Green-woods Free: An Exhibition of new paintings by Rose Strang, Whitespace Gallery, Edinburgh
“Yet was poetic impulse given
By green hill and clear blue heaven” – Sir Walter Scott
For centuries, poets, writers and artists have found the Scottish Borders to be an inspirational muse. These debatable lands, once the site of violent civil war, preserves a rich traditional heritage in farming life and folklore, ancient abbeys and castles, as colourfully described in the Border Ballads.
Through the Spring and Summer this year, Artist Rose Strang has been travelling around the peaceful, scenic landscape from the fishing villages of Berwickshire across the rolling farmland and river banks of Tweeddale and Yarrow.
She has been visiting the Borders since childhood, so this has been both a journey of happy memories as well as the opportunity to capture the natural beauty on canvas.
Whitespace Gallery is a spacious rectangular room with huge sash windows, where fifteen paintings, varying in size, are well presented around the walls; the title of the exhibition, The Green Woods Free is taken from a Border Ballad, Erlington.
Let Rose take you on a painterly walk around the lush green Borders’ countryside, through the forest of Glentress (renowned for mountain biking), along the River Tweed to see a glimpse of Neidpath Castle peeking through the branches up on the hill and travel on to the panoramic views across the valley to the Moffat Hills.
There’s a distinctive sense of physically being outside in the open air as you study each canvas; it’s the subtlety of soft shades, thin shards of sunlight through leaves as well as such a realistic perspective of each landscape.
I would advise you to stand back near the windows to view “Birch, Gladhope” hung on the far wall, to appreciate the bewitching, moody light of the woodland with its thick undergrowth below the slender, silver bark of the tall trees.
Then go up close to observe the fine detail of this masterly botanical drawing: you can almost smell the fragrant scent of the grass, moss and lichen after the rain.
Above the fireplace hangs another superb scene, “Hawk, River Tweed” with shimmering light on the water below the hovering bird as if time has been paused to create a calm moment of stillness. This is exquisite artistry.
We were privileged on the opening night to be treated to a mini-concert by the cellist Atzi Muramatsu, who played one of his own compositions, inspired by Hawk and these Green-woods.
This was a beautifully soulful accompaniment to enhance Rose Strang’s enriching, enchanting luminous visions of nature in the wild tranquility of Scottish Border country.
Green-Woods Free by Rose Strang @ Whitespace Gallery, 25 Howe Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6TF.
Dates – 18th July to 23rd July, 2015. 1000-5pm daily.
This is a video of Rose Strang at work as she creates her masterpiece, Hawk, River Tweed to the dreamy piano music, Oceans by Jane Gardner. Sit back, watch and listen for a unique artistic treat.