Monthly Archives: August 2018

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