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

The Printmakers 2022 at Frames Gallery, Perth

 

A Hot Summer’s Day, Elie 🔴

I currently have several of my etchings in a fantastic new printmaking show at Frames Gallery in Perth.

I was very happy to see some red dots below some of my pieces at the private view, including the ones below, and also to be showing alongside some of my favourite Scottish printmakers.

The North Face, Ben Nevis 🔴

It really is an excellent and varied exhibition, showcasing some of the best in contemporary printmaking techinques and styles and I’m delighted to be taking part. Click here to see the works on show and do drop by if you are in Perth.

Spanish Hornet (ii) 🔴

As these are editioned prints there are several of each still available, so get in touch with Frames Gallery if you are interested in anything you see here (or there!).

Here are a few more of the framed etchings I have on show at the gallery, and click here if you’d like to see the whole show online.

Edinburgh Castle
The Old Wooden Pier, Culross
Blue Moon
Dean Village, Edinburgh
The Old Iron Pier, Aberdour

The Beggar’s Mantle Fringed With Gold

A recently finished commission: East Neuk (Waxing Moon and Stars)

Until recently, I’d never heard of “The Beggar’s Mantle Fringed With Gold”. It was King James VI of Scotland who coined that description of Fife’s coast; the ragged shoreline being the frayed cloak from which the begging hand of Fife is held out in hope that the sea will provide sustenance. The gold lining perfectly captures the beautiful fishing villages that fringe the East Neuk, especially when the phosphorescent orange street lamps are aglow and the houses are lit up and cosy on a cold winter’s night.

I came to hear of it one Saturday morning a few weeks ago when my phone pinged to inform me that another painting had sold from my Big Cartel shop. As always, I got in touch with the buyer right away and, after discussing postage and various other details, asked where he’d come across my work.

Back to the beginning

The reply was so very unexpected and it not only made my day but also gave me the biggest confidence boost an artist could wish for.

The answer had its roots way back when I first started exhibiting in 2008. In fact, it was at the first exhibition I ever entered (the annual open at Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery) that Jim had spotted my work. It was an oil painting of a row of typically-colourful cottages all huddled together along the shore, looking almost fearful of the next incoming tide. I’d given it the title Awaiting The Turn of The Tide with that thought in mind.

East Neuk (Starry Night)

A few days after the opening I returned to see the whole show and was thrilled to find my first ever red dot. The painting really seemed to glow and stand out quite nicely in that large space. I walked out with my feet in the air and feeling this idea of being an artist I’d had for a while might just work!

But you never really think about all the other people who might stop and have a look at your efforts in a gallery. So it came as a big surprise to hear that it was way back then that my new buyer informed me he had first seen my work. He had gone in on a mission to find inspiration for a song he was trying to write for a performance he’d soon be giving at that year’s Stanza Poetry Festival in St Andrews. The song had to capture that ‘beggar’s mantle fringed with gold’ feeling. He told me that it was my painting of glowing cottages tumbling down into the sea that had helped him to visualise an idea of what he wanted to capture in words. He went off and wrote the lyrics below for Dances With Angels, performed it at Stanza and that, as they say, was that. 

East Neuk (Crescent Moon)

But now, 12 years later and living in Kent, he told me he’d always remembered that painting (someone else had bought it) and was now in a position to buy one of my East Neuk pictures for himself. In fact, he’d had a hard job choosing between the two I had for sale on my website and a couple of days later he ended up buying the other one as well. (The two paintings directly above.)

That he’d remembered my work all that time was incredibly uplifting for me. But that it had also helped him to write his lovely song was just wonderful to discover all these years later.

And so One thing leads to another

Jim has since gifted me a cd of his work, much of which has been covered by internationally renowned folk singer June Tabor. It’s a wonderful, highly evocative album and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves great music and the romance of the sea – and the East Neuk of Fife in particular. It’s called Diamonds In The Night by Andy Shanks and Jim Russell and is available to download at Amazon or from Greentrax Records. Dances With Angels isn’t on this album, but here’s a link to a Youtube video of Andy and Jim performing it live in Orkney back in 2000.

I think it’s great when work made in one art form inspires and informs that made in another. And to have had a wee part in that myself is a lovely thing! 

I’ll be listening to Diamonds in The Night a lot this winter while I work, and I’m sure it will in turn inspire many more pictures that are still to be conjured up and painted into existence.

Dances With Angels, words by Jim Russell

The whole town is tumbling down to the sea,

Footsteps we left in the sand

Are gone when the moon pulls up the tide

Changing the paths we had planned.

Where is my comfort? There’s no angels here,

Unless they’re all hiding their wings,

Or dancing in small towns with strangers like me,

Hoping tomorrow brings.

Dances with angels

Dances with angels

They say angels dance by the steeple clock moon

With lighthouses flashing like stars,

Casting shadows and shapes and turning in time

To the staggering songs from the bars.

Now we travel with care and the tracks of our lives

Are a cage, but if you break free,

Go tumbling and turning then soaring like gulls,

Crow stepping down to the sea!

But where is my comfort? There’s no angels here,

Unless their all hiding their wings,

Or dancing in small towns with strangers like me,

Hoping tomorrow brings.

Dances with Angels

Dances with Angels

The streets are all dancing

The children are dancing

The songs from the bars spin around with the stars.

The ghosts are all dancing

The ministers dancing

The waves are all dancing

Tonight the whole town is dancing.

Tobermory Whisky, Edinburgh Art Fair and the UK’s 1st Ever Fine Art Crawl

Great news! Tobermory Distillery have invited me to exhibit at their inaugural Edinburgh Art Fair stand and to have my own pop-up gallery on the UK’s 1st ever Fine Art Pub Crawl. My work will be on display at Usquabae Whisky Bar, 2 Hope Street, Edinburgh from this Friday 22 November.

I love whisky and Tobermory has a special place on my palate (pardon the pun!). It was the first whisky I ever bought myself on a visit to the distillery several years ago. I also love that Tobermory is officially know as the Artisan Distiller, so it’s a fitting partnership indeed!

Here’s a link to the article in the Edinburgh Reporter

If you happen to be looking for a new piece of original fine art to treat yourself or someone else to this Christmas, go along to the Edinburgh Art Fair this weekend, or visit one of the pubs included on the Fine Art Crawl. And don’t forget to try the 12 Year Old Tobermory while you’re there!

Some giclee prints of selected works and a few etchings are also available at my Big Cartel shop. Slange!

Blue Moon in Morocco

Blue Moon
Etching
58x48cm

I love to see how the moon appears to change colour, size and character as it moves through the sky on its nightly arc. For me, the moon is a thing of ever changing beauty, mystery and inspiration.

But where I am now it’s a cold, drizzly November night and unfortunately there’s no moon to see at all as yet, though she is up there in all her glory. So here’s one I made earlier. Inspired by a moonlit night in Marrakech 8 years ago.

I remember being mesmerised watching it rise slowly and lazily above the flat-roofed souks of the Djemaa El Fna in Marrakech. It was a clear late-November night, but the town’s main square was as busy and colourful as I’d heard it always is. Above the seething masses of lost-looking tourists, locals on the make, donkeys and carts, charmers and snakes, children begging, children fighting, shopkeepers bartering and the constant barrage of mopeds and bicycles, horses and goats, the moon’s bright glow cast a beguiling spell over my first Moroccan night. The warm breath of camels condensed then wafted up on the chilly breeze that had begun to sweep down from the High Atlas mountains 30 miles away. Pungent aromas steamed from cauldrons filled to the brim with earthy-tasting snails for curious tourists to try. Spicey flavours sizzled from market stall tagines and exotic vapours oozed out from deep inside the crowded souks. Here I was, only 4 hours after leaving Scotland where the same full moon cast a very different spell across the icy land that would soon be blanketed in deep and heavy snow for over a month.

And a quarter of a million miles above us, indifferent to the bustling world below, the moon appeared frozen in the sky. Familiar features intoned with the cool transparent hues of Prussian Blue, spread thin across a face of brilliant white. And as I looked up, she appeared to look down, watching everyone everywhere that ever was or ever will be. And in turn, each tiny, insignificant character continued to play out their roles, heads down in the darkening night.

New media and new work for sale at St Columbus Hospice Art Friends Exhibition

Bass Rock (Blue)
Acrylic on plywood
66x38cm

It’s been a while since I last posted anything here but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping busy. In fact, it’s because I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to get near my website to update it.

During the past few months I’ve taken to painting with acrylics on wood panels primed with gesso and I have to say that, despite not being one for regrets, I wish I’d done so much earlier. I love it!

The above painting of the Bass Rock (always a favourite subject of mine) is my first painting using acrylics and below is the second. I’ll continue to paint with oils for certain things, but for the time being acrylics are the way forward! Painting with them is so much quicker and easier for me and I can’t tell the difference in the end result. I always struggled with the fumes involved with turpentine, not to mention the sometimes ridiculously long drying times, which often mean waiting days if not weeks before the next colours could be layered on top of previous ones. I’m quite an impatient and impulsive person at the best of times and I like to work with a certain immediacy backed by intuition and feel, then step back to assess the results before getting on with the next stage. And because I like to work in layers across the whole picture the fast-drying nature of acrylic paint suits both my temperament and working methods perfectly.

Bass Rock (Pink)
Acrylic on plywood
66x36cm

I imagine the reason it took me so long to give them a go was because of the significant expense I’d already laid out on oil paint and the sundry materials required to get the best from them. It also meant a large initial investment in all my usual colours of artist-quality paints in the new binding medium (the pigments are exactly the same and isn’t that what really counts?!).

I think there’s also a certain historical stigma or bias (even snobbery?) attached to various methods and painting media – within the artistic community and among collectors, the public at large etc – which has meant that oil paint is sometimes seen to be king and the other binding agents are classed somewhere lower down the pigment-carrying rankings. And while there’s an obvious difference in the look and feel of a pastel, an oil or a watercolour painting of the same subject, I don’t really see much difference in the quality between oils and acrylics. I never really understood why say watercolour is often seen as a very poor relation when some of the finest artworks ever created were done in that medium (Albrecht Dürer’s Young Hare, for example). But maybe I’ve been guilty myself of a little snobbery on that front too in the past. No more!

But the other big change for me has been using good quality plywood, which has a lovely grain and firm surface and is a pleasure to layer paint on, thick or thin. (I never had a great love for the ‘giving’ nature of canvas!) Adding gesso as a primer allows even more texture for creating interesting marks and runs of thin paint, which I also love to do.

So I’ve just primed a stack of plywood ready for painting a series of Bass Rocks of various colours and moods. The above ones are the first of many to come and they will be available for sale later this week at the 2018 Art Friends of St Columbus Hospice show, details of which can be found below.

http://www.stcolumbashospice.org.uk/the-art-friends-of-st-columbas-hospice/ 

Pictures From My Solo Show

I wanted to share some photos from my recent solo show in Edinburgh for those who weren’t able to see it in person. There were 45 pieces hanging in total and it was the biggest collection on my work to be shown in one place to date. 

Three Studies of The Bass Rock

A wall of East Neuk paintings

It was hugely beneficial for me in a creative sense to hang the show myself (well, with a lot of help from my friend Celie) as it gave me the opportunity to put the pieces together into groups that worked as mini collections on each wall.  Every picture being part of a wider context. It took 2 solid days to hang the exhibition and I was glad to see that my combined output over the past 2 years or so also worked as a whole. This is something I have often wondered about (and I’m sure that’s the case for many other artists who work across a variety of media in relative isolation as I do). But the visitor feedback was also very positive in this sense, which helped to make the whole experience an absolute pleasure for me.

Three versions of the full Moon

Of course, selling several pieces and meeting lots of lovely people and hearing their thoughts was also wonderful. As a result, I’m really looking forward to putting together my next solo show in the coming year.

A wall of landscape oil paintings

In the meantime, I have lots more work out there in 6 different galleries this Christmas. A full list and links to those current exhibitions can be found here

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Tuesday 28th Nov is last day of my solo show … that’s tomorrow!

The Gallery

Tomorrow will be the last full day of my show at the Edinburgh Ski Club. 

It has been fantastic to have quite a large body of my work on show in one place again 2 years since my last solo. I’m glad to say the comments and feedback have been very positive from people who already know my work and the many who have come in out of the cold from the street to have a first look.

Harvest, Blue and Super Moons

So if you are able to come along tomorrow or before 2pm on Wednesday 29th November when I’ll begin to take it down then please do come in. 

Here are a couple more pictures and a video to give an idea of how it looks …

Wall of East Neuk hand-painted etchings

(Please ignore the heavy breathing in the video!!)