Here’s a map of all the Scottish lighthouses that I found at Ardnamurchan Point. There’s a lot of them! Almost 100 and pretty much all built by the Stevenson family within 100 years from the first (the Bell Rock) which was finished in 1810. I hope to get to as many as possible over the next few months as part of my project, The Lights That Never Go Out, An Artistic Odyssey From Muckle Flugga To The Mull of Galloway.
So after a day spent washing clothes and repacking the campervan after the Easter trip to the west coast, I’m off again to spend the next few days and nights sketching and photographing the lighthouses between Montrose and Fraserburgh. Tonight I’m hoping for a clear and starry sky (ie. no fog horn!) spent at the foot of Rattray Head.
Since there’s going to be a total eclipse AND a ‘super moon’ tomorrow, I thought I’d try and finish the print I’ve been working on all week, as it is kind of appropriate. When I started it last week I didn’t know about all the celestial events coming up.
It’s an aquatint and spit bite print from a copper plate and is my largest to date at 48x58cm. I found an old photo I took from the Fourth Bridge a few years ago and thought it would make a nice change to do something completel;y different. I enjoyed making it so now I might do a whole series of planets, moons etc. Watch this space!
Anyway, for those who always like to ask how long it takes to produce a particular work of art, I can tell you that each of the 4 stages of development took a full day (about 8+ hours). To run off the final print takes roughly an hour on average, as it’s a large one at 48x58cm and there’s a lot of ink to put on then wipe off each time before running the plate through the press.
Don’t forget your special eclipse specs for tomorrow!
I am delighted to say we had a fantastic opening night at Frames Gallery, Perth on Friday night. Hugh and his team have done a fantastic job of putting our exhibition together and promoting it and the place was heaving with gallery regulars, our friends and families as a result. This doesn’t always happen with preview shows, so all that preparation was very much worthwhile and appreciated!
It was really great to see all of our combined efforts hung so beautifully together in one place for a change. Each of us is used to producing our work in each others’ company then sending it off to various galleries around the country, but we rarely get the chance to see it all hung as a collection. So this show was a great opportunity for us all to see how distinctive and individual our methods, ideas and output are. Yet the show works very well together as a whole and shows the quality and diversity of work being produced at our humble wee cooperative in Dunfermline. Looking round the exhibition, I felt proud to be involved in the workshop. Without wanting to sound like I’m blowing my own or anyone else’s trumpet, I reckon this exhibition is worthy of any gallery in the country.
So please do take some time out to visit Frames Gallery and have a look for yourself. The exhibition is on until 4th April. You wont be disappointed!
Come along and see some amazing prints from our very diverse cooperative of artists working across a huge range of printing methods and styles. You are welcome to join us at the preview this Friday evening, 6-8pm (details below). Hope to see you there!
I wish it wasn’t just my paintings and prints that will be attending tonight’s wonderful looking banquet at the Abbot House. They’ll be adorning these fine medieval walls for the coming weeks, so drop by and have a gander if you’re in the vicinity. All are for sale just in case you’re still on the hunt for something with a very personal touch and created by my own not-so-fair hands!
I’ve decided to throw open my medieval studio door again this weekend, but it’ll be on Sunday instead of Saturday. Hopefully that means a few more folk who couldn’t make it last time can do so this time round. So please come along between 11am and 4pm for a final chance to pick up a great bargain limited edition etching or painting before Christmas!!
Here’s a couple of new prints I’ve just finished. Dunnotter Castle in particular is quite different from what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years, but I have loved the painterly method and the scratchy effects you get from using sugarlift, which is how I did this plate. Picasso invented this style of etching where you paint or use a fine nibbed pen to draw a suger solution onto the metal, then once it’s dry you cover the whole plate with straw hat varnish before pouring hot water over it. The water and the heat makes the sugar solution expand and burst through the varnish in the areas you painted, exposing the bare plate. The varnish elswhere on the plate protects it from the acid. You then clean the plate and add an aquatint (a fine spray of acrylic or resin-based dots which acts like a protective mesh screen) to it and begin the process of exposing it to the acid for the various tints. The tiny dots of aquatint again protect the metal beneath them allowing the acid to only etch the spaces in between, thus creating tone. I usually bathe the plate in 30 second dips for each tone, but it depends on the metal and the acid being used. It can be a wonderfully expressive technique and I’ve used it a few times now.
Edinburgh from Inverleith Park below is another sugarlift etching. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it some more in the coming months.
It has already been a ridiculously busy few weeks for me, what with various galleries putting out requests for new work in the run up to christmas and also preparing for and entering the end-of-year open exhibitions etc. Last night I conked out at 8! And next week is going to get even more hectic! I somehow have to get a load of paintings and prints including the one above to Gallery Heinzel in Aberdeen (that’s a new one for me) before 5pm on Monday and then get back in time to take my son to his violin lesson in Edinburgh at 5. I also have to finish sorting out the prints I’ll have on show at the Dunfermline Printmakers stand at the Edinburgh Art Fair by Wednesday morning (was actually due in yesterday!) then help deliver most of our prints and equipment to the fair, which is ope to the public on Friday at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh – plug plug! On Friday I’ll spend the whole day at the art fair along with some of my printmaking pals showing people how to screenprint and use an etching press and then I have to get my print of Edinburgh Castle over to the RSA before heading off to Cornwall on Saturday for a week of sketching in the campervan, with my girlfriend and her 2 mutts! Oh yes, and then there’s the 3 gallery preview shows I’d like to go to between now and next Friday – mainly for free wine, of course!
Jeez, I think I’m in the middle of a middle class crisis!!
Talking of exhibition openings, I have 2 free tickets to get into the Edinburgh Art Fair. They can be used any of the 3 days it’s on (and also the Thursday preview). If you’d like to have them then all you have to do is share/retweet this post and I’ll select the person whoo did that and is most likely to spend loads of money on prints! 😉 Anyway, here’s a few links to some of the things mentioned above:
This weekend I was finally able to move all my art stuff out of my flat & into my new studio (I’m calling it “The Garret”). It’s a beautiful, airy room on the top floor of a 500 year old building in the heart of Dunfermline’s historic quarter. The building is called the Abbot House, it’s pink on the outside and very medieval on the inside (interconnected rooms with neuks and crannies here, there and everywhere! I’ve already been lost several times in the building). And, knowing my luck, it’s probably haunted! There are 3 windows in the studio, 2 of which look out over the Abbey and it’s ancient graveyard. I absolutely love it and it’s way beyond what I could have hoped for in a studio. I have 24 hour access (not sure how I feel about being in there on my own after midnight mind!) and there’s even a cafe downstairs!
In the above photo, you can see the front facing window of my studio at the top of the tower, the highest part of the house. I’m kind of excited about painting in a building which has been around since the The Renaissance.
Here’s some cool things from ye olden days which me and my lovely assistant, Victoria, found in the yet-to-be emptied out cupboard! Yes, we had a lot of fun with those helmets!
I’ll post more photos of the studio and work in progress once I get up and running.