It’s actually July now, tempus fugit. Trying to recap on what happened in June. The exhibition at Inverewe has been extended until August due to the late start. I have been lucky so far that three of my paintings have gone to new homes. Likewise at the Torridon Centre gallery more work has been sold. I have landscape paintings on show here which have been inspired by last years residency with David Tress at ,North West Highlands Art ,based at Achintraid, Loch Kishorn. I’ve always been interested in creating work with uneven edges and really enjoy the way David Tress portrays the North West landscape encapsulating the power of the light and elements. I feel this course has helped free up my application of paint but still have a long way to go.
We had a weeks visit to Gibraltar which for me was like going home in a way as I spent four years there as a child and it has always been in my heart. I loved seeing the old part of the town, places I remembered but not so sure about all the new multi story buildings on reclaimed land but people need housing and the Rock is very small. We managed to view some art by local artists from the past and present. The gallery for contemporary art is a fantastic space for exhibiting in. Situated in a large concrete bastion it has an interesting layout of small side rooms as well as the main space lending itself to a variety of installation possibilities.
Visiting the Mario Finlayson National Art Gallery I particularly liked the work of Gibraltarian artist Leni Misfud (1906 -1989). Largely self taught she created vibrant impressionist style paintings.
Came home full of ideas the biggest one was getting a larger studio but this has not been successful so just have to knuckle down and have a good clear out to make more room. How many ‘useful’ bits of paper does one need to keep for potential collages anyway?! The studio is looking bigger already, just need to tackle the sink area and possibly get rid of some books. Tried this already and they all ended back on the shelves….need more shelves.
The Cromarty exhibition is getting closer so am busy framing work for this, looking forward to it. 10 Aug – 18th Aug at the Stables gallery in Cromarty on the Black Isle.
The exhibition is now up at the newly refurbished visitor centre at Inverewe Garden in Poolewe. It is a really nice space for exhibiting and I have some work on show with various other artists including another painter, two sculptors a poet and an author.
I recently attended an event at An Talla Solais to hear the two current exhibitors discussing their work and comparing the process of making. The exhibition Stillness and Flow features watercolours relating to the landscape of Shetland by Peter Davis and Orkney by Susan MacIntosh.
Davis’s work evokes a feeling of place through his manipulation of water tinted with sometimes the merest hint of pigment and allowed to run over the wet surface. I was intrigued to hear that he actually freezes pigmented water and allows it to melt gradually over the surface. Living in Shetland, an often wet,rainy island Davis has really summoned up the spirit of the land, sea and weather using water which, after all is a major contributing factor to the changing light and essence of space.
MacIntosh interprets the landscape differently but also using copious amounts of water but stronger colour and texture. She seems to be more bound to the physicality of her surroundings and the historical, sometimes mystical bond between early civilizations with the earth. In comparison to Davis’s work hers is on a much bigger scale, made on large sheets of paper and presented without frames or boundaries.
April seems to have slipped by quickly, perhaps due to the lovely weather we’ve been having. I delivered some work to the Torridon Centre for the new exhibition starting this month , The Living Land Sea and Sky 14th May – 31 Aug. As it was a lovely day we went via Lochcarron to visit Aileen Grant’s Open Studio where we enjoyed looking at her collection of landscape paintings and prints as well as her lovely new studio.
I spent an enjoyable day last Saturday in Ullapool at An Talla Solais doing a painting workshop tutored by Eleanor White, experimenting with ways of painting plants and flowers in conjunction with the current exhibition, BOTANICAL, at An Talla Solais Gallery
Have been out and about sketching, a couple of days at Poolewe by the riverside and Inverewe Garden then over to Laide looking out from the old cemetery. Have managed to get a couple of small paintings from these sketches.
We recently had a huge wild fire not far from my house ,whilst fascinating to watch I couldn’t help thinking about the poor little creatures caught up in the mayhem. I sat in the dark watching the flames fluctuating against the smokey sky and decided the next day to paint the experience, trying to describe the intense glow of the fire reflecting in the milky smoke.
I was most surprised to receive an e mail from Sky Arts Landscape Artist of The Year 2019 saying that after seeing some of my work via the the Society of Scottish Artists website would I be interested in applying. I did give it some thought but don’t think its for me really. Even if successful enough to get into the main competition the thought of being filmed painting would be quite stressful although being part of the wildcard artists would be more enjoyable. So if anyone is interested you have until May 11th to apply to:
Looking back I don’t seem to have achieved much this month. We finally got our raku efforts finished off, well what survived the first firing and indeed the final firing. It was interesting to see how the glazes reacted to he various elements with unexpected results. I now have a flotilla of three boats on the front door step and two dodgy looking bowls. Wouldn’t mind giving it another go though.
Been busy sorting work out to show at Inverewe as well as getting some new cards printed.
Don’t know if it’s just me, I suspect it’s not, but as an artist I get quite despondent about my work. Anyway had a boost last week when one of the Black Isle Abstract artists phoned up to say he had been looking at my work on line and really liked it. Hope this might lead to greater things but if not it certainly raised my spirits.
As well as painting I am building up a collection of small collages which at some point I would like to show as a body of work. Using torn and cut paper or whatever else I find to make interesting abstract colour and textural images. These sometimes also work as studies for larger paintings .
Nearly at the end of February and the days are lengthening. Have been busy sorting out work for exhibiting and framing and now need to think of getting some new cards printed. Had a brief encounter with printing here in my own studio. I must say it wasn’t very successful but with a bit more patience and perseverance I might get somewhere.
As I keep saying I need a bigger studio, as I soon realised that to make any headway I need a designated table/space for printmaking even at this basic level. Needless to say it has taken a back seat at the moment as I have piles of torn paper out for making some collages and then of course the paints are at hand for a painting I have on the go as well. So all in all not only do I need more space but a few more hours in the day would be handy.
Speaking of collage I recently came across an article about Francis Davison one of the original St Ives artists who worked with torn paper. He was not interested in exhibiting his work so never really came into the public eye. I find his work interesting as it is something I like to make myself. I like the looseness of torn rather than cut paper.
Another highlight this month was the delivery of Art North a new visual arts magazine from Scotland and the far north. Nice to have a publication relating to not only the North of Scotland but also embracing art from the Outer Isles and beyond. This issue has an interesting piece on Faroese art as well as an article exploring the different responses of five artists during residencies in the Arctic and much more. At last a magazine which brings together news and articles from far- flung areas where artists can feel quite isolated sometimes.
The last day of January at last, looking forward to longer daylight which is already apparent. It’s been a quiet month but quite productive in the studio trying out various ways of painting but always returning to my love of intuitive abstract painting and collage. I sometimes feel I’ve lost my way as I do tend to paint in a variety of styles as the mood takes me but at the end of the day it’s all creativity.
I have been reading up on how to make prints using a pasta machine as a printing press so watch this space! Wish I had a bigger studio it seems to be filling up rapidly. Recently (last weekend) I met up with some fellow art school students who I last saw in 1969. We met in Edinburgh and after a leisurely lunch and catch up we strolled along the Waters of Leith to the gallery of modern Art. It was lovely to view work by Eduardo Paolozzi and Andy Warhol with like minded people, exchanging views on the works as we went. I returned home all inspired ready to tidy up the studio and have a good clear out and a fresh start. Only managed to get rid of three old paintings but the studio does look a bit tidier….at the moment!
Looking forward to the coming year and any exhibition opportunities which might arise.
I seem to have missed November altogether , where did it go? We had some spectacular days in November which counteracted the early dark evenings. Taking advantage of the good weather we had a trip up North to Durness enjoying the beautiful scenery on the way. A visit to the craft village at Balnakiel made me think it would be great to have a studio there for two or three weeks, a change of scene and time to immerse myself in some new work. Will have to look into it.
A few years ago I took up spinning wool so decided to try and make something from the far from perfect results. Anyway that doesn’t really matter as I was experimenting with texture. The first piece is knitted randomely onto which I have stitched and darned. The second piece is similar but I have added twigs and a leaf. I like the fact that the wool is undyed and mixes well with the other natural materials. Something to do during the dark evenings.
I am still experimenting with landscape following on from the David Tress residency and find the work is getting smaller and am tying to make it more atmospheric. It is not really working as I imagined it might as I find myself unable to keep the application of paint as loose as I’d like. Need to work bigger again and possibly apply the irregular shapes of the overall painting to my abstract work.