CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Intricate artwork by Mark Powell on display in Cheltenham

PUBLISHED: 16:34 21 May 2015 | UPDATED: 16:34 21 May 2015

A biro portrait by Mark Powell

A biro portrait by Mark Powell


A collection of intricate biro pen drawings by artist Mark Powell will be on display at a Cheltenham gallery in early June.

A biro portrait by Mark PowellA biro portrait by Mark Powell

Using the humble Bic biro pen, Powell draws detailed animals and evocative portraits of elderly people on his unusual canvasses; antique manuscripts, old maps and vintage newspapers - all sourced from his travels around the world – some of which date as far back as the 18th century.

Pinpointing his inspiration down to a relic of WWI, Powell talks of obtaining an envelope on which a soldier had written to his loved ones before going over the top of the trenches. Imagining what the serviceman would have looked like as an old man, if he had survived the war, Powell drew his face full of wrinkles – and thus his fascination with aged and furrowed faces began. His portfolio now predominantly boasts men and women of advanced years, all illustrated in black ink.

A biro portrait by Mark PowellA biro portrait by Mark Powell

Jonny Stokes, Castle Fine Art, Cheltenham’s Gallery Manager, said: “We are immensely excited at having the opportunity to display Mark Powell’s recent works.

“It’s remarkable what he has achieved with just a simple ballpoint pen. His style is extremely striking, emotive, and his portraits are full of feeling – you can really get a sense of the people he depicts. We know the collection is going to be really popular.”

Mark Powell says: “My art shows what you can actually do with the simplest things, and the biro was the most basic thing I could find. It’s the challenge as well - if you make a mistake you destroy two things: the drawing and the document. I like that pressure to get it right.

A biro portrait by Mark PowellA biro portrait by Mark Powell

“I do all my drawings free hand, working with a basic outline before concentrating on doing one particular area. Once I have built up that section I will move onto another. It’s pretty intense because I can’t afford to make any mistakes.

“I combine old people with the vintage documents because they connect well - they both have a history and great sense of journey.”

The exhibition of Mark Powell’s art is free of charge to view at Castle Fine Art in Cheltenham from June 6 to 21.

For further information visit the gallery at 82a The Promenade, call 01242 806807 or go to

For more about Mark’s art, visit his website.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about


Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search