Monthly Archives: August 2018



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

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 –

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.

Citadel Book Shop event







If you’re in Edinburgh this Saturday 11th Aug’, the Citadel Bookshop is celebrating its birthday with refreshments, readings and music from 10am to 5pm.

The shop is on Montrose Terrace, Abbeyhill (map below) and is run by poet Alan Spence and his wife Janini.





I also have a few of my paintings on display there (from the Wells of Arthur’s Seat project, a couple of paintings from the series below).

So there you are, that’s several reasons to drop by this Saturday! You’ll be sure of a warm welcome from Alan and Janini. It’s a peaceful haven from the frenetic Fringe 🙂

‘Wells of Arthur’s Seat, Stream’ Mixed media on 10 x 10 inch wood panel. Rose Strang 2018 £180

‘Wells of Arthur’s Seat, Swimming Toad, Hunter’s Bog’ Mixed media on 16 x 13 inch wood panel. Rose Strang 2018 £250








Iona series in progress – 2

 Above, more works in progress for the Iona series.

The third one directly above (blue sea with turquoise highlights in sunset) will express something of a more personal experience on Iona when I’m finished with it. I think the other two are more about the incredible colours, which make their impression on everyone when they first visit the island.

I’ve mentioned the Scottish Colourists in my last post – I think every artist has to be aware of their creative impression of the island. That doesn’t change the fact that as an artist you feel the impetus to respond to those colours, but I suppose I want to show different impressions if I can. More paintings to follow in the next few days…

This proving to be the strangest summer – first on Iona in a tent, with slugs, spiders, wind and rain, now in the manicured and comfortably-off lawns of Barnton in north-west Edinburgh. (Having rented out my flat in Edinburgh for the July/August I’d planned to stay in a cottage up north but a few changes came up, so I’m staying in the former home of my niece’s partner’s grandad (where my niece and partner also stayed recently) while they travel around Europe – everyone’s a bit out of their usual place at the moment!)…

This area is where many comfortably-off folks tend to retire – ultra peaceful and, to me anyway, quite strange. The area is bristling with vast golf courses all the way down to Crammond Village, hedged off everywhere. ‘Do not trespass’ signs abound, but the expanses of green and lack of noise brings in local wildlife – yesterday evening a roe deer walked past the french window and today three squirrels decided to explore the living room, it’s ‘Bambi’-meets-suburbia.

Maybe my recent tent experience had something to do with it, but the only way I could sleep last night was on a carry-mat on the living room floor next to the open french window!

It’s interesting to be out of my comfort zone – no distractions for the moment which makes me focus on painting, but more than that it challenges me to deal with odd circumstances (yes, I know – pretty first world challenges!) but it means perhaps I’m more alert, less subjective – taken out of my usual mind-set, or something like that.

On my way back from Iona the train was delayed near Dalmally – a west Highland Idyll of mountains which was particularly idyllic on that day as the weather was so unusually hot and the skies were cloudless so you could see the mountains all the way to the summits in their green summeriness. The station platform had doors leading off to rooms titled ‘Writer’s Retreat’ or ‘Wool-worker’s Studio’ – people there had made their own unique environment and changed all expectations of a railway platform. I chatted to someone who worked on luxury yachts then, for complete contrast, headed into the wildest Highland mountains for a few months each year to live off the land from fishing and snares, without even a tent!

All these differing habitats – there’s something there that inspires me very much. I look forward to Iona in winter this year (as mentioned in my previous post there’s a space for artists there in winter).

Enough havering, more paintings tomorrow …


Portrait of Richard Demarco

‘Portrait of Richard Demarco’. Blackboard paint, gesso and pencil on 36×36 inch wood panel. Rose Strang, January 2018

Above, my portrait (created in January this year) of Richard Demarco.

I submitted this for the Scottish Portrait Awards but wasn’t successful. I didn’t feel too disappointed about this though, since most artists who submitted work are dedicated portrait artists (and my usual work is landscape) also those shortlisted are very talented.

I do think it’s a good portrait though! So I’m submitting it for another exhibition and will see what happens in the next month or so.

Here is the official description of the portrait …

This portrait of Richard Demarco is my response to his dedication to meaningful art and its potential role in society. Like many people involved in the arts in Scotland or beyond I’ve worked and been involved with the Demarco Foundation in many ways, over the years.

The portrait began with sketches of Richard in person at Summerhall, which were then worked up later in my studio. The backdrop of the portrait is a wood panel painted with blackboard paint, the portrait itself is painted free-hand with gesso, on Richard’s left is a rough copy of Beuy’s drawing of a stag, its antlers reach up to the pencil drawing (more visible when viewed in person) of three telegraph poles representing the road to Meikle Seggie.

I wanted to capture the qualities of courage and determination, also a certain humour, but ultimately I hope this portrait expresses renewal of faith in art in the most challenging circumstances – the concept of art as a healing force that might encourage dialogue and understanding across boundaries of place and prejudice.

More info on Richard Demarco CBE, and the Demarco European Art Foundation Here