I haven’t included any Scottish artists so far in this blog, or female artists come to that, very remiss! And as it happens, my two favourite Scottish landscape painters are female; Joan Eardley and Kate Downie.
Eardley was born in Essex to a Scottish mother and English father then later, in 1940, moved to Glasgow and enrolled at Glasgow School of Art. (Incidentally you may have heard the sad news about the fire that recently broke out at Glasgow’s School of Art. I was relieved to hear that there was just 10% damage, but there was also quite a lot of damage to art work including student’s degree work for this year. Terrible news, but I have no doubt that restoration of this beautiful Rennie MacIntosh-designed building will be meticulous.
Eardley was renowned for her portraits of children in Glasgow tenements in the 40s and 50s, though as a landscape painter I’m most interested in her landscapes. It’s said she was influenced by the Scottish Colourists, but I tend to think her work is more intensely expressive and semi-abstract – far less post-impressionist in feel.
She eventually set up a studio in Catterline near Aberdeen and focused on landscape painting while there.
I’ve long admired her expressive, immediate and atmospheric style; she has that visceral quality to her work – a way of making the viewer ‘feel there’. Although highly acclaimed in the art world, she perhaps never gained the full recognition she deserved due to her untimely death at the age of 42.
Works by Eardley –
Kate Downie was born of British parents in America, but moved to Aberdeen at the age of 7. She’s a high profile artist within Scotland and was recently President of the Society of Scottish Artists. Though influenced in many ways by Eardley’s work, Downie’s style is far more graphic, less textural and often includes line work in ink.
I love this combination of line and free paint, also her sense of travel – of moving through a changing landscape and the atmosphere of changing light