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/
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.