Archive | September 2021

‘Beneath the Surface’: an imaginative, soulful reflection of memories by MaryAnne Hunt and Lindsay Storstein @ Whitespace Gallery

Having both attended Glasgow School of Art (at different times), a recent chance encounter brought MaryAnne and Lindsay together to collaborate on a shared theme of motherhood, memories and life’s experiences past and present.  

MaryAnne Hunt initially worked in wallpaper design, then returned to study at Leith School of Art where she as awarded the Figurative Painting Prize 2020.

Nursery Days, MaryAnne Hunt

There’s clearly a vivid sense of nostalgia in such paintings as ‘Nursery Days’ with its pinky-brown glow giving the effect of a vintage sepia photograph. The little girl quietly playing with her rocking horse and teddy bear is reminiscent of illustrations for AA Milne’s poems about Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh, and classic children’s stories with charming caricature drawings of Edward Ardizzone. 

‘Keeping Watch’ is an intimate close up of a doll-like baby at bedtime beside Teddy with its observant beady eyes, taking on the role of a caring and concerned parent to ensure the health and safety of the child.

Keeping Watch, MaryAnne Hunt

The playful, richly imaginative miniature world of a Dolls House is given a dark, Gothic mood in monochrome as we glimpse at a family’s life through the windows of the kitchen, lounge, dining room and nursery, one with bars on the window. A house of hidden secrets behind closed doors.  

Dolls House of Doom, MaryAnne Hunt

With its period setting of a domestic scene featuring dark Victorian furniture, ‘She Waits at the Window’ also presents a haunting vision of remembrance.  

She Waits at the Window, MaryAnne Hunt

A more joyful memory of motherhood is captured in ‘Learning to Walk’ is a most evocative.  This wee toddler points her left foot in a red Dorothy shoe in a big step, clutching the stroller with a serious facial expression, determined to master the skill of walking.  Thick brushstrokes create a swirling, grey misty backdrop to this dreamlike impression of a precious moment from the past.

Learning to Walk, MaryAnne Hunt

Through these delicately crafted paintings in soft, shimmering shades, MaryAnne Hunt evokes haunting, hazy memories which lurk beneath the surface of the mind which illustrate her own story book narrative.

Lindsay Storstein studied Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art and latterly attended further courses at GSA and Leith School of Art, developing and evolving her work across a broad range of genres: still life, fish, landscape, drawings and mixed media collage. 

The main focus in this showcase is a series of powerfully expressive portraits with fragmented, abstract vision as in ‘Head Study 7’. Richly textured as a collage of overlaid scraps and strips of paper in a patchwork of soft grey, cream, ochre and splash of coral with dramatic and disturbing effect.

Head Study 7, Lindsay Storstein

Figurative work devoid of facial features is as powerful if not more so, as a conventional portrait. The blurring of identity was a trademark of the Bloomsbury artist, Vanessa Bell who aimed to represent the complexity of the mind as in the faceless portrait of her sister, the intellectual writer, Virginia Woolf who suffered from mental illness all her life.  

Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell

Likewise, half covered with a plaster to heal a wound and a staring dark eye, Lindsay’s ‘Head Study 6,’ is a stunning image, again exploring beneath the surface of hidden emotion. Picasso’s distorted faces was his way of showing how he views a person from different angles as well as portraying the sitter’s emotions and thoughts – to make the viewer aware of what the sitter is feeling.

Head Study 6, Lindsay Storstein

This distorted technique is brilliantly achieved in ‘Head Study 10’ where the face is partially masked by a newspaper cutting, placed upside down: look carefully at the first line – When I look at portraits of myself. With a bold, brash sketchy style with sightless eyes and drips of blood-red paint, this is a haunting reflection of fear and anguish.  

Head Study 10, Lindsay Storstein

Lindsay also has a passion for drawing the iconic shape of fish.  The glowing, glistening pink, green and blue scales of freshly caught mackerel (or trout or herring?), in ‘Fish 3,’ are set against the watery splash of a seascape with the sandy shore, loch and rolling hills beyond.  This is a masterly composition with a witty sense of humour.

Fish 3, Lindsay Storstein

An impressionistic, abstract scenic view, ‘Dark Landscape’ has a most effective thick texture, with a sweep of brushstrokes creating a thundery sky, brightened by the icy white streak of winter snow – brilliantly atmospheric.

Dark Landscape, Lindsay Storstein

‘Beneath the Surface” is a well-conceived and most inspirational joint showcase, expressing the powerful poignancy of memories with soulful, often surreal, artistic imagination.

Whitespace Gallery, 76 East Crosscauseway, Edinburgh EH8 9HQ

17 – 23 September, 2021

Open daily: 11am-6pm except for Thursday 23: 11am-4pm


Scottish Ballet is back on the road with ‘Starstruck’, a vivacious new version of Gene Kelly’s classic Pas de Dieux (1960).

After eighteen months of dark theatres with no live performances, the dancers at Scottish Ballet are polishing their pointe and tap shoes to set off on the road again around Scotland.

What could be more exhilarating than presenting the UK premiere of Pas de Dieux to pay tribute to the pioneering choreography by the American musical legend, Gene Kelly in collaboration with Kelly’s widow, Patricia Ward Kelly.

Gene Kelly’s modern dance work, Pas de Dieux was first performed by Paris Opera Ballet in 1960.  For this revival, Scottish Ballet’s Artistic Director Christopher Hampson and designer, Lez Brotherston have now jazzed up the original ballet as Starstruck, set to a score of Gershwin’s Concerto in F with additional extracts from Chopin. 

So how was the star of many iconic Hollywood musicals invited to create his own new work for the Paris Opera Ballet.? 

During the 1940s and 1950s, Gene Kelly was an all round performer whose athletic style and classical ballet technique transformed the film musical through his innovative choreography and direction. He blended solo dances, ensembles and inventive camera angles to tell a story in purely visual terms.

The 1951 film An American in Paris starring Gene Kelly was inspired by George Gershwin’s 1928 jazz symphony of the same name, and through its radical blend of ballet and jazz music, it won the Academy Award for best picture.  After this great success and the discovery of Leslie Caron, he was keen to collaborate with another French dancer and cast Claude Bessy, a ‘danseuse etoile’ at Paris Opera Ballet for the Hollywood movie, Invitation to the Dance and other films.

When Kelly offered to create a ballet especially for Bessy, he became the first American choreographer to work at the Palais Garnier – so that he himself was an American in Paris.!

Gene Kelly – an American in Paris at the Palais Garnier

Pas de Dieux (a clever wordplay on Pas de Deux), is a lively blend of classical ballet steps and musical comedy jazz routines, with a score by George Gershwin. It tells the story of Aphrodite and Eros, who descend to earth and on the beach where they have landed, the ardent goddess and mischievous god seduce a lifeguard and his fiancée. Just when the beautiful Aphrodite is dancing with her suitor, Zeus arrives to win back his wife and the reconciled immortals return to Olympus, leaving the humans to their earthly loves.

The ballet is set to the three movements of Gershwin’s Concerto in F and Kelly’s snappy choreography is full of fantasy and humour.

Claude Bessy and dancers at the Paris Opera Ballet with Gene Kelly

Kelly commented at the time that it was hard to get the classically trained dancers to go off pointe to loosen up their steps and movement to the jazz beat. Dancing the lead role of Aphrodite was Claude Bessy and the premiere in 1960 was highly acclaimed by the critics as ‘a breath of fresh air. Until tonight, the Paris Opera was ten years behind the times in ballet. Now we are ten years ahead.’ 

Scene from Pas de Dieux, Paris Opera Ballet (photo credit Roger Pic)

For this inspirational production in Paris, Kelly was given the prestigious accolade to be elected as a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour.

Kelly is renowned for his lead role in Singin’ in the Rain, (1952) regarded by some as the best dance film ever made. During the filming of the magical scene when Gene Kelly dances and sings the title song while spinning an umbrella and splashing through puddles, Kelly was suffering from a 103 °F fever. A common myth is that he managed to perform the entire number in one take, thanks to cameras placed in various locations, but it’s more likely that this took a day or so to complete.

Gene Kelly splashes his way down the street in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

In a refreshing and vivacious new version of Pas de Dieux by Scottish Ballet, Starstruck is set amidst the glamorous culture and couture of Paris in 1960, in Gene Kelly’s world where jazz meets ballet, the Gods masquerade as mortals and the stars are in alignment.  The premiere takes place on 23rd September, 2021 at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow and then goes on tour to Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

During 2020 with theatres closed, Scottish Ballet kept on working behind the scenes and created a Christmas treat on film, The Secret Theatre for audiences to view at home and two works, Dive and Odyssey for International Dance Day.

With a neat connection to Gene Kelly’s Hollywood career, a film version of Starstruck will combine live performance and cinematic techniques for another immersive, theatrical experience on screen. Directed by Oscar Sansom in partnership with Forest of Black, Starstruck will be released in partnership with Marquee TV on Friday 26 November, 2021. (Advance tickets on sale next month).

Public support is vital to help the company return to touring and audiences can help bring ballet back to the theatres by donating to the Fit for the Gods Appeal. Designer Lez Brotherston has created 100 stunning new costumes to reimagine the original Parisian designs for Kelly’s choreography. 

 ‘We are overjoyed to be returning to stage this autumn, to finally perform to live audiences across Scotland. Gene Kelly’s pioneering choreography influenced a generation of dance-makers, and we honour his creative legacy with this dazzling new production’.

Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet

Time to raise a glass in celebration!

A unique cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky, laid down in 1994, has now been bottled ready for auction as part of Diageo’s prestigious Casks of Distinction range. The Scottish artist Norman Edgar was commissioned to paint the cask end portraying Principal dancer Nicci Theis in the iconic role of Princess Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty.

‘The Sleeping Beauty’ will be launched with 470 bottles to be sold at a Whisky Auctioneer auction on 9-13 September 2021, with all monies raised contributing to the Scottish Ballet Endowment Fund.

‘The Sleeping Beauty’ is a single-cask Highland malt at 56.3% vol. The top notes are of dried fruits and spices, evolving into Christmas cake, plum pudding and mince pies on a bosky (bramble) base.

The Sleeping Beauty whisky for Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet presents Starstruck across Scotland from 23 September–16 October, 2021: Theatre Royal, Glasgow (23-25 September), Eden Court, Inverness (30 September-2 October), His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (7-9 October) and Festival Theatre, Edinburgh (14-16 October).

Full information on tour dates and booking tickets:

Fit for the Gods Costume Appeal:

The Sleeping Beauty Whisky auction:

The bold, beautiful art and design by Julia Krone is composed with decorative, lyrical vision.

Woman Seated, Joan Miro

“I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music. .. a picture must dazzle like the beauty of a woman or a poem. It must have radiance; What I am seeking is a motionless movement, the eloquence of silence.

Joan Miro

After such a strange and surreal year, we all need a dazzling dash of colour in our lives to lift the spirits and Julia Krone exudes free-flowing energy and spontaneity in her vibrant artwork with a delightful, decorative aesthetic.

Originally from South Africa she enjoyed a showbiz lifestyle performing as a jazz singer before moving to the UK in 2007. She studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and has now developed a successful career specialising in painting, print-making, textile design and collage at her Georgian home-studio-gallery in the New Town.

Julia Krone’s ‘Dream Catcher’ collection was selected to be shown at the B gallery, Paris in December 2020, to offer a sense of hope after lockdown, and described as comparable to the iconic Waterlily paintings by Monet.

This evocative image was also used to promote Nelson Mandela Freedom Day by the Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg last year.

Art from this series includes Dream Catcher 1, a finely crafted, kaleidoscopic pattern, combining pointillism dots, zigzag lines and meandering rows of flagstones, like taking a walk through a garden of trees and flowers.  An ethereal view through a window suggesting a welcome escape from the harsh realities of life.

Dreamcatcher I, Julia Krone

This iconic painting is available as a signed Fine Art Print, beautifully framed in an elegant white display box (25 x 25 cm) with a perspex front, a limited edition of 400 prints. Also as a Limited Edition Fine Art Print on German Etch Paper, in various sizes available from the online shop.

By definition, a “dream catcher” is a protective talisman that is used to protect people from nightmares, with a charm traditionally hung above children’s beds. 

Julia Krone surrounded by her colourful artwork in her studio gallery, Edinburgh

Around the walls of Julia Krone’s gallery is a distinctive range of original mixed media paintings and canvas prints in a bold choice of colour and design as well as a fabulous display of artistic fabrics and home interiors.

Purple Haze, Julia Krone

Another series is Purple Haze which is like a glorious burst of fireworks, sparklers and Catherine wheels in bright pink, coral, turquoise and kiwi green – a joyful expression with a real sense of humour.

Clarity VII, Julia Krone (Acrylic on board)

In cool contrast, Clarity VII focusses on the simplicity of shape – the yellow and icy blue pebbles on a backdrop of purple creates a pure, cool abstract pattern, reminiscent of the masterly artwork of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and William Scott.

Likewise, Town & Country XIII is a mesmerising, meditative design in rainbow colours with a mishmash of half moons, circles, stripes, spirals and blocks with vivacious movement.

Town & Country, XIII Julia Krone (Mixed media on canvas)

Julia often depicts the world of nature in varying abstracted forms such as the translucent fluidity of water and the attractive floral pattern in Sea Garden, with an imaginative flurry and flourish of pink and coral petals.

Sea Garden I, Julia Krone (Mixed media on board)

Sea Garden I is also available as a Fine Art Print on canvas. There is also a tangible sense of the ebb and flow of water and waves across the tapestry of gestural marks in Squaring the Circle, which creates a light and lyrical expression of movement where bubbles of air appear to float off the canvas.

Squaring the Circle I, Julia Krone (Silk Screen Print with collage on paper)

These paintings capture an underlying narrative as if to depict memories of land and seascapes, akin to the abstract Action paintings by American artist, Joan Mitchell, who said:

My paintings repeat a feeling about Lake Michigan, or water, or fields… It’s more like a poem… and that’s what I want to paint.” Joan Mitchell (1925-1992)

The collection of work entitled Nice was inspired by a visit to the Matisse Museum in the South of France, features a block of overlaid strips in pastel shades like a finely crafted 3D collage.

Nice II, Julia Krone

Nice II above is a signed Fine Art Print on German Etch paper, available in various sizes. These stunning designs in particular would be fabulous as a versatile fabric for clothing and home interior furnishings.

The iconic Bloomsbury decorative arts created by Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant at the Omega Workshop blurred the border between art, design, ceramics, home furnishings and fashion.

The painterly, interior design of Charleston Farmhouse with eclectic Bloomsbury vision

Their Bohemian style is still preserved at Charleston Farmhouse and a recurring influence on interior design today. Virginia Woolf once described her sister Vanessa as “A Poet in Colour.”

Julia Krone shares a similar but entirely original and contemporary aesthetic as an artist and textile designer, creating fabrics for art cushions and lampshades –  many of her bold patterns would be ideal too for pottery, silk scarves and accessories. 

Art Cushion with VV Rouleaux Tassels, Julia Krone

This is just a short overview of Julia’s exciting, fresh and imaginative art and design which radiates such energy through colour and dancing shapes as well as quiet, peaceful reflection.

Akin to Miro’s philosophy, the underlying poetic message depicts human emotion, spirituality and a zest for life.

For more information, to view the range of artwork and arrange a visit to the studio gallery:

Following a successful exhibition during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 2021, Julia Krone’s Gallery will continue to be open on Thursdays from 13:00-18:00 – just ring the doorbell, use Track & Trace and wear a mask.

A diverse range of original Paintings, as well as Fine Art Prints on canvas or on paper, decorative art cushions and lampshades. Fine Art Prints, free delivery in the UK.

Julia has had her work shown at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, featured in many private international art collections, and regularly promoted in Interior Design Magazines.

Dazzling, decorative artwork and interior designs for the home by Julia Krone