London 2016 Christmas Lights and Store Windows

Douglas Rickard recording 2016 Christmas Vlog in Regent Street London

Douglas Rickard recording 2016 Christmas Vlog in Regent Street London

I hope you’ll enjoy pressing your nose against the glass of my choice of best three store windows.

Anthropologie Christmas windows Regent Street London 2016

Anthropologie Christmas windows Regent Street London 2016

Libertys of London Christmas windows 2016

Libertys of London Christmas windows 2016

Fortnum and Mason Christmas windows 2016

Fortnum and Mason Christmas windows 2016

Do you agree with my picks?

And if you’re truly done with shopping, how about putting your feet up on a London bus seat with me, and take a virtual tour of the Christmas lights down Oxford Street and beyond in the video above!

Selfridges London Christmas windows 2016 with Douglas Rickard

Selfridges London Christmas windows 2016 with Douglas Rickard

Riding London buses and the Christmas lights

Riding London buses and the Christmas lights

Pink Oxford Street London at Christmas 2016

Pink Oxford Street London at Christmas 2016

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Introducing Gallery Boards

Dachshund Art Gallery Board

Dachshund Art Gallery Board

Here’s a new range of neat, textured mat boards to collect, just perfect for my art.

Las Vegas Drawing Gallery Board

Las Vegas Drawing Gallery Board

In this new product line, my drawings are professionally printed on watercolor textured boards which have an organic ‘art studio’ look. If you display one of these on a shelf, you could almost imagine a handful of the oil pastel sticks nearby that I used!

Audrey Hepburn Yorkshire Terrier Art Gallery Board

Audrey Hepburn Yorkshire Terrier Art Gallery Board

They’re easy to display(with four Velcro dots included) to walls. And there are cute little square sizes too, which really work for displaying a series.

Angel Donald Duck Art Gallery Board

Angel Donald Duck Art Gallery Board

ACEOs 2016 Picks

My Buyers have always loved them. Affordable, perfect to display in a really, really small space, and at this time of year, can be gifted as a Halloween treat or slipped inside for plussing a Christmas card. My ACEOs are the same museum / gallery quality as full size versions. And they’re back and at new low prices too, with great combined postage and multiple purchase deals in my eBay store (where my ACEOs and art selling career all began in 2004).

So, between my recommendations and your favorites, here are 2016’s top five picks for ACEOs over five categories.

This benevolent threesome, (drawings of Flora, Fauna and Merryweather) are getting carried away with that fairy dust in one fresh full color ACEO card, that is also popular as part of a set, accompanying Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip and Maleficent.

Weddings ‘n’ Romance - Blue to Pink - Flora, Fauna and Merryweather

“Weddings ‘n’ Romance – Blue to Pink – Flora, Fauna and Merryweather”

2016, perhaps more than any year since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left us, has his powerful example been more in need. This ACEO card has phrases used in a 1967 speech drawn into MLK’s portrait.

Martin Luther King Jr. - Stick with Love

“Martin Luther King Jr. – Stick with Love”

In this U.S. election year, lifting up governing authorities in our prayers may seem even more critical; and so 1 Timothy 2:1-2 written in oil pastel within this White House drawing could make for a fitting visual reminder.

Pray for America

”Pray for America”

Now with three to choose from, a drawing of the unassuming theatre stage door of a London West End show you or a friend has seen, is going to make for a very unusual gift or keepsake. And if you’ve been to “The Lion King,” then you’ll know what magic the artists create who go through that of The Lyceum’s.

Stage Door London - Lyceum Theatre

“Stage Door London – Lyceum Theatre”

One dog owner wrote and told me how she and her bulldog Bailey both loved what she called in my eBay store feedback a “stunning picture”. Of course there are plenty more dog breeds I’ve drawn that are available as ACEOs, so this could be the time to ‘find that breed’ and pick up an inexpensive, little gift for a dog owner you know.

I Love My Bulldog

“I Love My Bulldog”

Ordinary door to a London theatre

Prince Edward Theatre London West End

Prince Edward Theatre London West End

My latest charcoal theatre drawing in the “Stage Door London” series, is a principally utilitarian looking set of doors and they open onto a principally everyday West End back street in Soho. What caught my attention though, is what appears in gold lettering above them.

Stage Door

Stage Door

London Stage Door - Prince Edward Theatre by Douglas Rickard

London Stage Door – Prince Edward Theatre by Douglas Rickard

The inscription on this carved tablet which I have drawn in charcoal, serve not only as an acknowledgement to “the world’s greatest artists,” but a promise.

Maybe you already own my “Theatre Royal Drury Lane” and “Lyceum Theatre” releases and would like this to make a solid set of three. Or perhaps this art, which is also available on theatre gifts and accessories will serve as a private recognition for your world’s very own greatest artist.

Tinker Bell with added charcoal dust

I did cry a bit when we couldn’t get into Walt Disney’s “Peter Pan” at the cinema when I got taken to see it as a kid for the first time back in the 70s. That’s why one of my art Buyers really put a smile in my heart.

Donna from Portland, OR wrote and told me once how she’d bought some ACEOs including a couple of Tinker Bell. Donna said “LOVE Tink’s expression” about my still-life drawing (below) of the Walt Disney Classics Collection ornament sculpture.

Charcoal and Oil - Tinker Bell by Douglas Rickard

Charcoal and Oil – Tinker Bell by Douglas Rickard

Charcoal and Oil – Tinker Bell,” which is a mixed media drawing, is available on other gifts and products like tote bags and stickers.

Tinker Bell tote bag

Tinker Bell tote bag

What Donna did with the smallest version, she purchased direct from me, at her NFFC Disneyana Fan Club chapter picnic was amazing though. She let me know that she would be giving one of them to Margaret Kerry, the lady who is the original actor and model, Disney animator Marc Davis used for reference when drawing Tinker Bell herself!

Margaret Kerry with Tinker Bell ACEO

Margaret Kerry with Tinker Bell ACEO

As a little boy all I wanted to do when I grew up was work in that cinema in Plymouth, England! But having one of my Tinker Bell drawings given to someone so much a part of my favorite movie, was never one of the dreams I’d had!

The Tinker Bell Pout

The Tinker Bell Pout

Tinker Bell ACEO Art Card

Tinker Bell ACEO Art Card

Tinker Bell large size stickers

Tinker Bell large size stickers

Falling in love with Disneyland Paris

Still up there as the “happiest” day of my life so far, is a 15-hour (and my first ever in any Disney park) day at Disneyland, Anaheim. Splash Mountain had just opened and my 21 year old, friendship bracelet wearing self, and fellow summer camp counselors did everything there, down to the Davy Crocket canoes.

Until last month, for some reason or other, I hadn’t been back to our Disneyland in Europe for 20 years, despite living in London. Walt’s charming park in the California sunshine had set the bar high for me perhaps and I don’t really remember much from a mid-‘90s short day trip to DLP.

How was it then, that on my 2016 visit, with construction ‘reinvent the magic’ refurbishment walls, (in preparation for the 25th Anniversary in 2017) from park entrance, through Main Street station and all over Frontierland, I fell in love with Disneyland Paris for the first time …in forever?

Douglas Rickard on it's a small world

Douglas Rickard on it’s a small world

Green hoardings on one side of the entrance didn’t hamper an immediate rush of birdsong and heavenly, flowering shrub scents from the other, (I’m pretty sure the birds weren’t animatronics). And for me, this was the story that continued throughout the Disneyland Paris park. It’s beautiful. I’m about “show” element too. I was trained in one of the stores in the early ‘90s about “standards,” and I notice the little details everywhere anyway as you might appreciate in one of my montage-heavy Vlogs below, pinpointing corners of Fantasyland.

My travlog (below) through what is, in my opinion, the superior “salute to the children of the world” in all the Disney parks depicts, just one upshot of the ‘reinvent the magic’ refurbishments at Disneyland Paris. It was the likes of tweets, articles and forum posts on this clearly visible investment into not just the park but cast members too, that made me decide Disney Paris is worth a visit.

it's a small world Disneyland Paris 2016

it’s a small world Disneyland Paris 2016

Cottonwood Creek Ranch at Disneyland Paris

Cottonwood Creek Ranch at Disneyland Paris

I now miss being addressed as “monsieur”. Whether they were serving ice cream or thoughtfully ensuring they took enough photos (on my own camera) of me, with one of the characters. That’s the feeling the 100 percent pleasant Disneyland Paris cast members left me with.

Uncle Scrooge with Douglas Rickard at Plaza Gardens Restaurant, Disneyland Paris

Uncle Scrooge with Douglas Rickard at Plaza Gardens Restaurant, Disneyland Paris

Main Street USA Disneyland Paris 2016

Main Street USA Disneyland Paris 2016

Watching other Vloggers, it hit me that of course many have those very precious kind of memories from childhood visits to Disneyland Paris which I never had. Nostalgia for me was the titles of “The Wonderful World Of Disney” tv show and that original castle in Anaheim on a screen. Yet I now feel such affection for a happy place in Paris that I experienced as having an authentic sense of its very own history while honouring everything I believed about and enjoyed at, Walt’s original castle park.

Blue Heeler art can even turn blue

Daring, without-hesitation charcoal lines which round up the courageous contour of the Australian Cattle Dog in this art, have got to be apt for any assertive alpha owner!

Blue Heeler Drawing

Blue Heeler Drawing

Australian Cattle Dog Drawing

Australian Cattle Dog Drawing

If you’ve ever seen any of my mixed media drawings which appear to be half developing into color, then this could be the pure charcoal drawing equivalent. The blue heeler’s fur, tongue and twinkling eyes spring out in more detail from the pure line starting point of this perky dog’s shape.

Blue Heeler Art

Blue Heeler Art

Blue Heeler Art by Douglas Rickard

Blue Heeler Art by Douglas Rickard

This aspect could make for an even more interesting drawing when the canvas is filled with the color of your choice, when purchasing my blue heeler art on something like a hoodie from my Redbubble shop. And of course you don’t have to choose… blue!

Blue Heeler Hoodie