Portrait of Richard Demarco – update

Portrait of Richard Demarco. Charcoal on white paper.

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!

Available paintings

If you have any questions feel free to email me at rose.strang@gmail.com

Winter Series. 2017

Isle of Harris. 2017


Harbours. 2016


Casares 2016



Winter Series preview

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: rose.strang@gmail.com

Atzi Muramatsu Website http://www.atzi.co.uk/ Email: info@atzi.co.uk

Winter Series – completed!

‘Winter 11. Baroque’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. £150

Above – the last painting for the Winter Series, which launches this Saturday with the Private view, followed by open studio days from Sunday 26th November to 3rd December.

All details – dates/times/map/contacts – Here

All of the paintings are now viewable in ‘Artworks’ from the menu above. Sombre Constellations has sold, ‘Red Velvet Dancing’ has a few buyers interested but none confirmed as yet, so do email if you have any enquiries about the paintings, at rose.strang@gmail.com

It’s so satisfying (and a relief I must say!) to have finished this series. I saved the painting above, which features Atzi playing cello, last because it was in a way the most straightforward painting of the series.

It’s called ‘Baroque’ which was a very literal title and response to the piece of music by Atzi, which was very … Baroque! So in keeping with the theme, I decided to follow a traditional painting process that would have been followed by painters of the 17th century.

Some photos below for those interested in process and techniques…









I was looking at Vermeer in particular, and while I’m not using oil paints, or the mediums he would have used, I can at least use a similar process of a painted sketch onto neutral ground, building up the painting in tones, then applying glazes of translucent colour.

I finished with some impasto highlights (when paint is applied thickly so it stands up from the surface as oppsed to being flat).

I’d need a lifetime to paint like Vermeer, obviously! But still, I found the process interesting. I lack the patience for that amount of detail though, you can see my paint application on the Turkish carpet was quite sloppy! I focussed more on Atzi’s features and facial expression (very tricky) and the cello.

Lastly here’s one of Vermeer’s paintings The Music Lesson, and a detail …

Winter Series – post 7

Today’s paintings – ‘Home, Moonlight’ and ‘Skating’, for the Winter Series. Exhibition opens in just five days – all info Here

I’m almost there with ‘Sea, Storm’ below, which needs a bit more work, but all completed paintings are now in the ‘Artworks’ gallery. I altered ‘Red Velvet Dancing’ a little (also below)- taking out the second figure and adding some more impasto highlights to the dress to show reflected firelight.





So that’s now just two paintings to finish, then the series is complete! Atzi has also tweaked the short music pieces to his liking, as mentioned each painting comes with a CD of all 12 music pieces.

‘Sombre Constellations’ has already sold, to a former buyer and friend in Australia, it’s a great home for the painting to go to, not just because Linda Cairnes is a talented painter herself, but because I think ‘Sombre Constellations’ perhaps has something of the Aboriginal ‘dreaming’ to it! All completed paintings viewable on ‘Artworks’ in menu above.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the paintings, the exhibition, or would like to buy a painting or print – rose.strang@gmail.com

Edinburgh Art Fair

It was an absolutely buzzing preview at the Edinburgh Art Fair yesterday evening, with  barely room to move – I was impressed so many people showed up on a freezing November night!

I had the pleasure of meeting owners of the Limetree Gallery, Sue and Stephen (photo below) who included some of my works at their stand (In photo below – ‘Hawk, River Tweed’ and four works from the Canalscapes series).

Three of the Canalscape series sold through the Limetree as part of a mixed exhibition earlier this year and it’s been a pleasure working with them  – it’s not just about being paid on time (which is nice!)  but also clear, friendly communication, and I hope this enjoyable working relationship continues.

The Edinburgh Art Fair is on until 19th November, more info Here