Northern Lights – A Solo Exhibition at Graystone Gallery, Edinburgh

Last Friday night saw the opening of my latest solo show Northern Lights at Graystone Gallery in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

A welcoming window display with my latest oil painting of Muckle Flugga (finishedand framed  just hours before the show opened!)

And despite the inclement weather it turned out to be a busy private viewing, with people travelling from as far as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Fife for a first look at my latest work.

Over 40 of My Paintings & Prints on Show

With around 40 original pieces hanging across the gallery, it’s a real showcase of everything I’ve been working towards over the past 15 years.

The show is divided into three areas: oils, mixed media and etchings …

… with the pictures hung according to those groupings and in roughly equal numbers.

All in the name

I chose the title Northern Lights as it aptly reflects the nature and atmosphere of the majority of the work included in the exhibition. There are 12 oil paintings in the show, including the 3 above, which feature either Scottish lighthouses or shimmering twilight views across the Firth of Forth.

Glitter Moons – Yellow, Blue and Pink, etching and screenprint – 69x80cm (framed individually)

I’ve also included 3 original prints from my ‘luminous’ Glitter Moon series (above), as well as numerous colourful watercolours of Edinburgh and the East Neuk of Fife.

It’s not all about light and colour, however. In my etchings I focus more on the details, marks and tones that help to give each of the prints something distinctly different from all of my other work. On one wall you’ll find various craggy Scottish mountains and ruined castles, including Ben Nevis and Dunnottar. These are accompanied by atmospheric cityscapes of Edinburgh’s Old Town, Victoria Street and Dean Village …

The North Face, Ben Nevis, etching 44×18.5cm

… while on the opposite wall are more etchings of seascapes, including the old piers at both Culross and Aberdour (both shown below).

I’ll be back at the gallery on 24 February (2-4pm) for an Artist Talk, where I’ll discuss how I made these paintings and prints and also inspirations. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have too.

So if you’d like to attend then please get in touch with gallery owner Lesley at: lesley@graystonegallery.com

Northern Lights is on show now at Graystone Gallery in Edinburgh’s gorgeous Stockbridge and continues until 10 March 2024. If you manage to get along to see it then please get in touch and let me know what you think at cliveramage@gmail.com 

Some words from Graystone Gallery about the show …

“Look closely at the oil paintings in Northern Lights and you can sense a love of Whistler’s London nocturnes. Clive imbues his oils of lighthouses and the darker seascapes with that same feeling of delicate stillness and calm, building it with layer upon layer of transparent glazes …

Edinburgh Nocturne (Aurora), oil on canvas 98x98cm framed (detail)

The ramshackle buildings and highly detailed compositions and colour schemes of Schiele and Klimt’s landscapes have also had a big influence, which can be seen in the watercolours of coastal villages and Edinburgh in particular …

Ramsay Garden (ii), mixed media – 79x38cm framed

His intricate, detailed etchings, such as Dunnottar Castle, tell their own romantic stories, the individual marks carving out a brooding landscape …

Dunnottar Castle, etching – 77x59cm framed

In each of Clive’s works, there is a tangible sense of yearning, of a desire to create something that is beautiful, yet distant or unattainable. It’s there in those city lights twinkling and beckoning the viewer from far across the Firth of Forth …

The Bass Rock, oil on canvas 80x80cm framed

But there is also a drama at play in these atmospheric pieces that comes from a deeply felt need to create a perfectly constructed arrangement, or a harmonious symphony, out of the interplay between the land, the sea and the elements. Or, perhaps, the essence of Clive’s work is simply his attempt to try to capture and hold on to some long-sought feeling of calm and serenity.”

Graystone Gallery
52 Hamilton Place
Edinburgh
EH3 5AX
GENERAL OPENING TIMES

Weds-Fri: 11:00-18:00
Sat: 10:00-17:00
Sun: 12:00-16:00

Mon-Tues: Viewings and private sales by appointment

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!

Scottish Landscape Awards at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh (4 Nov 2023 – 3 March 2024)

Saturday 4 November saw the opening of the inaugural Scottish Landscape Awards (SLAs) at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre.

And I was delighted to be able to attend the highly anticipated private view of this prestigious new exhibition the evening before, having had my etching of Dunnottar Castle shortlisted for the SLAs back in July.

It was one of only 133 artworks to be shortlisted from almost 3000 entries and, although it didn’t win a prize, I was extremely proud to see it hanging in a fantastic spot in one of the country’s best and most visited public galleries.

Dunnottar Castle, etching and aquatint

It was a wonderful evening of catching up with some old friends in my former Edinburgh stomping ground, as well as meeting a few of my own favourite artists for the first time. It also allowed me to see what’s happening right now at the sharp end of Scottish landscape painting and printmaking.

The variety of work on show at the Scottish Landscape Awards – not to mention the talent and skill employed to create it – ensure that this is a hugely enjoyable exhibition for artists and art lovers alike, showcasing the country’s huge diversity in subject matter and the many different and intriguing techniques used to create the pieces.

My partner Pam who accompanied me on the night

And, of course, its always great to see your work shown alongside your peers and some of this country’s most successful and admired artists.

Barbra Rae announcing the SLA winners (photo by Greg Macvean)

My image of Dunnottar Castle came about as part of a commission I was awarded by Aberdeen Art Galleries & Museums in January 2023. Click here to learn more about and the various printmaking methods I used in its creation. I am also very proud to have an artist’s proof of this print, along with the 3 others I produced for that commission, in Aberdeen Art Galleries & Museums’ permanent art collection.

Describing my working methods to the Friends of Aberdeen Art Galleries & Museums at the city’s Treasure Hub earlier this year on completion of the commission

This has been a particularly busy and hugely rewarding year for me so far: with two successful solo shows under my belt at Frames Gallery in Perth and Inverness Creative Academy; the aforementioned commission from Aberdeen Art Galleries & Museums; and another for luxury Edinburgh-based leather goods brand Strathberry Ltd (of which there will be more to report soon).

At the Scottish Landscape Awards private view with my show catalogue and print of Dunnottar Castle

And having my work included in the inaugural Scottish Landscape Awards exhibition, as well as featured in the gorgeous catalogue that accompanies the show, means that this has also been my most successful year to date.

Meffan Winter Show 2023

But it doesn’t end there for 2023, or for this particular print! I am happy to say that Dunnottar Castle is also featured in the Meffan Art Gallery annual winter show, which opened in Forfar on Friday 10 November.

As for the rest of the year, I will be working hard to produce new paintings and prints for my next solo show, which is at Graystone Gallery in Edinburgh in February. Details to follow, but I am excited to be the first artist to have a solo show at their brand-new gallery premises in Stockbridge.

The Scottish Landscape Awards is on until 3 March 2024 at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh. Click here to buy a gorgeous catalogue featuring every picture in the exhibition.

Dunnottar Castle, in a limited edition of only 40 signed and numbered prints, is currently available to purchase (in a frame) at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh and the Meffan Institute, Forfar. Unframed prints can also be bought directly from my shop by clicking here.

Paintings & Prints: From Scotland To The Moon at Inverness Creative Academy (Until 15 July)

I am delighted to announce that Paintings & Prints: From Scotland To The Moon, my latest solo exhibition, is now on show at Inverness Creative Academy.

Inverness Creative Academy, just a 2 minute walk up the hill from the Eastgate in the city centre and 5 minute walk from the train station

The Assembly Hall at ICA has to be the most beautiful gallery space I’ve ever seen, never mind shown my work in, and I’m delighted with how my 20 paintings and 18 prints look in such a fabulously well-lit and stunning exhibition space.

The staircase provided the perfect place for my 3 Glitter Moons, leading visitors to the upstairs level to where my etchings and watercolours are hanging.

A panoramic view of the landing where 13 of my etchings are on show

The whole gallery benefits from wonderful natural light provided by the many windows and the great arched window on the stairwell. In addition to that there’s a spotlight above every single picture and this really shows off my work beautifully.

Photo etchings, oil and watercolour paintings and my partner Pam enjoying a cup of tea in the cafe
I had some incredible help over the two-day installation from resident artist and ICA technician Martin Irish
The view from upstairs showing my oil and watercolour paintings

And before even half of my pictures were on the walls I was presented with a glowing review of the show by Gael Hillyard, who did a wonderful job of describing the effect my oil paintings and Glitter Moons had on her. Read the full review here.

Paintings & Prints: From Scotland To The Moon continues until 15 July and the gallery is open Mon-Fri 9-5pm and 9-3pm on Saturdays (free entry).

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!

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

New Work at Ballater Gallery

These three paintings went off to the wonderful Ballater Gallery this weekend. Between them I think they give a fair representation of the kind of work I’ve been doing lately.

Bennachie, oil on canvas (24×12” unframed) – buzzard or seagull?

Bennachie is possibly Aberdeenshire’s most prominent and, among the locals, favourite hill. It’s a fairly easy walk through a seemingly enchanted woodland, before steepening significantly towards the top. With it’s very distinctive torr (known as Mither Tap) it’s a hill that can be easily spotted from just about every other hilltop in the Grampians.

I’ve never seen such an abundance and variety of mushrooms and toadstools as I found under its lower slopes last autumn, and I can’t wait to get back up there on a hot summer’s day. It’s a magical place and I hope to have captured a little of that in this newly finished oil painting of the view as seen from across fields ripe and ready for harvest near Inverurie.

Bell Rock (Nocturne) oil on wood panel (24×24” unframed) – Arbroath’s flickering lights far right – SOLD 🔴

The Bell Rock lighthouse is one of my favourite subjects for so many reasons. I grew up in Arbroath, from where Robert Stevenson and his team planned then carved the dovetailed stones  to build this 36m high wonder of the industrial world. They then shipped them 11 miles across often very dangerous seas to the reef and, when complete, it became the very first rock-based lighthouse in the world. It took the full 3 years between 1807-10 to build and that was no mean feat, considering the base is fully submerged every high tide and also for much of the remainder of each day.

While this very spot has set the stage for many a tragedy (including scores of shipwrecks and even a helicopter crash in 1955; the rotars hit the anaeometer on top of the tower) I have tried to capture it at a more serene, benevolent moment. The brilliant beam flashes out across 18 nautical miles every 5 seconds to warn passing ships of the very real dangers that lie just a few inches beneath those calm, dark waters.

Dean Village (Twilight), mixed media over etching (26×20” unframed) – over 500 individual window panes, I’ve counted!

Dean Village in Edinburgh is another favourite place of mine, as I’m sure it must be for many. It’s a view that will be very familiar to anyone walking or driving across the Dean Bridge as they enter the city centre from the north. Looking over the bridge at the myriad jumble of buildings your eyes are met with seemingly countless windows. I like to imagine the lives of all those others who might be gazing dreamily back out from each and every one of them.

I’ve painted this scene several times, each version capturing the same place, but at a different time of day and giving the same composition a completely different feel or atmosphere.

My partner Pam providing a little scale …

 

 

 

Frames Gallery 40th Anniversary Show … last few days!

Ramsay Garden Edinburgh Castle Esplanade mixed media (18x60cm image size)

Ramsay Garden from Edinburgh Castle Esplanade is available for sale at Frames Gallery in Perth in their 40th Anniversary Show. It’s on until the 19th Oct so still time to see more than 70 works by as many artists, who have shown with Hugh over the decades. It’s a lovely exhibition of work and well worth seeing if you’re in the Perth area.