Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement

I thought I'd mention a really excellent show which I saw recently at the Royal College of Art in London - I don't know if anyone else managed to see it.  (It's unfortunately finished now, but I hadn't started the blog last year, so that's why it's only just getting a mention!)  

I'm sure you're all familiar with the work of Degas and his Impressionist paintings of young, ballet dancers, women bathing and frisky horses.  Certainly, the image used on the poster would lead you to believe that this was going to be a very sickly sweet show all about pastel-coloured young girls in tutus, ending with a nice line in fridge magnets in the gift shop.

However, what this exhibition managed to clearly document (and all kudos to the curators for putting together such a well thought-out and thought-provoking show) was the development of Degas' lifelong obsession with the figure in movement.  

Degas was working at a time in the 19th century when there were great technical advances in photography and early film, which were embraced by the artist in the same way that David Hockney is embracing the i-Pad as a tool to make art in his new show at the Royal Academy.  

Degas' compositions were pieced together from various studies made from various sources, so that a group of ballet dancers could come from a variety of different studies of individuals or small groups, made in a number of media.  The information from all the sources was then jigsawed together to make the final picture, giviing an informed sense of a place and an event, rather than an actual documentation of one specific event - almost like one of his early history paintings.

The pose of the figures would often have a casual, fleeting sense to them, as figures can when caught off-guard by the camera, giving a feeling of capturing a moment in time and a fleeting glimpse of something temporal. 

The really exciting thing in the exhibition was the inclusion of his little-seen photographs and their relationship to other work.  Here's one of his photos...

Degas, Dancer Adjusting Her Shoulder Strap (Modern gelatin silver print, 1895)

And a pastel and gouache based on the pose - note all the changes made whilst working out the composition, almost as if the figure is blurred in movement, or as if several viewpoints of the same figure were amalgamated into one - which of course, is what Picasso was doing later in 1907 at the birth of cubism.

Another photograph (the intense colour is due to a chemical reaction during development of the plates)...

Degas, Dancer, Arm Outstretched (Collodion on glass, 1895)

And a related pastel with the figure from the photo at the left hand side


So far from being a chocolate-box artist, Degas was instead a modern, radical artist who thought profoundly about visual problems and was fully attuned to the technological developments of his time.  

Born in 1834, largely self-taught, this free-thinking and experimental approach paved the way for others in the modern age - look at his incorporation of real objects into his bronze sculpture of the little dancer aged 14, with its ribbon in the hair and tutu made of actual material.  That's something everyone from Picasso to Rauschenberg has done.
Again, giving her age of 14 in the title emphasises the temporal movement, and the quick passing of youth.   

Increasing blindness forced Degas to give up working in 1912, and for the last 5 years, he was a sad figure shuffling around Montmartre.   

One of the most touching things in the exhibition was a short piece of film taken of Degas walking on a street in Paris with his niece.  It is strikingly ordinary, with chattering shop-girls on a break at lunchtime walking sassily down the street and playing to the camera.  But Degas doesn't notice he's being filmed.  It's both ordinary and extraordinary, in that those few seconds capture a fleeting glimpse of one of the true great of art history, just for a moment, not doing anything special, but preserved on a short loop of time.  It's strangely appropriate, rather profound, and very touching.  It's a work of art in itself.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Poppies and Farm near North Berwick

Here's a feel-good painting for a Monday morning....

Poppies and Farm near North Berwick, June (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

For those of you unfamiliar with the east coast of Scotland, North Berwick is a seaside town just south of Edinburgh.  The rolling farmland goes down to the clifftops at the sea, and in early summer, the roadsides are bursting with red poppies.  

These beautiful flowers were at the edge of a field of barley on the road to Tantallon Castle, fluttering in the breeze.

The painting is currently with Duncan R Miller Fine Arts, London, and will be on exhibition at the 20/21st International Art Fair at the Royal College of Art, London from 16-19th February.

For more information, go to the Duncan R Miller website.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Ballintoy Harbour on Facebook

Ballintoy Harbour (Oil on linen, 24 x 26)

For those of you on Facebook, you might like to check out the Glasgow Art Show wall, which features one of my Northern Ireland paintings, Ballintoy Harbour, as its 'Image of the Day'.

The Glasgow Art Show runs from 23rd - 25th March.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Tatlin's Tower

If you're passing by the Royal Academy in London over the next couple of days, take a quick look in the courtyard at the amazing recreation of Tatlin's Tower.  I took this photo of it when I was there in November to see the Degas exhibition.

Vladimir Tatlin (1885-1953) designed his Monument to the Third International in 1920, but it was never built.   When I studied it as part of my Fine Art degree, it was an enigmatic unfulfilled idea, so it was a big thrill to finally see it in real life, even if it is just a 1:42 scale version!

Left: Computer visualisation of Tatlin's Tower by Dixon Jones Architects 
Right: Vladimir Tatlin (1885–1953), Monument to the Third International: side elevation, 1920, N. Punin Archive © Anna Kaminskaya 

Planned as a 400m tall symbol of moderntiy in St Petersburg after the Bolshevik Revolution, it would have dwarfed the Eiffel Tower.  Built from steel and glass in double helix spiral, it consisted of a main framework which people could travel up, inclined at the same angle as the earth's axis, and 4 large geometric structures which each rotated at different speeds.  

At the base was a lecture theatre which completed one rotation a year.  Above that was a pyramid housing offices which rotated monthly.  Above that was a daily-rotating cylinder housing a radio station and information centre with loudspeakers for disseminating news and manifestos, and a projector for beaming images onto clouds.  

How brilliantly mad is all that?  But I can imagine that if it had been built, it would never have actually have worked - a bit like the Science Tower in Glasgow!  Plus, there's just far too much rotating going on...

There's an interesting article here if you'd like to read more...

Blueprint Magazine - Rebuilding Tatlin's Tower 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Graduated filters for digital SLR camera

I have had some queries about the filters that I use for my digital SLR Nikon camera.

I use a Cokin P121M graduated grey filter.  It is a rectangular filter which is dark grey at one end and clear at the bottom.  It fits into a circular-shaped holder which goes onto the lens, and the filter slides into this.  You can then look through the lens of the camera, and adjust where the line of grey goes by sliding the filter up and down in the holder, swivel it around, and generally adjust the contrast of the picture you are taking.  

You can also add more than one lens, and have coloured lenses to give, for example, a sunset effect, or a blurred edge.  However, I'm happy with just the one.

This is the difference with a graduated grey filter...


With the filter

(Images are from the Cokin website)

Here's the website (and no, I don't get commission!)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Carousel at Night, London Embankment

I thought I'd introduce you to a few of the paintings which will be in my show next month.

This is a painting which I did from a series of photographs taken along the London Embankment over several nights in February last year.

 Carousel at Night, London Embankment (Oil on linen, 32 x 32)

My working method is to take a large number of photographs of a subject with a digital camera - that allows you to take hundreds of photographs, so you are constantly note-taking as you walk through your subject.  I use a Nikon DX with a skylight (essential kit in sandy conditions!) and a graduated filter (to heighten the cloud contrast).  

A digital camera means you can take photos not only of the compositions that catch your eye, but note-take close-ups of textures - bark, stone, water - and also just turn round and face the other way to contextualise the image.  Sometimes it might be a flock of birds in a nearby tree, or a small dog that was barking at the time, or a bit more of the interesting building just to the left, or cloud formations.  Sometimes quick and fleeting photos turn out to be the most evocative and interesting ones - you can get too caught up in something that, at the time, you think is 'the' important image.

It's important just to make the most of your time on-the-spot, and a digital camera is a huge advantage over the old film cameras, where you had to think very carefully about not wasting any of your 36 frames.  Obviously I compose each shot with the same care as I would with a film camera. but it means you have much more freedom to create material.

I will go back  to the computer with several hundred images and review a days work from a location.  Sometimes I will have to go back and retake work.  As I run through the images, several will jump out, hopefully both as strong images abd also as capturing what it felt like to be there that day (or night).  The aim is to capture the sense of the uniqueness of that place on that particular day at that time.

For Carousel at Night, I spent many hours on the Embankment taking photos of the beautiful lights on the water, and the people promenading along the riverside.  I was standing on the steps of the bridge across from Charing Cross Station looking towards County Hall.  The trees are bare because it is winter (and it was very cold!)  You can see the London Eye in the top left of the painting.  I liked the contrast of the Houses of Parliament in the distance, symbol of power and authority, contrasting with the simple pleasures of the brightly coloured merry-go-round in the foreground and the big circle of the London Eye.

The painting will be at Duncan R Miller Fine Arts, 6 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AB from 24 February - 16 March 2012.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

During the Christmas break, I was through in Edinburgh and visited the newly refurbished Scottish National Portrait Gallery.  Apparently it has had £17.6 million lavished on it..

It's a beautiful Arts and Crafts building, and the world’s first purpose-built portrait space. The restoration project has opened up previously inaccessible parts of the building and increased the public space by more than 60 per cent. 

If you go expecting to see lots of paintings of people in a parade of famous and historical faces, you'll be disappointed.  It's more about a portrait of a country and its achievements, and isn't merely paintings, but that's the modern museum way of organising and presenting material.  

There's a new gallery dedicated to photography, showing romantically nostalgic highland landscapes and some gritty urban urchins, as well as Annan's amazing photographs of closes.

Thomas Annan, Close No 101 High Street, Glasgow (Albumen print,1868)
There's 'Pioneers of Science', containing a large and sobering Ken Currie portrait Three Oncologists, with some very interesting contextualising material about the doctors portrayed.  
Ken Currie, Three Oncologists (Oil on canvas 2002)
There's also an amazing cast of the head of Dolly the Sheep - a clone of a clone - which I thought was just astonishing.

It's not a piece of art as such, and isn't credited with a maker, but as far as I'm concerned it's a far more powerful piece than anything Damien Hurst has ever come up with.  You can see the scrim poking out, and the unevenness of the plaster where the cast has run up against Dolly's thick wool, so it has a roughness and lovely textural excitement about it.  It has a beautiful shape a rhythm to it, bourne out of the necessity of being unable to cast any further than the non-woolly parts of her head.  It was cast on the day she was put to sleep, so it's a death mask, and as such is a very poignant image.  
It's not often sheep are named and imortalised, but here Dolly is.  She looks almost like one of the Elgin marbles.
Also on display, unfortunately, was John Bellany's portrait of Billy Connolly - a painting so bad that even when you knew who it was, you still couldn't recognise him....

John Bellany, Billy Connolly (Oil on canvas 2004)

No wonder he had to write who it was underneath - or is it just me?

Anyway, if you do get the chance to go to Edinburgh, do visit the Portrait Gallery.  Or if you've been, let me know what you thought....

Monday, 23 January 2012

At the London Art Fair

Even in the cold of January, the London Art Fair at the Business and Design Centre in Islington has lost none of its vibrancy, and remains a fresh, up-beat annual event and a great start to the year.

It’s a slightly awkward space, with a split-level main hall, and further stands housed upstairs, but once you understand the space, it’s a nice venue to explore and get lost in the art.

As soon as I went in, I was met by an excitingly large Henri Gaudier Brzeska relief of two wrestlers.

Henri Gaudier Brzeska Wrestlers 1914

However, this version was cast in the 1960s (Gaudier Brzeska having died in the first world war at 23) so it's arguable how much it is an 'original' - however it's yours for £85,000!  It was just one of many high-price tag (or even POA ) works for sale at the fair - obviously there's the market out there for them.

Also on the same stand was a gorgeous Peter Lanyon, with more of his work, including a blue glass sculpture, at Offer Waterman and Co.  Lanyon was a Cornish artist, whose edgily visceral landscape work was always very much about experiencing a place, and has a very tangible excitement about it.  He was a glider pilot although he suffered from vertigo (ultimately he was killed in a flying accident), and he liked to incorporate this seen-from-the-air viewpoint combined with an element of off-balance tension into his work.

Peter Lanyon Blue Glass Airscape 1960( glass, ceramic, plaster & paint on cork)

Another Cornish-based artist (though originally from Scotland) was Margaret Mellis, whose drfitwood construction was on the Cyril Gerber stand.  Her studio must have been a complete fire-hazard, as it was piled high with stacks of found wood which she collected from the Cornwall beaches.

There were plenty of other big names of 20th century art to get your teeth into Elizabeth Frink (especially the large Fighting Cocks bronze), Joe Tilson's Wooden Relief 1960 at Austin/Desmond Fine Art, the Boyle Family's Fire Series with Melted Records with Richard Saltoun (they used to do the groovy visual effects at early Pink Floyd concerts), even Charles Rennie Mackintosh's delicate watercolour Alder Catkins, Walberswick of 1914 (Mackintosh was arrested as a suspected German spy while he was at Walberswick because of his thick Scottish accent and constant sending of letters to foreign places) Yours for £28,500!  Ewan Mundy also had a lovely William Gillies ink drawing of Anstruther for £4250 - yum.

I must mention Jo Taylor's work with Lena Boyle Fine Art Although I'm no expert on horses, I do love her large-scale equine collages, with their gorgeously expressive lines.

 Jo Taylor Desert Horse II (mixed media on paper, 31 x 27 in)

I must also draw attention to a (distant) member of the family firm, Adam Bridgland, with his very distinctive graphic work with TAG Fine Art.  His Darling Our Holiday Will Solve All Our Problems looked eerily of-the-moment.

 Adam Bridgland Darling This Holiday Will Solve All OUr Problems 2006 (Enamel Plaque 100cm x 100cm)

It's always strange when you see your own work at a gallery or an art fair.  In this case, my work was with Duncan Miller on a stand at the back of the main hall, which meant that you could see it from quite far away down one of the main corridors.  It's like seeing your work afresh, in its Sunday best.  It was great to view it in such a location getting a lot of positive attention at the fair, and also in such estemmed company as Joan Eardley and the Scottish Colourists.

I hope that those of you who attended the fair, and especially those of you who were able to make use of the complimentary tickets, will have had an equally interesting and fruitful time.  

If you were there, it would be great to have your feedback!

Friday, 20 January 2012

White Sand, Yellow Flowers, Morar

This is the painting that will be going on the front cover of my catalogue for my 'Between Tides' solo show which opens next month.

White Sand, Yellow Flowers, Morar (Oil on linen, 32 x 32)

It is from a visit to Morar and Mallaig on the west coast of Scotland in May last year (preparing for a show is a long process!).

The weather was variable, as is usually the case in Scotland at any time of the year, or indeed, at any time of the day!  However, there were spells of wonderful strong sunshine with blue skies and the white sand shining through the water.  In the shallows, the colours were the most amazing turquoise and emerald, and it looked more like Barbados than Scotland!  In the distance you can see the islands of Rhum and Eigg.

I visited the sands at various times of the day, sometimes finding it busy with families, other times pretty much deserted.  

Returning in the evening, I found campers sitting round their fire.  It cast a welcoming orange glow in the dusk, and reminded me of summer holidays from many years ago.

Campfire on the Beach, Morar (Oil on linen, 32 x 32 )

It's one of my favourite paintings in the show.  It will be interesting to hear if visitors to the gallery think the same!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

David Hockney : A Bigger Picture

The new David Hockney landscape show has just opened at the Royal Academy in London.  I've got my ticket to go and visit when I'm down for my solo show in February.

I caught an interview with him on BBC1 at the weekend, where he talked about his new work of Yorkshire landscapes created with an iPad.  The end result is large, brightly coloured landscape with marks made by a stylus or fingers.  

 David Hockney, 'Winter Timber', 2009. Oil on 15 canvases. 274 x 609.6 cm. 
Private Collection. © David Hockney. Photo credit: Jonathan Wilkinson.

Hockney said that using an iPad was all part of using the latest technology, in the way that at some point a paintbrush must have been the latest technological innovation.

Critics have given it a mixed reception.  The Telegraph today was puzzled.   The Telegraph  The Sunday Times loved the show.  Brian Sewell in today's Evening Standard hated it, calling it 'careless, crude and coarse'. Evening Standard

Oh well - I'll wait and see for myself!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

London Art Fair begins...

The first big fair of the year, the London Art Fair, starts today at the Business and Design Centre in Islington.

It's an exciting fair not only because you can get there by travelling to one of the legendary stations on the Monopoly board (Angel Islington), but because there are over 100 stands of major art galleries, showing many of the most important names in 20th century art.  Plus there is also funky new contemporary work in the upstairs Arts Project space. 

It's a fair that really sets the tone and pace of the arts year ahead.

My new paintings are in the Main Hall on Stand 50 with Duncan R Miller Fine Arts.  Duncan Miller's of St James's is recognised as a leading gallery in the works of the Scottish Colourists - Cadell, Fergusson, Hunter and Peploe.

Winter Afternoon, Trafalgar Square (24 x 26, Oil on linen)

The paintings on show will  be a small taster for my forthcoming solo show in February, with seascapes of the Scottish west coast, the Northern Irish coastline, and scenes of Morecambe and London.

I'll be going down to visit the fair, and I'll report back!  I'm sure it will be a very exciting trip.

The London Art Fair runs until Sunday 22nd January.  There's more information about it here

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Getting prepared...

Today is all about getting ready for the next shows and art fairs, so I am doing a stock-check, preparing my canvasses and sorting out my frame orders.

My canvasses are all bespoke, made by a firm in London from Belgian linen.  It's a bit more expensive than cotton, but is better in terms of conservation.  Having done a course in conservation, I always aim to use the best quality materials that I can.  The canvasses are primed, and put onto wooden stretchers.  The stretchers have wooden keys at the corners, which can be knocked in with a hammer to tension the linen.

I give the canvasses a coloured ground, usually cadmium orange or magenta, but sometimes a warm grey or lilac.  It's good to have a medium tone to work from, and helps to unite the composition.  It's also less daunting than working from a huge stark white canvas.

However, having rows of empty canvasses looking at you is also pretty daunting!  

It's quite a challenge thinking through what images you want to choose for a show, what size of format is best for each image, and how you want the overall show to look. 

A large amount of my time is taken up with the preparation for painting - going out on location to take photos, doing preparatory work, ordering materials, dealing with paperwork and consignments of paintings, and all the logistics of organising a show and getting work at the right time from a to b.  However, getting all of that right is the key to producing good work!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Annual Show Submissions

Todays' the day for submitting work in Edinburgh for the three big annual shows - the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW), The Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) and Visual Arts Scotland (VAS) at the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA).  It's quite a bit of alphabet soup to handle all at once, especially doing the paperwork for all three simultaneously!   

Hopefully I've got the right labels on the right pieces, and have taken care to think about the specific feel and individual nature of each of the 3 exhibitions, which all take place in February in the RSA at the same time.

 Beached Boat, Aldeburgh ( Acrylic,10 x 10)

Size restrictions mean that I can only submit small work to the SSA, but I've been able to indulge myself with 2 large oils for the VAS.   These oils are very textural, with collage incorporated into the paint surface.

 St Pauls with Cranes (Oil and mixed media on canvas, 36 x 36)

It's up to the judging panels now, so we'll see what (if anything!) gets in.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Elizabeth Blackadder Exhibition

I was over in Edinburgh during the Christmas break, and caught the end of the Elizabeth Blackadder exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy.  The show marks Blackadder's 80th birthday, and a very nice lady outside the exhibition handed me some free tickets, which was lovely.

I not a massive fan of Blackadder's work, which I find quite unengaging, but the space of the Academy is a spectacular one for a solo artist to fill, as was shown to great effect with the recent Joan Eardley retrospective.  Plus I am all for appreciating the work of women in Scottish art!

The first room showed early work, with which I was unfamiliar, and I was very taken indeed with the energetic mark-making and wonderfully evocative 1950s and 60s colourways of the prints and drawings.  They reminded me very much of William Gillies - not surprising, since he was Blackadder's teacher.  Two travelling scholarships to Italy yielded some beautiful pen and ink drawings of Italian hill-top towns, again full of a lovely variety of marks and great energy.

 Wall Town 1962 by Elizabeth Blackadder (ink & watercolour)

However I wasn't so taken with the later work, with cats, watercolours of orchids, and saturated flat pattern-making colour still lifes of kimonos and collected objects.

 Chinese Still Life with Arum Lillies by Elizabeth Blackadder 1982, Oil on canvas

The oils are certainly quite punchy at a distance, especially in the setting of the RSA, but didn't really convey anything emotionally to me.  Closer observation of these or of the botanical watercolours, which initially look so intricate, don't reveal exciting lines or astonishing passages of painting.  The cats, which could look very saccharine, are obviously well observed, but just aren't something I could really feel connected with.  Nor did the later paintings really speak of the times in which they were created, unlike the early work, which definately had a 50s and 60s vibe. 

Blackadder's work is very quiet, very still.  That's not a criticism in itself.  The work of Gillies is also very quiet and still, and yet his paintings somehow have a real soul to them, a real inner life buzzing away inside them.  I'm afraid I just didn't connect with the Blackadders, but perhaps that's just me.  Obviously she is hugely popular and much loved, and the paintings, judging by the short film that was showing, are very much a reflection of her as a person, in which she comes across as lovely and unassuming.  I just wonder where all that exciting early mark-making went.

In the shop, the catalogues were reduced, and you got two for the price of one.  My free ticket entitled me to a further discount, but even at £5 each, I decided against buying.  The merchandise was on special offer, and there were lots of cats and orchids on fridge magnets.  Everyone there seemed to have a free ticket.  Leonardo it wasn't.

Images copyright Elizabeth Blackadder

Thursday, 12 January 2012

After the storm

The big clear-up continues after the recent storms, and I took this photo of trees near the studio. 

The broken branches and split tree-trunks look as if they are straight out of a Salvator Rosa landscape!
Neapolitan painter Rosa (1615-1673) was hugely popular in his day - turning out wildly rugged landscapes, allegorical paintings and etchings, and also outraging society with his satirical plays and poems.  His dramatic visions, of moody landscapes with raging storms and colourful unsavoury characters roaming the countryside, later struck a chord with the 19th century Romantic movement.  

Rosa was painting en plein air - painting outside on location - over 200 years before the Impressionists.  It was the invention of the collapsible tin tube that led to artists being able to easily transport materials out of doors, and enabled Cezanne to pack up his oils and take them across the countryside to paint Mont St Victoire.  

It must have been a lot harder for Rosa to do this - he would have had to use something a lot fiddlier, small leather pouches with stoppers - but he seems to have been quite a thrawn and determined character!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Back in the studio...

Whilst final preparations continue in London for my February solo show, work continues in the studio on the next project.  

Today I am doing something a little different - drawings and mixed media work on paper for a very exciting show that is coming up in the spring.  Here's one in progress on my board in the studio.

As you can see, I'm working from a photograph that I took on site, and I'm using acrylics, inks, pastels and chalks on a nice rough buff-coloured handmade paper with a lovely unusual tooth, almost like a textile.  It's nice to work out of a ground that's not white, as it gives a nice ready-made mid-tone.  

To apply the paint, as well as brushes I use a flexible plastic spatula, which gives marks with a lovely volume, and a long stick to apply the coloured inks.  Using a stick allows for a more expressive, loose style of mark-making, but anything is fair game - a roller, sponge, edge of a piece of card.  This is especially useful for grasses and foreground, as it gives the feeling of the growth and the grasses moving.  

I also like using the stick/ink technique for architecture, such as in my pictures of seaside piers or bridges,  as it makes the lines of the structure feel less 'precious' and more organic.  You become less caught up in the exact delineation of every last detail, and become more focussed on expressing the feeling of the presence of the building or structure.

Eastbourne Pier (Mixed, 30 x 24)

Exploring a subject through mixed media is a good way of thinking through how you might want to express a subject in oils, and how you might achieve a variety of qualities of mark and texture.

You'll have to wait a bit longer to hear what the project coming up in the spring is - plenty of things happening before that!!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

'Between Tides' Solo Show

Very exciting - the date for the preview of my solo show in London At Duncan Miller's is going to be the evening of Thursday 23rd February.  It's always a big thrill to have a show in London, and I'm looking forward to this very much!

The new paintings for the show were delivered to the gallery just before Christmas in order to allow them to be photographed for the catalogue.  The theme is the meeting of land and sea.  There's paintings of the West Coast of Scotland with the white sands around Morar and Mallaig,the wonderful subtle colours of the sands at Morecambe, and the rugged coastline of Northern Ireland with its dramatic light and wonderful colours.  

Harebells near Cushendun (Oil, 20 x 20)

I will, of course, be going down to London for the preview, and look forward very much to meeting you all!  Everyone is welcome, so if you'd like a catalogue or an invite, just let me know at judith@jibridgland.com.   

Monday, 9 January 2012

New Year, New Blog

The start of a new year is all about both looking back and looking forward.  So this is a sort of 'Janus' post, looking back to the events of 2011, and ahead to all the exciting new possibilties of 2012.

To introduce myself, I am an artist living and working in Scotland.  I paint landscapes like this:

Distant Yacht on Blustery Day, Rinagree (Oil 32 x 48)

big, bold, textural, meaty, vibrant oils on canvas.  And I have a website at www.jibridgland.com where you can read about forthcoming exhibitions and so on.

So over the past year, I have had a very very busy time, with lots of work on show in London, Glasgow, Bristol, the Cotswolds - I had a painting accepted for the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour, and I have been up and down the country doing preparatory work for shows which will come to fruition in the first half of 2012. 

I have a loyal band of people who support my work and who are very enthusiastic about my paintings (hullo!), which is wonderful, and I wanted to start a blog to keep you all a bit more in touch with what I'm doing, and also for me to hear from you.  

So I hope to use these posts to tell you a bit more about the paintings that I'm working on in the studio and how they come about - the places that I'm going to in order to paint, the exhibitions I've seen, the books I've read (not that I get much chance for that, but here's hoping...) and generally all the things that go together in a big patchwork to make the paintings what they are. And perhaps you'll tell me about all the places/exhibitions/books etc that inspire you too.

Hopefully these posts will start to paint a picture for you of what life's like for one painter in Scotland....