Douglas Davies, RSW: Land and Seascapes through “Autumn – Winter – Spring” at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh
For Scottish artist, Douglas Davies, RSW, January 2017 began with an inspirational start when he won the Glasgow Art Club Award at the 136th annual exhibition of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour. The award winning painting of ‘Whinny Brae’ is a favourite place near his home in the Scottish Borders.
“Whinny Brae is part of our daily walk, the old drove road, in all seasons and in all weathers when trees have been felled, fields ploughed. It is constantly changing and the subject matter of many paintings over the years, very much my kind of Border landscape.”
Davies studied Ceramics and Glass design at Edinburgh College of Art, gaining Postgraduate and Travelling Scholarships. He lectured in ceramics at Glasgow School of Art from 1973 until becoming a full time artist and potter in 1986, soon after being elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour.
This exhibition at the Dundas Street Gallery, “Autumn – Winter – Spring” is a selection of landscapes (acrylic on paper and canvas) of the Scottish Borders, the Breton coast and South West France as well as delightful botanical paintings.
Take a time-travel trip through the seasons as you tour the tranquil open countryside, curving rivers and heather-draped hills around Biggar, Tweed Valley and Peebleshire.
A painting called simply “Winter” is an exquisite abstract scene blending tones of pure white, cream and buttermilk. It makes you feel as if you are standing outdoors in the crisp snow, chilled to the bone, which illustrates how authentic the bleak landscape is represented. “Melting Snows” is also a magical atmospheric view with glimpses of grass, trees, rock and the warm glint of coral sun amidst ice-covered hills.
“Rain Clouds” shows a distant grey streak on the horizon within a mass of billowing white over misty, low lying hills.
The colourful palette used for “Tweed Valley” is brilliantly evocative of the rich naturalistic shades of chestnut, bracken, blues and gold as a bold impression of this unspoilt rural landscape.
Davies captures a realistic sense of place through the year and by day and night, as observed in bright sunshine, dusk, nightfall and pale moonlight. Each painting is composed with differing tone and texture to reflect light and shade: “Drove Road” for instance, is created with thick brush strokes to create a patchwork of green and yellow fields with a sweeping expanse of sky.
With a more delicate, sketchy touch, “Grasses” is best viewed seen from across the gallery to see the true perspective with its pink tinted clouds and what appears to be windblown machair on a sandy beach.
The classic Still Life study of fruit, vegetables or flowers has always been a popular genre for both artist and art lover. Here are beautiful arrangements of tulips and anemones offering a freshly cut, blossoming bouquet for the walls of your home year round.
From Scotland travel over to the French coastline in a series of seascapes, “Breton Harbour” and the charming fishing port of Collioure, South West France. Matisse and Derain arrived here in 1905 where their work in the Mediterranean light was the birthplace of Fauvism. Nearly 20 years later Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret visited this region of Roussilon on holiday, but also loved it so much they decided to settle here,
“in this lovely rose-coloured land… with its warmth and its sun.”
And an interesting postscript. In 2007 Davies was given a prestigious placement at the first Charles Rennie Mackintosh Residency at Collioure, a month’s retreat to experiment and explore new creative directions. For a further eight years, two well established Scottish artists were invited to Collioure, but in 2015 the accommodation was unavailable and, due in part to lack of support from Creative Scotland, the French officials unfortunately, had to close the Residency programme. Let’s hope funding will be forthcoming in future to continue the CRM artist in residence scheme.
Fortunately for Douglas Davies, he was given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Derain, Matisse and Mackintosh et al to work in this perfect painters’ paradise which continues to inspire him to this day – as well as his homeland, the Scottish Borders.
Douglas Davies, RSW – Exhibition, “Autumn – Winter – Spring”
The Dundas Street Gallery, 6a Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ
Saturday 16 September to Saturday 30 September. Daily 10.30am to 5pm (closed Sunday)
Tommy Fitchet @ Saorsa Gallery: 365 landscape paintings on a small scale = a stunning show of mini masterpieces
“ I have found that my art is most fluid and expressive when working directly onto glass. When the sun suddenly comes out and shines brightly upon the sea or the land just for that brief moment – that is what I am trying to capture in my paintings.” Tommy Fitchet
Tommy Fitchet is a self taught artist whose most original and creative artwork showcases distinctive, abstract modern ‘stained glass’ paintings, inspired by the Scottish landscape from the city to the seashore as observed through the seasons.
Following the success of his previous exhibition, 100/100, which raised over £5,500 for Cancer Research, he decided to challenge himself to paint a small scale landscape each day for a year, starting in September 2016.
The result is this new show, 365, at Saorsa Gallery, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, where all the walls are hung, virtually floor to ceiling, with a collection of 365 wonderful wee paintings: each measures 22 x 22 cms in smart wooden frames. Again, all these paintings are sold in aid of charity.
The theme embraces Tommy’s journeys around Scotland, in particular the wild natural beauty of sandy beaches, peaceful farmland and high mountain peaks of the Isle of Arran.
The effect of oil on glass creates a gleaming, glossy layer with a rich, deep sense of colour and soft, shimmering shades of light to reflect marvellous images of sun and sea. These are stunning abstract land and seascapes through a swirl of bright blues, purple haze, sunset orange, grass green fields and forest of trees.
Fitchet brilliantly represents a real sense of place with thick brushstrokes and curving lines, the illusion of wide skies wild waves and undulating shoreline within a precisely patterned patchwork.
Here and there around the gallery are a few more naturalistic scenes where you can clearly see a line of rolling mauve-tinted heather hills, craggy coastline and pink streak of clouds.
Some of the most dramatic paintings are those created in stylised geometric blocks of black, grey and white with splashes of gold.
With a dark, intense mood, you can almost depict the icy chill of white snow and dark black rock in stormy winter weather in these impressionistic compositions.
With his palette of oils, from rainbow colours to crisp cool monochrome, the viewer will feel an extraordinary energy and atmosphere of the outdoor air, so well captured in these mini masterpieces.
For the buyer, what is most enticing is the fact that Tommy Fitchet does not create prints of his work so each and every painting is a unique and original work of art.
The paintings on show at this exhibition are available to purchase at a most reasonable £100 each. Most importantly, 50% of the sale price will be donated to two charities, Cancer Research and CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland).
365 – this exhibition runs from 7 – 24th September, 2017. Thursday to Sunday, 12 noon – 5pm.
SAORSA, 8 Deanhaugh Street, Edinburgh EH4 1LY. Tel. 0131 343 1126
Charity Chic 2017: the annual Fashion Catwalk Showcase for Cancer Research (Stockbridge)
In the grand, baroque St Stephen’s Centre @ Saint Stephen’s Church, (designed in 1827 by William Playfair), this year’s Charity Chic Fashion Show in aid of Cancer Research UK (Stockbridge), will be another glitzy, glamorous and inspirational evening. When? Friday 6th October, 2017 – 7pm to 9.30pm
Where? St Stephen’s Centre, 105 St. Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AB.
Charity Chic offers a fabulous night out featuring a colourfully creative Fashion Show, live music, a Bar and stalls to buy quality clothes, raffle tickets, cakes and much much more.
Organised once again by Elaine Lennon, the assistant manager of Cancer Research, Stockbridge, the highlight of the evening is a Catwalk Extraordinaire: members of staff, customers and friends of the shop will showcase the best of Charity Chic from High Street fashion to Designer couture, for men and women.
From Top Shop to Top Brands, (e.g. Prada, Versace, Westwood), gorgeous clothes are donated year round to the Stockbridge branch by the public. After a fine collection is shown off in style and swagger along the Catwalk, these clothes and accessories will then be available to purchase – if you are quick off the mark! – after the show.
This is the perfect opportunity to jazz up your Autumn-Winter wardrobe with a ‘nearly new’ coat, cosy sweater, smart trousers, shoes, handbag, hat, scarf, jewellery and perhaps a little black dress or dinner suit for festive parties.
The POP-UP Shop opens from 7pm, bringing the Cancer Research Boutique along to St. Stephen’s Centre with some amazing fashion bargains, gifts, treasures and gems, to be snapped up for one night only.
This is the eighth time Cancer Research Stockbridge has staged an annual Charity Chic fashion show, raising an estimated thirty thousand pounds at these fun, sociable evenings. Proceeds go towards funding clinical research, medical trials and specialist nurses, all of which are vital in the fight against cancer.
The spacious theatre-style venue at St. Stephen’s Centre will create a party atmosphere to meet friends, enjoy the Catwalk, have a drink, browse around the stalls and dress up in some lovely new fashionable clothes.
Volunteers are most welcome – do get in touch if you’d like to try your hand at modelling, run one of the stalls or help to organise the event.
Tickets are priced at £10. And of course, this show is for a very good cause.
Pick up your tickets at the Cancer Research Shop, 30 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh. Tel. 0131 343 6343
Or purchase on line:
Paperworks 4 – Marion Barron, Trevor Davies and Ruth Thomas – the beauty of nature with painterly precision
During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015, I was delighted to see an exhibition by the Working Lines Collective entitled Paperwork 2 at the Ski Club, Howe Street. As I wrote in my 5 star review on Edinburgh Guide:
“This is an enchanting selection of dream-like landscapes, figurative work, still life studies and colourful abstracts. It’s like taking a journey through time and place.
Paperwork 2 is an evocative, inspirational collection of diverse yet complementary work, the nuances of shade, line, pattern and composition all pleasing to the eye, as you wander from room to room”.
This year for ten days in August, the Working Lines Collective was back with Paperwork 4, featuring Trevor Davies, Marion Barron and Ruth Thomas, who met and studied at Edinburgh College of Art.
While their Festival Fringe 2017 exhibition is now over, this is an illustrated feature to promote their creatively-crafted Paperworks.
Inspired by contemporary urban landscape, Marin Barron studies the concept of the structure and fabric of buildings: “My recent research has focussed on the aesthetic of post war Brutalist buildings. I explore pattern, form, colour, line and space, the environmental and social aspects, although the visual aspects are of greater interest to me”.
Marion paints in oil on linen, canvas or paper, slowly developing the surface for a strong depth in colour, tone and texture, such as here in “Fold”.
These vibrant colours are most effective, drawing the eye in to study the graceful geometric line and shape. With its backdrop in soft cream and grey, the simple yet bold columns of crimson and coral in “Structure” is also a striking, architecturally-defined image.
Trevor Davies is a master of delicate still life drawings, impressionistic landscapes as well as fine figurative sketches. Heading in a more abstract direction is a series of minimalist landscapes such as Duddingston Loch(1). This comprises a strip of newspaper column, the Lonely Hearts page with tiny requests starting with four letters, WLTM: a whimsical, richly textured work.
Twenty-Two is also an amazing combination of watercolour, muslin, oil, graphite and newspaper on paper. In similar mode to the artist Philip Reeves, these collages involve a process of distilling the theme down to the materials, then re-building the image as a layered construct.
In his quietly composed Still Lifes, meticulous representations of cool circles and curved bowls conjure up the pure contours in the natural world: ‘The endless line of a circle, its internal space both enclosure and entrance, and what might be joints or doorways within a landscape all find their way into my pictures’
Ruth Thomas is an Australian artist who, having studied in Edinburgh, is fascinated by the coastlines of Scotland and New South Wales, “Nature’s calligraphy: the myriad of lines on windswept beaches, the richly coloured rock faces, the delicate structures of shells and seaweed.”
Her work covers painting, printmaking and drawings in which the decorative detail shows her passion for geology as much as art, capturing how the waves of the tide smooth the pebbles on the shore.
Ruth also enjoys the ancient Art of Mokuhanga, Japanese Woodblock Printing to create concertina fold-out books of miniature paintings. She also makes eco-printed paper from fragrant Eucalyptus, Banksia and Grevillea leaves.
These three distinctive artists offer a diverse selection of prints, drawings, sketches and paintings yet complement each other, – sharing a broad theme of the environment with an individual artistic approach. At previous Festival exhibitions, comments in the visitors’ book are most enthusiastic: ‘such varied and beautiful work’ & ‘I loved the delicacy and the thoughtfulness.’
Once again, Paperworks 4 was a most inspiring and evocative collection to express the beauty of nature with fine crafted imagery and painterly precision.
Make a date in the diary for Paperworks 5 – hopefully it will return for the Festival 2018!
For more information:
Land and Sea: Paintings and Poems by Anne Butler & Sue Mayfield, Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh
This enchanting exhibition at the Dundas Street Gallery is a marvellous collaboration between the artist Anne Butler and the writer Sue Mayfield, to capture the scenic beauty of our natural world.
“Tread softly on the shore, step lightly at the margins,
where the sky is thin and land meets sea,
and heaven touches earth”.
from Tread Softly on the Shore, Sue Mayfield
Anne Butler studied at Leith School of Art, Edinburgh and now lives and works in Dumfries and Galloway. She describes her work as a free and loose style responding to the Scottish landscape, weather and seasons. “Colour is very important to me. I think colour can change moods. I paint in acrylic, building up layers and scraping back to reveal the colours beneath”.
Sue Mayfield is a writer of many talents, publishing award winning fiction and non fiction for children and adults. Her most recent books are Under the Sea (2012) and Hill of the Angels (2016). Around the gallery is a series of lyrical poetry to reflect the dramatic mood of Anne’s paintings.
Colour is clearly the dominant aspect of Anne’s vibrant green and blue land and seascapes. Country fields are created like a patchwork quilt with bold abstract cubist style blocks, representing yellow summer corn, verdant green grasses and russet red leaves of Autumn.
“Full Moon over Blue” is a marvellous scene, reminiscent of Joan Eardley’s “Catterline in Winter” – pale moon, snow and clifftop cottages.
What the viewer will appreciate so much is how these dreamlike illustrations of land and sea are evoked with such emotion through the power of the written word.
Most impressive are the wild energetic waves and splashing spray of the sea in “Taste the Salt Drench,” as described beautifully in Sue’s poem, “A Thousand Thousand Tears.”
To cross the ocean, face the deep….
Taste the salt drench of a thousand thousand tears.
from A Thousand Thousand Tears, Sue Mayfield
There is a recurring theme of time, memories, ghosts of the past, reflected in an underlying narrative about fishermen, ships which pass in the night, the flow of the seasons, Spring flowers to migrating geese.
While Anne paints the grey expanse of skies, stormy seas, boats and birds, Sue captures each vivid view in verse:
Out of the blue … a man emerges bearing fish,
a wish, a skylark sings, a heron uncrumples sailcloth wings.
from Out of the Blue, Sue Mayfield
There is such poignancy in her perfectly crafted phrases, richly reminiscent of the short, sharp poetic style of Sylvia Plath observing rural life, tulips and honey bees in her Devon garden.
These paintings and poetry create an artistic and literary dialogue, where images of moorland, meadows, sandy beach and ocean waves are echoed both in colour on the canvas and words on the page.
The Dundas Street Gallery,
6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh
2 – 7 September 2017 – daily, 10am – 6pm.
for more information:
Waldorf Astoria & Walker Slater Fashion Show: Autumn/Winter 2017/2018 Collection
‘The passion of creating clothing comes from the idea that if they are stylish, yet practical and robust, they allow you to be carelessly elegant and have confidence to look good.’ Paul Walker
Walker Slater, the Scottish tweed tailoring company, was founded in 1989 in Laggan before opening on Victoria Street, Edinburgh, followed by stores in Glasgow and London.
Specialists of fine casual and formal clothing for ladies and gentlemen, it was named Retailer of the Year 2015 at the Scottish Fashion Awards.
From traditional tailoring to contemporary style, Walker Slater is renowned for tweed jackets, trousers, waistcoats, three piece suits, overcoats and knitwear in quality wool and tweed produced in the Borders, Shetland and Harris. What could be more classic than a beautifully designed, made-to-measure three piece suit for a special occasion.
The Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, Edinburgh is celebrating its fifth birthday in September as a Waldorf Astoria. With the grand art deco hotel as a backdrop, Walker Slater will stage a fabulous fashion show – a sneak preview of the Autumn/Winter 2017/18 collection.
This style event will take place in the hotel’s glamorously elegant Peacock Alley on the afternoon of Friday 15th September, hosted by Scottish broadcaster and Deacon Blue drummer, Dougie Vipond.
During the catwalk show, guests will experience a luxury Afternoon Tea inspired by the botanicals of Edinburgh Gin. Enjoy a seasonal selection of sweet and savoury treats, complemented by a crafted gin cocktail, delicately flavoured with orange, lemon, heather, coriander, juniper, and pine.
The new curated WS clothing range is sure to keep you warm during the Autumn and Winter months. Ladies may relish beautiful Scottish cashmere, everyday clothes from city street to country walks, and day to evening wear.
The preview will also launch ‘Messrs,’ a youthful collection with a contemporary look, fit and colour palette, from Harris Tweed suits to leather jackets.
“As an old Victorian railway station, The Caledonian has over 110 years of rich heritage in Edinburgh, of which we are very proud. Walker Slater also has a strong Scottish heritage and worldwide reputation for style, offering the perfect synergy with Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh.” Dale MacPhee, General Manager, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, The Caledonian.
The much beloved “Caley” hotel today as part of the Waldorf Astoria portfolio, represents the epitome of international luxury travel, and this classic Scottish fashion brand, creates the ideal partnership.
Walker Slater boutiques also presents a range of fabulous, must-have accessories for women and men including bags, gloves, scarves, shoes, tweed-wrapped hip flasks and gifts, perfect for the winter season and Christmas.
“They have an attention to detail befitting a Parisian couturier and the flair of a Tokyo street-wear brand.”
Tickets for the Waldorf Astoria & Walker Slater fashion show with Afternoon Tea, are priced at £45 per person.
Be the first to join the A –List FROW * by reserving your place soon! (* Front Row @ fashion show)
Book tickets at Eventbrite at: http://bit.ly/2g4WiqA
Throughout the month of September, an inspiring diary of events will celebrate the 5th birthday of The Caledonian as a Waldorf Astoria. Highlights include a luxurious stay in the Caley Suite, an Oyster & Champagne Masterclass at Galvin Brasserie de Luxe and classic Cocktails in the Caley Bar.
For more information: