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....

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Blue Sail, Derwent Water

This is the painting that everyone seems to be very excited about at my solo exhibition, which starts next week in London...

Blue Sail, Derwent Water (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

So far, there is a waiting list of 4 people for it.  Four!!  Which just goes to show that you can never guess which painting is going to be the one which people connect with...

The painting is from the viewpoint of the field just across from the Theatre by the Lake at Keswick in the Lake District, where the landing stages are for the cruise boats.  

It was a beautiful early autumn day, and there were plenty of little yachts scudding about on Derwent Water, including this one with its beautiful blue sail.

View the rest of the show HERE.

A Flock of Starlings

Rather excited to find out that the telephone polling I took part in on 9th January was in fact for (what turns out to be) the historic  Lord Ashcroft Poll.

Depending on where you live or what papers you read, you may be forgiven for not having heard of this 'Scottish Battleground' poll at all.  But what Tory pollster Lord Ashcroft's findings show is that, thanks to the catalyst of the referendum - when everyone but everyone spent months scrutinizing, dissecting and discussing how Scotland is run and their vision of the future - we've popped out the other side to find politics in the Scotland has well and truly changed.  It's official.  And it's very, very relevant to everyone.

In a nutshell - as a result of all that thinking and discussing and imagining the future, the country that used to unquestioningly vote Labour now apparently intends to turn out and vote SNP.  Who'd have thought it?  Cross-referencing with the latest YouGov Poll  suggests that this is not to be dismissed merely as a peevish knee-jerk we-lost-out pining for independence, but rather expresses a desire for a specific Scottish voice and a need for effective representation. Which is hardly radical or unreasonable.

(c) PA  A murmuration of 10,000 starlings flies over fields in the Borders

Now there are, of course, three months to go until the General Election, which is a long time in politics.  And it was 'just a poll'.  But that long, long fuse lit back in September fizzes on towards Westminster, whether anyone else in the country has noticed it or not.

So get ready - there are interesting times ahead for everyone!

(c) PA

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Catalogues are here!

The catalogues for my solo show in London "Journeys Through Landscape" have arrived!  And mighty fine they look too, even though I say it myself.

Some of you will have received your catalogues already.  But if not, and you'd like one, just drop me a line with your postal address.  I'll be happy to post one off to you.

The show is also available to view online HERE, so do take a look. There's quite a few red and green dots already!  For those unfamiliar with the system, the red dots mean 'sold', the green dots mean 'reserved'.  (In some cases, there's up to 4 people on the reserve list for a single painting!  Just goes to show, you never can tell which paintings will strike a chord....)

Here's a peek inside the catalogue....

There's also an invite to the show, which runs Monday-Friday from 13 February to 6 March at Duncan R Miller Fine Arts, 6 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AB.  

If you're in London during those dates, then it would be fantastic if you could drop in and see the show!  It's a lovely space and the work always looks fantastic there.