Thursday, 30 April 2015

Taking Photos on the Yorkshire Coast

I was out over the Easter holidays to the coast of Yorkshire on a field trip to take photos for a series of new paintings.

I started off at Spurn Point near Hull, and worked my way up to Whitby.  Suffice to say, it got rather more scenic the further north I went!

Here's the lighthouse at Spurn Point - honestly, there is a lighthouse there, in the distance...

This is Flamborough Head. The gorse was out, and the coastal path smelt strongly of coconut in the warm sun.

One cove had an old tractor abandoned in it, which was pretty exciting.  It had wonderful colour and texture with all the rust, and reminded me of an old tractor on the pebble beach at Aldeburgh which used to be used for pulling the fishing boats up on to the shingle.  It just made me want to draw it with a big piece of charcoal.

Then it was on to Bempton Cliffs, which had just opened the day previously as an RSPB reserve.  The facilities were all brand spanking new, and staffed by very very keen staffers who were all very very very keen.

The cliffs smelt strongly of ammonia from all the guano, because there were so many birds wheeling about, crying and nesting and squabbling.  There were various hides set up along the cliff at viewpoints, with wardens who could show you the various types of birds with powerful telescopes.  

Many people had come to see the birds, armed with all sorts of photographic wizardry and tripods and equipment, and truly massive lenses on their cameras, like this chap who had traveled from near Carlisle for the day.  It made me feel very inadequate with my little Nikon.

However, I was gratified that with all his equipment, he couldn't get a picture of a puffin, and I did.  Well, there were only 5 on the cliff in amongst all the hundreds of thousands of other birds.  Sometimes it's not the equipment, it's knowing where to point it....

Later it was on to Whitby and Sandsend, to take some photos of the beautiful long stretch of sand.  I try to take the same scene at different times of the day, so I end up prowling the coastline constantly looking for a different light.

Hopefully these will become paintings which will be on exhibition in my next show in London.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

"Crackling with Colour" at Crieff

Here's a few photos of the show at the Strathearn Gallery in Crieff.

I'm sure you'll agree that the paintings and ceramics all go wonderfully  well together - all three artists were delighted when we saw the exhibition all hung!

Anne's 'Reliquary for Ellen' can be seen on the plinth below my painting "Rosebay Willowheb at Camusdarach".  Anne's sculpture is all about her family history, and has small photos of her relatives, reproductions of letters and found objects.

Here's Anne at the preview, with some more of her ceramics, showing the raku-fired 'crackle glaze' which gives the name to the show.  As part of the process of the firing, the glaze cracks, allowing smoke to get in to the cracks, causing the patterns on the surface of the pot.
This is my large Morecambe Bay piece "Sweep of the Bay", where the lovely greys and pinks are cleverly picked out by two pieces by Anne positioned below it.

Anne's crackle-glaze pots also work well with Emma's painting (seen on the right), and the lacework included in the painting is also echoed in Anne's little found-object sculpture 'Love Potion'.
Her Harvest Moon piece also echoes the subject matter and foreground plant forms in my painting, above left.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

"Colour" in Suffolk

Here's a couple of photos of the show at the Lime Tree gallery in Long Melford, Suffolk.

The show opened yesterday (with 6 out of my 10 paintings selling!) and continues for another month.  You can see below that my work is hanging alongside paintings by Pam Carter and Peter King.

Thank you so much to everyone who came along and who helped to make the show such a success!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Previews North and South!

Amazingly, tomorrow I have TWO shows opening in two completely different places at the same time!

In Crieff I have "Crackling with Colour" opening at the Strathearn Gallery, with ceramics by Anne Morrison and mixed media work by Emma Davis. (The reason for the name is to give a sense of the mixture of colourful paintings and the crackle-glaze of the ceramics).

Rest and Be Thankful (Oil on linen, 32 x 32)

Meanwhile, in Long Melford in Suffolk, I have "Colour" opening at the Lime Tree Gallery, with paintings by fellow Scots Pam Carter, Peter King and Joe Hargan.  Again, the title reflects the vibrant love of colour that Sottish art is so well known for.

Pink Grasses in Sunlight, the Campsies (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

Please feel free to come along to either of the all-day previews.  And see you in Crieff if you're in Perthshire!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Bass Rock Painting Going Cheap!!

If anyone out there is interested in an early piece of mine, here's a blast from my past - it's the Bass Rock through grasses on the clifftop at North Berwick, for sale on GUMTREE for a purse-friendly £750.

Amazing what turns up!

Just Delivered!

In amazingly, gorgeous, blazing sunshine, I've just delivered my paintings to the Strathearn Gallery in Crieff, ready for the opening of the  'Crackling with Colour'  exhibition which kicks off on Saturday.

The gallery is stripped bare ready for the hang, which is always exciting.  Emma Davis's work is already there, and Anne Morrison will be delivering her wonderful pots and sculptures on Thursday.  Between now and the opening on Saturday, it's a case of seeing which work complements which, and making an exhibition which reads within the space.

Anne and I have been working together closely on the show, exchanging ideas between my paintings and her ceramic work.

Blue Sail on Derwent Water, Autumn (Oil on linen, 16 x 16)

Anne Morrison, Echoes of the Cleared (Ceramic Sculpture)

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

Anne Morrison, Red Smoked Pot with Forked Wood (Ceramic and wood)

Heather and White Sand, Camusdarach (Oil on linen, 16 x 16)

Anne Morrison, Pink Pot with Wiggly Wood (Ceramic and wood)

Moon over the Sea (Oil on linen, 24 x 26)

Anne Morriosn, Harvest Moon (Ceramic)

Sunset over the Sea (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

Anne Morrison, Copper Leaf Urn with Driftwood (Ceramic and wood)

Sweep of the Bay (Oil on linen, 32 x 48)

Anne Morrison, Enfolding (ceramic and wood)

See you on Saturday!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

"Colour" at the Lime Tree Gallery, Suffolk

Also coming along shortly now is a show at the Lime Tree Gallery in Long Melford, Suffolk, with weel-kent Scottish artists Pam Carter, Joe Hargan and Peter King.

The theme of the exhibition is colour, and vibrant, expressive colour is one of the hallmarks of Scottish art.  This love of colour, along with energetic mark-making and a joy in the texture of oil paint are all characteristics of my work.

For the show, I have made a special collection of ten paintings, each of which celebrates a different colour. 

Over a series of months, I made careful studies and observations in various locations in Suffolk, Scotland and Northern Ireland, taking photographs and making notes. Back in the studio, I used this large library of reference material to create the finished oil paintings.

Each of my pictures at this exhibition has a key colour in their title and as their theme - hence the stormy olive green of the rough North Sea, the sunny yellow of autumn grasses, the uplifting red of poppies.  The colour is observed in nature, but is then heightened and emphasised in order to give an expressive and emotional force to the scene.

Colour, then, is not just purely descriptive, but also captures an emotional feeling of what is was like to be in the landscape, and a very specific sense of place and time.

To give you a flavour of the show, here are some of my collection. 

Olive Green Sea in Summer Storm, Aldeburgh (Oil on linen, 32 x 32)

Orange Carpet of Autumn Leaves (Oil on linen, 16 x 16)

Turquoise Evening Sea, Aldeburgh (Oil on linen, 32 x 32)

Pink Grasses in Sunlight, the Campsies (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

You can also see a link to all the paintings here.  The show opens on Saturday 25th April, and runs until May 30th.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

'Crackling with Colour' at the Strathearn Gallery

That's the name of the show that I have with Emma Davis and Anne Morrison at the Strathearn Gallery in Crieff.  

It opens on Saturday 25th April, and everyone is very welcome to come along!  There's a great catalogue in the post to everyone who's requested one - otherwise email the gallery and request yours!

Here's a couple of the paintings from the show...

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

Path Through Bluebell Woods (Oil on linen, 24 x 26)

Rosebay Willowherb at Camusdarach (Oil on linen, 32 x 32)

There's a link to the show where you'll shortly be able to see everything online.

Hope you can make it along!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Stormy Weather, Arran in the Distance

It's always interesting to come across blogs on the internet where my paintings have provided a starting point for other people's work, such as the school in Northern Ireland who used one of my Causeway Coast paintings for a class art exercise.

Well, here's another example that I've come across - see what you think.

Here's my painting, Stormy Weather, Arran in the Distance....

..and here it is as a watercolour, where the main colour values have been identified and isolated.  The suggestion of the outline of Arran in the background and the foreshore have been drawn in in pen in order to give context.

It's a great idea for a colour exercise, and is certainly a completely new take on the original painting.

Really interesting work!