A gull called Brian

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Ilfracombe is rich with creativity and Ilfracombe Focus is happy to champion our town’s creative side. This issue we are talking with Biddy Lee who introduces us to a gull called Brian.

What made you take up art?

“Drawing and painting is something I've always loved doing. I did a Foundation course at college when I was fifteen. Foundation courses are brilliant: we did a bit of everything... photography, life drawing, silk screen printing, etching, still life drawing etc. I'd recommend one to anyone who feels they want to do something in 'art' but don't know exactly what.”


I mainly use watercolour as I taught watercolour painting for 20 years for Adult Learning and it was my default medium. Now I paint for myself I'm using acrylics a lot more. Water soluble oil paints are great too. Though really, if it makes a mark, use it!”




Why is Ilfracombe so good for artists?

“We've been coming to Ilfracombe for the last twenty years to visit close friends, so when we decided we'd had enough of where we were, we didn't have to think very long about where we wanted to relocate to!


Ilfracombe is brilliant because it's got everything! The SEA!, for one, lots of small, interesting shops, loads of artists and crafters, people walking past our windows even. The houses are gorgeous and people are friendly and calm.... and of course, seagulls. I love gulls. I am half Jersey, and spent a lot of my youth there on holidays with family, so seagulls for me remind me of happy times. They are so big, and so white against a dark blue sky ( I love contrast and shadows ), and regal and majestic and just, lovely. Full of character too.




“My gull Brian, is named after one we 'met' while he was dive-bombing people for their chips outside ‘Spoons. The waitress came out and shooed him off saying, “Oh that’s Brian. He’s very naughty”. I also love ravens, pretty much for the same reasons. I've painted many many Corvids! So it's not a huge leap from ravens to gulls. Also, our youngest son’s initials are S.G.L. and he uses a seagull as his logo.... I like my paintings to invite the viewer to see a story...or a bit of one...their own story, not one I've necessarily shown. The Brian paintings are, quite simply, to make people smile.




“People can buy my work either from me directly (I'm easy to find on Facebook or just Google me) or from Handplant on the High Street (opposite the Co-Op). There are lot of lovely things in there, not just my work! You can have a cup of coffee too, pick up a postcard or two (of Brian) and take a look at all of them!”

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