More work on the West Coast of Harris paintings today for upcoming February exhibition at the Limetree Gallery in Bristol.
Before I get started on the portrait of Richard Demarco, I’m creating 4 new paintings for the upcoming group exhibition at the excellent Limetree Gallery in February. They liked the west coast and Isle of Harris paintings in particular so I’ve returned to that theme but focussed more on the sea.
Since the light fades by about 3pm in Edinburgh just now these photos are a bit blurry, so I’ll re-post more tomorrow, also I’ll be painting the more rocky wild shores of the east coast of Harris.
The two above (which need a bit more work) are of Luskentyre beach on the west coast of Harris. I was fairly loose with the brushwork, also the blues and greens are always a pleasure to work with – Prussian and Cerulean blue, Ultramarine mixed with Alizarin Crimson, Viridian green and lemon yellow, if you’re interested in such things! It’s undeniably upifting to paint these translucent colours against the white sand. As always I’ve chucked a bit of texture in there with sea salt, also some peat ash from my fire, the ash is warm beige/grey and a surprisingly good match for some more shaded aspects of the sand.
It’s good to be painting again after all the festivities, probably similar to most artists I don’t really feel relaxed unless I have some paintings on the go. It’s also a genuine pleasure to exhibit with the Limetree, who continue to be great to work with. Have a look at their website below where you can look through the works by artists they represent – there’s an excellent selection – covering abstract, semi-abstract, figurative and landscape painting by some inspiring, talented artists – http://www.limetreegallery.com/
Last year I posted about my project to create a portrait of Richard Demarco (link here – Portrait )
Not long after, towards the end of November, I was dismayed to hear that Richard had suffered a stroke, then very relieved indeed to hear that he is recovering – as active as ever – albeit with some loss of feeling in his right side which restricts his ability to paint. This must cause much concern for someone who has painted all his life. Along with many hundreds of other people, I wish him a speedy and full recovery.
In this recent interview with Scotland’s Herald he discusses this, also the need for permanent housing and full ongoing creative development of the Demarco archives, currently at Summerhall in Edinburgh, which he describes as more of a ‘gesamtkunstwerk’, needing ‘curation and study’. Article Here
It didn’t feel right to go ahead with my portrait until having dropped by to say hello, which I did in December during Richard Demarco’s Christmas celebration at Summerhall. I was very cheered to be greeted with a characteristicly warm hug and to find him in equally characteristic enthusiastic conversation.
I’ll be resuming the portrait this month. The wood board is primed (with blackboard paint not gesso, more on that later ..) Je suis près as they say!
For the month of January all of the following paintings are available with a 35% discount (take 35% off the price stated below) for example £150 for ‘Winter 1, Home, Horse’ becomes £97.50
You can email me at email@example.com with any questions or sales queries.
Wishing you all the very best for 2018!
Winter Series. 2017
Isle of Harris. 2017
I finished a first edit of the Winter Series video yesterday, so for those of you who haven’t yet heard the music that inspired the paintings, here it is!
The Winter Series preview evening was wonderful – convivial, atmospheric, and I couldn’t have wished for more interesting and engaged attendees! There were many familiar faces and quite a few new. For my small studio space thirty people was quite a crowd, but it worked, so I’ll definitely be holding more of these.
Six of the series have now sold, so if you’re interested in buying you can see which are still available Here.
In a few days I’ll post the video of images and accompanying music so people can see the inspiration behind the paintings.
Also, see ‘About the Winter Series’ below for more info about inspiration behind the project and the images that inspired Atzi’s music compositions.
Because we wanted to keep the lighting atmospheric – just firelight, candles and few hidden lights, conditions for photos and films weren’t ideal. Also, so that people knew which painting the music corresponded to, I showed each painting on a computer screen while Atzi played. This meant my hands were busy with a remote clicker and I wasn’t free to take photos, but I’ve included a couple of blurry photos above and below to give an idea…
A huge thank you to everyone who showed up, what a lovely crowd and an enjoyable evening, I’ll be holding similar events every few months and look forward to those!
The open days continue until the 3rd Dec’. 12:30 to 6:30pm daily. All info on ‘Open Studio Events’ on menu at the top.
About the Winter Series …
Cello Atzi Muramatsu. Paintings Rose Strang.
The idea behind this collaboration was simple; twelve pieces of music inspired by winter, composed by Atzi Muramatsu, to which I’d respond with twelve paintings inspired by Atzi’s music.
We decided it would be more interesting if I had no knowledge of the specific ideas or images behind Atzi’s music, other than the theme of winter, which he’d reveal at the end (more on that below).
As we began to work on the series it proved to be a challenge – we’ve collaborated since 2013 but usually Atzi improvises music in response to my paintings, or we respond separately to a shared theme, so this was a new way of working.
Creating twelve completely new music compositions, then editing them down to two minutes each was quite an undertaking and commitment for Atzi, who was already working a full-time schedule. I found the series challenging because each piece of music is distinct, so I felt each painting had to be a new subject (usually I create variations on a visual theme). I could have made life easy by creating simple, quick sketches in response, but I wanted to immerse myself in the music and paintings, and hopefully create something quite different.
It was only towards the end, when I was putting the finishing touches on the last painting, and Atzi was making final tweaks on his music, that I began to see a story emerge in the paintings. Subjects in the paintings repeated – ice and snow of course but also home, fireplaces, storms, sun, moon, constellations and ships at sea. The images seemed archetypal.
Some years ago I took part in writing groups, where we learned about ‘The Hero’s Journey’ – the idea of twelve stages which, if applied to a story, lend it a form or drama we all recognise and respond to. At the time I was resistant to such a formulaic approach! But it chimed with my feeling about the paintings – the idea of a mysterious story behind the series. While some of Atzi’s music pieces felt formal or purely physical in inspiration – icy, stacatto, cold and spacious for example, others had a sense of drama, impetus and emotion.
I mentioned this to Atzi, who revealed that his source of inspiration had in fact been the forms of snowflakes observed under a microscope. Every snowflake has a unique crystal structure – he described how some appeared ugly or threatening, some like beautiful ice palaces, others reminscent of human forms. But although this was Atzi’s starting point, inspiration from his own life began to inform the evocative emotions, mood and atmosphere of each piece.
Although I’ve responded directly to each music piece, there’s no right or wrong way to ‘read’ the paintings, music, or both combined, I hope they’ll spark the imagination and emotions of listeners and viewers. Winter has traditionally been a time for storytelling around the fire to while away long dark evenings, so it feels right to show our work in a house rather than formal gallery, around an open fire with mulled wine.
Websites and contacts
Rose Strang https://rosestrangartworks.wordpress.com/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org