Monthly Archives: August 2018

Ardnamurchan

 

Ardnamurchan coast

My two latest paintings of Iona (below) will be included in the new Autumn group show at the Resipole Gallery on the beautiful Ardnamurchan peninsula on the west coast of Scotland.

The show runs from the 7th September to 31st October. Link and info about the gallery here .. Autumn Show

 

‘Storm coming, Goirtean Beag beach, West Coast of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018

‘Storm, Goirtean Beag beach, West Coast of Iona’. Mixed media on 1px10″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could have posted the paintings but decided instead to deliver them in person, not just because Ardnamurchan is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt landscapes of Scotland, but also to meet gallery owner Andrew Sinclair. I think it’s always good to meet in person and, if the paintings do well, I hope to show more there.

The Resipole Gallery was launched in 2004 by Andrew Sinclair on his return to Ardnamurchan after his graduation from Goldsmith’s Art College in London. He and his family are from the area (they own a farm there) and the gallery was formerly an agricultural byre which he renovated over two years. I enjoyed chatting away with Andrew, my friend Sabine and I were impressed with his energy, vision and resourcefulness!

It’s a beautifully designed space which shows a range of artists from lesser-known to renowned (they recently held an excellent exhibition of works by Jon Schueler), the gallery also provides studio space for local artists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last time I was in Ardnamurchan was around 1992. The landscape hasn’t changed much, but the world has become a busier place – and I suppose we’re all feeling the effects of this (not least in Edinburgh with the August festival and festival fringe) so I felt mixed about the clearly very wealthy new settlers in the area. You do meet local or indigenous people here and there – most who have remained have adapted to change by branching out into the tourist industry or similar.

The houses of the newer settlers are immaculate – grand designs-esque, but there’s a sense of ‘keep out’, an excluding atmosphere perhaps. I suppose this change is inevitable. Former communities with little money had to rely on each other during the long hard winters. Some places in Scotland retain this idea of community – places like Knoydart, Eigg or Achiltibuie for example. It’s not just that it feels different, it is different and I’m certainly not alone in believing that this approach – sharing resources, creating sustainable energy systems for all to use, community buy-outs and so on – is the only way forward.

Similarly to Iona though, the landscape remains the same, for now at least given what appears to be inexorable climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in 1992 or thereabouts, I was driving around the west coast with a friend from Italy, wild camping and therefore looking for the wildest places – we discovered Ardnamurchan and Moidart by chance. I remember being entranced by the area around Castle Tioram, the forests that grew all the way down to the coast and high into the mountains. This was what Scotland’s landscape used to look like almost everywhere …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Castle Tioram again, I felt deeply moved by the landscape – it’s difficult to put into words what felt so moving, except the obvious fact that it’s beautiful and as yet relatively unspoilt. – you breathe in the most wonderful scent of spicy ferns, the honey of heather, pine trees and salty seaweed. I will definitely be going back there to paint next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this year though, I’ve booked two weeks at Iona hostel at Lagandorain on the Isle of Iona for Oct/Nov’ and look forward to experiencing the island at a quieter (though colder!) time – more on that in a future post …

On the subject of unspoilt landscape, this is a link to one of my favourite documentaries, about the history of Scotland’s trees, presented by the excellent Dr Ian Stewart. (I shared this in a previous post some time ago but it’s worth sharing again!) ..

 

 

New paintings for the Resipole

‘Storm, Goirtean Beag beach, West Coast of Iona’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018.

‘Storm coming, Goirtean Beag beach, West Coast of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018

Two finished paintings for the Resipole Gallery in Acharacle on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.

These will be part of a group exhibition in September, I’ll add more info when the dates are decided.

The view is of Goirtean Beag beach on the west coast of Iona and the two paintings capture the sudden changes in Hebridean weather – one minute you’re having a picnic in the warm sunshine, the next you’re scrambling for cover!

Two paintings for the Resipole – in progress

Two paintings of Iona for the Resipole Gallery in Acharacle, on the West coast if Scotland.

Just for contrast with the previous paintings of Iona I’m painting two of the West coast of the island. This is Goirtean Beag beach with a storm coming in.

As I haven’t been to the Resipole Gallery I’ll be taking a trip up there with a friend for a few days. These works will show as part of a group show this Autumn – link to the gallery here http://www.resipolestudios.co.uk

The Limetree exhibition in Bristol launches on the 15th September and I’m absolutely delighted that two of my paintings for the series have sold  – ‘Sound of Iona I’ and ‘Sound of Iona II’. Many thanks to the buyers!

You can now take a look at the works that will be in the exhibition on this link – http://www.limetreegallery.com/exhibition/texture-sept-15-oct-12/1340/

As well as my work there are two more artists in the show; Henry Jabour and Vivienne Williams RCA. Even from digital images I can see the interesting ways our work relates and contrasts – I really look forward to seeing the exhibition and meeting everyone there in September.

Iona – finished series

The complete Iona series, above.

Finished at last! All I have to do now is varnish the rockpool paintings and the largest ‘Sound of Iona’ painting, wait a couple of days for them to dry and post them to the Limetree Gallery, Bristol, where they’ll be part of a three-person exhibition launching on the 15th September. If you’re in the area I hope you’ll drop in to have a look.

A touch of varnish will add lustre to the vivid colours of some of the paintings, though some will be left as they are.

I’m quite happy with the series and I’ll work on a couple more for the Resipole Gallery in Acharacle, for their Autumn exhibition which launches this September (will add more info when I have exact dates). Just for fun I’ll be travelling to Acharacle in the west Highlands to deliver them in person – it’s a beautiful area and it will be nice to enjoy what’s left of the summer weather.

That’s it until the next series, which will be for the Resipole, then more paintings for the Limetree at this year’s Edinburgh Art Fair, and for their Christmas show – both exhibitions in November.

The ‘Wells of Arthur’s Seat’ series will also be on show at the Citadel Bookshop, Edinburgh as part of the Colony of Artists show this September

Iona series nearly finished, 2

‘Sound of Iona II. (Isle of Iona)’. Mixed media on 36×36″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018

Nearly there with the largest work, above – ‘Sound of Iona II’, at 36×36″ Tomorrow I’ll be able to post the entire series here.

Incidentally the photos of these paintings are not entirely balanced colour-wise etc – as I’m not back in my own flat with usual computer software until 26th August. It’s frustrating but these images give a fairly good idea at least. They’re not picking up texture either, so in real life I do think they are stronger.

‘Sound of Iona I’ has already been reserved, thank you to the buyer, it’s always good to have a wee red dot next to a painting at the launch of an exhibition!

Soon I’ll post all info about the show, which is at the Limetree Gallery, Bristol, and starts 15th September. I’ll be attending the preview and really look forward to it.

Iona series, nearly finished

‘Seagull, St Ronan’s Bay (Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 16×12″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018

‘Green Sea, North Beach. (Isle of Iona)’. Mixed media on 16×12″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018.

Today’s and yesterday’s finished paintings, above.

My painting session which began in the beautiful, changeable Hebridean light and weather of Iona, then in the strange manicured lawns of Barnton, is near conclusion!

I’m now working on the final large painting, at about 3×3 feet, which will be a larger version of ‘Sound of Iona’. I think I’ve started to find my way a bit with ‘Seagull, St Ronan’s Bay’, which maybe says something about the layers of history of Iona, also there are layers of experience when there – flocks of tourists and over-priced gift shops, then here and there glimpses of the wilderness and peace the Benedictine monks or nuns of the 12th century might have experienced, or further back to St Columba in the 7th century. The colours, rocks and light never change though, not in my lifetime anyway.

I first read about Iona when I was about 20, touring the Orkney Isles with a theatre company. I read a book by William Sharp, a Scottish writer who adopted the pseudonym of Fiona Macleod to express his imaginative, emotional and subjective response to the island. It was called ‘The Island of Dreams’, written in 1913. He wrote very poetically about the island …

‘In spiritual geography Iona is the mecca of the Gael. It is but a small isle, fashioned of a little sand, a few grasses salt with spray of an ever restless wave, a few rocks that wade in heather, and upon whose brows the sea-wind weaves the yellow lichen’.

Also with moving expression of his spiritual response to Iona ..

There are moments when the soul takes wings: what it has to remember, it remembers; what it loves it loves still more; what it longs for to that it flies.

This series is just the beginning of my creative response to the island. I’ll be back in winter, when I’ll be staying at Lagandorain in the north of Iona. It’s been a dream of mine since about 1990, to respond creatively to Iona. Now seems a good time since I’m no longer burdened with the idea of creating something worthy of the island, and the subsequent feeling of inadequacy that thought brings – the thing is just to create!

The series will be on exhibition, alongside two other artists I’m proud to be exhibiting with (Vivienne Williams and Henry Jabbour) at the Limetree Gallery, Bristol, with whom I’m delighted to be exhibiting again (sounds like a typical statement, but they really are great to work with!)

I’ll post more details about the exhibition soon – it launches 15th September.