10.15 on a Saturday Night – blog by Aly

10.15 on a Saturday Night, diptych, oil on board, each piece 16″ x 12″.

Inspired by The Cure’s song of the same name these pieces were created to celebrate my love of a band whose music has been integral to my wellbeing throughout my life. I am big on lyrics linking them to episodes and feelings I have experienced.  When you have bi-polar, relationships and navigating life can be hard and non-sensical. Actions can make sense to one person but not the other. Fairly natural feelings can be escalated and it is hard to ‘belong’. Sometimes music just makes so much sense, songs become written about you, for you, by people you will never meet but somehow they get you…..and that feels good. 

10.15 on a Saturday Night
10.15 on a Saturday Night

‘10.15 on a Saturday nightAnd the tap drips under the strip light’
Written by Lol Tolhurst, Michael Dempsey & Robert Smith

Work available to buy via http://www.streetartinitiative.co.uk

Tiger King blog by Aly

And then this happened …..during lock-down we have watched intellectual films, documentaries and other TV programmes, we listened to Guardian recommended podcasts…delved into online theatre … then we ran out … and then I said…
‘Mick, people rave about this Tiger King thing… we should keep up to date with popular culture…’ OMG! OMG! Our heads have exploded….I don’t know who I like or dislike , I don’t know who is sane and who isn’t and spent yesterday drawing Joe Exotic and Carole Basking .. we have only watched three episodes…

portraits4ppe-online-exhibition blog by Aly

Portrait of Penny  by Aly was chosen to go into an online exhibition by Disability Arts – all info below pic.

Aly Smith - Portrait of pennyArtist Name: Aly Smith

Artist email address: alylousmith123@yahoo.com

The title of the portrait: ‘Penny’

Time code of work on exhibition film: 07:00- 09:00

Information about the person it depicts:

Penny has been supporting people in the Byker area for many years now by cooking and ensuring families and individuals have food. She campaigns against food poverty, and during this time of Covid 19 she has continued cooking voluntarily and getting meals to sheltered housing residents.

A description of the portrait: A pencil line drawn portrait of a woman wearing glasses, she looks serious.

Information about the artist: Aly Smith is an artist with bi-polar and a few other mental health diagnosis thrown in depending which health care provider she sees. Her work often looks at the comedic side of her bi-polar whilst wanting to raise awareness of mental health and the struggles that herself and people have.

Portrait for sale £25.00 all proceeds go to an NHS charity.


Dwell Time again…..blog by Aly

We were chuffed to be featured in Dwell Time online mental health and art magazine again. This time with a portrait of me injured after a manic episode painted by Mick and a few words by me …

‘Aly Injured’ by Mick Smith

Oil painting on canvas by Mick Smith. 45cm x 36cm.

Text  by Aly Smith –

With my bipolar I am fortunate to usually have insight to when a hyper is about to hit. I can avoid triggers such as alcohol and going to gigs and the bizarre task that is avoiding all music by Pulp. I love Pulp but the crescendos in the music and in Javis’s performances lead me into exalted moods that on occasion have resulted in special tablets being administrated by the Community Mental Health Team….

This portrait was painted by my partner Mick 6 years ago. I was manic and I also was a super hero. I could fly. Except I couldn’t and ended up in a back lane flat on my face awaiting an ambulance. I buggered my nose and was patched up beautifully in A&E.

I look scared in this portrait. I was.

Check out other awesome artists on  https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com

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Getting Published in Dwell Time….blog by Aly

Check out the amazing Art & Mental Health publication Dwell Time which I am honoured to have had my artwork and text accepted for publication.


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I should have kept the mask on…. by Aly Smith

I should have kept the mask on…..
Wearing a mask is divisive. I get the confusion, the government continuously gives us varied messages and, to be frank, downright lies…. I am on the wear a mask side, I can’t rationalise not wearing one and with the many hospital visits we have had over the last three months due to my partner’s eye problems I am more conscious than ever of the vulnerability of the human race and the need to protect each other.
Wearing a physical mask is completely alien to me but it is becoming a comforting place to hide behind and has made me consider the invisible masks I have worn throughout my life. I have bipolar. I am telling you this through my imperceptible mask which means I am not revealing how bipolar affects me, just giving you the facts, nor for sympathy … although some empathy wouldn’t go amiss….
My mask stops my manic thoughts spilling out of my mouth so protects my loved ones from concern and confusion. It equally prevents sadness and hurt coming out and causing more pain and anxiety to those who care, support and indulge me. I have worn an invisible mask for years, this may not be healthy, I am not ashamed to have this diagnosis but let me explain how when you trust enough to take the mask off what can happen with a very few ( of many) examples ….
Apparently you need to tell employers you have bi-polar. I was open about this in my last role and it got used against me in such a cruel, bullying way it left me unemployed and suffering a breakdown, a couple of new medical diagnoses to deal with and emotional and financial poverty that I am still living with. I should have kept the mask on.
I have told ‘friends’ before that I have bi-polar and have been taken advantage of physically, emotionally and financially, I should have kept the mask on.
I have told medical professionals that I have bi-polar and have been diagnosed
with ‘hysteria due to mental health issues’ whilst living with a broken bone in my neck for a year before anyone believed myself and my partner that I was in pain. I should have kept the mask on.
My infertility was explained to me as something that would not get looked at as it was better for me not to have children as I have bi-polar. I should have kept the mask on.
I aim for a place where I can be psychologically mask-free whilst donning my physical one just for the sake of protecting myself and others from Covid-19.
Aly Smith is a multi-disciplined artist living in Newcastle upon Tyne. She works independently and in partnership with her partner Mick Smith as #theartistssmith.
Recent work is looking at her relationship with her bi-polar as she decides to get a grip on it after 35 years from the initial diagnoses!

Self-portrait Aly Smith

Instragram theartistssmith
Twitter @theartistssmith


The masks that define us….. Blog by Aly

It’s weird how divisive wearing a mask has become. People whom I considered rational have gone ballistic over either the need to wear one or the need not to. I get the confusion, the government continuously give us varied messages and to be frank downright lies…. I am on the wear a mask side, I can’t rationalise not wearing one and with the many hospital visits we have had over the last three months due to Mick’s eyes I am more conscious then every of the vulnerability of the human race and the need to protect each other.

Wearing a mask is completely alien to me so I am recording the process through art to produce a series of work for an online exhibition. I am also taking commissions at £25.00 each (including p&p UK). I can be contacted on alylousmith123@yahoo.com.


The Sea The Sea…..

Blog by Mick – Seascape in oil painted whilst in lock-down #isolationart. This could be a new avenue for me to explore – I would appreciate any feedback. #IrisMurdoch #TheSeaTheSea

The sea

‘The Sea The Sea’ Oil on canvas board. 16″ x 20″.

This painting has sold for £110.00 pounds if you would like to commission a piece drop  us a message or email alylousmith123@yahoo.com

Isolation sketches

Aly’s blog –

I stopped being a full time artist about 10 years ago as life took me down a different path working as a community engagement worker. I loved my job but at the end due to a variety of reasons I left seven months ago and am now focusing on art again. I have rediscovered my love of Matisse and he has helped me fall in love with drawing again. It’s like I am picking up where I left off a decade ago…. still a long way to go though….

Each ink sketch is on acrylic paper. 25.5cm x 17.5cm, signed.

Top left hand corner ‘For Poppy’.

Isolation Sketch ‘For Poppy’.

£15.00 includes p&p to the UK.


Right hand side ‘Flowers for Caitlin’.

Isolation Sketches ‘Flowers for Caitlin’.

£15.00 includes p&p to the UK.


Bottom left hand corner ‘Red Roses’.

Isolation Sketches ‘Red Roses’

£15.00 includes p&p to the UK.