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Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve – the famous Scotch Whisky is jazzed up with a taste of tropical sunshine, spirit and soul.

The Glenlivet Scotch Whisky Company is part of the Pernod Ricard global drinks portfolio, producing 21 million litres of spirit each year, and one of, if not the best selling single malt whisky in the United States. The Glenlivet 18 year old, for instance, has won numerous awards, winning five double golds at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  

With the tagline, “Original by tradition” The Glenlivet has always been innovative to keep up to date with popular trends. Now their first Single Malt to be finished in rum barrels brings the sunny spirit of the Spice islands in the West Indies to the Scottish Highlands with the launch of The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve.

My biggest challenge at The Glenlivet has always been ..consistency of style.. It’s important for us not to become complacent, and to ensure The Glenlivet stands the test of time in quality and in depth of range.”  Alan Winchester, Master Distiller

“The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve is looking to extend that summer feeling, another example of us setting new standards, this time by turning the typical into the tropical.’  Marnie Corrigan, Brand Director, Whiskies, Pernod Ricard UK.

Described as offering a sweet, citrus, fruity and caramel taste, it can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in a selection of cocktails such as the signature Caribbean-inspired tipple, Tartan Tiki.

Before we sample this inspiring new Single Malt Whisky, let’s go back to the start of the journey almost two hundred years ago.

The Glenlivet Distillery, Speyside

A remote Scottish glen in Speyside, through which the River Livet flows, surrounded by hills and fresh water springs, was where George Smith learnt the craft of distilling spirits, creating a characteristic, delicately balanced, malt whisky.

In August 1822, King George IV arrived in Scotland for a state visit and asked to try this fine, yet illicit, whisky. Glenlivet soon became the byword for the best in whisky, and 1824 George Smith was granted the first legal licence to produce the official Glenlivet whisky.

George Smith, the innovative founder of The Glenlivet, 1824

Unfortunately, local whisky makers wanted to destroy this successful business with Royal and aristocratic patronage, such that Smith had to carry a pair of pistols to warn off smugglers to protect his treasure of precious golden spirit.

 By 1852, the novelist Charles Dickens was a rich man with an astute taste for good things in life; he wrote a letter to a friend recommending the “rare old Glenlivet” as a fine single malt whisky, which was above his great expectations!.

Glenlivet 12 year old with Dickens’ letter on the label

The distillery remained in family hands over the generations, taken over by the founder’s great nephew, Captain Bill Smith Grant in 1921, having to deal with severe loss of sales during the Prohibition era.  To woo American drinkers back after its repeal, he forged a partnership with the Pullman Train company which served miniature bottles of Glenlivet whisky – spreading the word and the taste across the United States.

Drinks served in the Buffet Car – America train travel in the early 20th century

1950 – The Glenlivet is now the most popular Scotch whisky sold in the USA and through increased global travel, it’s promoted worldwide.

2015 – Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, creates a speciality single malt, the Founders Reserve, to capture the original smooth, fruity taste. 

Scotch Whisky regional map

Whisky can be matured or finished in various types of casks and barrels –  wood, wine, port, sherry, madeira, beer and rum.  Rum casks, known as a Butt or Puncheon, is not a new idea, especially for Irish and US whiskey-makers.

2020 –  The launch of the new Caribbean Reserve, carefully crafted by finishing their fine Speyside single malt in oak puncheons to take on the flavour of Caribbean rum. 

What Glenlivet say:

Nose: Sweet notes of pear and red apple meet a fabulous tropical twist of ripe bananas in syrup. Palate: Rich caramel toffee notes, followed by mandarin orange, vanilla and melon, well balanced and smooth. Finish: Citrusy and delicate.

The first test for this pure amber liquid is the aroma of sweet, tropical fruit, and then a sip to detect a complex array of honey, orange, apricot, coconut, ginger and subtle spicy rum flavours. Expect a lingering, slow finish which is distinctly smoky – warming, bonfire wood smoke to my palate – with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, baked banana and overall, it’s so rich and smooth.  

Whisky nosers, as they called themselves, eschewed what they saw as the pretentiousness of wine vocabulary. While oenophiles resorted to recondite adjectives, whisky nosers spoke the language of everyday life, detecting hints of stale seaweed, or even diesel fuel.
Alexander McCall Smith,  The Sunday Philosophy Club

As well as sipped neat or on the rocks, this rich, rum soaked whisky is an ideal partner in various rum and whisky cocktails such as a Mai Tai, Rob Roy, Whisky Sour and an Old Fashioned.

The Mai Tai was created in 1944 by Victor Bergeron at his bar, Trader Vic’s, Emeryville, California, inspired by the ancient Tiki culture and paradise island life of French Polynesia.  When his cocktail of dark Jamaican rum, fresh lime juice, a dash of orange Curação, French Orgeat (almond) syrup, was given to a friend from Tahiti, the response was “Mai tai, roa ae” which means “Out of this world, the best.”

Trader Vic’s original Tiki Cockail, the Mai Tai

Mai Tai  – with Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve instead of Rum.

50 ml Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, 25 ml Triple sec, (or Cointreau), 25 ml lime juice, 15 ml Orgeat or Orange syrup.

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake briskly then strain into a Highball glass with ice cubes. Garnish with lime and mint.

Caribbean Reserve Mai Tai cocktails

The delicious sharp, tart taste of orange and lime blends perfectly with the spicy, citrus notes of the whisky and certainly hits the spot.   Just like when sipping a Margarita, I am transported on a trip to Mexico – with this Scottish Mai Tai, catch the tantalising taste of South Sea island sunshine.

Rob Roy  – created in 1894 by a bartender at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City.

Rob Roy recipe

Switch your usual Scotch for Caribbean Reserve which blends so well with the spicy-herbal Vermouth and the aromatic flavour of the Bitters.

50ml Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, 30ml Sweet Vermouth, (e.g. Dubonnet), 1 – 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters; Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice, strain into a coupe and garnish with a twist of orange. (Maraschino cherries are traditional but the orange adds extra zest).

The Roy Roy Scotch whisky cocktail – popular since 1894

These are adapted from two classic Bourbon cocktails:

Whisky Sour  

50ml Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, 25ml lemon juice, 15 ml sugar syrup, 2 dashes Angostura bitters,  ½ fresh egg white.  Shake up with lots of ice, strain into a glass with ice; add zest of lemon and garnish with orange slice.

Old Fashioned

50ml Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, a dash of Angostura bitters, 1 white sugar cube.   Mix the sugar and bitters in a tumbler glass until the sugar dissolves.  Stir in the whisky and add a large ice cube. Garnish with slice of orange and maraschino cherry.

Old Fashioned

The cocktail inspired its eponymous Old Fashioned glass and Cole Porter celebrated it in this bittersweet song.

Make it Another Old Fashioned, Please

Since I went on the wagon, I’m certain drink is a major crime
For when you lay off the liquor, you feel so much slicker
Well that is, most of the time.
But there are moments, sooner or later
When it’s tough, I got to say, love to say, Waiter

Make it another old-fashioned, please
Make it another, double, old-fashioned, please

The Glenlivet has also invented their own tropical cocktail – Tartan Tiki  

Tartan Tiki – the Glenlivet Tropical island-style cocktail

50ml The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, 25ml Pineapple Juice, 2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters Stir these together over ice in a tall glass and top with Peach Sparkling Water.

The recipe creates an ice cold, fruity Whisky “Rum Punch” – more suitable perhaps for hot summer days …. but this is the idea, to bring back the chill-out, Caribbean mood, spirit and soul during the winter and Festive season.

The good news is that the Tartan Tiki cocktail kit has just been launched so that you can easily shake this up at home: The hamper includes 70cl bottle of The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, two bottles of sparkling water, Angostura Bitters, pineapple juice and an orange for the garnish. (6 – 8 serves).

Create at Home – The Tartan Tiki Cocktail kit

Tasting and testing, sipping and sampling The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve in so many different ways, shows how flexible this jazzed up Single Malt proves to be.  Sip a dram poured over a large cube of ice, shake up one of these revamped, classic cocktails above or the tropical Tartan Tiki.

Another seasonal suggestion, instead of the usual Rum, a Caribbean Reserve Hot Toddy would be the perfect, sweet, spicy, smoky winter warmer.

Slainte Mhath!

Where to buy:

The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve is available for purchase at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Amazon and Co-op. RRP £38.59. 

Browse the website and shop on line.

https://www.theglenlivet.com/en-UK

The Caribbean Reserve Tartan Tiki Cocktail kit, RRP £49.50.

https://shop.createcocktails.com/collections/the-glenlivet-caribbean

The Glenlivet Distillery, a painting by Euan McGregor

Solace

Botanical paintings by Julie Croft & photographs by Alexander Van Der Byl, Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh.

Solace – as defined in the dictionary, a noun to mean “comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.”

During this difficult, disruptive year to normal life, work and travel, many people have been inspired by nature – whether city park, country ramble or a wind-blown stroll along a beach.  This strange, surreal time at home has given the opportunity to listen to bird song and observe blossoming flowers in Spring and now the changing trees in Autumn.

Julie Croft studied illustration at Leicester Polytechnic, and then developed her artistic technique and medium as a mural artist during the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Today, her paintings are on a much smaller scale, working at her home in Edinburgh.

The theme of Nature and the Landscape has inspired Julie over the past few months, during the worst times of lockdown, the brighter days through the summer and now heading through the Autumn into Winter.  Here is a most wonderful series of her botanical illustrations and miniature landscapes.

So take a look back to the emerging flourish of plants during April and May with charming watercolours such as Spring Greens.  These slender twigs with their tiny leaves and burst of buds is beautifully sketched and painted in soft colours with such delicate detail.

Moving on swiftly into June and July, blossom blooms with a whiff of Summer Scent from three flowers, which look like, a pink poppy, white daisies and lilac grape hyacinth.  They do transport you into the garden on a warm summer day.

On a walk in October, it’s all about berries, conkers and all the leaves turning golden brown.  This is another charming trio, with a small, dry, curled up leaf, in Autumn Berries. 

And a wonderful collection of golden, sand and burgundy leaves fallen from the trees in the soft shades of the Fall.

Winter Trees is a lovely pencil and watercolour sketch which perfectly sums up the chilly days at the dark end of a year in Nature.

 The wet dawn inks are doing their blue dissolve.
On their blotter of fog the trees
Seem a botanical drawing —
Memories growing, ring on ring,
A series of weddings.

Winter Trees, Sylvia Plath

Julie Croft also paints atmospheric land and seascapes – watercolours on Daler Rowney paper which create a richly textured backdrop. These intimate, small scale scenes are so pleasing to the eye.

At the other side of the gallery is a collection of photographs by Alexander Van Der Byl who is in his final year as a Photography Student at Edinburgh College of Art.

A successful career is already on the cards as this year he was awarded the Astaire Art Prize 2020.  It is presented for outstanding undergraduate work by a third or fourth-year student at the ECA, founded by Mark Astaire, a University of Edinburgh Politics graduate and investment banking professional. This year four winners were chosen from a shortlist of twenty artists, each receiving £250.

“I could see all the students produced such wonderful and varied collections of work. It was difficult, but I had so much fun trying to select just four works!”  Mark Astaire 

“ … work that is sophisticated, intelligent and dynamic.” Gordon Brennan, School of Art Painting Lecturer

The Anticipation of Change, Alexander Van Der Byl

Van Der Byl’s award winning photograph is entitled The Anticipation of Change, which was taken in a former carpet shop in Leith; shabby, peeling flock wallpaper, tartan lino, blue carpet, gas meter, the table laid with a teapot and glasses, beneath a Vettriano print of the “The Billy Boys” on the wall. A cold, empty room perhaps, but there is a sense of pride and belonging in what is someone’s business.

This photograph is part of a series called “Return to Sender, No Such Address” of ten Hahnemühle German Etching Photograhic prints, “documenting the process of leaving a domestic space, (and) explores a presence which is transient and short lasting.” 

Home from Work, Alexander Van Der Byl

Home from Work focuses on another empty room, with an enticing warm light shining through the open door, perhaps the kitchen and a meal being prepared for the person arriving back home at the end of the day. With shimmering shadows and a half hidden portrait, this is such a haunting image.

Again, a fascinating glimpse of a domestic scene, with a television, an empty bookshelf, plant, vase, lamp in Rocking Horse Winner – the blurred effect of a child’s toy horse cleverly depicting a flash of movement.

Rocking Horse Winner, Alexander van der Byl

Here are also a few black and white portraits, which capture the thoughtful facial expression of the subject, in a quiet, quick, snap shot moment.

Portrait of a girl, Alexander Van Der Byl

From Julie’s painterly nature walk through gardens, woodland and the seashore, enter Alexander’s contemplative world of deserted rooms and streets.  With their distinctively different artistic vision, they share a theme of nostalgic memory, time past and present, the experience of isolation and silence, with a comforting, joyful sense of peace. Solace indeed.

SOLACE – Dundas Street Gallery, 6 Dundas St, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ

17th – 24th October, 2020. 11am – 6pm daily.

Exhibition closes Saturday 24th, 2pm

Land, Sea and Sky – majestic coastal paintings by Steven Hood at the Dundas Street, Gallery, Edinburgh

It is not only this sense of place but the uniqueness of experience at a specific moment in time.   These new paintings offer a kind of permanence to that experience, to what was observed and more importantly for what was felt. Steven Hood

Steven Hood painting En Plein Air

Steven Hood studied drawing and painting at the Edinburgh College of Art (1985-89) and has enjoyed a prestigious career with regular solo exhibitions at private galleries, and amongst numerous others, at the Society of Scottish Artists, Noble Grossart Award and the Royal Scottish Academy.

Living and working in the Edinburgh, the foreshore around Granton has been a favourite stomping ground since childhood.  With such a close affinity to the iconic views over Firth of Forth, here is a magnificent, moody seascape, ‘Haar over Cramond Island.’  

Haar over Cramond Island

For those who don’t know the word, Haar: noun – a cold sea mist off the North Sea. Just a vague glimpse of the distant island can be seen through a hazy light struggling to break through the mass of greyness.

Haar Enveloping Inchkeith Island

The fine perspective in ‘Haar Enveloping Inchkeith Island’ leads the eye from the grassy sandy cover, rocks and lapping waves to the slither of an island lost in the fog on the horizon. These two mesmerising scenes, enveloped in a semi opaque, soft light, convey the chilly, swirling haar, with such delicate atmospheric quality.

Following in the brushstrokes of the pioneering Impressionists, Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh et al, Steven Hood likes to paint natural landscapes outside “en plein air,” for a personal, direct response to swiftly changing light and weather.

Evening Sky, Gamrie Bay

A recent trip to the Aberdeenshire coastline shows he is a master at capturing the movement and patterning of clouds. Like the artist, in “Evening Sky, Gamrie Bay,” near Gardenstown, we too stand on the beach under a wide shimmering sky in the rosy dusk.

Van Gogh was fascinated by wheat fields, painted again and again with cypress trees, reaper or birds.  Hood also depicts the glorious golden harvest, the tall stalks bent over in the sea breeze in “Cliff Top Wheat Fields, Aberdeenshire.”  The blocks of bold colour are most effective.

Clifftop Wheat Fields, Aberdeenshire

Observing the light over the seashore at the end of the day is very much a recurring theme, such as the ambient detail in “Setting Sun, the Mouth of the River Almond.” The dark waves and grey rain clouds contrast with a glimmer of pink rays casting a faint glint on the water.

Setting Sun, Mouth of River Almond

Most inspiring is a duet of sunsets, “snapped” quickly over a few minutes on 26th June, looking over to Fife.   This is all part of his aim to seize the likeness of a place at a specific moment, akin to a painterly photograph.

Setting Sun over Fife, 26th June

A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone. 
― John Steinbeck, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’

After the Sunset, 26th June

Turner created hundreds of sketches and paintings of different weather conditions, especially clouds and rain such as “Beach, English coast” (1835).

Beach, English Coast c.1835-40 Joseph Mallord William Turner

With similar powerful abstract expression, “Rain Clouds over Inchkeith Island,” the slanting, lashing downfall dramatically evoked with a flurry of thick, brash, brushstrokes.

Rain Clouds over Inchkeith Island

Art is more than a visual response, and Steven Hood clearly conveys the enriching emotional experience, a real sense of place.

These paintings are even more powerful when viewed in the gallery and this is a great space to stand back and observe the wild natural beauty of the Scottish coastline. They recall so poignantly the sentiment of Masefield’s poem, “I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.”

Land, Sea and Sky – Steven Hood

Saturday 10th October to Wednesday 14th October 2020 

10.30am – 5.30pm

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

Social distancing measures will allow for 6 people in the gallery at any given time. Masks must be worn and hand sanitiser will be provided. 

Visit the website to view the exhibition www.stevenhoodartist.com

Judith I. Bridgland showcases wild Scottish seascapes at the Grilli Gallery, Edinburgh

GRILLI GALLERY, 20a Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ

A solo exhibition of paintings by Judith I. Bridgland

26th September to 22nd October, 2020

Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri 11am to 4pm; Saturday 10.00am to 1.00pm  Closed Sunday & Wednesday

Tel: 0131 261 4264  –  http://www.art-grilli.co.uk/

Low Tide, North Berwick

Born in Australia, Judith I. Bridgland came to Scotland as a young child and later studied at University of Glasgow, graduating with a MA, (Honours) in History of Fine Art and English Literature.  She specialises in seascapes around the British Isles.

This exhibition takes tour around the coastline of Scotland, from East Lothian to Aberdeenshire, Sutherland to the Outer Hebrides.  The iconic pudding shape of the Bass Rock, North Berwick, takes centre stage in “Sun on the Sand,”  a stunning composition of sweeping stripes and layers to denote the wide sandy beach, seaweed, rockpools leading the eye to the distant bird colony island.

Sun on the Sand, North Berwick

“Two Figures on the Beach at Sunset,”  features a tiny dot of a couple who can just be seen at the edge of the breaking waves, under a coral-tinted sky. The flourish of thick brush strokes creates a wildly impressionistic perspective with vibrant colour and atmospheric energy.

Two Figures on the Beach

The Isle of Harris must be a favourite place for Bridgland, who has painted several different scenic views to capture its white sand beaches and wild natural environment.   This reminds me of an amazing story.

West Beach, Berneray, Outer Hebrides (photograph)

About ten years ago, to save the time and expense to send a media photographer to Kai Bae, Thailand Tourism simply googled images on line and ‘borrowed’ one of West Beach, Berneray instead. But the enticing promotional image was soon identified as taken in the Outer Hebrides.!

The natural “tropical” beauty around Harris is certainly an artist’s paradise.

Across to Luskentyre

Here is the lush, languid beauty of Luskentyre with its long, curving bay, undulating dunes etched with machair grasses, framed by the mountain peaks beyond.

In “Clouds over Luskentyre”  and “Grasses on the Beach”, you really feel that you are standing on the seashore with a whiff of salty sea air in a warm breeze.

Clouds over Luskentyre

 

Grasses on the Beach, Harris

It is fascinating to learn more about how Judith Bridgland starts the slow creative process for her landscapes:

“I start off by going to visit a location, taking a large set of photographs with two different cameras. I take hundreds and hundreds of photographs getting to understand the landscape, and seeing it in various lights and preferably at different times of the day. I will take shots of the same scene from multiple different angles, and also take samples of earth and sands to remind myself of colours.

I will return to the same place again and again, not to repeat scenes, to copy or replicate – this is an exercise in releasing yourself from merely recording the rhythm of the landscape, and experiment with texture, light and colour. It is a way of building on your understanding of a place, adding depth and pushing yourself in terms of technique.”

Observing the same seashores across the seasons and from dawn to dusk, must be inspirational and, at times, challenging to perfect the painting.  For a prime example of experimenting with texture, light and colour, the burst of a golden glow in “Sunrise in October” is a majestic seascape.   A tangible sense of movement in the lapping waves, flurry of clouds here …. and take a close look to the far eft hand side to spot what appears to be the glint of a lighthouse perched on a rock.

Sunrise, October

There is a mix of full scale paintings, oil on linen or board, as well as smaller studies in acrylic.  These will surely entice you to plan a Staycation trip around the Scottish seashore – perhaps an island hopping cruise around the Hebrides – for the great escape.   Around the gallery too are botanical studies, lovely vases of lilies and roses to brighten your home this winter.

White Lillies

The Tempest Brewing Company celebrates ten years of passion, innovation and creativity

The Tempest story reads like the plot of a jet setting, romantic movie!.

Gavin and Annika Meiklejohn first met, most appropriately, in a brewpub in Canada, and then set off travelling together in search of a dream. While based in New Zealand for a while, Gavin worked as a chef as well as taking up the challenge of home brewing in his garage.

We were making beer in New Zealand and my friends would come over from Scotland and ask why they couldn’t buy beer like this back home.”

This success kick started the idea for their own drinks business. In April 2010, they moved across the world to the Scottish Borders to set up The Tempest Brewing Company, a ten barrel brewery in a disused dairy in Kelso.

Within four years they were struggling to match production with demand and needed to develop the business with larger premises. The Tempest team moved across country to Tweedbank, near Melrose with space for improved facilities and a bottling line.

The non-stop Bottling Line, Tempest Brewing Company, Tweedbank

Developing a business against stiff competition from other craft beer makers needs entrepreneurial business skills, brand identity, imagination and creativity.

“Dry hopping, specialist malts and sourcing expensive New Zealand and American hop varieties. This was purely about making the best beer we could imagine, smoky beers, chilli beers, fruit beers… nothing was off limits. The line between creativity and gimmickry is a fine one.” 

The creative team with Gavin and Annika Meiklejohn

In Victorian Britain, a typical dish served in a Tavern was oysters accompanied by a strong dark beer – the original, cheap, fast food as Sam Weller remarks in Dickens’ novel,  The Pickwick Papers, “poverty and oysters always seem to go together.”  Having an “oyster stout” referred to eating oysters with a pint of Porter. Later on, someone had the idea to add oyster shells along with the barley and hops to enhance the flavour. Then, in 1929 an innovative brewer in New Zealand added the juicy, salty molluscs into the boiling beer wort and the true Oyster Stout was born.

Double Shuck Imperial Oyster Stout

Inspired by this classic beer, in 2015 Tempest created Double Shuck, Imperial Oyster Stout, made with 200 fresh Lindisfarne oysters. If this Stout is sipped with a platter of oysters, that would be a powerful aphrodisiac.!

The key to their success is innovation, launching topical, seasonal products with catchy names and colourful logos, such as Brave New World, Long White Cloud, Vermont Sessions, Cold Wave, Dios Mio! Lime Jalapeno, as well as enticing series, The IPA club, Discovery and Easy Rider packs of 24 cans.

For instance, Mexicake, a Chile and Chocolate Imperial Stout comes from a passion for Mexican culture and food to create a rich, boozy stout (11%ABV), infused with vanilla beans, cocoa, cinnamon, chipotle and mulato chillies.

The spicy Mexicake Stout inspired by a love of all things Mexican

The specialist, slow crafting of each distinctive ale, beer and stout is based on quality ingredients – their own strains of yeast, locally sourced malted barley and natural water. As their logo expresses it so well, “Designed and built in the Scottish Borders.”

Tempest Brewing Company has won numerous trade and business awards, including Scottish Brewery of the Year, (Scottish Beer Awards, 2016), and recently listed in RateBeer’s top 100 breweries in the world, a prestigious achievement.

Tempest Brewing Company – Awards galore + Scottish Brewery of the Year, 2016

And the latest news hot of the press is that Tempest Brewing Company is listed in the third edition of the World Atlas of Beer, 2020.  In a section under names to look out for, it is selected as one of the best new British breweries of the 21st century.  Compiled by Tim Webb & Stephen Beaumont, this is a definite, essential guide to global beers, (published by Mitchell Beazley).

Beer Atlas of the World, Webb & Beaumont, Mitchell Beazley

 

So it’s time to taste and test, sip and savour the three beers in the Fruit Series featuring Peach, Mango and Blueberry, to entice and tease the taste buds with their distinctively different styles, strength and flavour.

Mango Berliner – 4 % ABV

What Tempest say:  “Sunshine in a glass no matter the weather!   The perfect summer beer. We brew it with a lager fermentation to give it that crisp, refreshing drinkability, but jam pack it with plenty fresh mango and dry hops to give it a super fruity, zingy punch”.

The verdict:  Refreshing.  So, so refreshing; a somewhat tart and fruity weisse Berliner-style beer which one starts sipping and ends gulping.

It’s light, very easy drinking and packed with fresh mango. That mango is immediately evident on the zesty tropical nose, with just a little dry, grassy hops. In the mouth it’s also light and balanced with easy-going tartness and a hint of shortbread.

Some people might hope for a more bitter or more hoppy experience but that is not really what this style is about, and this is just what it should be, a really refreshing Summer beer.

Other drinkers are equally impressed:

Mango ice cream taste. Surprisingly yummy.

Floral and ripe tropical aromas, notes of mango, papaya.

Lots of exotic fruity mango sweetness in the aroma, Great Berliner Weiss!

Peach Sour – 4.5% ABV

What Tempest say:

You’ll want to use your good can opener on this tin of peaches. We’ve mellowed out the fresh acidity of the peach with creamy, delicate vanilla.”

The verdict: Another Summer in a can in the form of peaches and cream.

Again, a Berliner weisse style beer that is big on fruit, this time an initial tart peach balanced with a dollop of vanilla cream.

A surprisingly full mouthfeel leaves an acidic finish with lasting peach flavour. Easy drinking and refreshing, it will be down to palate as to whether the sourness wins out over the fruity Mango Berliner.

Blueberry Pastry Stout – 9% ABV

What Tempest say: “An outrageous blueberry stout, hot from the pastry section”.

The verdict: Even after a great meal there is probably always time for dessert; perhaps even second helpings. No surprise then that gastropubs favour their roasts and speciality burgers but also feature the perennial and ubiquitous Sticky Toffee Pudding.

When the Summer fades we can start to long for some “comfort” food and it’s time also for the zingy, fresh stone and citrus fruity and hoppy IPAs to give way to something a little richer, more indulgent – perhaps even decadent.

Step up Tempest Brewing Company’s Blueberry Pastry Stout bearing the legend “… the bluer the berry, the sweeter, the thicker, the roastier, the chocolatier, the boozier, the stout”.  Stouts of this kind should be the liquid equivalent of cake or pastry; over-the-top in terms sweet, distinctive and clearly identifiable flavour.

Tempest’s offering hits the spot with this big, intensely blueberry, deeply dark stout. On the nose, the fruity blueberry aroma is instantly there against a background of malty dark chocolate. Rich and thick with a creamy, velvety mouth feel, that sweet blueberry flavour is to the fore with just a little bitterness in the background. The finish is long and, just when you think it has stopped giving, the blueberries rush back in with a smooth and warming last bite.

The ABV. of 9.0% vol provides a big slice of booze – Just make sure that you have room for pudding.

This richly flavoured dark stout could work well paired with a hearty dish such as a spicy Chilli, a Beef and Ale Pie, or a juicy Burger.

A spicy Chilli, Steak pie, Burger perfectly paired with Tempest Stout

Nothing is so traditional as a Ploughman’s Lunch, so why not pair a Tempest beer or Stout with a mature Cheddar Cheese and crusty bread.  Highly recommended is the awards winning Cheddar Gorge Cheese, the only cheddar cheese actually made in the village of Cheddar, Somerset. (www.cheddaronline.co.uk)

This Blueberry Pastry Stout is a winner:

Sweet taste at first, very boozy, strong blueberry, bittersweet flavour with well-balanced hop in the finish. Exquisite.

Pours a deep mahogany black with a violet tint. Creamy pale tan head. Strong notes of Cassis  with dark chocolate, creamy vanilla and liquorice on the palate.  Cannot wait to try this at the next Tempest beer festival!

2010 – 2020  From a garage in Christchurch to a brewery in Tweedbank, Happy 10th birthday Tempest. Cheers! 

Tempest Brewing Company have hosted annual Springfest and Oktoberfest and continue to host regular Tempest Tap sessions at the Brewery.  Take a trip to Tweedbank in the stunning, tranquil Scottish Borders.

For all information on the range of beers, on line purchase, suppliers and events at the Brewery, see the website.

https://www.tempestbrewco.com/browse

https://www.tempestbrewco.com/events

Address: 1&2, Block 11 Tweedbank Industrial Estate, Tweedbank  TD1 3RS

Telephone:  01896 759500

Tweedbank Station is just a six minute walk from the brewery, ideal for staff to commute and visitors travelling for brewery events and Festivals.

The re-launch of the Borders Railway in 2015 provides a vital transport link between Edinburgh and Tweedbank. Winner of the best new UK Tourism venture from the British Guild of Travel Writers, the route has brought much improved travel, tourism, social, economic, employment and environmental benefits to the Scottish Borders.

The Borders Railway campaign is now full speed ahead to extend the line to Hawick and Carlisle, which would be a further boost for Tempest Brewing Company.

The Borders Railway route through tranquil landscape from Edinburgh to Tweedbank

The Artists’ Pool showcase an imaginative response to Lockdown in “Times Like These” @ Dundas Street Gallery

The Artist’s Pool was established in 2004  with the intention of embracing the power of art to bring people together and support their creativity. Each member brings their unique personality and skill set to the pool – a mixture of cultures and experiences with an harmonious goal – to promote the positivity, connectivity and healing power of art.’

In their latest showcase, “Times Like These”, group of nine artists give a personal response to finding their lives turned upside down by lockdown.  When the rushing abruptly ceased, all routines fell out of the window and living in the present became the only option.  There’s little normal about the ’new normal’.

There is extraordinary creativity here, a fascinating sweep of varied genres from contemplative seascapes and updated versions of classic works, to colourful abstracts and Graphic Art.  Here is look around the work of four of the artists.

During World War 2,  morale-boosting notices encouraged the British people to “Keep Calm and Carry On”,  which has in recent years been endlessly adapted into humorous phrases such as “Save Water, Drink Champagne”.

The wartime slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On”

At the start of lockdown in March 2020, the stark warning has been “Stay Home, Save Lives”.  This was the impetus for Adam Lucy to invent a series of Pop Art, public service announcements.

Artists’ Pool @ Dundas Street Gallery – featuring Adam Lucy’s poster on the right

” I would never have believed the extent of the disruption and turmoil the world would experience due to COVID-19.   A bundle of art and fashion magazines and a limited palette of acrylic paints I managed to grab from my studio, provided the materials for the work you see here”. Adam Lucy

There’s No Place Like Home, Adam Lucy

With reference to Dorothy’s dream in The Wizard of Oz, clicking her sparkly red shoes, “There’s No Place like Home” echoes BoJo’s plea to the nation on 23rd March.  This neatly-crafted collage of cut-out letters and pasted images, creates a witty and wise warning.

Likewise, in “You Have the Power” a God-like figure points his outstretched finger at Everyman/woman to adhere to the rules. Reminscent of Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam, the meaning is about the spark of life and humanity.  These modern Keep Calm-style posters in the era of the global pandemic are effective, graphic illustrations to spread the word.

You Have the Power, Adam Lucy

Esperanza Gómez-Carrera also uses text in her artwork made from vintage books with imaginative vision. Her father’s family were in the bookbinder business,  and she grew up in a house filled with books.   With charming theatricality, she makes cut out, Intervened books, such as “Love Lyrics”, which features a tiny doll’s house-sized bride and groom at their wedding.

Love Lyrics, Esperanza Gómez-Carrera – a sculptured, Intervened book

 “ I work with sculptures, installations and performances” she explains. “For the most part, I enjoy exploring and re-interpreting everyday objects in humorous waysIt is always with a sense of respect that I give books a new chance at life and share a different message.”

Also on show are several atmopheric seascapes by Helen Campbell such as the dark, threatening rain clouds in “Evening Light.”  The fading glimmer of dusk shimmers on the rough waves, as the eye is drawn to the misty distant horizon.

Evening Light, Helen Campbell

The tiny figure, just visible to the left on the beach was apparently added at the last moment, to give perspective.  There is a real sense of isolation here, this lonely soul braving the elements.

During lockdown she spent a good deal of time embracing the natural world near her home in the New Forest.

 “ I learned birdcalls, studied the night sky, sat and watched the deer at dusk. I stopped and looked, slowly calming down and recalling why I love the changing seasons.  These paintings come from moments in my life when I was truly ‘there’ and remind me not to lose that connection so easily again.”   Helen Campbell

Against the Light, Helen Campbell

“Against the Light” is a mesmerising scene, where a bright, gold-flamed, surreal spectre stands staring out to sea, again denoting solitude away from humanity and society.  Some viewers may find a religious connotation in this haunting image.

Inspired by the work of the classic Masters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Titian and Jacques Louis David, John Slavin has updated the narrative of historical, Biblical and legendary events for the present global crisis.

Belisarius Begging for Alms, John Slavin

As a homage to Jacques Louis David’s  original painting, “Belisarius Begging for Alms,” reflects the widespread situation of begging in city streets and metro stations today.  Slavin noticed that during the Pandemic, when the streets were deserted, homeless people in Edinburgh were given accommodation and financial support.

‘Babel Tower’ is his reimagination of Bruegel’s ‘The Great Tower of Babel’, 1563.

Babel Tower, John Slavin

 ‘I’m concerned with the fall of the tower, the aftermath of incommunicable shock and the silent nature of Babel.  What are the consequences of total collapse, …. that the state is compromised, as has been the case with covid-19.”

“Times Like These” is a thought-provoking and inspiring exhibition which reflects the artists’ personal emotions, experiences and vision of this brave new, socially distanced and disrupted world.

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

21 – 29 August, 2020

For more information on The Artists’ Pool, this exhibition and the artists:

https://www.theartistspool.co.uk/

Times Like These exhibition by The Artists’ Pool @ Dundas Street Gallery

Jack Morocco, DA, FRSA, a solo show at the Grilli Gallery: Sunny French landscapes and decorative Still Life studies

During the Edinburgh Festival season each year, the well-established Grilli gallery on Dundas Street has always presented a special exhibition to attract both city residents and international visitors. This year it’s a most inspiring solo showcase by Jack Morocco, DA, FRSA.

Jack Morocco was born in 1953 into a renowned family of artists, including his mother Rozelle, uncle Alberto and cousin Leon.  He studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, a broad-based degree course including graphic design, illustration, textiles, life drawing, painting, portraiture, still life and photography.

Cafe Cours Mirabeau, Aix-en-Provence, Jack Morocco

The prominent genre here are landscapes, especially around the South of France – the daily life around Uzes, Arles and Aix-en-Provence – as well as Spain and Venice.  Here are most evocative scenes of outdoor cafes with locals and holiday visitors, enjoying a coffee or a leisurely lunch in the warm sunshine.

Morning Coffee, Plaza de la Paja, Madrid

The figures in Morning Coffee, Plaza de la Paja, Madrid may appear to be rough sketches, but there’s fine detail in the colours and style of clothes, such as the girl in a jaunty panama hat, her long legs stretched out under the table. Faces are mainly just blank smudges, but you still get the impression of age and character, gesture and body language.

Dejeuner, Lourmarin, Provence, Jack Morocco

Here, and also in Dejeuner, Lourmarin, Provence, the masterly use of dappled light, softly shimmering through the leaves of the trees, creating the contrasting gradations of shade and shadow.

This technique is particularly well handled in Place aux Herbes, Uzes, Provence, featuring small vignettes of families and children, elegant couples and a dog.  Again, with just a simple splosh of colour, there is such accuracy to illustrate this disparate group of people in an array of shorts and hats on this summer day.

Place aux Herbes, Uzes, Jack Morocco

Take a stroll through tree lined squares, from Place and Plaza to enticing fruit and vegetable markets. These have a remarkable sense of movement as the shoppers stroll around the stalls.

Produit de Provence, Jack Morocco

Venice is also another favourite place where Morocco loves to capture the water and the tranquility, where its iconic ambience, he says, haven’t changed for two hundred years.

Ponte del Cavaletto shows an old hump-backed stone bridge with iron railings, where a girl in an orange T shirt has stopped to stand in the centre, looking down to observe a grey haired gentlemen, sitting on the walkway beside the canal.  He looks like an artist at his easel – perhaps Jack Morocco himself ?

Ponte del Cavaletto, Jack Morocco

So much to see here – the balcony brimming with flowers, the ochre and pink stone houses, the glimpse of a blue boat, reflected on the calm surface of the water.

In the back room of the gallery, there are several Still Life paintings, to show the diverse range of expertise, subject and genre of the artist in this exhibition.  Lilies, Lilacs and Silver Coffee Pot is a stunning composition, where the texture and material of each individual object – flower petals, shiny apple, the fold of a cloth, glint of wine glass and polished silver pot – is depicted with such clarity, care and precision.

Lilies, Lilacs and Silver Coffee Pot, Jack Morocco

There are also decorative, abstract studies of musical instruments, fruit, ceramics and mini portraits, in Picasso-esque style, as in the delightful Dried Flowers and Wally Dugs.

Dried Flowers and Wally Dugs, Jack Morocco

The fine art of “Nature Morte” dates back to the Egyptians, Roman and Greek frescoes and mosaics, later developed by the Dutch masters and then popular with the Impressionists, notably, Van Gogh and Cezanne.  As an evolving painterly tradition, ancient and modern through the centuries, it is essential that Still Life continues to be taught in art colleges in the 21st century.

If August 2020 has been spent in staycation mode, feel the heat of the Mediterranean summer, soft golden sand and sea breeze in a few beach scenes: La Plage en Famille and the atmospheric, Boats and Bathers, with suntanned holiday makers relaxing under a parade of parasols, shaded from the glare of the midday sun.

Boats and Bathers, Jack Morocco

Jack Morocco, DA, FRSA

25 July to 29 August, 2020

The Grilli Gallery, 20a Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ

www.art-grilli.co.uk

tel. 0131 261 4264

Gallery opening hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, 11am-4pm. Sat. 10am-1pm.

Lute, Lilies and Utamaro’s Girls, Jack Morocco

Configurate – a dazzling, colourful display of decoratively designed, wall sculpture @ & Gallery, Edinburgh

Configurate – four artists showcase their creatively, configured wall sculptures

The definition of the verb Configure means to “arrange, design, adapt or put together in a particular form or order.”

Therefore Configurate is the most apt title for this inspiring showcase of highly imaginative, creatively crafted and configured artworks by four international artists.

Ivan De Menis from Treviso, Italy studied both graphic art at the Vittorio Veneto college and then painting at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts.  Here is a selection of his colourful square boxes, rectangle and oblong blocks composed in Mixed Media – such as polystyrene and air ball bubble wrap – on a wooden board.

 

Retta, Ivan de Menis

A series of contrasting three-dimensional pieces called Tessera, each have a dominant colour – royal blue, pinky-coral, green and orange – on the front panel.

These have a marvellous silky smooth, luminous surface, in contrast to the abstract patterns on each sides, with the effect of dripping streaks of ‘wet’ paint.  For example, Tessera 1A9/y2 is mesmerising in its structure and surreal composition with the wildly expressionistic splash of purple, green orange like spray graffiti paint, splattered on an urban wall.

Tessera 1a9/y2, Ivan de Menis

It would be difficult to choose just one of these attractive objets d’art,  while a row of two or three together on your wall would create a stunning diptych or triptych sculpture, as presented in the gallery.

& Gallery – featuring the group of Tessera works by Ivan de Menis on the left wall

Jon Thomas is a contemporary artist & sculptor based in Swansea on the South Wales coast. Having studied 3-dimensional design at Sheffield Hallam University he now specialises in free standing, wall based sculptures using a range of industrial materials, Plaster of Paris, acrylic sheets, polystyrene and MDF board.  Recent work has been influenced by travelling to see and study the architecture of the Maya civilisation in Mexico.

Here is a diverse range of meticulously structured decorative artworks, illuminating sculptures in the true meaning of the word. Using translucent acrylic, Saturation Point is an amazing series of yellow and red square sheets on a marble base, like a row of CDs, which shimmer, glimmer and glow in the light.

 

Saturation Point, Jon Thomas

Also most impressive is Untitled, a translucent blue polystyrene 3D block, which you can study for ages, peering inside to observe the complex design of layered triangular shapes.   This could certainly be the conceptual architectural model for an avant garde modern art gallery in Barcelona or Milan.

Untitled, Jon Thomas

In more minimalist mode, Space Between, is a simple circle etched out of a yellow board of polystyrene and plaster, with dents and chips to denote its pliable texture.

Space Between Jon Thomas

Laura Jane Scott from London, is also immersed in experimenting with geometric form and interlocking sheets of MDF, Medium-density fibreboard, combining hard and soft woods with resins and wax to produce a hard-wearing but lightweight panel. For an artist, it’s the ideal adaptable material which can be cut to a preferred thickness and shape, with a smooth surface suited to painting resulting for a great polished veneer.

Form 20, Laura Jane Scott

Form 20 is a series of nine separate MDF blocks in muted shades of ochre, sand, sky blue, racing green, taupe and black.  Although physically solid, these compositions are akin to the precision of neat folds of paper in Origami craftwork.

Several objects are entitled Perspective which neatly sums up Laura Jane’s vision creating these extraordinary structural designs of interlocking colourful sheets like a box file or shelf of surreal books.

Perspective study 011, Laura Jane Scott

My aim is always to express an idea as simply and as elegantly as possible. To strip everything back to only what is necessary to communicate that idea. My work is primarily an exploration of balance, of positive and negative space, of presence and absence.” 

Laura Jane Scott

Andrew Clausen began his artistic training in his native California and then moved to Italy where he studied sculpture with artisan craftsmen. Currently living and working in the Netherlands, his selected medium is cast concrete layered onto resin bonded canvas for his architectural studies.

Bouwput, Andrew Clausen

As in Bouwput, stone-grey is the dominant colour for this design of a modernist building, with the linear accuracy of a draughtsman. The graduation of shade and shadow gives the tonal effect of a soft background light and the viewer may be tempted to touch these ‘concrete’ sculptures to feel its apparent rough brick-like surface.

Van Nelle, Andrew Clausen

The structural contour of what could be a bridge in Van Nelle clearly evokes the density and strength of steel and concrete girders, illustrated with such detail. Clausen adds inkjet and pigment transfer images and text to the canvas, such that artistry is blended with technical mastery.  As in IPKW 1 (below), these are dreamlike compositions which cleverly transform the notion of hard industrial concrete into softly focussed, decorative designs of style and substance.

Configurate – 1st August – 2 September, 2020

Clausen: De Menis: Scott: Thomas

& Gallery, 3 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6QG

Website:  https://andgallery.co.uk

Email: info@andgallery.co.uk

IPKW 1, Andrew Clausen

Quedubon – (just good things) by Michael G. Clark @ Doubtfire Gallery: a bon vivant tour from Paris to Provence

Doubtfire Gallery, NW Circus Place

Doubtfire Gallery was established in 2010 by design partnership Frame Creative and it’s most exciting that it has recently moved to the bustling heart of Stockbridge.  With light flooding in the front window, this is a contemporary, accessible and spacious venue with high white walls and polished wood floor.

The new freshly designed, spacious gallery in Stockbridge

To launch the new gallery, the summer exhibition is Quedubon by Michael G. Clark. The title roughly translates as “just good things” to reflect the French sense of  joie de vivre and observe the pursuit of pleasure and leisure in their daily routine.

Clark visited Paris for the first time in 1980 while studying at he Edinburgh College of Art: the city of light, culture and romance, must have been an exciting, enriching experience for a young artist.  Café society, the timeless French art of living, is captured with cool, charismatic style.

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about the inimitable ankle-grazing apron, style and stature of the traditional waiter, as seen standing here on duty with military precision.

Parisian Waiter, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

This is more than a simple sketch but a charming, impressionistic Lowry-esque figurative study.  Through the window, it seems there is a shadowy glimpse of a couple sitting inside the café, all part of a hidden narrative like a paused frame in an animation movie.

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”  From A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway (memoir)

Drinking wine is the decorative theme in several artworks to take you on a virtual journey around the vineyards of the Bordeaux, Rhone, Loire and Champagne regions.

Mostly Bordeaux, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

Mostly Bordeaux  – the half full (or half empty) glass of wine is a bright and bold Pop Art image set against a splash of Cabernet Sauvingon/Merlot red.

From oil paintings to unframed works, here are champagne flutes, clinking glasses and a fine array of bottles of all shapes and sizes.  White Wine is a most pleasing compostion like a Still life, with corkscrew, grapes and bottles within an abstract fertile green landscape of the vineyard.

White Wine, Michaell G. Clark, PAI, RSW

With an imaginative use of media, Wine Bibbing, is sketched in ink and a splosh of red wine, with a jolly, jaunty angle of the glasses.  Santé !

Wine Bibbing, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

As well as fine wines and cuisine, France is also renowned for haute couture.  Michael G. Clark has the expert eye of a leading fashion designer, specialising with such skill in drawing the most fabulous frocks and the ever fashionable LBD, of Coco Chanel fame.  This unframed illustration is delicately crafted in Conté crayon and oil on a gesso panel.

LBD, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

The Dressmaker depicts an elegant cocktail gown – perhaps cream chiffon – and a soft pink sundress, with such subtle shading to denote a light linen texture.

The Dressmaker, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

Paris in the Rain, reflects the damp chill in the air, the girl in her cloche hat hunched under her parapluie, trying to keep dry and warm.

Paris in the Rain, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

Here are many other quirky, quintessential snapshots of traditional French life and times – shopping in the market, a game of Petanque in the park, taking the dog for a walk, and the iconic, close embrace of two lovers in a city street.

Together, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

Again, like an animation movie, these are delightful, romantic vignettes, ‘caricature’ figures but with a depth of painterly expression to evoke a real sense of place and atmosphere – the use of light, leafy shade and dappled sunlight is most effective.

Early Evening Provence, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

The beauty of the natural landscape too, such as Sunflowers, (see image below), with thick brush strokes and smudges of golden yellow oil paint like a slick of mustard: one blooming flower stands tall and erect to face the sun.

Quedubon – Just Good Things by Michael G Clark is the perfect exhibition to bring sunshine into our lives this summer.  Do visit the new Doubtfire Gallery soon.

Quedubon – Just Good Things, by Michael G Clark PAI, RSW

 Doubtfire Gallery, 20th June to 1st August, 2020

 28 North West Circus Place,, Edinburgh EH3 6TP

 www.doubtfiregallery.co.uk     email: art@doubtfiregallery.co.uk

Sunflowers, Michael G. Clark, PAI, RSW

 

The Summer Exhibition at the Grilli Gallery, Edinburgh: a joyful expression of flowers, femininity, seashore and sunshine.

Summer Exhibition now open at the Grilli Gallery, Dundas Street

This is a most inspirational selection of paintings to celebrate summer with a relaxed sense of freedom. – which is just what we all need to experience at this time.

Marion Drummond, Joan Gillespie, David Smith and Muriel Barclay, who regularly show at the Grilli Gallery, bring together a well curated, complementary group of artists covering portraiture, still life, figurative work and landscapes.

As you step inside the gallery, the first painting on the left hand wall is a charming illustration of two young women, dressed in pretty sun-dresses and clinking their coupes of champagne; they appear to be sitting outside, smiling so intently at each other as if they have not met for a long while – indeed the title is Remember That.

Remember That, Muriel Barclay

Muriel Barclay is influenced by such artists as Manet, Degas, Matisse, as well as portrait photography by Testino, Lee Miller and Diane Arbus.  Like a fashion shot, such delightful detail here from the elegant clothes, loose strands of hair, soft pink blush on the girls’ cheeks and manicured crimson nails. Imagine the personal narrative of these friends or sisters, behind the astute observation of their genuine joy, capturing this moment, as if through the lens of a camera.

Dance Class at L’Opera, Edgar Degas (detail, 1872)

Like Edgar Degas, the romantic world of ballet is also dramatised by Barclay to reflect the classic style,  movement and energy.  Before Class shows a glimpse of the dedication and tireless training to ensure perfection in every step, poise and posture.

Before Class, Muriel Barclay

Their gleaming, glowing skin and stretched, taut muscles express the physical work-out at the Barre.  This is just one of a series illustrating dance and music performance, with a focus on graceful gestures from fingers to pointed feet, the quiet concentration of creativity.

Private Cello, Muriel Barclay

A sublime selection of floral paintings by the inimitable Marion Drummond, PAI, with blossoming roses and posies in porcelain jugs and glass vases.  Pink Roses is simply mesmerising, each thickly painted petal shimmers in shades of strawberries and cream, with the shaft of sunlight reflected in the glass jug.

Pink Roses, Marion Drummond, PAI

I  would probably describe myself as a representational artist and my focus is on light. My subject matter is always real and studied; number of petals of any flower observed.  I used to paint with a knife but now tend to work quickly with fingers and rags, I sculpt the paint, feeling my way and mixing on the board for speed and spontaneity.  I cannot feel anything like the same excitement when working with brushes.” Marion Drummond, PAI

A gentle palette of yellow and green is beautifully crafted in Narcissus, again with subtle luminosity, all part of her distinctive, masterly technique.

Narcissus, Marion Drummond, PAI

Happy Flowers is a stunningly realistic Still Life with lemon and orange to give perspective; such vivid colours and texture contrasting the lush green leaves with the fragility of soft petals.   These botanical paintings would certainly bring a virtual floral scent to your home year round.

Happy Flowers, Marion Drummond, PAI

Many years of hill walking, mountaineering and rock climbing in the Highlands has instilled David Smith, RSW, a passion for nature and outdoor life.  After travelling around with sketch pad in hand to paint en plein air, here are several land and seascapes from the Isle of Lewis to the South of France.

David Smith, RSW – painting “en plein air”

A charming image is of a Hebridean Fisherman, wrapped up in yellow oilskins beside the trawler on a pier, checks his bulging fishing net – you can almost smell the salt sea air.  Also most atmospheric is The North East Coast,  with its wild grass and seaweed covered shore line, a curving row of cottages, reminiscent of Joan Eardley’s beloved Catterline.

The North Sea Coast, David Smith, RSW

The theme of fishing is also used in meticulously crafted compositions, such as Mackerel and Fruit, juxtaposing a shiny green-scaled fish with a few purple plums on a carved wooden table.    All that’s missing is a recipe – oily fish and sweet juicy fruit would be so healthy and delicious.

Mackerel and Fruit, David Smith, RSW

Elsewhere, if you are a lover of seafood, a painting of a large red Lobster will make your mouth water.

From a turquoise-tinted Cote d’Azur, in Canal du Midi, Argens,  take a trip to another tranquil scene, Mountain Villages which has a more abstract structure, a patchwork of pointillist fields around a cluster of red tile rooftops. (see image below).

Joan Gillespie studied with Alberto Morrocco at Duncan of Jordanstone and then Sir Robin Philipson at the ECA, becoming inspired by the Scottish Colourists and the masters of Fauvism – Derain, Matisse and Cezanne.  She is renowned for her iconic portraits and floral studies with impressionist flair.

Yellow Tulips, Joan Gillespie

Take time to absorb the colour and decorative design in Yellow Tulips, a painterly block pattern with a touch of Peploe-esque vision of a decorative domestic scene; perfect colour palette and tonal harmony.

There is so much in these mere objects, flowers, leaves, jugs, what not – colours, form, relation. I can never see mystery coming to an end’. Samuel John Peploe, 1929  (1871-1935)

Still Life with Tulips, Samuel Peploe (c. 1930, Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove, Glasgow)

Here too are Joan’s fresh-faced portraits defining the essence of modern femininity with an independent strength of character.

“In the Garden Room” illustrates the cool, calm pose of a young woman, simply defined, akin to a quickly drafted sketch with just a couple of lines to depict her brows, nose and eyes, sitting in quiet contemplation.

In the Garden Room, Joan Gillespie

Yet there is such depth of dramatic mood here, with the bold, black outline of her figure, clothes, chair and plants, a vivid blend of blue, pink, green, gold.  Is that a slight smile playing around her raspberry-red cupid bow lips.?   As if day dreaming, this is an evocative, serene composition.

Other beguiling figurative studies of women here too, reclining, resting, each lost in their own thoughts and solitude.   Little Nude is also a delicate, intimate scene, the model’s head hidden beneath a large black hat, and curled up in the foetal position, she seems to be hiding from the world.

Little Nude, Joan Gillespie

Vivacious colour, decorative detail and an enriching sense of imagination flow through these paintings of people and places, each with its own intriguing backround story. This is a joyful expression of sunshine and seashore, flowers and womanhood to celebrate the magic of Midsummer days.

Grilli Gallery

Summer Exhibition, 13 June to 18 July, 2020

20 a Dundas Street,  Edinburgh EH3 6HZ

Open at present by appointment only.  View the exhibition on line  www.art-grilli.co.uk

The gallery will open from 29 June, with restrictions on visitor numbers for health and safety.  

Email: catherine@art-grilli.co.uk            Telephone: 07876 013 013

Diary dates: 

“Edinburgh Festival-time” Solo Exhibition

Jack Morrocco DA FRSA

25 July to 29 August 2020

Mountain Villages, David Smith, RSW