arTay 2020 is online now … and you can see and buy 2 of my paintings there!

Here’s a quick note to tellk you about two paintings I have available to buy at arTay 2020. It’s an online only show, of course, but still runs for just 4 days (ending on Sunday 31st May). So you best get in quick if you want to buy one of these two or something else from one of the 80 artists also showing.

And here’s a link to what’s available and more details.

Dubh Artach Lighthouse (Nocturne), acrylic on wood panel 67x68cm in frame
St Monans, acrylic on wood panel 108x70cm in frame

If you fancy a laugh, I also made a video to accompany my work while self isolating in a field behind my house. Happy viewing!

    Pictures available from Marchmont Gallery & #ArtistSupportPledge

    The Old Town (Crescent Moon)

    There’s no lockdown on art!

    It’s been great to sell some of my work directly via the #artistsupportpledge on Instagram recently. And I’m very excited to unwrap my first pledge purchase today. I bought it having reached £1000 in sales through the scheme and, as promised, I’ll also be sending £100 to Dunfermline Food Bank this week. (See below for more details on how it all works.)

    Despite the Covid19 lockdown, I do still have paintings and prints available to buy from Marchmont Gallery, Edinburgh. It’s currently closed to the public, but my pictures can still be viewed and purchased there online.

    Click the link below to browse the brochure from my recent solo and contact the gallery if there’s something that takes your fancy.

    Marchmont Gallery contact details:

    Some work From Edinburgh to The Moon

    And here’s a little more info on Artists Support Pledge

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have found themselves without work, teaching, technical support and gallery work. Exhibitions and sales have disappeared. ARTIST SUPPORT PLEDGE is an attempt to help alleviate some of this.

    The concept is a simple one. Artists post images of their work, on Instigram which they are willing to sell for no more than £200 each (not including shipping). Anyone can buy the work. Every time an artist reaches £1000 of sales, they pledge to spend £200 on another artist/s work.

    Search for pictures using #artistsupportpledge; or use the same tag to sell your own work. Simple!

      Marchmont Gallery Solo Show Preview is a Blast!

      The preview gets under way

      After a busy few months of painting, I had the opening of my solo show at Marchmont Gallery last Sunday. It was a fantastic afternoon and stayed busy throughout, with a number of people taking away paintings and prints. It was great to have so many people come along and I’d like to say a big “Thank You!” to all those who made it and to all at Marchmont Gallery for being great hosts!

      Some of my paintings at Marchmont Gallery

      I’ll be topping up the show over the coming weeks, but had to take a week off to recover from the inevitable post-show cold that kept me in bed for days afterwards. I have been thinking about what’s to come though and can’t wait to get back to the easel on Monday.

      A wall of work

      On the painting front, I’ve been really enjoying using acrylics on larger-scale plywood panels and have prepared 2 new ones to get started on. As is the case with these, I often like to use the golden ratio to determine picture dimensions and sometimes compositional elements too; here’s a recent example below, but there are others in the Marchmont show.

      St Monans, Acrylic on panel 98 x 60.5cm

      I am hoping to get away soon in my campervan to explore some new areas I haven’t painted before. Possibly a trip to Orkney or even further afield. The Faroe Islands are top of my list for etching inspiration and I can see a lot of printmaking happening over the summer months if I make it there.

      At the framers before the show

      If you get along to the show, do get in touch and let me know your thoughts. It’s always great to get any kind of feedback!

        From Edinburgh (and Perth!) to The Moon

        It’s been a very productive start to 2020 and I have two new shows coming up this month. There’s my solo show From Edinburgh To The Moon at Marchmont Gallery, which previews on Sunday 16th Feb. And I’ll also be taking part in a printmaking show at Frames Gallery, opening this Friday. All details below …

        The Old Town (Crescent Moon) will be on Show at Marchmont Gallery

        From Edinburgh to The Moon

        I’m currently putting the finishing touches to the last few paintings that will be included in my solo show at Marchmont Gallery and titled From Edinburgh To The Moon. It’ll be a selection of recent mixed-media paintings (including these below) of Edinburgh and Scottish coastal scenes, as well as some hand-made etchings and prints. I will have at least 25 original pieces large and small hanging and can’t wait to see how they look as a collection. You are most welcome to come along to the opening on the 16th (1-4pm) where I’ll be happy to chat about my work and answer any questions. There will also be drinks and nibbles!

        Solo Exhibition – Marchmont Gallery, Edinburgh (Preview 16 Feb 1-4pm, all welcome!)
        Runs until 22 March.

        Fife Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop at Frames Gallery

        This Friday 7th marks the opening of the Fife Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop exhibition at the lovely Frames Gallery in Perth. The preview is from 6-8pm and there will be around 80 works including a great variety of printmaking techniques and a huge array of subject matter produced by my talented colleagues at the workshop in Dunfermline. I have the following 4 pieces in the show and, altogether, it looks like a fantastic exhibition of work. So go along if you’re in the Perth area and we’ll maybe see you on Friday.

        Frames Gallery, Perth (Preview 6-8pm, all welcome!)
        Runs until 29 February.

          Gallery Heinzel Winter Show

          I have these two large pictures for sale at Gallery Heinzel’s upcoming Winter Show. Opens on the 9th Nov and runs until March 2020.

          Three Views of The Bass Rock

          Three Views of The Bass Rock
          Oil and gold leaf on gesso-primed hand-made paper
          (126x52cm framed)

          The above painting has been over a year in the making. It glows and looks great in this frame with non-reflect art glass. The tiniest touch of gold leaf adds a very subtle beam and sparkle to each of the lighthouses. I’d liked to have kept this one for myself, but needs must!

          Non-reflective glass allows more light and colour to bounce back from the picture rather than off the glass. This also means there’s no annoying reflections that prevent you seeing the picture properly. It’s very expensive but well worth the money and I’ll be using it more from now on.

          Harvest Moon

          Harvest Moon
          Etching & Aquatint
          (65x55cm image size)

          This Harvest Moon etching is the 3rd variation I’ve made from a single copper plate. This edition is the result of a seemingly never-ending series of painful and time consuming trials with various ink colours (each pigment having its own peculiarities which can make or break a picture). I’m finally happy with this combination. Fellow printmakers have asked how I got the blackest ink and palest orange together without a gap or mixing the two. The simple answer is with great difficulty, as both colours are wiped onto (and off) the plate together for a single pressing. For every successful print two others went in the bin. This is by far the most difficult print I’ve ever made!

          This is number 9/20 and is framed and available at the gallery, but there are more unframed copies available. I also have some Super Moons and only a very few Blue Moons left for sale. Contact Gallery Heinzel or myself directly if interested.

          The show opens with a preview between 11-2pm at Gallery Heinzel this coming Saturday.

            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/ 

              The Lights That Never Go Out – Ayrshire to The Mull of Galloway

              Mull of Galloway lighthouse
              Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s southernmost lighthouse

              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!).

              If you’re interested, check it out here: Scurdie Ness Lighthouse

               

              Ailsa Craig and Dredger
              Sunset, Ailsa Craig

              Turnberry Lighthouse and Arran from The Hotel
              Turnberry Lighthouse and The Isle of Arran

              Portpatrick Lighthouse at dusk
              Portpatrick Harbour at Dusk

              Killintringan Lighthouse 7
              The Sun Sets beyond Killintringan Lighthouse and Northern Ireland

               

              Corsewall Lighthouse 4 (b)
              Corsewall Head Lighthouse

              This beach ain't big enough for the 2 of us!
              This beach ain’t big enough for the both of us!

              Dazzling Cormorant
              Dazzling Cormorant

              Fife Council grant acknowledgement pic