She said “…I never print the photos off Amanda. I never know which to choose, there are so many lovely ones of him”.

The photo gallery on my phone has 994 photo’s in. Mostly of the kids and our days out and days in. I will not be printing 994 photos off of my children, because I am not a fully fledged nutcase.

About 14 of them will make it onto social media. 2 or 3 from the days out, 1 or 2 cute ones at home. 6 or 7 I will forward to the hubby on messenger. 3 or 4 to my sister. I could probably delete 226 of that lot leaving me with about 774 available to create an amazing digital photo album. I will get round to creating that masterpiece at, quarter past NEVER!! That’s way too daunting. What happened to getting 35 glossy 6×4″ photos developed at BOOTS, 16 of which were blurred or had a strange yellow light anomaly on them. ( I’m showing my age now right? ).

I guess once our phones are jam packed with memories, and have no memory left, we might delete a few and  eventually be forced to upload them to the cloud. Or down load them to our laptops; obviously to print and frame at a much later date…maybe once the youngest leaves uni, or when retirement arrives!

Where are all our lovely funny pictures going, except into the dusty whirring magical depths of hardware.  When will we sit down and have a slide show of the thousands upon thousands of images of our growing cheeky chappies and posing princesses?

Well I have the answer…it ain’t happening. The jobs too big, the worlds too digital, the gallery’s keep growing. We keep snapping. Well my friends, my customer came up with a brilliant solution.

“Can you paint my Grandson in a picture please?” she asked.  “Yes” said I. And the first customer sent me loads of cute and funny photo’s of her grandson. In a wave of a digital wand, I had 20 great images I could use to create one great painting of their grandson Ted. It became a lovely framed KEEPSAKE, an original watercolour. A classic gift, to be treasured, of her little treasure, forever.

“I love it” she said “can you paint me another in a couple of years please?” she asked. “And I can create a wall of paintings, marking his journey as he grows. I never print the photos off Amanda. I never know which to choose, there are so many lovely ones of him.”.

So together we have started to create a real gallery, her own personal art gallery, a beautiful wall of memories in her home.

More and more customers have gone on to do the same, sending me some fantastic photo’s over. I have created a toddler with the Gruffalo, 3 brothers swinging from a tree, 2 knights in armour with their furry brother, ( the black Labrador puppy).

Make memories from your digital memories and commission a KEEPSAKE painting today. Send your own pictures over and watch me turn them into a fantastic, colourful, fun and bright classic KEEPSAKE, never to age. Let’s mark their journeys together.

To see more KEEPSAKE commissions CLICK HERE.

Amanda x




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Dog & Duck

Amanda Reynolds Artist. ACRDesign Folksy shop. Dog and duck yorkshire greetings cards and gifts. For him. Yorkshire dialect. Humourous greetings cards for him. Dog and duck collection by ACRDesign. Greetings cards by Amanda Reynolds Artist. British Artist Great Design

Focus, focus, focus… that’s the challenge for myself, in 2017. And focusing itself, for any creative mind is a challenge in itself, I think. But, I have tried my hardest, so I can develop a theme for my greetings cards and a small product range. I’m trying to get organised, I’m trying to sort my sh*t out, that’s a pretty tall order!

I started by visiting The Spring Fair in the NEC, way back in 2016. I did a bit of snooping at my competition, checking out the artist’s stands and quality of work. Mostly I admired them for being so focused and some I thought ‘I can do this. I can do this better than that!’ I approached the greetings cards agents and licensing exhibitors and found the general consensus to be a lack of male orientated cards that are funny.

So I spent the next few weeks trying to come up with something ‘manly’ something ‘for him’ something I could relate to, something my husband could relate to and something we both found funny. But the ideas weren’t appearing, the theme wasn’t even off the ground by an inch, it was still flat as a fart, laid down, hugging the ground like a bloody Michelin tyre with full tred!  I was officially crap at this.

Then one morning, it was actually 3am in the morning. Some call it witching hour…it’s more like twitchy legs and need a wee hour, in our house. But anyway, Dog & Duck came to me in a flash. I actually went and got a note pad and pen from downstairs; after my wee that is; and scribbled my silly ideas down.

And as they say, Dog & Duck was born, into the rolling hills of Yorkshire.  A comical, countryside duo who’s friendship includes taking the micky out of each other, giving the odd slap on the back and generally being mates!

I was so excited to get started, I could barely get back to sleep that night. But I had to prepare myself for the standard day ahead of me, which consists of; everyone being fully dressed, washed and fed, the dog being walked and everyone being in the right nursery or class room on time and me being sat at my part time desk job trying to look fresh!

But I managed it and I focused and in between raising three very lively youngsters, still working part time and keeping the husband clean and the house happy…hang on, is that meant to be the other way round. I have worked diligently sketching and scribbling and laughing to myself as the countryside duo developed and got up to many antics.

I have created 20 designs so far in the greetings cards range and just got them all onto the website. They will be available to buy soon. The calendar will be designed next, ready for sale for 2018. And soon, very soon I shall be sipping from a mighty mug with Dog & Duck on and resting it on a coaster of dogs sniffing bums! I never thought I would be so excited about a dogs bottom…but I am.

Can’t wait to officially release everything for sale and start trying to get it into some outlets in the big wide world. All in good time though…now where did I leave the kids?

Amanda x

Visit the greetings card range here…

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Its Personal

Amanda Reynolds blog features this photograph of Superman, Batman and Spiderman dressing up costumes as part of her blog about being a working mum and artist. Working as an artist with family tree commissions, family tree prints, African animals, children's pirate ships and creating greetings cards for her Etsy shop ACRDesign is hard work. features the blogs and all amanda reynolds art.

The smarmy American voice keeps talking at me through the car speakers, 80’s sh*t, electronic keyboard music plays in a ‘Running Man’ style during speech intervals as I drive along to my part-time job, listening to another Personal Development CD.

“Be the lighthouse” the American speaker tells me. “Be the one who lives by their values, roles and goals.” We laugh together at ‘The Lighthouse’ story. The short anecdote which reminds me to be my best self. Disciplined and energetic, positive and a role model, a leader. Someone who knows what they want and where they’re going. “No problem” I tell myself, “I’m naturally positive anyway. I can be a f**king lighthouse. You watch.” I drive silently thinking “Ok I will get in tonight and get the kids sorted out and then I’ll sit down and I’ll research everything on SEO’s and I’ll finish that sketch for the latest customers personalised hand painted family tree. And I’ll sketch out a Pirate ship, or maybe a Viking boat or shall I start on the fairy idea I have for named prints for my shop I’m going to open on Etsy”

I get to work, I work my part time shift at the brewery, then I set off back to go straight to nursery and collect child number 1. She is a cutesy little girl, 3 years old, bright and enthusiastic about everything. Who decided she would dress in her flamenco dancer dress today, a bright red polka dot tassel number…you’ve got to love that independent dressing.

We nip home, we let the dog out for a wee, but the dog wants to get in the car instead and go for a ride! “No, go for a wee…go for a wee.” I say exasperated. The dog is far too excited to do anything sensible as she hasn’t seen me for at least 4 hours. We go to school to pick the boys up.

Child number 2 is a 5 year old boy, he lives life at a pace of 100 mph. Charging around, making anything into a weapon, as a superhero! I only get his costumes in the wash once the summer holidays have finished and he’s out of them and back in his uniform. My washing line looks like some kind of retirement home for Marvel superheroes, who have finally hung out their costumes once and for all, to go fishing somewhere no one gives a toss about anything…much less world domination!

Flamenco girl and I stand and wait for child number 3 to come out, as child number 2 runs round in a circle shooting us. Finally the third and final of my gang comes out of school, he’s a more sedate and sensible, compassionate (potential man of god) gorgeous inside and out 8 year old, who’s concerned with pollution smells and the Buddhist view on killing flies…he’s against it btw. We have to save them and shoo them out the window. (When he’s looking anyway)

Once altogether me and my gang head home. I make dinner. It get’s eaten. “I’ll do some research on SEO now” I say turning the laptop on in a quiet lull as the brood are educated, fed and watered and resting. Oh ho ho ho I forgot…under 8’s don’t rest. Superhero killing machine (potential SAS man) races through the kitchen with the dog and charges outside making machine gun fire noises. Small girl runs past shouting after No.2 “But why won’t you play with me?…Muuuum” Child No.3 comes in consolidating flamenco girl,

“It’s ok I’ll play with you.”

“But I don’t want to play with you.” She retorts.

I close the laptop lid…I can’t be a chuffing lighthouse, I’m too busy mediating difficult and tense potentially explosive tantrum situations. Micro managing 3 very differing personalities, to ensure compromise is met and everyone is happy…well I mean happy enough…well I mean quiet, yes, just quiet is a good result!

“OK. Who needs a bath?” The chaos ensues that is bath and bed time. Eventually they are all in bed…ahhh this is my time. Be the best…be the lighthouse…be productive…plan…prioritise…set goals….Zzzzzzz my lighthouse has gone out! A ship wrecks in the distance, somewhere on the darkened rocks.

I’ll be a lighthouse tomorrow.


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Clear Out!

Photograph taken of the contents of the office art and filing cupboard. Lots of artwork is all over the floor as it gets filed correctly after years of been ignored. Watercolour boats, book illustrations, fairies, children, african animals and more.

The cupboard door opens…it stares at me, like a frustrating nightmare.”Why can’t I find anything? Because it hasn’t been filed for over a year that’s why.” A YEAR!!! Yes it has been cleverly ignored, roughly piled, into a kind of; I’ll remember where I put that, grouping sort of order. Because this is a serious art business and filing is fundamental to an organised mind and company right?

Ah! An organised mind…I closed the door again and know I will do it tomorrow. ‘Really…tomorrow?’

Well tomorrow came, after a very frustrating 40 minutes of huffing and cursing and puffing and looking for a particular illustration that needed scanning. It had gone, it was gone, stolen, misplaced, recycled, impossible it was here in this pad or was it that plastic wallet, maybe it was here or there.

Everything stopped. I held the cupboard door wide open and stared in…the cupboard stared back at me, like a Mexican stand off. “You’ve gotta take it all out.” the cupboard said, in a Clint Eastwood stylee.

“No. No, I really don’t have the time.” I stepped back.

“You’ve gotta take it all out, to find what your looking for!” Said the old Sage knowingly.

“No…no I’ll find it if I just lift these up and look underneath a bit and move these and look in this folder or this portfolio. Shut up cupboard, it’s FINE.” I whinged. I knew only one person was to blame for this hold up.

“You’ve gotta…”

“OK, OK I know, I KNOWWWW!” I shouted and rolled my eyes stepping closer. And so, I carefully emptied the whole art cupboard. I mean everything came out of there, every folder was emptied, every plastic wallet, every portfolio sleeve…it ALL came out. Then I stood and looked over it all across the floor. I was like some kind of giant artist, procrastinating and looming over a filing punishment of some kind. Then it hit me and I thought…’Sh*t what have I done?..this is gonna take ages. I don’t have time for this!’

And it did, but now I’m super speedy, whizzing around and I know exactly where to find my book illustrations, my personalised artwork, my family trees, my African work, my red robins and ducks and magazine work-book reference, my everything. Talk about Mrs Productive.

Except then I lost my layout pad the next day and spent half and hour looking for it, I even emptied the recycling bin. Could I find it, after that whole filing mountain adventure…could I. Not until I looked under the scanner hood!

And so satisfied I have matured a little more, become more business serious and effective in administration, a real credit to my office, I would recommend a good old fashioned Feng Shui clear-out and re-order of the old art cupboard, but then I saw this quote…”If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk a sign of?” Albert Einstein. Well sh*t the bed!

Amanda x

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Big Heart ART

“What’s a commission Amanda?” I was asked the other day.

“Well, it’s about you” I replied “your family, your friends, your loved ones and little ones. You customising, tailoring a beautiful original painting, through me, the artist. Creating a completely unique gift, that no one else in the whole world will ever have. A gift you can put some thought into, reflecting the person you order it for amongst the designs. It’s so unique, it’s made just for that person. ”

Any personalised gift is very special, but you can use an artists talents, to convey so much more in a painting. I choose only to use traditional skills and techniques I was trained in and high quality paints, sable brushes and artist’s materials. Because I respect the customer, and want to produce something that looks and feels luxurious and ‘Gallery Quality’. I choose to take my time, no rushing at 100 miles per hour to knock it out, because you can see if an artists work is a quick production and it kills my whimsical and modern style. I can add in any toy, pets, hobby, character or pretty much any idea my customer has, because I’m another tool to be used so they can produce their own personalised piece with me.

A customised or commissioned painting says,  “I love you. I love that you cannot sleep without your little white bunny. That you love your red wellies so much, you won’t take them off for bed. So look, I had them both painted in a picture forever, just for you sweetheart.”

A painting says, “My little pirate is gorgeous. I love how you wear your pirate outfit to the shops, wielding a sword! And when you grow up, your going to be a pirate and I can come on your pirate ship. Thank you for being you. Look, I had you and your ship painted in a picture for your bedroom. Sweet dreams.”

A painting says to a close friend, “Your new baby is beautiful, I’m so blooming pleased for you. I know how special she is to you, so I had an artist paint this just for her, for the nursery.”

Creating a painting with me, is to say, “Happy Birthday Munchkin. Happy Christening Day Gorgeous. Merry Christmas Monkey. Happy Anniversary Honey. I love you, we love you, thanks for being you.”

It’s about you and your loved ones. I often get messages back to say, “Amanda thanks, it’s so beautiful. Her parents loved it, I love it. It made them cry.” Grandma G

“Amanda, thank you so much. My son loved it, he can’t wait to show everyone he’s in a painting. It’s really lovely.” Mummy H

“Thanks again Amanda, my best friend loved it. She’s been trying for a baby for ages, this meant the world to them.” Lisa S

It’s great fun working closely with customers at Amanda Reynolds Designs, to create a painting together. Their ideas are great, and it’s fun to get to know someones personality through all the little things I am asked to add in. Like a fox, to represent the surname Fox or someones favourite teddy, or a bunny rabbits because they simply love rabbits. The family pets always love an appearance too, I get sent lots of photo’s to help with the designs. It’s so much fun turning a photo into a character.  I created one for someones wedding anniversary for their wife who loved tennis and baking and all these things were added into the painting…she loved it, husband scored a few brownie points too.

My paintings answer the question, “What can I get them that’s really good, not just another bracelet or toy, something they can remember their special birthday or Christmas by?” It’s perfect for that really special choice, the paint never fades away on the paper I use, it lasts a lifetime and more…just like love. Amanda x  

Amanda Reynolds Designs…Gallery Quality ART Family Friendly Design

This beautiful watercolour is sat on the background of a pink candy striped heart, typically girly and sweet. A pink ribbon weaves throgh the hear and a variety of characters is shown as an example of what the artist, Amanda Reynolds, can do for the customer. A fairy paints the letters on, a little ginger tabby sits and cleans his paw, a lovely little girl hugs her Labrador puppy and a teddy rabbit swings in the background. The wise old owl oversees the characters. The colourful lettering is created in an old English font and there is an area for a special date to be added. Roses and forget me knot flowers and small hearts are dotted around and two little blue birds watch on.
Personalised Art Gallery


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Chuffing Admin

Numbers are rubbish, they swim around on the page shouting at me, as for admin, it sends me into a psychotic frenzy of “Where?…where is that chuffing scan I just worked on? Why is it not in the folder I think it should be in? Why do I have so many folders….arrggghh I need to focus, focus focus…but it’s so boring! Focus. I can’t focus, I want to draw.”

My paint brushes sit idle in their jar teasing me, and pintrest  and instagram icons beckon to be clicked on like a naughty friend at school, the one you were always separated from because they distracted you.

But there’s a lot to be said about focussing, I learnt a valuable lesson last year with it. I mean really pinning yourself down onto a project. This year is all about developing a theme, one theme, not a thousand at once (which is my usual way). Deciding on the format to be worked towards, the materials and finding a printing house with the same vision for your art work as you.

Yes it’s down to a clear goal and working towards that, but my problem is the distractions, the meanderings of an artist…the starter projects…the sketching when an idea pops up…that 3 year old bottom lip feeling of “Noooo I don’t want to do the admin…someone do it for me for free. I will love them forever. Can’t someone go find a printer for me, who else can go buy the materials, do the invoicing, organise the digitally formatted images…I just want to draw fairies and knights today, and chat to the dog!”

But I have accomplished a lot through steering myself back onto what I should be working on, it’s hard for a creative type person, but it’s achievable. It’s still challenging though, for my arty farty mind, but it’s that focus that steers me back to my to do list and it works! That voice inside my head that says,

“Hey STOP…are you really meant to be googling art material voucher codes right now? Or are you going to work on your theme…that Zebra, the one you keep putting off because it’s so detailed?” I think we all know what the answer was to my voice of reason!

Amanda x  Click to see prints…Amanda Reynolds designs print button icon giraffe prints

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