“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.
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.”
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.
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:
“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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Around the gallery are new Portraits such as the artist’s muse, Evelyn Nesbit, the fair-skinned beauty from Tarentum, Philadelphia.
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.
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.
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.
“Post-Truth” – the intimate world of Street Kids, Selfies and Social Media as observed by Artist, Alex Hain
an exhibition of paintings and sketches by Alex Hain.
Dundas Street Gallery, 6a Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ
23 – 28 June, 2017, open daily 10am – 5pm. http://www.alexhain.com
There must be oil, acrylic and pencil lead flowing through the veins of Alex Hain as both his parents went to Art College – he shares a studio with his father, Rob Hain, who specialises in colourful, animation-style prints of Scottish scenes.
Alex is clearly a talented, refreshingly exciting, young artist from the Scottish Borders with quirky, comical observations on today’s cool, contemporary Youth “Yoof” culture. This exhibition, entitled Post-Truth (Word of the Year 2016 and Trump’s fave saying), is an interlinked series of portraits and figurative studies, illustrating the global craze of the Selfie in oil on canvas.
Here is the twittering, symbolic, shorthand manner of communication through #hashtag, SnapChat and Instagram, where today’s teenagers share, by text and photograph, the most intimate details of their life and loves on social media.
Walk around the Dundas Street Gallery to observe a truthful snapshot of the new kids on the block, wild girls out on a Saturday night, cheeky chavs with their back-to-front baseball caps and hoodies, and brash, street wise guys partying down the pub, drinks in hand.
There’s a great sense of filmic movement and energy in such works as “#Lads,” three guys showing off with gleeful gestures and grimaces, and three blondes as high kicking clubbers, posing for the camera lens in the Ladies Loos.
Subjects range from the playful to the political: as well as these vibrant oil paintings depicting the fun and frolics of modern social life, there are simple, black and white caricatures such as “#Jungle”, showing the fear and confusion on the face of a migrant child, perhaps at the Calais camp.
“#Legs” shows the tall, skinny limbs of (faceless) migrant parents with their two tiny toddlers, staying close to Mum and Dad. Their slightly distorted facial features reflect a sense of sadness and loss in this new alien environment, far from home.
These are reminiscent of the evocative images by Joan Eardley who was fascinated by the poor, grubby, mischevious kids playing outside her studio in Townhead, Glasgow in the early 1950s. As she wrote,
“I like the friendliness of the back streets, which mean almost entirely screaming, playing children … the noise of children”. She concentrated on drawing the large Samson family (12 children) focusing on their hand-me-down clothes, cross-eyed girls with messy hair, as well as the urban squalor of this neighbourhood, living in slum tenements with graffiti walls.
Alex is also fascinated by capturing an incisive glimpse of today’s cool kids whose behaviour, looks and language are led by the fast changing, Internet-driven, global life and times of the Millennial generation. This is a bold, unique painterly vision and, like Eardley, Hain is a true social commentator through his art.
If there was an urban pop soundtrack to this inner city lifestyle, it would be a rousing, raucous rap by Tinie Tempah, Will.i.am or Eminem: perhaps a flavour of hip hop, gangsta tunes could be played in the gallery to capture the musical mood and beat of the street.
Girls Like – Tinie Tempah (featuring Zara Larsson)
Now everyone I go people want a photo
I could make a honey give away her last rolo
Then I say sure, yo, you know how I roll
All the girls like I know what boys like
I know what they want
They want that good thing
They wanna get some
(All the girls like)
I have just returned from a fabulous, leisurely voyage on board the gleaming, glamorous new Silver Muse. Setting off from Villefranche, near Nice, the ship circumnavigated all around the Italian coastline to sail into Venice for a magical three day stay during the Venice Biennale. The six week itinerary covered no less than nine countries around the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
Back home this week just in time to visit the Dundas Street Gallery for a new exhibition, “Tranquil Destinations”, by Jamie Primrose who takes us on a sunny Continental journey.
In recent years, (amongst a diverse range of places), Primrose is renowned for his meticulous cityscapes, capturing the historic architecture of Edinburgh, but also the scenic beauty of the East Lothian where the beach meets the sea beneath a stormy sky.
So where has he travelled this time? The French and Italian Rivieras – Cote d’Azur, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Provence – Tuscany and the incomparible city of Venice.
As you step through the door, one of the first paintings you will see is of Portofino, a charming town which curves around a half moon bay, the harbour lined by super yachts, motor launches, ferries and fishing boats, beside a row of shops, bars and restaurants.
The soft pastel colours (ochre, peachy pink, lemon yellow) of the stonework are reminiscent of Tobermory, Mull – but in the blazing heat of the Italian sun! Having been here a few weeks ago, I was transported back to this idyllic spot, with the buzz of visitors wandering along the waterfront, stopping for a glass of Prosecco, a seafood lunch or browsing for a bag in Louis Vuitton.
Jamie Primrose spent last summer with his family exploring the Ligurian Riviera while staying in Sestri Levante another delightful little town, a favourite with Milanese residents many of whom own holiday homes here. This once quiet fishing village has slowly turned into an attractive resort.
The quietly composed painting, “Impressions on The Bay of Silence” neatly illustrates a scattering of anchored boats, the sweeping promenade along the beach, where at the far end, a statue of a mermaid commemorates the Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson who lived for a time here in Sestri.
The coastal region of Cinque Terre winds its way through five distinctive villages, perched along the shoreline and up dramatic high cliffs. “Late Afternoon in Manarola” depicts the extraordinary shape and symmetry of sky high higgledy-piggledy houses leading up to terraced vineyards above.
Heading inland to Tuscany, here too are several exquisite views of San Gimignano, the iconic town with its Medieval skyscraper towers. From the artist’s standpoint looking across a patchwork quilt of green fields, see shifting light patterns, from the clarity of early morning to the soft afternoon shadows.
This artistic journey takes us around Italy to the most romantic, most beautiful city in the world, La Serenissima – Venice.
“ Venetophilia is a wonderful affliction. Venice captivates the heart, stimulates the senses and enriches the soul and mind. Exploring this jewel in the crown is a truly pleasurable and rewarding experience…” Gillian Angrave ~“Venice: The Diary of an Awestruck Traveller”
With Gillian’s personal, and most informative, travelogue to hand, on my recent visit to Venice I meandered along cobbled alleys, criss-crossing a myriad of canals over ancient bridges, across flagstoned Campos lined with cafes and Ristorantes, to reach the breathtaking, never-changing sight of the Grand Canal.
This majestic vision can be experienced in a series of paintings detailing in fine precision the panorama of stunning architecture along the wide waterway. Jamie Primrose spent a week in Venice, finding a perfect position on the Accademia Bridge, to capture the same view from early morning after dawn to richly vivid sunsets. He makes sketches en plein air, takes photographs and notes on the colour palette to take back to his studio to work on the final compositions.
“Last Light on the Grand Canal, Venice” is given pride of place on the right hand wall, to allow the space to stand back and study it at a distance.
Here are the grand, gracious Palazzos with their arched windows, in subtle shades of terracotta, sand, daffodil and cream. Spot the Peggy Guggenheim museum in the centre, and the domes and spires of distant churches. The dappled water shimmers in the soft light before dusk.
This large painting took three months, on and off, to complete and it was only just last week when Jamie added a final glaze to the lower right corner to create a soft shadow, which is most effective to draw the viewer’s eye upwards and along the narrowing length of the Canal.
Painters have flocked to Venice over the centuries to capture the mesmerising. poetic beauty of this island city – not least the classic works by Canaletto, Belotto and Turner.
But from a contemporary perspective, Primrose brings a refreshing, pure, impressionistic view of this famous scene. With a touch of artistic licence, the Grand Canal is devoid of vaparettos, boats and barges, to show the tranquility and timeless, magical sense of place.
Other Venetian scenes show the Rialto Bridge, the Campanile di San Marco and a row of gondolas at sunrise. Around the Gallery, continuing on south we reach the Cote d’Azur which as the name implies, here is the clear azure, turquoise water of the French Riviera – Nice, Eze, Villefranche, St Paul de Vence and on to Provence with verdant vineyards and fields of purple lavender.
As well as original oil paintings, there is also a selection of Limited Edition Prints, (framed and unframed), made to order using fine quality parchment-style German paper, manufactured by Giclee Ltd at Summerhall, Edinburgh.
Having viewed Jamie Primrose’s work over the past decade, “Tranquil Destinations” is a most impressive exhibition and clearly demonstrates his creative, crafted development as an accomplished and mature artist. Visit the Dundas Street Gallery this week to experience an evocative “voyage” around France and Italy (with a side trip to London), as observed in this superb collection of modern masterpieces. Canaletto, eat your heart out!
The Dundas Street Gallery, 6a Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ
“Tranquil Destinations” runs from 9 – 17 June, 2017
for more information:
“Moments” – Seascapes, Still Lifes and Portraits capture a sense of time and place at Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh
Covering Scottish seascapes, travel journeys far and wide, portraits and still life, there are around 60 original works of art, representing their individual style and subjects. The attractive, well lit basement gallery is an ideal space with separate walls and sections for each artist.
Describing himself as a realist artist Ken Young specialises in painting boats and harbours along the curving coastline of the East Neuk of Fife. The picturesque fishing villages of Pittenweem, Crail and Anstruther are a painter’s paradise. There are some colourfully evocative paintings here, such as “Still Water” where you can almost feel the salt sea air.
As Ken describes the artistic process for this work, “This is Dysart Harbour on a quiet evening as the light fades. The water is very still, reflecting the colours of the sky. I was aiming for a forlorn atmosphere .. at the end of a day.”
I am also impressed by his Still Life paintings such as the detailed texture of glistening glass and crimson cherries.
After taking early retirement from work in the financial business, Colin Joyce is now relishing a new mid life career as an artist. He also writes articles for Leisure Painter magazine and teaches art on cruise ships.
” I love to travel – my sketches and photographs recall the sounds and smells of the place. I often create a painting on location, “en plein air” inspired by light, the way it changes the landscape day by day, hour by hour.”
Painting in either Watercolour or Oils, there is great clarity in the cityscapes of Edinburgh, a sense of movement of buses and cars on a rain drizzled street; the iconic shape of the Bass Rock and the towering structure of the Forth Bridge; in contrast are charming views of Venice, with the bright sun on dappled water and ochre stone.
Roy McGowan returned to his love of art later in life, having enjoyed painting in his youth. For thirty five years he never picked up a paintbrush which he regrets but is clearly making up for lost time in the studio today. His collection of oil paintings cover his eclectic interest in seascapes, figurative studies and still life. My eye was particularly drawn to his exquisitely drawn “Blue Jug and Apple,” reminiscent of Cezanne.
Like his fellow artists here, Roy is a master at depicting the atmosphere of a quiet seashore and distant horizon with painterly precision.
Meeting Ken, Colin and Roy, three seriously talented artists from Fife, reminds me of the classic comic tale, “Three Men in a Boat – (to say nothing of the dog)”, by Jerome K Jerome. The boating adventures of Jerome and two ship mates, cruising along the River Thames from Kingston to Oxford and back again, was intended to be read as a serious travel guide.
I can just imagine these three friends taking a similar trip – perhaps a barge trip along the Caledonian canal, or a cruise around the Hebrides, with their sketchbooks in hand to capture loch and sea views, beaches, boats and wildlife en route.
Following in the footsteps of Jerome and his friends, on such an artistic journey would make a fantastic exhibition and indeed a stunningly illustrated book!
For more information on this exhibition and the artists:
Christmas is the time of year when families gather together – the annual pilgrimage most of us will make soon, as captured in song from Sinatra’s “I’ll be home for Christmas” to “Driving home for Christmas” from Chris Rea.
For the Rollinson family they have planned a different kind of reunion for us all to share and enjoy. Generation 3 is a collective exhibition to showcase the arts and crafts representing three generations.
Starting a few decades ago with Peter and Rosemary’s Scottish saddlery business, their children and grandchildren have inherited the creative gene and developed their own distinctive artistic talent from glassware and jewellery to pottery and photography.
After retirement, Peter Rollinson has developed his passion for cine, video and still photography in which to observe the natural world, flowers, trees and landscape, through the camera lens. As he explains the background to his art: “We tend to overlook something that is small, or that is a small part of a larger image. We may pass a dry stone wall every day and not see the different coloured stones used, or the fern growing from it. Or really see an old letterbox, a lone lobster pot or a tree stump. ”
Aged just 16, Natasha Rollinson began working with silver at a Summer course at Edinburgh College of Art which led to studying jewellery at the University of Ulster, and then training as a goldsmith. Her fine jewellery is based on traditional techniques matched by modern design.
Angelika Rollinson trained as a dressmaker in an atelier in southern Germany, later making costumes for the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Just like Vivienne Westwood who loves using Scottish textiles, she has designed a range of Harris Tweed ladies’ capes for this exhibition.
And then we move from wool to leather: William Rollinson worked in his family’s business and trained as a saddler. Today he makes and repairs saddles as well as creating quality leather products, dog collars, bags and gun cases. He also built his own Tipi Tent for camping on canoeing and fishing trips around Scotland.
Sue Jack trained in architectural glass at University of Wales and now divides her time between Edinburgh and Sutherland where she has an eco friendly house and glass design studio overlooking the sea towards Harris and the mountains of Assynt and Coicach. Inspired by the rugged wild landscape, Sue creates sculptural pieces and art works from kiln formed glass.
The new BBC series, The Great British Pottery Throw Down may encourage viewers to try their hand with throwing some clay … just as the ever popular Great British Bake Off show did with all those tempting cakes, buns and tarts.
Vicky Ware is the archetypal artisan potter, working and teaching in a studio at her home, a converted barn in rural Wales. Her handmade earthenware pots range from colourfully decorative glazed ceramics to functional plates, bowls and kitchenware.
And her rustic Terracotta Bread Pots sell like hot cakes!
As Vicky describes the creative design process … “ Hand thrown using grogged earthenware clay and fired to a rich toasted terracotta, each one is slightly different and has a spiral inside which gives the traditional crescia pattern to the loaf. The handles, as well as being part of the design, are a practical way of holding the pot to remove the bread.
“My pots are good for all types of bread and especially for sourdough, as you can prove and bake the loaf in the mould, retaining the texture and lightness of your dough”.
These beautiful moulds have revolutionised the way I bake! I have never had such a light and fluffy sourdough – the best loaf I have made.” Kelli DiCapri – Artisan Baker
Generation 3 is a fantastic, diverse collection of exquisitely hand made and beautifully crafted artwork made with love and care – perfect gifts for your family and friends this Christmas.
Dundas Street Gallery, Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH2 6HZ
28th November to 5th December, 2015 – 11am – 6pm daily.
For more information, contact: email@example.com
Davy Macdonald is a remarkable, original artist specialising in portraiture, who has been exhibiting regular shows in Edinburgh and London since 2009. The Dundas Street Gallery is again the venue for his latest collection of work entitled Gothic Edinburgh.
“Edinburgh, the most Gothic city outside of Transylvania” – Lonely Planet Guide
Macdonald does not simply create figurative works, a portrait on the canvas. Over the years he has researched and developed historic or cultural backgrounds for his Heritage Series – paintings which tell a story from Scotland’s past.
Fascinated by the Medieval architecture of Edinburgh’s Old Town and the ghosts still haunting the cobbled closes, these are dark and dramatic scenes. Women, half hidden behind black cloaks are captured lurking in shadowy candlelight, outside churches and ancient wooden doors.
These are moody, menacing images which illustrate only too well Edinburgh’s legendary ghoulish past of body snatchers, preserving its sense of place which inspired Mary Shelley to create Frankenstein. No wonder the nightly Ghost Tours do a roaring trade year round.!
As well as Gothic Edinburgh, there’s also the opportunity to view a selection of works still available from previous shows. The Heritage series depicting the Harris Tweed workers are charming portraits of women against the scenic beauty of the Western Isles.
“ My vision, using Island girls as models, period costume & artefacts and awe-inspiring locations in the Western Isles, was to recreate and capture the processes that were required to produce Harris Tweed in the Outer Hebrides, some of which are gradually being forgotten.” Davy Macdonald.
You can almost feel the sun on their faces and see the movement of their hands waulking the wool in time to the musical rhythm of their songs.
Here too are a few portraits from the series, Herring Lassies, the iconic fisherwomen who worked in the port at Newhaven, with their nets, baskets and barrels of fresh and salted fish:
“The backdrop for these paintings is Newhaven Harbour in Edinburgh. The idea was to recreate and capture the spirit and camaraderie of the Herring Lassies. Thousands of girls from the Scottish Highlands and islands worked in the Herring industry. They always worked in a tight knit crew of three.“
Fast forward to the 1920s and a time of elegance and glamour in his Deco Dames – young flirty flapper girls in their pearls enjoying the decadent champagne lifestyle and party fun.
This wide-ranging exhibition not only presents Davy Macdonald’s latest work but is also a fine retrospective to highlight the excellent Heritage series of recent years.
A portfolio of well priced Limited Edition prints are also for sale. And if that is not enough choice, private commissions are accepted for individual portraits. A perfect birthday or anniversary present for friends and family to treasure.!
This Gothic Edinburgh Exhibition was kindly sponsored by Ondine (Seafood) Restaurant, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh where a small selection of Davy Macdonald’s artwork is on show.
Dundas Street Gallery, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ.
Exhibition dates – 21 – 28 March, 2015. 10am – 6pm.
For more information:
Davy Macdonald: http://www.dmacart.com
Ondine Restaurant – http://www.ondinerestaurant.co.uk