It’s been a very busy few months! I’ve settled into my great new studio at Fire Station Creative and have been working hard on preperations for my first big solo show there in November. More to come on that later!
My priority this past week has been to finish and frame some new works for the upcoming exhibition at the beautiful Frames Gallery, Perth. It opens this Friday 12th September and I cordially invite you to come along to the preview if you are able to (6-8pm). I handed my 4 pictures in yesterday and the place was full to brimming with amazing looking work. It’s all very affordable too, everything being under £500.
But now that’s done, I can look forward to the preview on Friday evening and then I’ll be getting back on with my lighthouses project (which will also include non-lighthouse paintings of coastal scenes!).
Anyway, here’s what I’ve included in the Frames show:
Just a reminder that Aberdeen’s Gallery Heinzel Summer Show is on until 15th August. Delighted to have my etching of Dean Village used for the Art Work advert. I have 6 pieces in the show, so if you’re in the area stop by. It’s a great place and always has lots of lovely work on show!
Just a quick note to say I have a few paintings and prints on show at the Gallery Heinzel Summer Show, which opens next Saturday (20th June) in Aberdeen. Come along between 12-3pm for a browse and some fizz. If you can’t make it then it’s on until 15th August.
I also have a little solo show of paintings and etchings on at the wonderful Stage Door Bistro, which has recently opened in Dunfermline (next to the Alhambra Theatre). It’s run by the lovely Deborah and Michael who are extremely welcoming and the food is truly fantastic!
It’s not the No 1 resturant on Tripadvisor in Dunfermline for nothing! (Stage Door reviews)
Last week I spent a fantastic 4 days travelling down to The Mull of Galloway via every lighthouse I could find en route. The sun was blazing and the sunsets were magnificent all the way! I also visited the towns of Girvan, Turnberry and lovely Portpatrick, and had a wander round Culzean Castle too.
In a snug wee Portpatrick pub last Friday evening, I had the very good fortune to find myself sitting next to a chap called Rab and his wife Kate. Rab just so happens to be the son of a lighthouse keeper, so we spent the whole evening getting acquainted over beer and whiskey and chatting about the various lighthouses he’d grown up in, including Corsewall Head which I’d spent that very afternoon visiting; as well as Tod Head and Kinnaird Head which I’d been at only the week before. His father also spent 5 years 12 miles out in the North Sea off Arbroath on one of the most famous and notorious reefs on the planet (and my own home lighthouse) The Bell Rock. It turned out to be one of those very serendipitous evenings. Rab now runs an engineering company that is contracted by the Northern Lighthouse Board to maintain some of Scotland’s more remote lighthouses, and he kindly offered me the chance some day to go along with him for the ride on one of his jobs. I will have to earn my keep though, maybe even getting a chance to fling some paint at a ‘real’ lighthouse instead of just at a painting of one!
So here are a few of the best photos from the many hundreds I took. It’s not all about lighthouses though. I got some shots of boats, harbours and birds too.
I will be attempting to translate some of these and the many others I’ve been taking into artworks for an exhibition at the end of this year. But, unfortunately, I won’t be doing any of that this week since I sprained my painting hand whilst attempting to show my daughter how not to use her new skateboard!
So today I’ll be heading north again to get my campervan’s gearbox fixed in Stonehaven. I might even have time to visit Scurdie Ness lighthouse near Ferryden, which just so happens to be up for sale (if you happen to have a spare £360K in your back pocket and always dreamed of owning your own lighthouse!).
Here are the first photos from my journey around Scotland’s amazing coastline (Ardnamurchan, Mull and part of the East Coast). I will be using some of these as the inspiration for new paintings and prints. Plenty more to come, so keep watching this space!
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!