Monthly Archives: February 2015

‘West ~ Singing Sands’

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‘West ~ Singing Sands’. Mixed media on 40×40 inch veneer redwood panel

This is the first in the series of three paintings for the upcoming Eigg Island exhibition/event. Titled West ~ Singing Sands it hopefully captures the romance of islands – traveling across the waves to places unknown, changing weather and gradual revealing of a new landscape.

It’s deliberately almost kitsch, or I’d prefer to say child-like. I was thinking of many things during the painting of this, among them a sort of 1950s take on ‘the exotic’; travel posters, brass ashtrays with vividly glazed pictures of seascapes and so on. Nowadays people fly to various exotic locations several times a year, but the Hebridean islands still hold this adventure story-like appeal for me.

In my last post I talked about my struggle with this painting, and the happiness I felt when, having painted layer upon layer of glazed colour, I decided to whitewash the entire thing then scrape back the paint to see what revealed itself. Here’s what emerged..

P1190487I was immediately reminded of ‘Prince P1190490Caspian’ from The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, when the children are whisked away from the beginning of a school term to an island (read post Here) – the idea of magic emerging from amongst the humdrum and every day details.

 

I was tempted to leave it at this, but it needed to be more resolved and deliberate, so the tricky thing was deciding how much to paint and what to leave untouched.

Lastly, I was happy that I’d come full circle in this process, since from the beginning I’d been inspired by the weathered maps I’d discovered (below) on a wooden post on Eigg, which ‘spoke’ to me about the mystery and magic of islands.

(My next painting in the series is North which I’ve already started; quite different in feel – more dramatic and dark)

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Ideas gathering pace..

P1190480I enjoyed a most inspiring meet-up today with JL Williams and Atzi Muramatsu at the Scottish Storyrtelling Centre.

Jen and Atzi are planning a performance and music collaboration, to be performed against the backdrop of paintings. Also part of Atzi’s string quartet, inspired by the fossil-filled cliffs of Eigg, will be performed, which will relate to the painting I’m working on at the moment called ‘North’.

This interplay between music, poetry and painting is what I find rewarding about collaborating – it offers an atmospheric, layered experience, drawing out imaginative or emotional associations between each of the works. And, as always, it’s a pleasure to work with Jen and Atzi.

The first painting P1190481should be finished by Wednesday next week, which I’ll post here. On the whole, all aspects are going really well – I’m now beginning to really look forward to the 26th March!

Don’t forget you can book tickets here – https://www.facebook.com/events/368794979959904/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcomingOr you can pay at the door on the evening.

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Tickets!

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If you’re buying a ticket for the upcoming Eigg Island launch and performance event, please note that you can pay on the link below (£1 booking fee) or pay on the door on the night (minus £1 booking fee). Tickets are £6 (£4 concession)

Here’s the link –

http://www.tracscotland.org/scottish-storytelling-centre/centre-events/2293/eigg-island-launch-event

Preparation for the event is going well, I’m battling away with my large works on wood, but halfway there. Also, we hope to include the piece written for string quartet by composer Atzi Muramatsu, which was inspired by the trip to Eigg in September – specifically the dramatic fossil-filled cliffs on the North end of the island, which incidentally are also inspiration for one of the pieces I’m working on; North.

It’s quite a task getting a composition like this brought into being, and performed, so fingers crossed! Whether the piece for string quartet goes ahead or not, Atzi Muramatsu will be performing on cello in response to the theme of Eigg Island and we’re currently discussing collaborative approaches between his music and JL William’s poetry so I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this develops for the event. Exciting times!

Interviews and articles

Birch Forest (2)

Birch Trees, Gifford. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood. 2012.

A painting of Birch Trees at Gifford, to represent the confusing forest of arts promotion!

Working as a freelance artist, or any sort of freelancer, involves a lot of promoting, which is entirely necessary but does tend to take up a huge amount of time that could be spent painting.

So it’s very encouraging if someone enjoys your work and offers to promote it, which poet/artist/writer Rania M Watts recently did by interviewing me for her blog.

You can read Rania’s interview with me on this link – Interview

Rania has had (and has!) an interesting life – she was born in Beirut, Lebanon just one year before the civil war broke out, which meant that her family emigrated to Canada when she was two years old.

She later pursued a career in social work, alongside exploring many creative avenues, most recently focusing on music journalism and arts promotion, through her blog Cement Covered Quills. I met Rania through a friend, the musician Rupert Cheek, who is one of the best musical improvisers I’ve encountered, and a talented composer. You can listen to some of his work Here on Soundcloud

Sincere thanks Rania M Watts for her interest and support!