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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.

West Coast, Harris paintings

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

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

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

More work on the West Coast of Harris paintings today for upcoming February exhibition at the Limetree Gallery in Bristol.

Paintings for Limetree exhibition

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/