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ART FIX: Pilot’s paintings take flight on stamps

ART FIX: Pilot’s paintings take flight on stamps

Friday 21 January 2022

ART FIX: Pilot’s paintings take flight on stamps

Friday 21 January 2022

A former airline pilot-turned-painter has created a series of stamps featuring commercial aircrafts that have visited the island over the years.

Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic, creative and delicious content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.

Here's this week's offering... 

From pilot to painter...

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A post shared by Toby Dixon (@tobydixonpics)

Pictured: The Short 360, one of the planes Toby used to fly during his first job in Jersey.

Airline pilot Toby Dixon has always enjoyed art.

At three, he was drawing pictures of Aurigny Trislanders, and 47 years later, he has designed a series of stamps for Jersey Post featuring visiting commercial aircraft.

“Back in the early 1970s, my grandmother bought an oil painting of an Aurigny aircraft flying over Alderney, where she lived, and I always loved that image,” Toby explained. “It inspired me both to paint and to fly those aeroplanes. She left the painting to me, and it hangs on our wall at home now.” 

Many of Toby’s paintings feature civil aircraft as well as the Channel Islands. Originally from Lewes in East Sussex, Toby spent five years in the island. After a decade working as an Air Traffic Assistant at Gatwick, Toby’s first job as a commercial pilot was flying for Aurigny Air Services. Based in Jersey, he flew the Shorts 360 and Trislanders, including G-JOEY. 

“This was something I had wished to do since childhood as we used to visit my relatives in Alderney in the 1970s and 80s for holidays,” he explained.

“My wife and I lived just a few hundred meters from St. Ouen’s Bay in L’Etacq between 1998 and 2003 and she initially worked as a supply teacher before getting a full-time position at Jersey College for Girls Prep school - Ms Sands-Smith for those that remember!”

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A post shared by Toby Dixon (@tobydixonpics)

Pictured: The stamps Toby designed for Guernsey Post.

Working shifts gave Toby plenty of spare time during the day so he decided to take up oil painting.

“I’d always enjoyed drawing planes when I was a child, so it seemed natural to pick up where I left off,” he said.

“I particularly enjoy painting civil aircraft - especially in the Channel Islands, probably because of those early childhood memories of magical summer holidays and the exciting flights in small and rather noisy planes. It would be fair to say it led to a lifetime interest!

“Having taught myself the basics of oils, my colleagues started asking for prints and this kept me busy until we reluctantly left the island and returned to the UK to start a family and buy a house.”

“The combination of flying for a budget airline and bringing up a young family left no time for such indulgent hobbies as painting until about five years ago when I suddenly realised that life wasn’t quite so manic.”

After producing a range of pictures for his old employer Aurigny’s 50th anniversary, Toby seized the opportunity to hold an exhibition in the Sula Gallery in Guernsey. Whilst the exhibition still hasn’t taken place due to the pandemic, Toby worked with Guernsey Post for a set of stamps using his locally-themed artwork. 

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A post shared by Toby Dixon (@tobydixonpics)

Jersey Post also became interested in Toby’s graphic and colourful style and fitted a series of stamps around his paintings to produce the set called entitled ‘Visiting Commercial Aircraft’ which were released this week

“The paintings used in this set depict airliners of various types and sizes that have served the island of Jersey over the decades - including my favourite, the Trislander.”

“Seeing my own paintings on the final stamp designs is fantastic - it's satisfying to know all that effort and time has resulted in such a pleasing set of images, it really seems to have worked well in this format.”


Celebrating local wildlife


Seals, squirrels and birds are the stars of the show at Link Gallery this month.

Until 29 January, the Jersey Biodiversity Centre is presenting a biological recording exhibition to celebrate the species photos captured by volunteer recorders and showcase the beauty of the island's wildlife.

“We collect lots of photos from our volunteers who share their wildlife sightings,” Sarah Maguire, Education and Outreach Officer at the Biodiversity Centre, said. 

“They do this to help monitor species, we need sightings in Jersey to track changes in populations and to track the management of sites.

“We wanted to celebrate the hard work of our volunteers who submit their wildlife sightings, which is vital to protect our island's wildlife. We need to know where species are to protect them. We have sightings submitted from other wildlife charities as well as our volunteers and we wanted to share some of their work from the last few years.”

The display includes “classic cute photos” of red squirrels, seals and bumblebees, as well as some more unexpected ones, uch as a stunning photo of a Grass snake, Kingfisher and Tawny mining bee. 

“We have some rarer marine mammal dolphin sightings, which is pretty exciting to share,” Sarah added.

“It was tough to make the selection as we get around 500 wildlife sightings entered each week! Not all have photos, but we do try to promote people to add them as it helps us verify what they've seen. This is especially important if the species is rare or hasn't been sighted on our island before.”

Visitors will be able to a QR code at the exhibition to add their own wildlife sightings and photos.


A gallery for children 

The Harbour Gallery in St. Aubin is offering two walls in its main exhibition space to show the work of local children. 

Young artists can collect a free canvas from the gallery on which to produce their work of art, in any medium. They should then bring back their work to the gallery so that it can be displayed on the wall.  

Participants can choose between three sizes of canvases - 20 x 50cm, 21 x 30cm and 30 x 42 cm – to create a piece of work on the theme of ‘monsters, dragons, castles and princesses’. 

All work must be handed in by Wednesday 16 February. There is a £2 fee to enter and gifts will be awarded for “exciting work” over all ages.


The Electric Blues Band

Electric Blues Band.jpg

Pictured: The Electric Blues Band will be at Chambers tonight

The recently reformed Electric Blues Band will be taking to the stage at Chambers tonight (Friday 21) and 28 January. 

The five-piece – Steve on vocals, Leon on lead guitar, Brian on bass, Roger on keyboard and Tim on drums – will be playing from 19:30 until 21:30. 

One of Jersey's longest running bands, the Electric Blue Band returned to the stage in November 21 after a two-year absence.


“Back where she belongs”

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A post shared by Kevin Pallot (@kevinpallot_artist)

Local artist Kevin Pallot recently hung up a particularly touching portrait at L’Horizon Hotel. The oil painting represents Collette Channing who spent over three decades entertaining the hotel’s guests behind her piano.

Collette passed away in December 2020 but her memory lives on in the hotel with Kevin’s painting now hanging over the piano she used to play on.

In a post shared on his Instagram profile, Kevin said he had been honoured to be asked to paint Collette’s portrait, whom he said played the piano “with a unique charm”. 

“She was loved by all who met her, a grandmother to the staff and a mother to the guests,” he said.  

“Even though I never spoke to Collette in person I feel that through the process of painting her portrait I have made a connection with her on some level.”

Kevin said the green and gold of the wall beside the white of the piano keys aim to echo the colours of the Irish flag. 

“They also help compliment the warm colour of her skin tones,” he added. “The glitter of her blouse floats away into the room where her elegant music blessed the ears of her audience. 

“I hope that Collette and all who sit in the lounge where she played approve of my work as I have really enjoyed painting her, trying to capture the essence and elegance of a such a wonderful lady. Collette was 'simply unforgettable."


They have arrived! 


Pictured: Natalia, Cliff and Dana will be in the island for four weeks.

Cliff Andrade (Portugal), Natalia Kalicki (Poland) and Dana Olarescu (Romania) have arrived in Jersey for a four week period of research to learn more about the living experiences of their compatriots living in the island.

They will use what they have learned to create new artworks celebrating the contribution of their respective communities to island life, which will form the basis of a special exhibition due to take place in May 2022 in St. Helier, as well as a large-scale public mural to go on display at a prominent island location.

Missed last week's Art Fix? Catch up HERE.

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