Edinburgh Snow – painting in progress …

In Progress. 2 ‘Edinburgh Snow. (Arthur’s Seat from Regent Road)’. 24×16″. Rose Strang 2018

In progress, 1 ‘Edinburgh Snow (Arthur’s Seat from Regent Road)’. 24×16″. Rose Strang 2018

Two photos showing progress on my painting of Edinburgh in the snow last month. The view is looking South, of Salisbury Crags on Arthur’s Seat from Regent Road, also showing the shape of the Royal Mile.

I began with a piece of reclaimed wood from the local timber merchant, painted it in a thin coat of black, then covered it in a thick layer of white gesso. Before it dried I scraped a rough pattern of the crags and buildings and left it to dry overnight. (image on right)


This morning I gave it a nice hot shower in the bath to soften the gesso, then scraped through gesso and black paint to reveal the wood beneath (painting at top of post). I like the effect  of textured wood showing through, also the rhythms or shapes of the painting,  so I’m not quite sure where to take this next without messing that up!

I’m painting two on similar size boards (24×16 inches – 2 feet along longest side) and I’ll submit them for the annual RSA Open (Royal Scottish Academy) by May this year.

Resipole Studios

Loch near Beacravik, Harris. Mixed media on 6.5×5″ wood block £85. Rose Strang 2017

Loch near Beacravik, Harris. Mixed media on 6.5×5″ wood block £85. Rose Strang 2017

Luskentir Sea, Harris 1. Mixed media on 6.5×5″ wood block £85. Rose Strang 2017

Luskentir Sea, Harris 1. Mixed media on 6.5×5″ wood block £85. Rose Strang 2017

Recently Resipole Studios and Fine Art Gallery got in touch to ask if I’d like to exhibit with them, so I’ll be sending some smaller works of the west coast (including those to the right here) then more later this year.

I’m delighted to be showing there as the gallery features the work of some of my favourite Scottish artists including Gillian Murray and Joyce Gunn Cairns, also the paintings of the wonderful Jon Schueler (1916-1992).

Ardnamurchan coast (wikipedia website)

It’s not only the quality of artists though, the gallery itself is situated in the wild and beautiful Ardnamurchan peninsula on the west coast. I’ve only travelled there twice as it’s not the most accessible of areas (hence its unspoilt beauty).




As I’ll be staying on the west coast this year for most of July and August I’ll look forward to creating some paintings of the area.





Heavy snow (‘the beast from the east’) meant that my plans to visit the Cairngorms didn’t go ahead this Spring, so instead I’ll be painting two large works of Edinburgh in the snow, starting this week.

I’ll also be working on a series for May which explores the landscape and ancient history of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, it’s right on my doorstep and recently I’ve been exploring the history of its ancient wells – I will post more about that soon!

The Cairngorms come to Edinburgh!

Thwarted in my plans to get up north to do some winter/spring painting in the Cairngorms  due to weather! I’m not complaining though, it’s beautiful in Edinburgh just now, and I’ll re-book the train for next week anyway.

The photos above are from just outside my house in Abbeyhill, I’m lucky to live right next to Arthur’s Seat. I’m planning a project for May to do with the hill and its history, more on that in a few weeks.

The photo below is of the home of a guy called Ashton who lives under a pile of bags and bits of tarpaulin, in the park just outside my house. He’s perfectly happy there and doesn’t want to live indoors, but due to the weather people are bringing him hot water bottles and tea, I left a flask today and he gave me a smile – a man of few words!




Someone on facebook posted this short vid (below) today, which is worth a watch – about a guy who likes to live outdoors –  ‘the snow makes me happy’ . ..

Cairngorms in Spring

(A few photos from my trip to the Cairngorms last year).

From March 1st I’ll be travelling up north to the Cairngorms to visit my sister. While there I’ll begin a new series of paintings to celebrate spring.

It’s going to be beautiful up there at this time of year – still plenty of snow and ice, but also snowdrops and rivers in full flow as the spring thaw begins.

The paintings will be available from around mid-March and I’ll post them here as they develop. Usually I’ll create some sketches in situ, then develop paintings in my studio at home, so I’ll send a couple of blog posts while up north (depending on internet connections!) then more on my return to Edinburgh.

Early next week I meet with Richard Demarco at Summerhall to discuss plans for the portrait I completed earlier this year (info Here). It feels really good to get this year’s projects up and running – I’ll post all updates and new paintings very soon…

In the meantime, if you’re in either Edinburgh or Suffolk, my work is on show at the Long Melford Gallery, Suffolk, and I have one painting (sold) in the SSA Open (Scottish Society of Artist’s annual exhibition at the RSA building on the mound, Princes Street, Edinburgh). The SSA show is well worth a visit, among the many strong works there it’s also great to see some excellent artwork representing artists from the Hebrides, through the Ann Lantair Gallery in Stornaway, Lewis. More info on the SSA Open Here 

SSA Open Exhibition

Sold . ‘Harris (Sea Loch 2)’ Mixed media on 10×10″ wood

I’m delighted that Harris Sea Loch 2 (right) has sold at the SSA+VAS Open Exhibition (as part of the Society of Scottish Artist’s section).

There was a very lively buzz to the preview, and  I enjoyed it  – quite a few familiar faces in the photo below! I’ll definitely go back to view the works properly now  it’s a bit quieter .

The show runs from 29th Jan to 8th March 2018 (Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, ​Sunday 12 noon to 5pm) at the Royal Scottish Academy, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL. Link – Here

First Look – new exhibition

‘West Coast, Harris 3’. Mixed media on 13.5×12″ wood panel

Three of my most recent landscape paintings are included in the up-coming exhibition at  Limetree’s second Gallery in Long Melford, Suffolk.

The exhibition, called First Look runs from 10th February until March 20th. If you like the works (right and below) but can’t get to the exhibition, you can contact the gallery on their website, on this link –  Limetree Gallery


‘West Coast, Harris 2’. Mixed media on 14×10″ wood panel

‘West Coast, Harris 1’. Mixed media on 14×10″ wood panel

Completed portrait of Richard Demarco

Portrait of Richard Demarco. Mixed media on 30×30″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

In October last year I decided to paint a portrait of Richard Demarco. I’ve posted a few articles about the process (click Here for info) but decided more recently not to reveal more of the actual portrait until it was complete.

This was mainly because I wanted to present it to Richard first, which I did today at the Demarco archive rooms at Summerhall. It’s been a hugely enjoyable challenge to create this portrait, not simply because I’ve known Richard Demarco since 1999 and found his work an inspiration, but also because it gave me a rare opportunity to take time to consider what I wanted to portray.

A straightforward portrait or reasonable likeness could have been completed in a few days, but the challenge for me was how to attempt to encapsulate the wealth of ideas, experiences and artistic references; everything from the concept of the Road to Meikle Seggie and the artists Richard has collaborated with over the decades, most notably Beuys, Abramovic, Kantor and Neagu, but more importantly a belief that the role of the artist is to witness and communicate truth, that art might open dialogue and therefore has potential to heal the trauma of war.

The backdrop of the portrait is a wood panel painted with blackboard paint, the portrait itself is painted free-hand with gesso, on Richard’s left is a rough copy of Beuy’s drawing of a stag, its antlers reach up to the pencil drawing of three telegraph poles representing the road to Meikle Seggie.

Portrait of Richard Demarco. Mixed media on 30×30″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

While making this portrait, one question repeated itself in my mind; what does it take to face the reality of war and conflict decade after decade?

The qualities of courage and determination, also humour, are there I think, but ultimately I hope this portrait expresses renewal of faith and love in dark times.



The responses of Richard Demarco and Terry Newman (Deputy Director of the Demarco Trust) today were very rewarding. They saw the qualities of expression I wanted to express, but Richard also remarked that it’s the first portrait he’s seen which captures the seriousness of the work he’s been involved with over the decades, which is precisely what I wanted to communicate.

He also, very kindly, remarked it was the best portrait of himself he’d seen! I tend to think the portrait by artist David Mach is the most impressive, but I think Richard was responding to the ideas I attempted to express with this portrait, and needless to say I’m moved and delighted by both Richard and Terry’s responses.

A limited edition of  prints will soon be made available of the portrait, with a percentage of sales going towards the work of the Demarco Foundation. We are also discussing a public event to show the portrait, so  I will be sure to post details here once these are arranged.