The quietly composed Landscapes, Flowers and Still Life by Joan Renton, RSW, on show at the Grilli Gallery, Edinburgh
Joan Renton was born in 1935 and studied at the Edinburgh College of Art where she was taught by three exemplary Scottish artists, William Gillies, John Maxwell and Robin Philipson. After a travelling scholarship to Spain in 1959, she was a teacher before becoming a full time artist. The recipient of several Awards, Joan was elected to the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1974.
This charming exhibition of landscapes, botanical studies and Still Life paintings illustrates the diverse range of subjects and artistic styles which inspire Ms Renton.
Travelling to the wild and wonderful Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland has always been her stomping ground, sketch pad in hand, no doubt. With a photographic eye combined with impressionistic creativity, “Towards Mull” is a majestic panoramic scene. The viewer feels they are standing on the sandy beach looking out across the bay to the shimmer of shapely hills beyond.
While this clearly evokes a realistic ambience, the blending of soft shades, and curving contours of land and sea, creates a misty mood.
‘Although my paintings have their origins in nature, the influences of light and atmosphere are more important to me than realistic representation.’ Joan Renton
This semi-abstract technique is also shown in “Traigh-Mhor, Tiree,” which is most atmospheric: the curving trail in the sand leads the eye between the rocks to the lapping waves, a fleck of white horses and the distant islets. The pinky grey sky of scudding clouds evoke a tangible feeling of a chilly, salt sea breeze in the air on this blustery day.
A most enchanting winter scene is conjured up in “Little Tree,” in which the black, bare, skeletal branches spread across the canvas like a spider’s web.
The bold, imaginative pattern in the foreground reveals a tapestry of the snow-covered fields and rolling heather hills behind. This striking viewpoint would be a magical illustration for a Christmas Card.
The world of nature is captured both outdoors and at home. Here are several botanical paintings such as “Jug of Flowers,” a finely crafted, colourful display with such detail in the leaves, stamens, buds and petals.
And with a more expressionistic style, a swimming swirl of translucent green, blue and amber tones in the watercolour, “Sunlit Summer.”
Edouard Manet described Still Life as “the touchstone of painting,” which tests the skill of an artist to paint household objects, fruit, flowers, jugs, glassware and textiles. “Grey Still Life,” is a quiet, cool composition to illustrate the contrasting texture of a seaside shell, garden pears and flowers on the olive-green cloth.
The renowned artist Anne Redpath, OBE (1895–1965), devised her own iconic style of two dimensional Still Life scenes and domestic interiors. Following in her brushstrokes, Joan Renton is also a master of the genre with such a delicate, elegant and decorative design.
“The moment I stop learning and exploring new avenues, I shall give up and spend all my time in the garden.” Joan Renton
Now in her 85th year, this celebratory exhibition proves that Joan Renton is still very much in her prime and unlikely to exchange her paint brush for a trowel anytime soon.
THE GRILLI GALLERY, 20A Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ
Joan Renton – A solo exhibition of paintings
31st October to 29th November, 2020
Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri 11.00am to 4.00pm,
Viewing by appointment: Tel. 0131 261 4264; mobile 07876 013 013
Browse the gallery of images on line: http://www.art-grilli.co.uk/exhibition.html