Strathberry Commission

Just in time for Christmas and after several months in the making, I am delighted to share some very exciting news about recent work I have been doing for top Scottish luxury leather goods brand Strathberry.

Strathberry HQ Christmas animation

For those of you who don’t know, Strathberry is based in Edinburgh’s West End and has a retail outlet in the city’s Multrees Walk, along with 3 stunning boutiques in London’s Covent Garden, Kings Road and Burlington Arcade.

They are internationally renowned for producing high quality, beautifully hand-crafted handbags and are the go-to brand for the likes of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle according to Marie Claire.

The Princess of Wales loves Strathberry

It was just over a year ago that I was approached by Amber, Chief Marketing Officer at Strathberry, in a particularly serendipitous twist of fate. The company was about to celebrate its 10th anniversary and wished to use their stunning 4 storey Georgian townhouse, in Edinburgh’s Melville Street, as the new face of the brand. She had googled ‘Edinburgh artist’ and, as a result of that search, came across a previous blog post of mine where I had detailed the various stages towards completion of a commission I had recently done of a similar townhouse in the city’s Rutland Square (see that image below and click here to read that post).

Rutland Square Commission

Impressed by the end results of that project and looking for something similar but uniquely ‘Strathberry’, they commissioned me to produce a detailed ink drawing of their HQ. The brief was not only to create something that was representative but something that could also be utilised in a variety of novel ways going forward: for example, an image that might be flexible enough to appear on packaging, tissue paper and product care booklets, as well as being featured in a variety of media online and in print.

Strathberry HQ Final Drawing

With all of that in mind, I created the image above – deceptively simple in design and finish, but far from simple to produce. In order to fit the whole building into the frame (including the roof and chimneys as well as the basement) I had to somehow show it from mid height (I used a drone to get a variety of photos at different heights for this purpose). However, this created its own problems in that a bird’s eye perspective had the effect of warping the entire image, revealing too much basement  and moving the focal point away from what I hoped would be a welcoming doorway that would lead the viewers into the building – so to speak.

In the end, and after a couple of time consuming false starts, I managed to compose an image which shows the entire building without warping the perspective at all, while giving equal prominence to every storey (roof and basement too) but maintaining the entrance way as the main focal point. I submitted my final ink drawing in April and, thankfully, Strathberry owners Guy and Leanne were delighted with the result.

Now it was time to paint the townhouse (see below)!

The Strathberry Townhouse

Again, I wanted to keep the painting as simple but effective as possible, while showing the Strathberry townhouse at its very best. 34 Melville Street, Edinburgh is not only the company HQ, but it’s also the place where products are designed and marketed (as shown to great effect in the magical Christmas animation above). It also happens to house a sumptuous showroom on the ground floor. All in all, Strathberry HQ is an extremely elegant Edinburgh townhouse – sophisticated, yet warm and welcoming – and I hope to have created something that reflects those qualities with these images.

Commissions are never straight forward or relaxed affairs but, much to my relief, Guy and Leanne were again delighted with the final painting, which I delivered in June (see handover picture below).

I’ll post a more detailed account of the whole procedure in a future blog piece, including a stage by stage breakdown of the creative process involved. But for now I just wanted to show the final images produced for this prestigious commission and give a little more information about how Strathberry have been using my images to help celebrate their 10th anniversary and also to showcase their stunning World Heritage listed HQ.

A detail of the painting pops up when hovering over Strathberry Stories on the company website
The beautifully animated version has been on show on window display screens in every Strathberry boutique in the land

And and how’s this for a bit of unashamed name dropping … ? I was recently informed that ex US president Bill Clinton, while on a shopping trip to London, was entranced by the animation while walking through the Burlington Arcade store. So much so that after watching the whole clip he was enticed into the store and purchased 4 handbags for Hilary and Chelsea!

Strathberry have also used an inverted version of the ink drawing on menus for a recent press event at the Kimpton Hotel in Edinburgh.

Menus featuring an inverted version of the image

The Strathberry story will continue to develop over coming years and I am very excited to see how the image I created for the company will be utilised in exciting new ways going forward.

In the meantime, I hope to do more of this kind of work in future. So if you are looking for a similar (but different!) picture of your own elegant townhouse, or anywhere else for that matter, and would like to discuss how to make that happen, then please do not hesitate to get in touch via the contact page or by emailing me at: cliveramage@gmail.com

Proud and delighted to see my work being used in such a wonderfully creative way this Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy New Year!

Aberdeen Art Galleries and Museums – Micro Commission

I was initially told about the Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums (AAGM) Micro-commissions by a studio colleague the day before the deadline. I was in the middle of moving into my new studio and packing for a New Year trip to Crovie the following day. However, as a relative newcomer to Aberdeen and having spent many hours admiring the gallery’s fantastic collection, my interest had been piqued! I downloaded the application form and had a first draft written within an hour.

At the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums’ (AAGM) Treasure Hub where I gave a talk about my Micro Commission work to the Friends of AAGM

The brief

Applicants were asked to say something about their lived experience in the city, addressing themes that might include social justice, climate change, identity, well-being and migration, while responding to something that was already part of the AAGM collection.

I thought it could be a challenge to come up with an exciting print-based project that would test some of my recently acquired printmaking skills, especially in screen and photopolymer printing. And, in the unlikely event my proposal was successful, I might just about manage to complete the rather ambitious project I had put together in my mind, despite having already committed to 2 solo shows and another important commission – all of which were to be fulfilled before the AAGM June deadline!

No holiday for me … not yet anyway!

So the first day of our supposedly relaxing holiday was spent editing my application (with considerable help from my patient and very understanding partner Pam) and it was submitted within an hour of the deadline.

Having never applied for anything like this before, I resignedly put the whole experience down to good practice and relaxed for the rest of our trip.

Success!

Around 4 weeks later, having forgotten all about my application and while frantically finishing several paintings and working on the final preparations for my early March solo show, I received an email to say my proposal had in fact been successful!

My initial elation and surprise at this great news were suddenly followed by a gut-wrenching dread that I might just have overstretched myself! But I do love a challenge and that’s exactly what the following 5 months proved to be!

The final 3 prints that make up the triptych: Disintegration, Transformation & Anticipation. I named the triptych with a nod to the 3 institutions that feature in the middle print; namely the Central Library, St Mark’s Church & His Majesty’s Theatre, collectively known by locals as Education, Salvation & Damnation.

The Proposal

In selecting a work from the AAGM collection as an initial reference for my own project, John Piper’s powerfully atmospheric painting of Dunnottar Castle immediately sprang to mind. Like many of his works, it perfectly captures with great drama and deceptive simplicity the beauty that can often be found even in a crumbling old building. This got me thinking about how the disintegration of one thing can lead to something new and possibly even more beautiful in its place (a painting in this instance, but also the castle itself).

Dunnottar Castle by John Piper

From here I travelled north in my mind to Aberdeen city centre and thought of the recently opened Union Terrace Gardens and how they have helped to rejuvenate that part of the city.

Newly reopened and rejuvenated Union Terrace Gardens (January 2023)

I then took a short trip across Union Street to the recently demolished Aberdeen Market and pondered how that has provided an opportunity (and also hope) that something better might arise out of the dust and rubble.

The currently vacant site of the old Aberdeen Market

I decided to produce a triptych of handmade prints exploring the theme of disintegration in relation to those three well-loved local sites. To bring these ideas to fruition I wanted to use three different printmaking techniques, which would reflect the past, present and future in their own way.

Three Different subjects printed three different ways

Disintegration

Disintegration, the first piece in the triptych, is a traditional copper-plate etching inspired by John Piper’s painting of Dunnottar Castle.

Disintegration – 40x60cm – copper plate etching with hard ground and aquatint (including sugar lift and spit bite) on Hahnemüle etching paper

 

Inking up the plate

 

Disintegration is signed and ready to deliver to Aberdeen Art Gallery when framed

Transformation

Transformation – 40x76cm – photopolymer etching with chine collé and watercolour on calendered Hahnemüle etching paper

The middle piece, Transformation, depicts Union Terrace Gardens and contrasts old and new features now present in the gardens and also in the methods used to create the print.

Chine collé tissue cut to shape for adding colour to the etching

It combines very traditional etching techniques like chine collé above to add colour  to the print …

An acetate was used to expose the image onto a photopolymer-coated steel plate

… alongside methods employed in contemporary digital photography.

Transformation completed at Peacock Print Studio in Aberdeen and ready for the AAGM collection

Anticipation

Anticipation – 40x60cm – screen print on calendered Hahnemüle etching paper

Anticipation focuses on the Aberdeen Market area and poses the question: what does the future hold for this site?

Making a composite of the various pictorial elements in Photoshop

Photoshop was used to combine a drone-captured digital image with an interpretation of the Herakut mural from the old Aberdeen Market.

A proof incorporating the hand-painted golden question mark

 

The final image of the triptych, Anticipation, is signed and ready to frame

The Micro Commission Experience

Working on the AAGM Micro-commission has been a fantastic experience as well as a great opportunity to learn. Not only because it has allowed me to develop and test my skills in traditional and photopolymer etching, as well as screen printing, but the funding that was provided by the Friends of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums has also enabled me to produce an entirely new stand-alone series of prints that are quite different from anything I have done before. It is also wonderful to know that my triptych has been accessioned into the AAGM permanent collection.

Describing the processes involved in producing each print at Aberdeen’s Treasure Hub

I would advise anyone who is interested in applying to the next round of Micro-commissions to absolutely go for it. This has been a hugely rewarding experience and has shown me what I can achieve under intense pressure.

And finally …

Finally, I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to the Friends of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums for providing the £2500 funding that enabled my Micro Commission, and many thanks also to Shona Elliot and all the staff at AAGM for their excellent support throughout. I’d also like to thank the staff at Peacock Print Studio and, in particular, James Vaas and Struan Hamilton who have both been very generous with their time, patience and expertise throughout this process.

I will put together another post soon where I will go into more detail about the making of each print in the triptych … watch this space!

Frames Gallery Solo Show – Invitation to the Private View (3 March 2023 6-8pm)

I am delighted to announce that my first solo show with Frames Gallery in Perth opens in less than a week and will run until 25th March! I have been exhibiting regularly with the gallery since the very earliest days of my artistic adventures, and working with Hugh and his team has always been a great pleasure.

I hope this diverse collection of over 40 paintings and original prints will not only demonstrate my development as a painter and printmaker over the past 15 years, but will also be something of a visual feast. However, that’ll be for you to decide!

Come along and enjoy a glass of wine at the private view this Friday 3rd March 6-8pm at Frames Gallery. It would be great to see you there!

Here is just a little taster of what will be on show …

Neist Point, Skye, oil on canvas

 

Muckle Flugga, oil on canvas

 

The Bell Rock, photopolymer etching

 

Glitter Moons – Yellow, Blue & Red, etching and screensprint

 

The North Face, Ben Nevis, etching and aquatint

 

The Old Town, Edinburgh (Twilight), mixed media over etching

 

Towards Arthur’s Seat & South Queensferry, mixed media over etching

 

Bothy paintings, mixed media on paper

Click here for the whole exhibition and picture details!

Blue Moon SOLD OUT!

Blue Moon

My Blue Moon numbered edition has now SOLD OUT!!

I will have a few artist proofs available to buy soon and they can be reserved by contacting me directly. Click here to reserve yours now!

However, the first and original Super Moon is still available to buy here!

Super Moon

And, if you’re quick, you still have time to grab one before Christmas!
Better still, you can get 25% off the usual price using discount code BLACKFRIDAY

… but only until tomorrow at 11.55pm!

And there’s 25% OFF all my other prints too!

Click here for a bargain!

Black Friday Sale – 25% Discount off all my prints online!!

It’s that time of year when everyone’s looking for a good deal. So I’ve decided to offer a HUGE 25% Black Friday DISCOUNT on all my giclée prints and etchings for a very limited time only. (Ends Sun 27th Nov at 11.55pm)

Dean Village (Sunset) – 65x50cm (usual price £150 – now £112.50)

So if you’re looking for an extra special and very personal Christmas present for yourself or a loved one then look no further!

The Old Town, Edinburgh – 65x50cm (usual price £150 – now £112.50)

Select anything from my Big Cartel shop using discount code BLACKFRIDAY and you’ll not only get this great saving but you’ll also receive it carefully wrapped and packaged well before Christmas.

Towards Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh – 45x33cm (usual price £95 – now £71.25)

And that includes one of my very rare and highly saught after Blue Moon etchings! There’s just a couple of these available right now, so you’ll have to be quick off the mark to get one at this price – and with almost £150 off the usual price!

[PLEASE NOTE: my Blue Moon numbered edition has now SOLD OUT! See most recent post for details on how to reserve a a very rare Artist Proof Blue Moon!]

Blue Moon A/P – etching 57x47cm image size (usual price £595 – now £446.25)

These are just a few of the pictures available so click here to see them all and remember to use discount code BLACKFRIDAY

My BLACKFRIDAY discount ends Sunday 27 November at 11.55pm!

Spectacular Winter Show with Graystone Gallery at ‘The Art Hotel’, 24 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh

I am very excited to be showing several of my oil paintings and handmade prints with Edinburgh’s newest purveyor of fine art, Graystone Gallery. Owner Lesley has found a truly inspired space for her inaugural show in what has to be the most exquisite and stylish boutique hotel I’ve ever seen!

And you are invited to the Private View at 24 Royal Terrace this coming Thursday (details below).

 

On any given day, the walls of 24 Royal Terrace, aka The Art Hotel, are full of colour and when I dropped off my own works for this winter show last Friday I was astonished (in a very good way!) to see such a huge variety of great art in one incredible setting. The pictures above give only a tiny taste of what it’s really like in there!

Glitter Moon – Blue
Etching and screen print
58 x 48cm (image size)

The hotel owner, who has personally collected art from around the world and curated each and every room herself, not only has excellent taste but has created a highly unique setting in which you can indulge yourself over a cocktail or a fine whisky while taking in some fabulous contemporary art.

The Bass Rock (Nocturne)
Oil on wood panel
74 x 74cm framed

Alongside some pretty huge and important works by the likes of John Bellany and Alan Davie, there’s a highly ecclectic mix of landscapes, figurative and abstract pieces that should pique the interest of any art enthusiast. I could easily have spent a day in there myself!

Dubh Artach
Oil on wood panel
74 x 74cm framed

For this first Graystone Gallery pop-up show a number of the walls have been rehung with works by around 20 contemporary artists from Scotland and beyond, including 9 by yours truly.

Where There Is Light
Oil on wood panel
78cm x 78cm framed

So if you love art and happen to be in Edinburgh this coming Thursday evening then you need to get along to the private view (details below)!

Rattray Head (Cirrus Clouds)
Oil on canvas
79 x79cm framed

If you can’t make that then the show will run until 2 Jan 2023. And, as you can see below, Lesley has also organised a number of events to run alongside this show, including an Artist’s Night, at which I and a couple of others will discuss our techniques and inspirations.

It all promises to be a very special feast for the eyes and one not to be missed this festive period!

New Work with Ballater Gallery at Aberdeen Art Fair 2022

I am delighted to be showing two recently finished large oil paintings for the first time with Ballater Gallery at this weekend’s Aberdeen Art Fair (details below)

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle – oil on canvas – 80x80cm (unframed size)

Dunnottar Castle is quite possibly THE perfect landscape painter’s subject. Sitting atop a magestic outcrop of rusty red sandstone, surrounded by constantly changing seas and skies, it’s sheer immensity and magnificence are breathtaking – the scene simply demands to be painted!

My favourite place to paint!

The above painting is the view from the little bridge that spans the deep gully and leads to the cliffs on the western side of the castle. Those cliffs have also been a favourite haunt of mine over the past few months and are a great spot to paint en plein air (below).

Me painting en plein air at Dunnottar Castle

After spending several months working on this particular painting – and trying do the scene the justice it deserves – it will be great to see it hanging at the Aberdeen Art Fair (AAF) from this Friday.

Preview 6–9pm at Aberdeen Music Hall

Muckle Flugga – the UK’s northernmost lighthouse

Muckle Flugga – oil on canvas – 80x80cm (unframed size)

Also on show at Aberdeen Art Fair with Ballater Gallery will be this newly finished oil painting of the mighty Muckle Flugga!

Muckle Flugga (Old Norse Mikla Flugey, meaning “large steep-sided island”) is the northernmost point of the British Isles and, in my own humble opinion, has to be one of the most dramatic lighthouse locations on Earth.

I hope to have captured something of the rugged nature of the rock itself, but also of the precariousness of that lonely lighthouse perched upon it. The perpetual crashing of great ocean waves has done little to change this scene since the lighthouse was built in 1854. But nothing lasts for ever – apart from oil paintings hopefully!

Maybe see you at the preview!

Details for Aberdeen Art Fair

Preview Evening: Friday 2nd September 6pm – 9pm
Opening times: 10 – 5pm Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th September

Find Ballater Gallery on Stand 12.

Free entry for all for both the preview evening and Saturday/Sunday

Scotsman review: Blue Moon … among highlights of the Pittenweem Arts Festival!

Blue Moon, etching & aquating 57.5 x 47 cm (22.5 x 18.5 inches)

I was over the moon to read a lovely review of my work in Monday’s Scotsman by Susan Mansfield in her review of Pittenweem Arts Festival. Here’s a link to the whole article (which also mentions several of my fellow Dunfermline Print Workshop members) and the relevant part relating to my work in particular is below:

Scotsman review

“The theme of the sea also comes up again and again in the work of Fife Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop in the Lesser Hall in James Street. Also part of the invited programme, this artist-run cooperative brings together a range of artists working in different styles and media. Particular highlights include Clive Ramage’s striking etching of the moon and Catherine King’s large monotype landscape, capturing weather, clouds and water in saturated shades of blue and grey.”

And I am also delighted to report that 3 of my Blue Moon prints sold on the very first day! That means there’s only 2 left to buy from the very limited edition of just 20 numbered prints!

One of 3 Blue Moons sold at Pittenweem on opening day. I wish this framed one had been left there for the whole show! I’ll have another framed for my NEOS event in September though, where I’ll also have some artist’s proofs for sale. Some lovely work also on show here by my Dunfermline printmaking colleagues Catherine King (left), Olga Krasanova (bottom right) and Peter Kirley (top right).

This moon etching really does seem to glow as brightly as the real thing and it makes a beautiful and bold statement on any wall. It comes from an extremely limited numbered edition of 20 and they have consistently sold at the few shows I’ve entered them.

Here’s a video of me pulling a print from the copper plate just last week …

There are now only 2 numbered prints left, plus a few artists proofs (which I’ll be holding on to for my North East Open Studios (NEOS) event 10-19 Sept 2022 – more details to come!).

Me with my moon print at the preview on Friday night

So if you want your very own Blue Moon to gaze at whenever you like then get in touch with me now or follow the link to my shop and bag yours before they’re all gone!

My Dunnottar Castle print at Pittenweem alongside work bt Peter Kirley (left) and Bethany Snaddon (right)

………………………………………….

Original, hand-made etching printed on 310gsm Hanhmuhle etching paper.

Limited to an extremely small edition of only 20 prints.

Image size: 57.5 x 47 cm (22.5 x 18.5 inches)
Paper Size 71 x 53.5 cm / (28 x 22 inches)

Shipping: The print is sold unframed, but lovingly wrapped and rolled in tissue and packaged in a tough cardboard tube for protection. UK p&p is £20 and shipping time is around 2 weeks. International delivery is £25 but allow up to 3 weeks.

Pittenweem Arts Festival

St Monans, Fife

Tomorrow marks the start of the Pittenweem Arts Festival (6-13th August) and I’m very happy to be taking part alongside fellow members of Fife Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop. I’m looking forward to seeing all the work we have on show at the preview this evening.

All are welcome to come along tonight for an early viewing  between 6.30-9pm at Lesser Church Hall, James St, Pittenweem.

Dunnottar Castle

Above are 2 of the large framed prints I have in the show, St Monans and Dunnottar Castle. Both etchings were produced in July especially for this event.

I’ll also be showing my Blue Moon etching (below). There are only a few left from this very limited edition of 20 numbered prints, so if you want to own one you best hurry to bag yours!

Blue Moon

I have a few other mounted prints available from the venue including the following, all of which are fairly local to the area:

A Hot Summer’s Day, Elie

The Old Wooden Pier, Culross

Edinburgh Castle

The Old Iron Pier, Aberdour

If you can get to Pittenweem during the festival you will find art filling the streets and almost every home above the beautiful harbour and beyond. It’s a fantastic event and well worth the trip for a great day out!

More details about the festival and invited guest artists can be found here!

 

arTay 2022 – Part of Perth Festival Of The Arts

Where There Is Light, oil on wood panel – 78cm x 78cm (framed)

After 2 year’s absence from the art show calendar, I really can’t wait for arTay 2022, which opens at 10am in Perth this coming Thursday 19th May and runs until 7.30pm on Sunday 22nd.

Every May, and as if by magic, a large marquee appears next to Perth’s Concert Hall and is filled to the brim with a great assortment of fantastic artworks.

Dubh Artach, oil on wood panel – 75x75cm (framed)

But all the real magic is what’s on show inside the marquee!

With more than 70 artists taking part and a few hundred pictures to hang and label, it’s a challenge to get it all done and looking great in just a few hours. It’s not all hard work though and there’s always a great atmosphere, with Hugh and his team making it all the more fun by providing lots of coffee and cakes to keep us all going until the show is hung. Remarkably – considering the often competative nature of a typical ‘hang’, and with so many artistic egos to be found in one relatively small compass – I have yet to witness a punch up!

Rattray Head, oil on canvas – 57cm x 57cm (framed)

As well as helping to hang the show on Wednesday, I’m also very much looking forward to catching up with lots of artist friends and maybe matching some new faces to familiar pictures and names too.

So these are the four paintings I’ll have in the show. Three fairly large atmospheric lighthouse oils and my latest dreamscape (or ‘longing’) painting of Edinburgh, as seen at night from across the Firth of Forth.

[Contact Hugh at Frames Gallery, Perth for more details, or if you would like to reserve one of these paintings. Tel: 01738 631085]

Edinburgh Nocturne, oil on canvas – 95x95cm (framed)=

If you happen to be in or near Perth then do come along and see a huge variety of great work by some of the country’s best artists. Along with many of the other artists, I’ll be at the ‘arTay Party’ preview on Friday 20th from 6pm.
Hope to see some of you there too!

Frames Gallery

10 Victoria Street, Perth, Scotland, PH2 8LW
01738 631085
info@framesgallery.co.uk