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Common Ground – the quiet, contemplative, spiritual Art of Alan Lennon and Michael Cook @ Lennon-Art Gallery, Edinburgh

Lennon-Art is a bright and colourful gallery in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, founded earlier this year by the artist Alan Lennon, to showcase his own multi-media work, alongside contemporary figurative paintings by selected artists.

A new exhibition Common Ground (17 November to 3 December, 2017) is a collaboration between Alan Lennon and Michael Cook who share a strong artistic bond through similar ideas and themes, specialising in symbolic figures set in imaginative environments.

The narrative behind Common Ground focuses on spirituality, religious faith and the wider aspect of the human condition,  the characteristics and essence of existence – birth, growth, emotion, aspiration, conflict and mortality.

Adrift, Alan Lennon

On the opening night, Richard Holloway, the writer, broadcaster and former Bishop of Edinburgh gave a most profound speech on the topic of philosophical belief.   Unlike the animal world, it is only the human race with the intellect to question the meaning of life, the reason for so much suffering and sorrow.

It is has long been the role of artists, musicians and writers to express their own views on this elusive subject. Gerard Manley Hopkins used poetry to describe his religious faith using symbolic images of birds, trees and natural world.

Those who Endure in Peace, Michael Cook

He advises gallery visitors to view the art with a fresh eye, without having to rely on the given title – let the images, mood, sensibility relate to you personally what the artist is trying to communicate.

Fish out of Water, Alan Lennon

Alan Lennon’s paintings explore the human form with a recurring theme of isolated figures, often surrounded by the open sea, with facial expressions which depict deep contemplation and thought.   In works such as “Adrift” and “Fish out of Water”, there is an unsettling sense of loneliness, despair and vulnerability.  But, of course, you can find your own hidden meaning in these soulful compositions.

A more humorous, quirky portrait is of a red haired girl, sitting (perhaps) on a seashore rock, where, in her arms she cuddles a cute, fat cat.

The title is “Hear What I am Not Saying” whether this refers to a silent prayer to God, or trying to converse with her cat. Enigmatic yes, but such a poignant image.

Hear What I am not Saying, Alan Lennon

  “My quiet figures occupy barren landscapes, still monuments that focus on unspoken communication, the subtlety and complexity of a moment, the simple gesture loaded with meaning. ”

Alan is also a most accomplished sculptor working with both clay and stone to create meticulously carved Heads and Busts. Reminiscent of Rodin’s “The Thinker,” one stunning piece, “Regret” is of a man covering his mouth with his hand, as if he cannot dare to speak, in a state of mental torment.

Regret, Alan Lennon

Michael Cook lives and works in Melbourne, Derbyshire, inspired since childhood by the countryside of fields and orchards, flora and fauna.  Following the Romantic and Visionary tradition, his artwork represents feelings of joy and loss, as well as capturing the power of religious devotion.

‘My pictures recall the days I spent wandering alone through the Derbyshire countryside, where I discovered both the beauty and the pain of Nature.  I deliberately employ Nature as a metaphor for emotions and I use human figures to express mystery and spiritual longing.’

Hand Like a Nest, Michael Cook

In a striking portrait, “Hand Like a Nest,” the curved bowl-like hand of Saint Kevin gives sanctuary for three tiny blackbird’s eggs; his head is portrayed in sharp, chiselled Cubist style, the eyes shut in peaceful repose with a kindly expression. Behind, soft light shines through the window comparing the interior confinement of the room and the distant outdoor world.

Like charming children’s book illustrations, Cook also specialises in animals such as carefree hares racing across a flourishing green meadow, against a backdrop of trees, sun and moon.

Leaping the Thorns, Michael Cook

Mystic Hare, Michael Cook

This well curated exhibition clearly shows how Lennon and Cook’s work complement each other so beautifully.  Around the gallery their joint theme  an underlying sense of kindness and compassion, an aura of silence,  private visions of anguish and indecision, trying to find the right path on the journey through life.

“Where lies your landmark, seamark, or soul’s star?” ― Gerard Manley Hopkins

At this time of year, as we head towards Christmas and the birth of the New Year,  these gentle, solitary figures amidst calm, dreamlike, landscapes illustrate the meaning and importance of peace and goodwill to all mankind.

Thought-provoking narrative art with real emotional heart.

Lennon-Art Gallery, 83 Henderson Row, Edinburgh EH3 5BE

17 November to 3 December, 2017 –  Mon-Sat, 11am – 6pm.  Sun 1 – 4pm.

Original art, paintings, sculpture, photo-montage prints and cards. 

www.lennon-art.co.uk

www.hallowed-art.co.uk

Alan Lennon

Michael Cook

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“Serene Expressions” – a painterly tour around Edinburgh by Jamie Primrose at Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh

Autunn Shadows in the Meadows.

At the Dundas Street Gallery this week, take a painterly, virtual reality tour around Edinburgh to view the classic architecture of the Old and New Towns, climb Arthur’s Seat, stroll through the tree-lined Meadows and down to the waterfront at Leith.

Since 2003, I have followed Jamie Primrose’s own artistic journey, from Scotland to South America and the Mediterranean,  as he has perfected a bold style and precise palette to create his own dramatic, moody, impressionistic landscapes: during the summer, he showcased a masterly exhibition of shimmering seascapes along the French and Italian Rivieras.

This fine new collection of work reflects the natural beauty and architectural heritage of Edinburgh as seen through the seasons. The Meadows are captured from flowering pink blossom in Spring to the bare, skeletal avenue of trees in winter, but whatever the time of year, the scenes are enriched with realistic shafts of light and shadow.

It is quite extraordinary how he can return again and again to the same or similar city views where, through different times of day and the year, he observes the scene with a distinctively fresh perspective. This reveals the personal passion for his home, the city of Edinburgh.

Expressions from Calton Hill

“The view of Edinburgh from the road before you enter Leith is quite enchanting: it is, as Albert said, fairy-like and what you would only imagine as a thing to dream of, or to see in a picture.”  Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria made her first visit to Scotland in 1842, just five years after becoming Queen. She noted this description in her journal at the time, marvelling at the beautiful views of the Castle, Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat.

175 years later Jamie Primrose is equally inspired by the same enchanting cityscapes with its timeless, majestic sense of place.  In the introduction he says he is “fascinated by the ephemeral nature of light” and here you can experience the shifting times of day from dawn to dusk.   Taking prominence on one wall is “ Spring Sunset from Arthur’s Seat, ”  a marvellous panorama of the grassy hilltop and craggy rocks beneath a sultry, serene sky.

Spring sunset from Arthur’s Seat

Very much his recurring forte are these fiery sunsets – wild streaks of coral-pink and grey tinted cloudy skies with a rosy glow bursting on the horizon.  Arthur’s Seat is a favourite stomping ground for Primrose  – here too are tranquil scenes of Duddingston Loch as well as “Late Afternoon glow over Dunsapie Loch,”  looking across the distant bay towards East Lothian.

Late Afternoon Glow over Dunsappie Loch

“Winter sunset reflections on St. Margaret’s Loch,” is also a calm composition where the water dapples under soft, fading light and a streak of feathery clouds.  So atmospheric, you can almost feel the chill wind in the air.

Winter Sunset Reflections on St. Margaret’s Loch

Back in the city centre, enjoy a walk up and down Victoria Street between George IV Bridge and the Grassmarket: colourful, curving and cobbled, the street is a tourist attraction for antiques, books, cheese, whisky, tailored tweed clothing, the Bow Bar and restaurants.

Twilight skies over Victoria Street

Primrose shows Victoria Street in the quiet darkness of night to depict the quirky row of shops under a sweeping mauve sky. Around the Old Town, there are fine architectural studies around the Royal Mile, the iconic skyline of elegant church spires and the Castle towering high on the Rock.

A fairy-like city indeed – Queen Victoria would surely be impressed!.

Private Commissions are also welcome – perhaps a favourite landscape or your own street.  Limited Edition Prints (destinations from Scotland to Venice), and Black Indian Ink Drawings are available too  – the  ideal Christmas present for family, friends or your home.

Serene Expressions – Friday 3rd to Saturday 11th November, 2017. 

The Dundas Street Gallery, 6a Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ

Monday to Friday  11am – 6pm.   Saturday & Sunday  11am – 5pm

www.jamieprimrose.com

Spring Shadows towards Bruntsfield

 

 

 

 

Joy Arden, “Time and Place” – a surreal, abstract journey around our natural world: &Gallery, Edinburgh

Glimpse, blue grey, Joy Arden

My paintings currently refer to the tension between the natural and urban landscape.  I am interested in a sense of presence and atmosphere through the materials, the form and colour.  It is the sense of place, the passage of time as well as the traces left by human activity in the environment which forms a focus for the work.  Joy Arden

&Gallery is a tranquil place for art lovers, showcasing fine art, drawing, painting and printmaking, complemented by ceramics, sculpture, glass and jewellery across the spectrum of contemporary visual and applied arts.  The two spacious rooms down a few steps at 17 Dundas Street show distinctive, well curated monthly exhibitions.

From 7th October to 1st November,  2017, Joy Arden is presenting a stunning series of dramatic oil paintings and monotypes, entitled “Time and Place”.

The Fallen, Joy Arden

Having moved to Edinburgh in 2003 from Ireland (her home for 20 years after graduation), Joy is based at the Coburg Art Studios, Leith. She is a specialist in printmaking, especially stone lithography.

Having studied at a summer school at Edinburgh College of Art, she took an Advanced Painting course at Leith School of Art, where she was awarded the Elisa Clifford Prize, 2008 and then presented with the Anne Redpath Award – Visual Arts Scotland Exhibition 2011.

Walk around &Gallery to be absorbed by an extraordinary portfolio of land and seascapes .. although such a defined term is not strictly correct as there are no particular locations – countryside, beaches, buildings, cities –  named in any title.  These are cool, creatively composed landscapes of the mind, the astute observation of a place as perceived by way of space, shade, tone and texture.

Flow, Joe Arden

A captivating work is “Flow” with its bold, brash brushstrokes in thick oil, creating horizontal stripes in soft greys, cream, a touch of moss green and heathery plum. Each person, says Joy, will see what they feel and see in the painting, whether thick rain clouds, surfing waves, hills or a winter snowy landscape.

This is also true of “ The Edge”, a stunning composition with carefully placed geometric shapes in rich blues, pastel pinky peach and grass green, surrounding the dominant grey central block.  It does not matter where the actual place (if any) is depicted here, the artist has created a dialogue with the viewer. It encourages you to linger longer in front of each atmospheric painting .

The Edge, Joy Arden

Aberlady Nature Reserve, East Lothian is a favourite place for Joy to wander with her sketch book, with its pretty woodland, sand dunes, a habitat for birds, but also lurking in the undergrowth are historic defence relics from World War II – linking the beauty of nature with the memory of man’s inhumanity to man.

Traces, Joy Arden

With the title “Time and Place” the subject matter is also a reflection of scenes through a time travelling journey, a place of the imagination like an artistic archaeologist.

She has been inspired by the Prestongrange open air industrial heritage park in East Lothian to represent in fragmented manner, the distillation of its heritage.

“ … traces of human activity evident in the remains of buildings and rusting machinery. Scattered fragments from its mining and pottery industries ….merge with the landscape”.

In all these paintings and prints, the environment is interpreted not in a realistic manner but through layers of softly muted, translucent and opaque colours to capture the essence of earth, water, light.

A monotype, entitled “Black /Sienna” is a surreal, dramatic blend of dark shadows against a shimmering glow and a bright streak of gold like sun-burnt terrain.

Black/Sienna, Joy Arden

Take a visit to &Gallery soon to experience the magic, mystery and mastery of these abstract representations of land, sea, history and heritage across our natural and man made world.

Joy Arden – “Time and Place”

7 October to 1st November, 2017: Tues – Fri, 10am-5pm. Sat. 10am – 4pm.

&Gallery, 17 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6DQ

andgallery.co.uk  info@andgallery.co.uk

Blue Green, Joy Arden

 

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.

Douglas Davies with his painting, Whinny Brae

“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.

Melting Snows

“Rain Clouds” shows a distant grey streak on the horizon within a mass of billowing white over misty, low lying hills.

Rain Clouds

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.

Tweed Valley

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.

Grasses

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.

Anemones

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)

www.douglasdaviesgallery.co.uk

Breton Harbour

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.

Sunset over Arran, Tommy Fitchet

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

http://www.saorsa-art.com

 

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”.

Fold, Marion Barron

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.

Structure, Marion Barron

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.

Duddingston Loch 1, Trevor Davies

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’

Galileo’s Moons, Trevor Davies

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.”

Oyster Bed, Ruth Thomas, (drawing)

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.

Reworked, Ruth Thomas
(painting)

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:

https://www.facebook.com/artistmarion/

http://trevor-davies.net/

http://ruththomasart.co.uk/about/

 

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.

Walk with Me across the Fields, Anne Butler

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.”

Taste the Salt Drench, Anne Butler

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.

Out of the Blue, Anne Butler

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:

www.annebutlerart.com

http://www.suemayfield.co.uk  

In the Dreaming, Anne Butler

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Edinburgh Festival exhibition by Joan Gillespie @ Grilli Gallery, 29 July to 16 August, 2017

Calling all art lovers. Exciting news for summer 2017 with the re-opening of the former Edinburgh Gallery.  After a few years away, Catherine Grilli is back “home” at her new, beautifully decorated Grilli Gallery, Dundas Street.

Grilli Gallery

For the first of two exhibitions for the Edinburgh Festival, there’s a marvellous solo showcase of paintings by Joan Gillespie. Her artistic training at college started in fine style, being fortunate to study under Alberto Morrocco and also with Sir Robin Philippson.  Developing her career, she became inspired by both the Expressionist tradition of The Scottish Colourists and the modern masters of Fauvism – Derain, Matisse and Cezanne.

Landscape, Andre Derain, 1907

The Fauves (“wild beasts”), a revolutionary group of French painters were influenced by Van Gogh and Gauguin, to experiment further with the use of intense colour to describe light and space without having to be true to the natural world.   “When I put a green, it it not grass. When I put a blue, it is not the sky.” Henri Matisse

The diversity of Gillespie’s work is quite extraordinary. Walk around this light-filled, L- shaped gallery to see an enchanting collection of Portraits, Figurative works, Landscapes and Still Life.

Window Seat, Joan Gillespie

Here are fresh-faced portraits defining the essence of feminine grace and beauty.  For example, “Window Seat”  captures the cool, calm pose of a young woman through the simplicity of  quick, broad brushstrokes with just a couple of lines to depict her expressive eyes and thoughtful mood.  Akin to a fashion designer drawing a quick sketch, this is enhanced to bring a sense of realism and depth of emotion.

As a homage to Derain and Matisse, this demonstrates her own individual, bold, vibrant approach to colour, both in palette choice and wild, carefree application; spot the splashes of blue and green on her face and dress, to echo the scenic seascape.   Despite the vibrancy of tone and texture, this is a most evocative, quiet composition.

These simple, subtle and serene figurative studies are a visual delight, such as Model in Navy Blue and Night Window and Model in Stripes, each lost in their own thoughts and solitude.

Model in a blue dress, Joan Gillespie

“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity ..”  Henri Matisse

Seated young girl, Henri Matisse

Gillespie develops her own manner and interpretation of the female form with a sensual series of nudes to create delicately intimate scenes which are so expressive in just a brief moment in time – a girl drying herself after a bath, another taking off her blue shirt. Bold, thick lines give clarity to body shape, limbs and flowing hair with a vivid sense of movement and life.

Bather at the Window, Joan Gillespie

A sensual series of nudes create delicately intimate scenes which are so expressive, interpreting a brief moment in time – a girl drying herself after a bath, another taking off her blue shirt. Bold, thick lines give clarity to body shape, limbs and flowing hair with a vivid sense of movement and life.

Female Figure Undressing, Joan Gillespie

Here too around the gallery walls, breathe in the fragrant scent wafting around from the vases of gorgeous Sunflowers, slender Tulips, vivacious Irises and sweet Roses.  No wonder people love to collect still life paintings such as these joyous images, to bring warmth and the natural world into our homes all year round.

Tulips in a blue jug, Joan Gillespie

 “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” Henri Matisse

Joan Gillespie, like so many artists across the generations,  is drawn to explore the South of France with her paintbrushes and sketchbook, to experience the heat and light along the Cote d’Azur in reality and on canvas.

Mediterranean View, Joan Gillespie

Like a richly illustrated travel brochure, be enticed by her luscious landscapes which layer white sand beaches and the ultramarine blue of the Mediterranean Sea, under the dazzling warmth of the summer sun.

Do visit the Grilli Gallery soon to view this exuberant and alluring showcase which will certainly brighten your day.. or indeed your home, if you decide to purchase one of these paintings.  Joan Gillespie is a most refreshingly imaginative artist who has clearly followed her own private, painterly journey,  enriched by Fauvism philosophy:

 “We were intoxicated with colour, with words that speak of colour, and with the sun that makes colours live.” Andre Derain

The Grilli Gallery

Festival Solo Exhibition by Joan Gillespie

29 July to 16 August, 2017

20a Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ  tel. 0131 261 4624

http://www.art-grilli.co.uk

 

Woman in a Chemise, Andre Derain

“Think Less, Feel More” by Alice Boyle @ Howe Street Arts, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

After a very successful exhibition last year on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Alice Boyle is back this summer with a showcase of scintillating new work at Howe Street Arts, Howe Street, Edinburgh, from 25 July to 13 August, 2017.

The title “Think Less, Feel More” is taken from a 5 star review by Waldemar Januszcak of the Abstract Expressionism exhibition last year at Royal Academy, in which he concluded:

Willem de Kooning, Pink Angels, 1945

“.. art that set out to paint the way we feel through evocation and sensation. There’s not enough emotion in our art any more. We think too much and feel too little”.

Inspired herself by the Royal Academy retrospective of Rothko, Pollock, Gorky, de Kooning, et al,  Alice has taken a new route in the mode and manner of her own abstract expressionistic paintings.

Moving away from vibrant colours to a simplified palette, this exciting new collection exudes more of a sense of free-flowing energy and spontaneity, such as “Dancing on Waves” with its powerful force of deep, surging, surfing water.

Dancing on Waves, Alice Boyle

There are also quietly subdued images such as  “Are We Nearly Home Yet,”  a delicately composed flurry of whiteness, depicting a cool, icy isolated landscape, real or imaginary, with a warming streak of bright orange.

Are We Nearly Home Yet, Alice Boyle

Quirky titles reflect the human spirit and changing complexities of contemporary life, such as “Keep Connecting”, “It will Get Easier”, “Choices.”  In similar vein is “Decisions, Decisions”, a mass of swirling circles like a cloud of confusing thoughts, the feeling when one is unable to make up one’s mind.

Decisions, Decisions, Alice Boyle

In a more celebratory mood, “Feel the Bright” is a vibrant display of what could be fireworks, with sparkling bursts of light and fire, in which you can almost hear the sound of snap, crackle, pop.

Feel the Bright, Alice Boyle

Shine Bright Like a Diamond, Alice Boyle

“Shine like a Bright Diamond”  captures the sharp-edged, multi-faceted features of the gemstone with against an abstract flurry of colour, and dribbles of white paint like a precious pearl necklace.

Alice Boyle originally studied Interior Architecture and there are subtle influences here of monochrome, diagrammatic building blocks, blended with the Bridget Riley or Missoni approach to stylistic, structured pattern.

Alice uses acrylic paint with plaster to create richly textured layers on hardboard.

This is clearly evident in a humorous painting, “Let’s believe in Magic”, where thick brushstrokes create a golden yellow brick road ….perhaps leading us merrily along, off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Let’s Believe in Magic, Alice Boyle

Around the gallery, spot Boyle’s artistic trademark of crescent moons, sparkling stars, swirling circles and oval eggs, which all reflect her own interest in the power of mythology as a way to understand the human condition. birth, life and our place in the universe.  “Come Lie with Me” is a whimsical, childlike image of two round button figures, yet with an evocative sexual subtext of romantic love.

Following this theme, a most distinctive work is the visually imaginative, “Tree of Chaos”  akin to a surreal Miro-esque environment, a symbol of growth and the natural world.

Tree of Chaos, Alice Boyle

“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye” Dorothy Parker.

Boyle’s distinctively original work is both wildly creative, yet composed with an astutely detailed, decorative vision: expect to be challenged, emotionally touched and frequently amused.

As the title of the exhibition suggests, we should observe this enigmatic work without too much thought and analysis – just go with the flow, simply let the eye follow curving lines and dancing shapes without trying to find hidden depth and an absolute clarity of meaning.

Alice has let her dreams and imagination run riot and fly sky high – the viewer can only excited and exhilarated by these bold and boisterous paintings. Choreographed like a dance, you will feel a sense of spirited movement, rhythm and energy, representing a passionate love of life, joy and renewed hope – a fresh, new, sassy and sophisticated style of Abstract Expressionism for the 21st century.

“Think Less, Feel More” – Alice Boyle

Howe Street Arts, 2 Howe Street, Edinburgh EH3 6TD

25 July to 13 August, 2017 – 10am to 7pm daily.

http://www.aliceboyle.co.uk

Arshile Gorky, Water of the Flowery Mill, 1944

“New Growth”: Abstract, Conceptual and Figurative Paintings by Davy Macdonald. Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh

Until this point of my artistic journey I have focussed predominately on figurative painting together with landscape and still life studies. I now find my art evolving in new directions and recently have become interested in the development of abstract and conceptual art”

Davy Macdonald

With his own unique and innovative series of artistic genres, Davy Macdonald has been exhibiting in Edinburgh and London since 2009.  He has specialised in figurative works set within an historic or cultural background for his excellent Heritage Series such as Harris Tweed and Herring Lassies. These are stunning, dramatic paintings which tell the story of the women who wove the wool, against a backdrop of wild Hebridean seascapes, as well as the iconic fisherwomen at Newhaven harbour, shucking oysters and salting herring.

New Growth

This exhibition, “New Growth” is a diverse and dramatic range of Figurative, Abstract and Conceptual work, which clearly show how he has developed his style with a renewed creative spirit. His fascination with history, as illustrated with his impressive narrative paintings, is also matched by an interest in mythology and symbolism.

Three Ways North, Davy Macdonald

A new departure is venturing into abstract paintings – bold, vibrant patterns which express a freedom of movement, colour and geometric shape. “3 Ways North”  is a humorous, quirky representation of a map with the sign North, shown in three positions. Hang the picture any which way, to view the landscape of meandering roads, undulating hills, where the eye follows the compass direction upwards, right and left.

Follow Davy on an artistic journey, real or imagined. Reflecting on the political and environmental challenges which the world is now facing, “Weeping Earth” is a poignant and powerful illustration.

Weeping Earth, 2, Davy Macdonald

Picture the bleak scene: a wild sky of threatening dark clouds, a mass of grey, black and white captured in bold brushstrokes. Streaks of crimson red appear to drip like blood on to the stark, dry desert below, scorched in the heat.  Simple in structure, it packs a punch in its vibrancy and apocolyptic vision.

With his interest in Chinese art, “Jade Mine” is another striking conceptual image, reflecting the Yin and Yang theory of passive and active energy. Against the dark green of high mountain peaks, there’s the fiery glare of a red sun. Jade gemstones hold a significant place in the Chinese culture, believed to be a bridge between heaven and hell, symbolising knowledge, perfection, constancy and immortality.

Jade Mine, Davy Macdonald

Japanese cinema from the 1970s is also the subject of a few works, featuring such characters as such as Lone Wolf and Lady Snowblood.  This cult classic movie from director, Toshiya Fujita, a young woman (Meiko Kaji), trained as an assassin to seek revenge for the murders of her father and brother; the choreographed swordplay is described as visual poetry.

Macdonald has returned to his Heritage series of the Herring Lassies, evolving the theme by placing two or three young women in a less defined landscape. They stand, holding baskets of fish, gazing out at distant hills at sunrise, perhaps remembering and dreaming of their island home.

Sunrise 2, Davy Macdonald

Rather than the naturalistic setting of Newhaven harbour, this could be the Scottish Highlands, Outer Hebrides, Finland, Norway, Iceland.  These are most impressive figurative-landscapes, evocative of a freeze frame in a film, a moment in time, expressing a quiet emotional sense of nostalgia and loss.

Sunrise 1, Davy Macdonald

Around the gallery are new Portraits such as the artist’s muse, Evelyn Nesbit, the fair-skinned beauty from Tarentum, Philadelphia.

Muse, Evelyn Nesbitt, Davy Macdonald

After her father died, leaving her Scottish-Irish family in debt, Nesbit became a muse, modelling, fully clothed,for artists. In June 1900, she moved to New York City and soon, she was the most in-demand model, for portraits and fashion advertising, in Manhattan.

There are also examples of the classic Gothic Edinburgh paintings, and from the original Herring Lassies series. These are popular images with prints and originals being shipped around the world across Europe to Beijing.

“Herring Lassies” Heritage series,    “The Boat that didn’t come home” Davy Macdonald

Having known Davy Macdonald’s work for a few years, this is an inspiring and imaginative exhibition of figurative and abstract oil paintings, as well as Limited Edition Prints.  Prints are available to purchase from the ETSY shop. Each paper edition is strictly limited to 125.  Canvas prints are limited to 18 for each series.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DMACART

Commissions for Portraits are also welcome.

See more information at – www. dmacart.com

New Growth – Paintings by Davy Macdonald

Dundas Street Gallery, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ

Saturday 22 July to Saturday 29 July, 2017. 10am – 6pm daily.