The Lights That Never Go Out

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!

photocrati gallery

Fife Council grant acknowledgement pic

The Lights That Never Go Out – A Map of Scotland’s Lighthouses

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.

Scottish Lighthouses
Scottish Lighthouses

Super Moon in 4 stages … #eclipse

Super Moon (state 4)
Super Moon (state 4)

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!

Moon State1
Super Moon (state 1)
Moon state 2
Super Moon (state 2)

 

Moon state 3
Super Moon (state 3)

 

Dunfermline Printmakers Exhibition at Frames Gallery, Perth

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!

Here’s a link to my own page at Frames Gallery

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More mini paintings on the way!

I’ve been working on a smaller scale these past few weeks, partly as a way into painting again after a long period of etching in monotone and also for an exhibition of small works at Morningside Gallery in Edinburgh. I’ve really loved working in watercolours again, which is how I started way back when.

Here’s the latest little picture I’ve just finished of Jeffrey Street from North Bridge, Edinburgh, which will be winging it’s way through to Edinburgh later this afternoon. This one has ended up in Marchmont Gallery along with a few other pieces. I went in on spec this afternoon and the manager, Karen, wouldn’t let me leave with it! Delighted to be represnted by another lovely gallery in Edinburgh!

Jeffrey Street from North Bridge, Edinburgh
Jeffrey Street from North Bridge, Edinburgh

Awaiting the Turn of the Tide

If there’s one thing I know I’ve always been good at, it’s procrastinating! So my New Year’s resolution is to try to get to my studio (or at least start working from home or wherever I happen to be) before 9am Monday through to Friday … from now on and for ever more!

Ok, I know we’re only half way through the first full working week of the year, but I have managed to keep to my new regime and – I have to say – I’m pretty impressed with myself!

So here’s my output so far for the week; 4 small paintings based on previous etchings and larger paintings, all finished and delivered for the latest mini works exhibition at Morningside Gallery in Edinburgh (which begins in a couple of week’s time).

Hope your New Year has gotten off to a good start!

 

Awaiting the Turn of the Tide 1-4 (8x6" mixed media)
Awaiting the Turn of the Tide 1-4 (8×6″ mixed media)

 

At the banquet (or not)!

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!

The Banqueting Hall at Abbot House, Dunfermline
The Banqueting Hall at Abbot House, Dunfermline

A Fantastic Open Day and a magical night in Edinburgh!

Yesterday’s open studio day turned out to be fantastic in many ways. I met some lovely new people who made the extra effort to climb all those stairs to my studio and, thankfully, their thoughts and impressions of my work were very positive – always good to hear! It was also great to catch up with a few old friends too.

As well as being an opportunity to sell and show my work to new clients, the viewing also provided me with a chance to see a lot of the work I’ve been doing over the last couple of years framed and hung together as a collection, instead of being shipped off to various galleries, where there is often little opportunity to see that or to get a feel for how it’s all going or any feedback from clients. That was very useful, as sometimes it’s difficult for me to see the cohesion that exists between the individual pieces I’m working on at any given time. This is particularly the case with the etchings, as it can take a pretty long time to complete the whole process of making them and I usually like to work on just the one or two at a time. I think it all worked well together as a whole though, and seeing it all together gave me a few ideas for new pieces to add to my series of etchings and paintings.

I enjoyed the whole experience so much I will be doing it all again this coming Sunday. So if you couldn’t make it this time, please come along between 11-4pm at the Abbot House!

So after a very long but productive week and a successful day yesterday, I decided to crack open the gluhwein and sample the Christmas festivities on offer at Edinburgh’s Winter Wonderland. I feel very lucky to have what I think is probably the most beautiful city in the world – especially at Christmas – right on my doorstep. And what artist could fail to be inspired by scenes such is this!

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Edinburgh’s Spectacular Winter Wonderland

 

New etchings of Edinburgh and Dunnotter Castle, plus a note on the ‘sugarlift’ technique

Here’s a couple of new prints I’ve just finished. Dunnotter Castle in particular is quite different from what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years, but I have loved the painterly method and the scratchy effects you get from using sugarlift, which is how I did this plate. Picasso invented this style of etching where you paint or use a fine nibbed pen to draw a suger solution onto the metal, then once it’s dry you cover the whole plate with straw hat varnish before pouring hot water over it. The water and the heat makes the sugar solution expand and burst through the varnish in the areas you painted, exposing the bare plate.  The varnish elswhere on the plate protects it from the acid. You then clean the plate and add an aquatint (a fine spray of acrylic or resin-based dots which acts like a protective mesh screen) to it and begin the process of exposing it to the acid for the various tints. The tiny dots of aquatint again protect the metal beneath them allowing the acid to only etch the spaces in between, thus creating tone. I usually bathe the plate in 30 second dips for each tone, but it depends on the metal and the acid being used. It can be a wonderfully expressive technique and I’ve used it a few times now.

Edinburgh from Inverleith Park  below is another sugarlift etching. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it some more in the coming months.

 

Edinburgh, Arthurs Seat, etching
Edinburgh from Inverleith Park, etching (35x15cm)

 

Dunnotter Castle
Dunnotter Castle, etching (30x30cm)

 

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