Vividly colourful, visual memories of the wider world by three artists at the Open Eye Gallery – with lovely wee pictures & jazzy jewellery too.

“Remember that art is good for the soul in these troubled times”

This is the message from the warm and welcoming Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh this week. It may have temporarily closed its doors but their current March exhibition is easily viewed on line.

More than just interior decor or bringing a splash of colour, the art we choose to hang on our walls, to view again and again every day, evokes a personal emotion and inspires our imagination.  Art breathes life into a home.  Art tells a story.

“….thousands of memories, of smells, of places, of little things that happened to us and which came back, unexpectedly, to remind us who we are.…. O Botswana, my country, my place.” From “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.” Alexander McCall Smith

Diane Rendle (right) and Helen Freeman – paintings & poetry to illustrate East African life and culture

Diane Rendle was born and raised in East Africa and then lived in Botswana, where she was immersed in the culture, language and heritage of the people.  Like McCall Smith’s comical novels about Madame Precious Ramotswe,  “Voices carried on the Wind” presents an enlightening view of the community – especially bold, beautiful women – in this lush natural environment.

Diane’s stunningly crafted, visual memories of people and place are complemented by charming poetic proverbs by Helen Freeman to tell a story about  the life and experences of the characters.  In the jungle, birds and animals rule the roost as wild cats glide gracefully through the bush.

You Never Know what you will Encounter, Diane Rendle

“You Never Know What You Will Encounter” – Helen Freeman

When the leopard whispers to the woman, he says,  “There’s a hurricane coming, wrap up, hunker down, hide yourself.”

She says, “But I’m strong enough” … and unwinds her Kanga.

The titles of Rendle’s richly-patterned images are translated into colloquial words of wisdom, both humorous and heart-warming.

Don’t Carry the World, Diane Rendle

“Burden Bearer – Don’t Carry the World on your Head” – Helen Freeman

“People like me hide beneath layers, and sacks and tins and bowls and packs they need not carry …..and some they definitely shouldn’t.

The Sun Never Goes Down without some Happenings, Diane Rendle

 “The Sun Never Goes Down Without Some Happenings” – Helen Freeman

”Sedge grass purrs, crickets trill and whistle, the track meanders through shrubs and knolls,

 Under sundown’s saffron shade,  and he’s nearly home. Twilight percolates”. 

This enchanting artistic collaboration between Diane and Helen is akin to Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” the illustrated stories of India he wrote for his young daughter.  Likewise, these magical pictures and poetry should be published as an allegorical collection of tales set in East Africa.

Travel Tales from Italy and Scotland, Africa and India, “Themes Old and New” from Charles MacQueen who creates luminous, mixed media paintings as a brief snapshot of a moment in time and place. Like a photographer’s zoom lens, these are intimate, close-up images focussing on texture, colour and light.

Having visited the hill top Medieval town of Spoleto, Umbria myself many times, it is wonderful to ‘re-visit’ the Duomo in the central Piazza.

The Duomo, Spoleto, Umbria

Here are several images to reflect the ancient stone arches and stained glass windows which preserve the dark, cool, mystical silence inside:  so atmopheric in these shimmering, vivid colours of crimson, coral, gold and turquoise.

Church, Spoleto, Charles MacQueen

Instead of realistic representations, MacQueen is playful in creating abstract compositions such as a collage of fishing nets and lobster pots spotted on Scottish piers.

Dawn Anstruther, Charles MacQueen

As he explains Usually as with recent trips to Tunisia and Morocco it takes between six months to a year to digest the experiences.”  All the senses are stimulated – the colour and scent of saffron and ginger in a Moroccan souk.

Spice, Casablanca, Charles MacQueen

Sheila McInnes is also a keen observer of the natural world, the tranquil beauty of rolling hills, lochs, rivers, woodland and birds which “Greet the Sky.”

Greet the Sky, Sheila McInnes

With light hearted wit, these are scenes from everyday life, as she says, ‘a mixture of the naïve, the personal, and the sophisticated.’

Summer Isles, Sheila McInnes

Reminiscent of a child’s story book, here are soaring seagulls, wide eyed owls and adorable dogs to make you smile.

Old Sea Dog, Sheila McInnes

Women are always happy with new jewellery to wear! Bronwen Gwillim crafts bright and colourful ear-rings, necklaces and bangles from waste plastic, flint stones and found objects during walks along the beach in Wales.

“I make wearable, sculptural jewellery from recycled materials. Mimicking the effects of the sea, I work their surfaces till they feel natural in the hand, like a treasured pebble.”

Orange bangle, Bronwen Gwilim

Pairs of ear-rings come in mismatched size, inspired by natural shapes of pebbles.  This jewelllery is tactile to touch, delightful to the eye …and so reasonable for such unique, creatively crafted accessories.

Colourful accessories from beachcombing objects

Affordable art too with a choice of  “On a Small Scale” miniature masterpieces by many of the gallery’s established artists and young talent – wee landscapes, abstracts, prints and portraits.

On a Small Scale – wee pictures for a wee price

A fine selection of small Still Life artwork – ideal to brighten up the home from the kitchen to the lounge.

Oil and Greens, Simon Lawrie

Poppies, Douglas Davies

Browse through the Open Eye Gallery on line to be inspired and enriched by this collection of contemporary art, crafts and jewellery from the March exhibition.

Watch this space to find out about next month’s new showcase of art and artists to brighten our spirits and homes as we spring forward into April.

The Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercomby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE

View the March exhibition on line – http://www.openeyegallery.co.uk

Email – mail@openeyegallery.co.uk

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About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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