I’m delighted that my latest Dean Village hand-painted etching (Sunset) has been accepted to be exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy Annual Open 2017. It’s the 4th in a series of 10, each of which depicts the scene at a different time of day or season.
I’m especially pleased that this painting was accepted as I think it it’s the best piece of work I have done to date. It’s certainly the one I’m most satisfied with, insofar as it’s the closest I’ve gotten to achieving what I had in mind when I began the series last year. I’m also really pleased to have work in this particular RSA Open as it’s on during the Edinburgh Festival, so it’s going to be very busy.
I won’t make it to the opening of the exhibition unfortunately, but I’ll look forward to seeing the exhibition when I return from my summer holiday. I’m off to Belgium and Holland to get up close and personal with all my favourite paintings by artists like Bosch, Brueghel, Avercamp, Rembrandt and Vermeer. I’m especially looking forward to going back to the Rijksmuseum which was mostly closed for refurbishment the last time I visited, so I only saw a fraction of the artworks they normally have on show.
I’m currently reading the weighty Van Gogh, The Life tome and so this is also going to be a bit of an artistic pilgrimage to the places where he lived, worked and painted in those 2 countries. I’m hoping to come back brimming with ideas and inspiration and, despite the huge amount of anticipation I have for going on this trip, I’m already looking forward to getting back to work when I return.
I’ll try and post a few pictures from my trip here and on my Instagram page, so watch this space.
On another note, I just delivered a batch of etchings and paintings to The Coach House Gallery in Pittenweem, which will be on show there during the Pittenweem Art Festival. So drop in for a look if you’re planning a visit (which runs between 5-12th August). And if you haven’t been to Pittenweem or the festival before then it’s well worth the trip. The village is stunning and the interiors of some of the houses perched on the hill above the harbour are well worth a visit in their own right. There’s over 100 artists showing, as well as music and other events so there’s plenty to see and do.
So I’ve produced these 3 different coloured versions of my Super Moon etching (image size 48x58cm). They’re off to the framers now, but do go along to the event if you’re in the Perth area and have a closer look at the moon than you’d normally get. There’s a lot more detail thank you might expect in that bright orb hanging in the sky at night. Hopefully, I’ve managed to capture a suggestion of that with these.
There’s also going to be hundreds of works on show by around 60 other artists, so plenty to see.
Here’s the Blue version showing the full-sized print below.
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I have a few pieces in this show at the lovely Strathearn Gallery including these 2 above and below. It’s on until 21st May, so do drop in tomorrow for the opening or before the show closes in a month.
I also have new work on show at The Quay Gallery, Aberdour, including this large oil of The Bass Rock (a favourite subject!).
The other news is that I have left Fire Station Creative and will no longer be taking part in exhibitions or open studios at there. I will, however, be opening my new studio doors (in Edinburgh) to the public at some point in the future, so keep an eye out for news on that front.
And Finally …
Many thanks to those who visited the recent show at Gallery at Fifty Five in Stonehaven. The feedback was fantastic and I look forward to exhibiting there again in 2018.
Until then, I’ll be working on new pieces including more versions of the 2 hand-painted etchings above and those I’ve done of Edinburgh and the East Neuk, along with more oils based on my recent travels to Yorkshire, Cornwall and Northumberland. There will no doubt be a few more lighthouse paintings and new etchings in the pipeline too.
There’s more to report as far as exhibitions coming up are concerned and an exciting piece of news (for me at east!) about my work featuring in a new glossy magazine … but I’ll leave that for next time.
You can always find more updates and pictures of my latest works in progress etc by following me on:
I’m happy to say I have a number of exhibitions in the pipeline for this year and this lot of newly framed work will be heading off to a gallery near you in the coming week. I’ll have some of this work in the Gallery at Fifty Five Spring show opening in Stonehaven on 4th March.
There’s also arTay during Perth Festival of the Arts which takes place in May, and either side of that I’ll have work in the Pittenweem Arts & Galleries Weekend along with fellow Fire Station resident artists in April, and at the Fire Station Creative gallery which will be happening around Open Studios time in June. I’ll post the specifics for all of these nearer the times.
In the meantime, I’ll be working mainly on new oil paintings and etchings, including lots based on my recent Cornwall, Devon and East Lothian trips in the campervan.
I’ve been meaning to update my blog for weeks, but it’s only now (while bed-ridden with flu for a 3rd day on the trot) that I’ve had the time to stop and think about what to write.
Well December was a very good month for a start. With 4 separate exhibitions on the go and several paintings and etchings off to new homes for Christmas it was all a bit hectic, in a good way! I was delighted to get pieces accepted for both the SSA and the RSW annual shows, both of which were held at the RSA building on The Mound in Edinburgh during Dec/Jan. My watercolour of Limekilns, Winter Afternoon (above) sold on the preview day of the RSW show, which was a nice little confidence booster to start off the new year!
Dancing Light Gallery
January has been kind to me once again this year. I was approached by Dee at Dancing Light Gallery near Whitmuir and asked if I would like to show with them. We arranged for me to visit the gallery (which is stunning if you haven’t already been … it’s well worth a special trip!) and I took some examples of my work. I was very pleasantly surprised by the beautifully lit space and by the quality of the work on show. It’s definitely one of the better galleries I’ve visited recently and when you add the fact that there’s a fantastic organic farm shop and restaurant in the same complex then it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.
So I am delighted to say that I’ll be exhibiting with Dancing Light Gallery in two separate exhibitions later this year. Firstly, in a printmaking exhibition during October/November where I’ll be showing my etchings; and secondly in the mixed Christmas exhibition, where I’ll show several paintings. I’m really looking forward to working with the owner Dee and her colleagues at this beautiful gallery and hope it’s just the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.
Gallery at Fifty Five
I’ll also be exhibiting for the first time with another new gallery this coming March. I stumbled upon Gallery at Fifty Five in Stonehaven while visiting friends there last year. I was immediately struck by this small but very ambitious gallery. The work on show by Martin Nelson was truly outstanding and I chatted with the owner Eion for a good while about it and about art in general. It was great to meet a gallery owner who not only knew his artists well, but also loved their work and wanted to talk about it. Follow the link above to see the high caliber of artists showing here.
So with only a month to go now before that exhibition opens, I’m determined to get out of this bed and back into the studio. I’ll be finishing off the paintings I have for the Stonehaven show as well as working on new etchings for the exhibitions later in the year at Dancing Light. I’ll post opening details for all of the above exhibitions asap …
I was thrilled to have a very successful open studio event at the end of last month, where I was asked lots of questions about my work and especially about my recent hand-painted etchings. So I thought it might be a good idea to provide an example of what they are and explain a bit about how & why I produced them. It’s been making these (and clearing out my plan chest of etching proofs!) which has preoccupied much of my time this year, but it’s also been something I’ve really enjoyed doing too.
Below is an example of a state proof etching I was loath to throw away, but didn’t want to sell as it was. I had a drawer full of them from 4 years of working on this and about 30 other different plates at the Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop.
It can be an expensive business putting a plate through its various stages before finalising it, as I like to use decent paper for the proofs that come near the end of the process. Anyway, I decided back in January to do something productive with all those failed etchings that were taking up precious studio space. It was time for a bit of colouring in! Below is a finished hand-painted etching from the same plate as the one above. This one was done using a mixture of watercolours and pastels.
As I had several of each I decided to experiment with colours and mix up the media a bit too. Here’s another from the same plate using gouache and watercolour.
You can see how different the same composition can become with a little imagination and a willingness to take a risk or too. They were going in the bin otherwise, so it’s no risk at all really. I must have painted somewhere in the region of 30 of these over the year using a variety methods, including the larger Edinburgh ones of Dean Village and The Old Town (see below), the plates for which were produced specifically with hand-painting the prints in mind. I’ve found it great fun and quite liberating to just take risks and throw colour at them to see what happens. It’s also been good to experiment with different ‘feelings’ or atmospheres in each. So they’ve all ended up as distinctly separate and individual pieces. I might take inspiration from some of the more successful ones for future oil paintings, but that’s for later next year.
I’m planning on getting back into the etching properly again in 2017 and I’ll no doubt be making a lot more duff proofs in the process … so watch this space for more hand-painted etchings!
Everyone has been talking about and sharing their photos of last night’s Super Moon all over social media. It was meant to be absolutely glorious, though most of us in Scotland weren’t able to see it because of the cloud cover.
But don’t worry, if you weren’t lucky enough to see it for yourself then you can come along to my Open Studio at Fire Station Creative between 25-27th November, where I’ll have a few of my etched Super Moon prints available for sale at discounted prices. So you or a special person in your life could have your very own Super Moon on permenant display at home.
They do look almost as good as the real thing, even if I say so myself!
Of course, I’ll have lots of other paintings and prints for sale as will all the other artists who work at the Fire Station. It’s always a great event, so do come along and make sure to say hello.
A little bit of background on the project Steven Blench designed and I printed as an etching and which has been included at the SSA open exhibition this year. It was great to get the piece on the front cover of the exhibition catalogue and also hung up at the entrance to the show as a huge blow up on vinyl.
Steven and his wife Ffion design and make plasterworks including highly ornate cornices and ceiling roses, among other things. They were to exhibit some of their work in Edinburgh earlier this year and Steven asked me if I had any ideas as to how they could render what they do in a 2D format to hang in a frame alongside their other work.
I pictured an etching featuring several of Steven’s ceiling rose designs as a good way to show off the incredible detail at it’s best. Etching on copper gives a very precise line and Steven’s designs obviously required a huge amount of accuracy. So I prepared a large piece of copper plate onto which Steven enscribed his designs before I etched it and ran off a couple of prints.
We hoped to get something we could at least hang in that exhibition, but when the print was pulled it was probably much better than either of us had expected (see top picture). Steven and I agreed that this could be an interesting collaboration with more prints to come as a sideline to what we normally do. He took one of the prints home and, a couple of days later, came back with it having dusted down some lines and areas leaving the final design more prominent (bottom left).
This process informs the next, which is to render the 2D design into a 3D plasterwork (top photo).
The print was exactly what we had hoped for but then one of those happy accidents occured that added that something extra to the final piece. I’d been keen to show the prints to Steven asap, so they hadn’t been allowed to dry properly. I resoaked and dried them out on an old piece of plywood, not realising there was a residue of sepia watercolour on it. This soft tone bled out across the wet paper giving the prints a lovely ‘antique’ feel.
Prints are available from the RSA building on Princes Street until 24/11/16
£260 unframed (£350 framed)
Just finished these 6 new paintings and will be taking to the framer in edinburgh later this week. They’re off to the Quay Gallery in Aberdour, Fife, in a week or 2 and each is a hand-coloured etching painted in a variety of ways.
The one on the right, The Old Town, Edinburgh, is 65x50cm and was only just finished this morning. It has a watercolour base for the sky and buildings and the hard work was done with my recently aquired Faber & Castell pastel pencils. These were bought on Ebay by accident as I thought I was getting watercolour pencils (I hit the bid button in a bit of a panic to win them). Anyway, I’m glad I did because they are fantastic!
The middle painting, the 4th in my Dean Village series, is maianly watercolour over etching with a little copper acrylic for some of the roofs. It’s roughly the same size as Old Town.
The other four paintings are done over 2 etchings of East Neuk scenes. Again, watercolour base with pastel and gouache for the buildings.
If you have the time do go to the Quay Gallery in Aberdour. It’s a beautiful gallery and just happens to be in one of the loveliest seaside towns in Scotland. But wait a week or two!!
Here’s my latest in the Dean Village hand-finished etching series. This one, the forth in the series, took by far the longest to complete, but I think there is more fine detail and a greater variety of colours in this than any of the other 3 completed so far. I used copper acrylic paint to give some of the rooftops more lustre and if you look very closely you might see some gold dust stars in the night sky.
I’m taking a break from this project now to work on a large-scale oil painting of the Bank of Scotland building, which sits atop The Mound in Edinburgh. This particular building has always been one of my favourites in the city and it helps to make that Old Town skyline one of the best in the world (to my mind anyway).
Here’s how it’s looking after the first wash of colours. A very long way to go as you can see.
Macmillan Art Show 2016
I’m delighted to have had an etching accepted for the 2016 Macmillan Art Show. This takes place at Bonhams between 25-28th August and further details can be found in Scottish Art Scene article below (click the link to view the pdf). My etching of Arthurs Seat & Calton Hill is featured in the article, along with a short blurb about how it was made. Some of the other artists who’s works are also going to be on show are also featured.