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.
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.
The past few weeks have been extremely busy what with deadlines for various exhibitions, including those organised by the RSA, the SSA, the National Original Print Exhibition and the International Print Biennial. On top of that, my work has been included in 2 exhibitions in support of Maggies Cancer Care and the St Columbas Hospice in Edinburgh. I was delighted to have sold 4 large works in these, raising over £1500 in the process to share between these two deserving causes.
July will hopefully prove to be just as busy. But that’s over a week away and there’s lots of painting to be done now. I’m currently working on a series of small hand-painted etchings that have been sat in my drawers for the past couple of years gathering dust. The most recent of which has since been dusted with gold leaf and can be seen along with some of the others in the Watercolours & Etchings gallery. Some of these will be distributed to galleries in the next week or so. But if you like anything you see on my website do feel free to get in touch with me at email@example.com
I’ll also be working on the latest Dean Village hand-painted etching this week, which will be a blue and gold night time version (similar colours to that East Neuk etching mentioned above). This will be the 4th one of the 10 of these I have planned. I’m excited to see how this one and the 6 others will turn out. Watch this space as I’ll post updates here of how they are progressing.
I was delighted to sell this painting of Dean Village at Dusk along with a Super Moon aquatint this weekend and help to raise some funds in the process for St Columbas Hospice in Edinburgh. I recently finished the painting below (Dean Village Sunset) which will be up for sale later this month along some more of my work in support of Maggie’s Cancer Care. The way I see it, working with charities like this is a ‘win win’ way of exhibiting my work.
Selling art through charity exhibitions is a fantastic way to increase both the profile of artists and the charities and I would love to see more of this kind of opportunity for both to work together. It works the same way galleries do, in that the charity takes a percentage commission for any sales made. So the artist still gets paid appropriately for their work, but the charity makes money too. I know many galleries are struggling in today’s tough economic climate, and art can be seen as a luxury, but if those who appreciate art feel like they’re also helping to give something back to society while getting something that they can cherish forever then that is a real double whammy for all concerned! Not to mention the important point that any sale helps to promote art and artists and to encourage them to continue to do what they and hopefully some others love.
I’ll certainly be looking out for more opportunities to sell my work via charity exhibitions in future. Watch this space!
Here is my latest version of Dean Village in Edinburgh. It’s another hand-painted etching and I have focused here on the pinks and blues of the setting sun. I have also added a detail of the bottom right-hand corner of the painting below to show better how the colours are built up in layers using various methods.
We will also be opening our doors once again at the Fire Station Open Studios event over the whole of next weekend from the evening of Friday 27th and all day Sat/Sun 28 & 29th (10-4pm). Celie and me have completely covered our studio’s walls along with half the walls in the building with work to see and buy! Do come along if you’re in the area, or make a special trip and I assure you it will be worth it. Lots of very good work and interesting artists to see and meet and also great entertainment in the cafe throughout the weekend.
Finally, I will be exhibiting and hopefully selling my work alongside a selection of other artists in support of the St Columbas Hospice from the 3-5th June. Please come along to any or all of these events and remember to say hello if you do.
The 125th Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) annual exhibition is about to come to an end (this Monday 18th Jan). To have had my Super Moon print accepted and then described by renowned art historian Duncan Macmillan in his Scotsman review of the exhibition as “elegant” and “lovely” is the career highlight so far for me. I’m now looking forward to a full year of working hard on several new large-scale copper etchings, a new series of oil paintings and many watercolours based on my upcoming travels.
Get in touch if you would like to have your very own Super Moon.
I am delighted to have had this piece, ‘Super Moon’ (etching and aquatint, image size 48x58cm) accepted for the 118th Society of Scottish Artists Open Exhibition. It runs from 21st Dec-18th Jan 2016 and is held in in the galleries on the top floor of the Royal Scottish Academy on Princes Street, Edinburgh.