Monthly Archives: October 2018

October Iona series, day 6

In progress, mixed media on 30×30 inch wood panel

Almost finished with the largest painting (above, 30×30 inches) of the Iona Series, for the up-coming Limetree Gallery exhibitions. All details below …

‘Pisces Moon, Isle of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

‘Sea Mist, October, Isle of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10 ” wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

‘Ochre Rocks, North Beach, Isle of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

‘Marram Grass, North Beach in October. Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

Ifyou’re in Edinburgh this November, drop in to see the Edinburgh Art Fair, where the Limetree Gallery will be exhibiting all five paintings at the top of this post, as part of a group show.

The Edinburgh Art Fair runs from the 23rd to 25th November, all details here ..

On November 29th, The Limetree Gallery, Bristol, launch their Winter Exhibition, which will also include some of my Iona series as part of a group show.

If you’re interested in any of these paintings (above) you can contact the Limetree Gallery through their website, on this link ..


Iona October series – day 5

‘Sea Mist, Isle of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10 ” wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

In progress, mixed media 30×30 inches

A somewhat cloudy and blustery day today, very productive though – two paintings sent off to the Resipole Gallery, the rest of the smaller paintings nearly finished, and the biggest one on its way.

The Resipole exhibition starts on the 9th November, so if you are interested in either of these two works below, you can contact the gallery through their website –

‘Cerulean Sea, October, Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

‘October Tide, Isle of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10 ” wood panel. Rose Strang 2018


A nice sunset this evening, here’s a Highland machine and it’s offspring in the gloaming. (My alternative to Highland Cattle) ..


Iona October series in progress, day 4

‘Pisces Moon. Isle of Iona, October’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

Another bright and sunny day, though freezing and windy.

It made me work with extra energy in the studio, just to keep warm. Here they are so far, some in progress ..


I’m now happy with ‘Pisces Moon’ (at the top of this post) which has more depth, and something of the weird opalescent colours and mood I saw that evening last week.

I’d heard the full moon was in Pisces and forgot about it. Then about 5:45 after feeling quite agitated I decided to get on my boots and coat and despite the blustery rain, walk down to the north beach, which is just a few minutes walk away from the hostel.

I was immediately soothed and entranced by the way early evening light played on the sea, which seemed to be in a slow motion tumult, lit by diffused, misty pale greens and lavender.

Then I remembered that the moon entered the constellation of Pisces at precisely 5:45, and I suppose this fed in to my wish to create a painting that captures all of that. I always fall short of what I want to achieve, and usually the paintings that really work are those I’m not so invested in, it makes me more free with paint and brushwork – some people prefer a photo-realistic look, I don’t, but anyway, at least I’ve captured a bit of the mood and colour of that evening.

It’s interesting to experience the tides of people here at the hostel too, depending on mood it’s enjoyable, or not!

Being a fairly introverted person at times, I was concerned I’d feel as though I was stuck in the ‘Big Brother’ house with nowhere to run! Not so, thankfully. I’m very happy to have met some folks here..

Such as Mary McCormick, who’s staying for the duration of my time here. Mary’s nomadic life is admirable, I empathise with her wish to travel and experience new places, since I too get restless within a week of being back home, but I know it’s also a challenge to not have the luxury of a permanent base to return to every so often to unwind and do your own thing. Maybe that’s why Mary’s easy to be around, grounded and friendly while quite self contained in a good way.

After painting today, I bumped into Mary at St Columba hotel and we visited St Oran’s. Chapel ( the oldest intact building on the island, 11th cent.) I love those cloud-like shapes in the wall plaster.





Also, I really enjoyed meeting fellow travellers Marcus and Mary. Here they are (below) on the hostel communal sofa. Excellent people – Marcus very warm and humorous, Mary also fun and convivial, with the added bonus of a beautiful singing voice – they’re  missed!

On Halloween, or Samhain, the hostel staff plan a get together around the stove in the art studio/byre. I look forward to that.

Iona October series, day 3

I’m making more progress on the new series, and will send two of these paintings to the Resipole Gallery by Tuesday, then hopefully the rest will be finished for the Limetree Gallery by the 3rd Nov.

It was a beautiful day today – calm, bright and still. Everything looks astonishingly crisp with lavender shadows.


Iona October series – work in progress 2

More work on the October Iona series, these are for the Resipole Gallery in Acharacle on the west coast of Scotland, and the Limetree Gallery in Bristol.

This is my fourth day on Iona and I’m settling in to something resembling a routine. I’m exploring ways to capture the chaotic energy of October – the feeling that everything is in tumult and change, it’s unsettling or refreshing depending on mood.

I find it’s characterised best in paint by loose brushwork, waves, clouds and birds to suggest wind direction and energy.

So although I’d imagined painting wintry monochrome skies I’m now focussed on the lines and shapes of rocks and waves.

It was a beautiful day today – biting cold north wind and ever-changing light, very bright, with a final blast of icy hail.

Here’s a fragment of writing by Adomnan (monk who lived on Iona in the 7th century) …


‘Stop bailing now!’

He commanded

In a storm.

‘Be still and pray.’

The holy man

Stood in the prow,

Raising his hands,

And as they began

To understand,

So, slowly,

The storm

Passed away.

Works in progress. Iona, October series.

Iona is a very different island in October – the bars and restaurants shut down as tourists slow to a trickle, everything feels wilder – more what you’d expect from a Hebridean island.

The wind is so strong you can lean against it. It’s not really cold, yet, but you have to wear a hat and hood as the sand blasts you in the eyes at times. Hair is a problem, as it can also whip you in the eyes so has to be tightly managed!

The birds appear to love the wind, they swirl above the waves in flocks, if you’re a bit short- sighted they look like wave splashes.

It all adds to the tumultuous Octobery weather and energy, it feels like everything is being cleared and scoured, not just the landscape but the very atmosphere and memories of summer. Despite the gritty eyes, the annoying hair, the noise etc, I love it!

This time I’m staying in Iona Hostel, not a tent, you’d have to be quite tough to survive a tent in this weather. I’ve camped in sub zero temperatures before, but again it’s the wind that’s the issue.

So my accommodation experience in a hostel is completely different – much easier. You immediately get friendly with people and it’s great to share stories. I’m full of admiration for the women I’ve been chatting with here – Mary, Jan and Dorothy from various parts of America, Jane from France and Rachel from the north of England – all of whom have been involved in humanitarian or aid projects around the world.

Our evenings around the kitchen table have involved a bit of wine, whisky, and much political debate, you can imagine the theme – the world appears to have gone to shit in many ways basically! – But these good humoured compassionate people don’t let that kill their optimism and effort.

Tomorrow is a full moon (in Pisces, hostel worker Mark tells me) so we all plan a night walk, I suggested this since I like the idea of a night painting. Of course the reality of painting in the dark in howling wind hurling sand in your eyes till you feel you’re being blinded is hilariously unpleasant to a city-bred person such as myself, however I can at least walk around a bit on the beach on tomorrow’s (hopefully cloudless) moonlit night, then attempt to paint my experience later in the studio…

It’s a lovely studio – a perfect set up with numerous intriguing sea- related objects, plenty light, I can make a mess within reason, and even light a stove if I get cold. So, thank you to John (owner of the hostel) and staff – Chris, Mark and Maria for providing such a friendly and excelient oasis for artists and creative people here on the north end of the island.

Hope to post moon pics after tomorrow eve …