Birthstone Snail Exhibition - Dawn Crothers

Birthstone Snail Exhibition 'Treasure forever what make you unique'
Friday 26th May 2017
Whalley Fine Art
Guest of honour – Dame Mary Peters
7pm to 9.30pm
From Ancient times wise men and healers have believed that gemstones have mystical powers and conduct the energies of the ruling planets with which each gemstone is associated which affect our physical or emotional well being and healing powers. Birthstones, or Gemstones, and their attributes were related to signs of the Zodiac or month of birth and referred to as Birthstones.
My fascination of birthstones stems from when I was a young girl growing up in North Belfast. I took a trip once to the Ulster Museum where I was first introduced to gemstones. I remember the design of the Old museum were the stones were displayed in large glass cases in completely darkened rooms and highlighted by pin pointed spotlights! The colours and sparkle of the stones were amazing and I remember just wanting to take them all home.
Where I was brought up in York Park off the Shore Road I also remember collecting lots of shells and keeping them in a shoebox in my room. York Park was built on reclaimed land and the shore line came up to where I lived many years ago. I always find it strange now that I have moulded my career in painting snails given I used to collect mollusks and sea shells when I was young...maybe it was a sign back then!
Since coming up with the idea of painting snails over 10 years ago the shells have always reminded me of gemstones. The variety of colour I use in each painting has really lended itself to the birthstone series and love the three dimensional element the paint has compared to the stones edges. I have also introduced some small diamond shards and gems to the pieces to give them a gem like quality and sparkle which is the first time I have ever introduced anything like this in my work.
I work on a lot of personalized commissions throughout the year where someone would request a certain colour or name the snail after a friend or family member. One of my main commissions I would undertake is for new born babies and from this I decided the birthstone Ltd Editions would be a great present given the babies month of birth and birthstone colours!
The twelve original works have all be painted on circular board and have been framed in hand painted box frames. I decided to use circles to make the series more identifiable and gem like and have also been working on a range of hand embellished canvas prints that will also be launched with the exhibition and be available online and in galleries throughout the UK and Ireland.
Since embellished canvases involve greater involvement on my part as an artist than an unembellished one, art lovers can get a step closer to an original at a fraction of the cost. Each of the 12 birthstone snails will be hand finished and decorated by me which makes every piece unique!
I have also produced one large scale circular painting which encapsulates all the birthstones on one canvas which measures 4ft in diameter!
The birthstone series has been over a year in the making and being a mother of two young boys aged 4 and 1 years has made it more challenging to find the time to complete the series.
We have a real family team though which helps everything come together as my husband and I own and run our own gallery and framing business, which is in its 10th year now. Our premises located on the upper part of the Belmont Road is set in an old stable in the grounds of a historic mansion house which really lends itself to displaying our artwork and love that we can use the building as our studio and gallery space!
The Birthstone Snail Exhibition will take place on Friday 26th May 2017 at 7pm. The venue will be Whalley Fine Art, 378a Belmont Road, Belfast BT4 2NF. The show will be opened by Dame Mary Peters and will support her charity the 'Dame Mary Peters Trust' supporting young people in sport. The event will also be sponsored by several local businesses and there will be a competition on the evening to WIN one of the Hand Embellished Ltd Editions. All original paintings will be available prior to the opening night. Enquiries – Stephen Whalley – 02895430340
Event sponsors – Old Schoolhouse Restaurant Mary Peters Trust Par Ici, Belfast Harland Wines Rodgers and Browne Estate Agents


List of paintings