I haven’t gone back on anything I was doing in the last year, so have kept up all the list above, but I have really tried to improve and I can now add the following to the list. 

  • My print backs are now recycled and I ask my framer to use off cuts wherever possible for my mount boards. 
  • My christmas cards are now printed on recycled paper - so pleased I’ve been able to make this switch, i’ve been trying to work out the costs for a few years now and I’ve finally found a great company with great quality recycled papers. 
  • All my paperwork is printed on brown recycled kraft paper which I had my branding designed around, so it all looks pretty too!
  • My gift bags are all fully recycled. 

  • I’ve stopped using white spirit to wash my brushes and instead i’ve invested in a water soluble cleaner for my oil paints. 
  • My studio now has LED lights which are more efficient than the multiple low efficiency lamps I was using. 
  • Instead of using tear off palettes and cling film covered cardboard,  I now make use of recycled jars and food containers which I keep until they fall apart. 

  • Even after repeated calls to use resin on my work, i’m not because of the environmental impact of the plastic. 
  • I’ve invested in an ecotank printer which eliminates the need for ink cartridges and hence reduces the waste associated with them.
  • I ship my orders in batches and get the local postie to collect to save using a polluting car journey, as he’s dropping off our household post anyway. 

What I need help with. 

Obviously i’m not perfect so I would love to hear your tips and tricks for your businesses. I’ve also got a list of things I would really like to change as soon as it’s cost beneficial to do so, so if you know any good suppliers please send them over. 

  • Print bags - clear, but I can’t cope with the noise of potato starch ones (autism brain) so a good alternative to those. 
  • Bubble wrap alternatives.
  • Masking tape / parcel tape alternatives as I go through loads of the stuff! 

From determined Eco Warrier Bob! xx

Can we talk about...Is Abstract Art Any Good?

I was recently asked if I paint portraits, in the past I would have said yes because I felt like I needed to almost prove myself as an artist, that I could actually paint, you know, things.

I was as surprised as everyone else when Tracey Emin moved away from textiles and installation based shock value pieces and showed us that she could paint as well. 

Image Credit NY Times. 

But then again there are always those saying, but is it really art, looks like she just scribbled on a canvas, my five year old could have done that. I mean yes they could have, but did they have the though process and the drive to do it? It sounds like i’m angry and would like some appreciation but I’m not, I just want to open the conversation.

Yes I rely on paint dripping and sort of let the paint do it’s thing but the pre-requisite to this is that I have learnt and experimented to see exactly how the paint is going to behave or react and then I push it in the direction that I want. 

Does this require skill, I think so? 

Is abstract art, or art that looks simple, any less worthy of being called great art, just because it doesn’t show the type of skills require to paint a portrait? 

The french artist Pierre Soulages ‘is known as “the master of black” because of his interest in the colour, “…both a colour and a non-colour. When light is reflected on black, it transforms and transmutes it. It opens up a mental field all of its own”. He sees light as a matter to work with; striations of the black surface of his paintings enable him to make the light reflect, allowing the black to come out from darkness and into brightness, thereby becoming a luminous colour’. (Wiki Arts)

Pierre Soulages (Pienture). Image Credit MCBA. 

Soulages is undoubtedly a master of black because of both his skill and his lifelong studies into it. But is it just a black canvas? 

I think relating this to other fields might be useful here. I work part time in an engineering company. I’m a flood risk engineer but I also work with civil engineers. highways engineers. project managers to name but a few. Are we any less ‘good’ than each other because we have different specialisms? - I mean i’m sure the laddish banter would suggest maybe, but in essence, if we’re all at senior level, then no. And I guess it’s the same with art, is an abstract piece less ‘good’ than a portrait or is it just that it’s different. 

Just thinking out loud here, is art too elitist a subject for people to discsuss from day to day if their not artists? Does this therefore mean that people who voice the kind of opinions I referenced above, that they don’t have the knowledge on the subject to make an informed analysis so just say the first thing that comes into their head? 

Image Credit (STAND). 

Putting the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, I don’t know anything about music composition or producing but I hear songs on the radio and immediately know if I like or don’t like them and will happily voice my opinion of Oh it’s not as good as their last album. But what do I know? 

Is an opinion on the arts permitted without any information to back it up, of course, as with anything. So I think we need to ask here, do I like that piece of work, yes… could my five year old have done it, I mean probably yes, but would I say that to the artist, no. 

Have your opinion, yes of course you are entitled to it, but don’t say it to my face, maybe, just a thought #bekind. 

West Midlands Open

I’m so thrilled to have had my work selected for the West Midlands Open at The New Art Gallery Walsall. I grew up going to this gallery and it feels like I’ve done something that little me we be super proud of. 

The gallery opening evening was absolutely jam packed full of amazing creatives from across the region and it was great to connect with people who’s work I had admired on Instagram throughout the pandemic. 

Thank you to everyone who came out to support me and to all those who commented on my work. 

The exhibition is free to visit and open to the public until 25th September and is well worth checking out for the amazing variety of work, themes and diversity represented. 

I’m really proud to be a part of the thriving West Midlands Art community, and thank you so much to the New Art Gallery for recognising our talent and giving us this amazing opportunity. 

Impostor Syndrome

So let’s talk about impostor syndrome… Instagram shows us the best of what’s going on, I mean they even have a highlights section embedded into your profile, so who is talking about the days when it’s not so good, the days when we can’t be creative or feel like a failure. 

Let’s start with everyone has the right to create art.  But sometimes it feels like your art isn’t valid, and that depends on the purpose of creating. As Joe Lycett said on Grayson’s Art Club (which on a side note is great inspiration and you should watch it) you don’t need to apply for an artistic license, it’s the easiest license to get because anyone can have one. So everyone can and should create art (if they want to of course, i’m not going to force you into a room with art supplies and wait for you to make something). 

So why do we feel impostor syndrome as artists, when everyone can create art.. maybe we’re constrained by the art having to be good or maybe it’s the number of likes our latest piece gets on Instagram, or maybe it’s only good if someone wants to buy it? 

Creating art is certainly very personal for me and so when seeking external validation I can be difficult to not take it personally if you don’t get positive feedback / any feedback at all. It’s easy to get stuck in a hole, creating content instead of art and comparing ourselves to others on social media who we perceive are doing ‘better’ than us….but does that make our right to be an artist any less than someone who’s got more likes or followers than us? No. 

If you get what you want out of creating art, if it serves a purpose in your life, you should never have to feel like an impostor, even though sometimes we’re all guilty of this. An artist doesn’t have to be famous or indeed good, they just have to be able to say I am an artist when people ask what they do. And i’m learning to do that slowly. 


So i’ve recently been discussing with people about some of the inspirations behind my pieces and realised that I don’t get much of an opportunity to chat to my audience one on one about my work. So I thought I would share the inspiration and the story behind my Iris series of work. 

I have lovely memories of being a child in my Nanny T’s garden and her telling me all about the flowers she was growing. When she passed away we transplanted a lot of these flowers into our own garden to remember her by, and through the years they’ve made themselves at home. 

The Irises have been a particular success and we’ve now got patches of them all over the garden. This year, loads of them came up outside my studio window and I took it as a sign that I needed to paint them. 

I love the combination of the bold yellow against the deep purple of the Iris and the unique textures and patterns on the petals. In response to these flowers I creates a series of mini pieces inspired by these Irises. 

I’ve recently created some new pieces with more bold yellow accents that i’m going to be releasing soon in a similar style so keep an eye out for those! 

Process vs Final Piece

So a while ago I did a call out on my Instagram for blog topics. This one, suggested by the awesome Chris West Pottery really stood out to me.

How much value should we put on the process behind a work of art? Or is it all about the final piece? 

So if you don’t know very much about my work, I would say I am a process based artist. Tate helpfully defines this for me as: 

‘…..where the process of its making art is not hidden but remains a prominent aspect of the completed work, so that a part or even the whole of its subject is the making of the work’

So to summarise, if you start with an image or an idea of what you’re going to create, that is final piece focused. You know what you want to achieve, and generally have a plan of how you’re going to get there. Now I don’t want to say one of these ways is the ‘right way to make art’ as everyone is different but at the end of the day surely the final piece is the most important thing, as that’s what’s you see in the gallery? - Maybe not, I mean you could say that performance art is all process, based on the audience seeing the whole performance, or creation of the work, so here i’m thinking about things like this work by Shozo Shimamoto

Image credit: Arte Magazine. 

I mean apart from the fact that this looks ultimately fun to make, if the audience is watching the process of the creation, is that process based? Or does the artist have a plan all along and this kind of work is choreographed? I mean surely, for any of you who have written an exhibition proposal, you need to tell the gallery what you’re going to do to get funded in the first place. Is the performance itself the piece of art or is the process of watching it, the artwork. Up for debate right? 

I digress, I’m going to use my own work as an example, because I know the ins and outs of how I make it. I don’t have a fixed idea of what i’m going to create, usually I just turn up and see where my mood takes me. For me the process often takes the artwork in unexpected directions I couldn’t have really planned. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bobbie Whittaker Abstract Art (@bobbiewhittakerart)

(See the video above) Did I know what was going to happen when I made this, I mean a little, but there was never a final piece in mind. Does this make me any less of an artist because a lot of my work happens because of chance? I shouldn’t have to justify myself as an artist, but I feel I need to here. Yes I do know how to draw and paint forms and I could do, and I could plan, but that’s not me. I struggle with perfectionism and control in my life and process based work is the opposite to that. If I don’t have a final piece in mind, then I can’t fail right? Does it always work, no, do I learn things, yes. Swings and roundabouts. 

So Chris: How much value should we put on the process behind a work of art? Or is it all about the final piece? I don’t think you can put more value on either one of the process or the final piece. Does every artist have a process, yes? Is it always a planned process? I guess not so much. Is the process more valuable to the artist than the buyer, maybe? 

Thoughts welcome as always.


New Branding, New Ethos

I’m delighted to introduce my new branding. Done by an amazing local designer #supportlocal

And with new branding comes great responsibility..

I found this post on Facebook today and it really resonated with me and helps explain why I chose my new branding. 

I find self promotion really difficult, especially this time of year when there’s a lot of pressure to ‘put myself out there’. But I think this post sums up the rethink that we need to have around gifts, especially given the situation with the climate at the moment. 

As part of my new branding, I’m aiming to only use recycled paper products and recycled packaging from now on. 

I’ve been making steps towards this for a while now so I wanted to share things I’ve already achieved, because it’s important to celebrate what progress you’ve already made as well as looking forward to where you’re aiming at. 


  • All my prints are on recycled paper
  • My Christmas cards have recycled envelopes and no plastic packaging.  
  • I recycle old canvases (it gives better texture anyway!) 
  • My business cards are on recycled paper
  • I save and reuse parcel packaging to ship your orders.

Just a heads up, obviously I’m not going to ‘throw away’ old non-recycled aspects of my business because that would defeat the object of what I’m trying to achieve, so while I may still have things going out with non-recycled elements at the moment, please note it’s in progress and it will be achieved!

Round Lemon Kitchen Gallery Exhibtion

I was thrilled to have two of my pieces selected to be a part of a unique exhibition, hosted by Birmingham based art collective, Round Lemon. The curation of the work, in the kitchen of community space, Moseley Hive, challenged traditional ways that artwork is presented by making the space accessible to all. 

It was great to be a part of such a great group of artists in this interesting exhibition, and to see the public engaging with the work in a different way. 

I love seeing art in unusual places, especially where the location is less formal and more accessible to all. I don’t believe that art appreciation should be elitist, and limited to gallery based spaces. I feel that this puts a lot of people off engaging with art, because they feel intimidated by a gallery space, especially commercial galleries, where they feel pressure to buy work. 

Big thanks to Round Lemon for organising such a great exhibition.

Head to Instagram for a full exhibition tour in case you missed out.

Saatchi Art

I’m delighted to announce that a selected number of my original works are now available to purchase through Saatchi Art’s website. Saatchi is the world’s leading online art gallery and connects people around the globe with emerging artists. 

Check out my work available through their website on the link below:

Emerging artists and the race to do everything before your 30!

As a, nearly 30 year old, I still classify myself as an emerging artist. But is the art world really catering for me, and why am I so worried about opportunities closing to me once I hit the big 3-0? 

The term emerging artist is banded around a lot in the art world, but what exactly constitutes the term emerging. From someone who self identifies as ‘emerging’ it seems to me like this will no longer apply when I hit 30. I say this because almost every open call I see classifies an emerging artist as being a grad and cuts off when you’re 30. 

For those of you who know a bit about me, I came to the art world a bit later in life due to a radical career u-turn when I was 26. I’ve completed an art foundation and am trying to establish myself in the art world, but now i’m 28, i’m wondering what happens in 2 years, if I don’t become ‘established’, does this mean I can no longer count myself as ‘emerging’ just because i’m ‘old’ in the eyes of organisations who want to give opportunities to younger artists. 

I think there’s so much pressure to have life sorted by the time you’re 30, but in reality life isn’t like this. A job isn’t really for life anymore and god forbid, you change your mind and start a new career, why does it matter what age you are. I watched ‘The Internship’ the other week and yes I know it’s fictional, but the two older guys face so much hostility and are dismissed by the other intern candidates as not being worthy of their place there because they were old. I know it sounds really cliche, but you see through the film how their unique perspective on life, from actually having some life experience, brings something different to the table. 

So don’t discount us ‘#olderemergingartists’ so soon, we really have something valuable to offer!

Print Editions Explained

It’s come to my attention, that I use a lot of art speak and I need to explain things to my non-arty audience. I strongly believe that art buying should be inclusive. Many people are put off by price and fear of ‘looking silly’ when they’re talking about art, but I think it’s like everything, you need to make mistakes to learn! So here goes, an attempt to demystify print editions. 

There are 2 types of print edition that I sell - Limited Edition and Open Edition. 

An Open Edition Print is a set of artwork prints where the overall quantity is unlimited. So the artist can make as many prints as they like. A Limited Edition Print is where the number of prints in a set is pre-determined by the artist and cannot be changed. The artist chooses the number in the edition, and the smaller the edition, the rarer the prints, that’s why they demand a higher price. A good example is my Charcoal Hearts set of prints.

I chose an edition of 30 for this print, because the artwork was a gift for my partner’s 30th birthday so the number had a sentimental value. The reason that these prints are more valuable is because once the set of 30 has been sold, I would not be able to make anymore prints, so it is in effect, more collectible in the eyes of the art world. 

So why would I chose to sell open edition prints, if the limited edition ones are more valuable? The answer is accessibility, because I can put a lower price on these prints I make my work more open to all. So for example, the Charcoal Hearts print is £26.50, where as an open edition print, Champagne Bottles, of the same size is £21.50. 

So, how can you tell the difference? A limited edition print has an edition number and print number in the corner of the print like the one in the image below and open edition prints tend to be signed and numbered in pencil as well, as an extra hint! 

Browse my open and limited edition prints on my website:

Belwell Interiors Art Showcase

I’m back in the window at Belwell Interiors, Sutton Coldfield for the next 2 weeks with my pieces ‘Big Blue’ ‘Islands’ and ‘Purple Rain’. I’ve also got my Big Blue prints to purchase and a showcase of some of the print to order homeware range (that’s also available on my website – with international shipping).

 I’m delighted to be partnering with Belwell Interiors again so you can pop in and view the work in person and check out the great Interior Design service offering as well! The marbling wallpaper on their wall is my personal favourite at the moment! 

I Colour Outside the Lines Exhibition

My work ‘A Spring Day’ was recently selected to be a part of the I Colour Outside the Lines Exhibition in Bromsgrove. It was so great to be a part of a physical exhibition after such a long time doing online exhibitions in lockdown!

The work is still available to purchase and also check out my limited edition prints of this piece as well, if you’re looking for something a bit smaller!

Curation Of Young Voices New Visions Exhibition, Worcester Cathedral. The Young Voices New Visions...

Curation Of Young Voices New Visions Exhibition, Worcester Cathedral.

The Young Voices New Visions exhibition is a collection of artworks created by local schools, individuals and community groups. It is organised annually by Severn Arts in partnership with Worcestershire County Council. This year, in partnership with Meadow Arts and with the support of The Arts Society Worcester I was appointed as Assistant Curator for the exhibition!

During the week I kept a diary of my experience and what I learned along the way. Read the full diary on the Severn Arts website in the link below!

I have a designated social media where I share all my school and workshop experiences, which you can check out out: @bobbiewhittakercraft on Instagram and Facebook

Purple Rain Giveaway

To thank all my lovely followers for their continued support i’m running a giveaway competition to win the first edition of my new Purple Rain prints!

The winner will be announced via social media on FRIDAY 28th May at 12.30 (UK time). Deadline for Entries is 12pm 28th May (UK). 

Head over to my social media for details of how to enter!



Interview by Ishika Guha

I’m thrilled to share a recent artist interview completed by the amazingly talented artist Ishika Guha for her series of Art Talks. 

I loved talking to Ishika and was so honoured for the opportunity of the interview and chatting about our art journeys. Having a mutual love for abstract painting and Ishika’s amazing skill made the compliments about my work seem even more poignant. 

‘I love your technique Bobbie and love how unique they are with your own forms of mark makings as well! It is interesting to know how you use your bold colours straight from the tubes after selecting them in response to an emotion and how skillfully you use your oil paints to achieve those fascinating layers. Utterly incredible!’ 

Read the full interview here:

Don’t forget to check out Ishika’s amazing work @rainbowsnfireflies on Instagram!