Adam and I painting on the beach. Photo by Euan Ferguson.
I felt really lucky last week to be painting in a remote and beautiful part of the west coast with three lovely people – Donald (who organised staying at the cottage, thank you!) Adam and Euan.
Our cottage was 40 minutes walk from any roads, on the Applecross Peninsula, which has I think the most stunning views of the Cuillin in Scotland.
Also no TV, and internet connection only findable if you walked up a little hill outside the cottage. The cottage itself hasn’t been much changed since the 30s, and as you can see in photos below, the walls are festooned with art from visitors over the years (one of them was a painting I made there about ten years ago, which someone had kindly put in a clip frame!)
We all painted or took photos, so I’m treating readers of this post to a few of these, below.
I was busy painting for an upcoming exhibition in October for The Lime Tree An Ealdhain Gallery in Fortwilliam. (I’ll post more details on that soon, but in the meantime you can view the paintings in progress on this link – https://rosestrangartworks.com/gallery/ )
It was really special to spend time with folks in such a beautiful place – the lack of distractions from TV and internet made for some highly entertaining evenings, cooking, painting, listening to music, watching sheep in the garden, but mostly interesting (at times insanely ridiculous!) conversation.
Thank you Adam, Donald and Euan, for one of the loveliest holidays I’ve ever experienced!
(From left) Donald, Adam, me, Euan. Photo Adam Brewster.
Wild conditions! Photo Donald Ferguson.
Preparing paper in the sea. Photo Adam Brewster
Adam painting watercolours. Photo Rose Strang
Adam’s lovely watercolours. Rose Strang
Etching on found slate by Donald. Photo Rose Strang
Cottage. Rose Strang
Euan, Adam and Donald (playing guitar) outside the cottage. Rose Strang
‘Venus (Planets Series)’. Mixed media on 30×30 inch panel. Rose Strang 2019
‘Moon (Planets Series)’. Mixed media on 30×30 inch panel. Rose Strang 2019
Side View. ‘Venus (Planets Series)’. Mixed media on 30×30 inch panel. Rose Strang 2019
Side View. ‘Moon (Planets Series)’. Mixed media on 30×30 inch panel. Rose Strang 2019
It is a huge relief to finish the last of the Planets Series paintings – ‘Venus’ and ‘Moon’ in time for the upcoming exhibition, which takes place on September 12th this year and is hosted by the Demarco Gallery, Summerhall, Edinburgh.
‘Saturn. Planets Series’. Oil on 30×30″ panel. Rose Strang 2019
This is the final ‘Saturn’, created for the upcoming exhibition on the 12th September this year. This one was painted purely in oils since black is such a tricky colour to work with and oil pigment has more depth of pigment and versatile texture.
This is a continuation of the Planets Series I’m creating this year, which takes inspiration from the planets as understood in Medieval cosmology, and the seven books of Narnia which were each inspired by the seven planets, as discovered by Michael Ward, author of ‘Planet Narnia’.
Michael Ward is one of the world’s leading experts on the works of C.S. Lewis. It was his particular interest in the Narniad that led to his unique discovery that each of the Narnia Chronicles corresponds to the seven planets as understood in Medieval imagination.
Michael studied English Literature at Oxford, Theology at Cambridge, and has a PhD in Divinity from St Andrews. His PHD focused on the Narnia Chronicles, and it was during PHD research that he chanced upon the link between the books and Medieval planets. Only someone steeped in the entire works of Lewis, including Lewis’ poetry, would have recognised these associations.
Towards the end of 2018 I was exploring medieval symbology when I discovered one of Michael’s lectures on You Tube (see link below) which explored the Narnia/Medieval planets connection. Having been a Lewis aficionado since childhood I was immediately intrigued, so I ordered the book and have been attempting an artistic response ever since.
It has proved highly challenging, but I know I’ll be exploring these themes further in future. It has been richly rewarding, not just artistically but absolutely as part of exploring life’s experiences – difficult to explain why until you yourself have explored these rich associations, which reach back into pre-history in many ways, yet have contemporary and individual significance.
I never imagined I’d be delving so deep into these ideas and I’m grateful that Michael has responded so positively to the artworks, and I was of course delighted when he agreed to give the talk this September.
I was also delighted that Richard Demarco was enthusiastic about hosting the exhibition and event at his gallery in Summerhall, since Richard’s life’s work in the arts touches on many of the themes explored in this exhibition and talk (such as a non-linear concept of time, connections between the arts, sciences and faith, and ways of imagining or perceiving our experience of life).
I highly recommend watching this documentary (link below) for a taste of why it’s so fascinating as a subject. Michael Ward is an engaging and humorous speaker, and I’m sure that people from all walks of life, whether from a creative, historic, literary or theological perspective (not to mention the many people across the world who simply appreciate the Narniad as engaging and compelling stories) will really enjoy the talk this September, and I hope, the exhibition of my paintings too!