Thursday, 5 March 2015

London Show Finishes Tomorrow... if you haven't been along to the gallery, now's your last chance!

Take a look at the show at Duncan R Miller Fine Arts HERE.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Another canvas from my easel...

Dark Hill with Orange Grasses, Argyll (Oil on linen, 24 x 26)

This one is going in a show a little later this year.  It's of the hill on the B839 which runs from the spectacular Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll.  I was out there taking photos at New Year.
I was out at a concert tonight.  You'll never guess who...

I once had breakfast with Hawkwind.

But that's another story...

Friday, 27 February 2015

A Sneak Peek

My show in London may be continuing for another ten days, but work in the studio goes on.

Here's a sneak peak of some work which I was doing today.  They're little studies of calendula and honesty, which I grew from seed over the summer in  my garden.

I've been experimenting with some new colours for the grounds on my canvasses - cobalt blue and deep violet - and was really please with the way that the paintings turned out.

I find that it's good to work with the same subject in different sizes - you bounce ideas from one canvas to the next, applying what you have learned from one to the next.  A different size of canvas means that you have to make different decisions about the types of mark that you make, so makes you reappraise how you are approaching your subject.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Thirty Sales at Preview!

Back now from London, and the opening of my show.  Really delighted by the huge response before the show even opened, with thirty sales and paintings with multiple reserves!  Several people were very disappointed that their favourite had gone before the doors even opened...

You can view the paintings in the show online HERE.

Here's the windows of the gallery in St James's (just along from the Royal Academy), with two of my paintings Haybales, Ayrshire and Poppy Field, York.

It was an extremely busy preview, with lots of very interesting people and familiar faces, all enthusiastic about the work, excited about the colours and the textures. Apologies if there was anyone that I didn't get to speak to!  A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who came along.

There was even some heavy-duty signing of catalogues!

The show continues for another 3 weeks, but here's a quick peak....

Autumn, Queens Park.  The view is looking out from the high point of Queens Park on the south side towards the centre of Glasgow and beyond to the Campsies and Ben Lomond.  This painting didn't sell on the night, but a lovely couple came down from Edinburgh the next day especially to buy it, so its gone to a really good home.

This is Gorse by the Shore with Distant Cottages, Morar and Sea Pinks, Land's End.  The painting on the left was purchased largely because of the beautiful gorse (which I assured the purchaser was in fact actually growing there, gorse being a hardy plant often found by the seashore in Scotland.  It has a lovely coconutty smell.)  The right painting is at Land's End, and I scrambled down the cliffside to lie down and get the view of the tiny little sea pinks.  The ground is quite loose, so it felt a little precarious!  Risking my all for my art....

Avenue of Trees, Hampstead Heath.  This is the painting that featured in International Artist last month.

White Sand at Camusdarach and Moon Over the Sea, Cromer.  I love both of these paintings, but everyone raved about the one with the moon, which was painted along the clifftops near Cromer.

Top is Moon Over the Sea (which is of the North Sea at Aldeburgh), bottom left is Rocks on the Beach, North Berwick.  Right is Sunset Over the Sea, which is the beach at Weston Super Mare in October, which had the most amazing sunset blazing across the sky, constantly changing as the sun sank into the sea.

In amongst this group are paintings of the bluebells in my local park at Pollok (home of the Burrell Collection), the Balmoral Estate, the coastline in Cornwall and autumn fields in Fife.

Here's a group of London paintings on the back wall of the gallery, at different times of the day.

A selection of paintings from Northern Ireland, another of Weston Super Mare,the Lake District and autumn parks.  

Very many thanks again to everyone who was good enough to come along to the show and helped to make it such a success.  Please do drop in if you are in London!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Show Opens in London!

My solo show 'Journeys Through Landscape' opens tomorrow in London with an evening preview, 5.30 - 8pm.

I'm very excited as I've already had 25 sales/reserves!!  Plus it's always wonderful just to have a show in London.

If any of you are coming along, then I look forward very much to seeing you there!

White Park Bay (Oil on linen, 32 x 48)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Made in China

There's a very interesting installation which has just opened at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London - a lovely little gallery which I last visited a few years ago to see the Salvator Rosa exhibition in September 2010.

(Dulwich was the first purpose built art gallery, opening in 1811.  And it has a mighty fine tea room.)
This installation is the idea of a conceptual artist, Doug Fishbone, who ordered a copy of one of the galleries original works of art from one of the Chinese art copying factories.  

Here it is being wheeled into place in the gallery.

It's up to visitors to spot the fake.  Will they?

More than that, how will people react?  Does putting a Chinese replica in a Western gallery legitimise it as 'real art'?  What is a 'fake'?  If it provokes the same sort of feelings, emotions, reactions in us as a 'real' painting, doesn't that mean it's real too?  If we then know it's a fake, do we feel 'conned'?  If so, why?  Who's conned us?

Or does that actually mean that a 'real' painting is to do with something genuine in the mindset of the artist, an energy, an integrity, the spark of talent and originality, the truthfulness of the intention of the person who created it - which we don't actually know anything concretely about most of the time, and we only get a 'sense' of by looking at a painting.  Does the talent of the painter give a painting something like a soul, an energy which we as viewers perceive and react to?

And what's the difference between something which has been made with the desire to create a 'genuine' emotion in the viewer, and one which has been concocted to create a calculated 'fake' removed emotion, (ie kitsch - think Vettriano - 'Wow, there's a badly painted woman in her underwear.  Stuck together in a room with the figure of a guy smoking a cigarette that's been copied out of a book.  That adds up to saucy!!').

And what if you buy a fake genuinely thinking that it's a real piece of art because you can't tell the difference, or more importantly, don't care if there IS a difference?  

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

Now, there's five million replicas a year produced in China's Dafen Village copying outlet alone.  So that's a whole lot of fakes out there, and five million perfectly happy people looking at them.  

There's even a place in the far east that's banging out MY paintings.. have a look HERE.

This one at Dulwich cost £79, and visitors are invited to spot it amongst the 270 paintings on permanent exhibition, before the real fake is revealed in April.

Of course, the complication is that by Mr Conceptual Artist making this fake piece of art into a piece of conceptual art, he is adding a layer - the person who painted the fake in China had no idea that he/she was becoming involved in a piece of conceptual art, but Mr Fishbone has then taken the object, and by putting it in the gallery in order to question the validity of art, has actually imbued the object with artistic meaning.  He's made it into art.  What were you thinking!!

Hmmm... so there's the conundrum.  So does that validate the fake art as real art?  And does that then invalidate the whole spot-the-fake thing, I ask?  Because it's now actually spot-the-thought-provoking-installation, not spot-the-fake.

And what happens to the fake painting once the installation is over?  Is it 'the painting that was in show at Dulwich as the 'Made in China' installation by Doug Fishbone'?  Does that give it a market value of more than £79?  And who is it by now?  Is it actually a genuine piece by Mr Fishbone rather than an anonymous Chinese fake?

Sadly, I won't be able to make it to Dulwich when I'm down in London for my show, but it would be fun to have a look....