They take inspiration from my recent trip to Ardnamurchan where I created a series of works for Coast – a two-artist exhibition at the Resipole Gallery in Ardnamurchan (link Here)
It’s interesting that these two new paintings look more distilled and dreamlike than the rest of the series, which must be to do with them being created later, not immediately following my trip there. The one subject I hadn’t painted was the beautiful primroses that decorate the banks of the Silver Walk near Castle Tioram. I love the way they emerge from dark crevices in May, looking so delicate and fresh – beautiful wild flowers that grow abundantly on the west coast.
Donald McColl sang about the landscape of Ardnamurchan (and primroses!) in his beautiful song ‘Nach Falbh thu air and Turas Leam?’, and here’s our arrangement of the song again, featuring footage of Ardnamurchan and some of the painting process …
Above, chatting to people at the opening of ‘Coast’, at The Resipole Gallery a few days ago. The exhibition features paintings by myself, painter Jim Wright and ceramics artist Helen Michie, until 22nd July.
This has a been a very special year for many reasons – I’ve loved painting this series of Ardnamurchan for the Resipole and felt fully immersed in the season of May and June there, exploring the Silver Walk near Castle Tioram and the stunning coast at Sanna Bay.
As mentioned in a previous post, I created a video featuring our new arrangement of a song about Ardnamurchan, originally written by songwriter Donald McColl, so I was delighted when the project featured in an artcle in the National, here it is! –
The exhibition launch on Sunday 12th was a pleasure to attend. It’s a four-hour drive to Ardnamurchan but worth every minute for what turned out to be a very enjoyable meeting with the other artists, Jim Wright and Helen Michie, as well as gallery owner Andrew Sinclair and gallery manager Kerrie Robinson.
They did a fantastic job of presenting the exhibition, I think the colours, themes and mood of the works compliment each other beautifully …
It was lovely to hear the music of the McColl family (from a CD collection of pieces) played alongside our recent song arrangement, but especially enjoyable to hear live music from fellow exhibitor Jim Wright, who not only paints beautifully but also sings folk songs and plays guitar, all adding to the convivial atmosphere!
The best thing about this year though, is this! …
Adam and I got engaged! It’s a very special ring; the stone is taken from a rock I found on the Isle of Iona about thirty years ago. It’s from a rare seam of white marble streaked with green serpentine that’s found on the south coast of the island – the same stone was used for the alter of Iona Abbey.
Adam asked if he could take a small piece from my rock to use for the ring, which he’d designed and had cast in white gold. He polished up the rough cast ring, sawed the tiny piece off the rock, then buffed it down to fit, before sealing the stone in the encricling metal and giving the stone a final burnish.
To say I’m happy is an understatement. I think all those summery whites and greens in my Ardnamurchan paintings are saying something about the way I feel about it all … from the heart and soul.
‘Sanna Bay 2. Ardnamurchan. Oil on 47×47 inch canvas. Rose Strang 2022
Sold. ‘Silver Walk. Ardnamurchan. Oil on 34×24″ wood. Rose Strang 2022
Here it is at last! As mentioned in my previous blogs, I’ve been working with two talented musicians (my partner Adam Brewster and friend Donald Ferguson) and a translator (Ceit Langhorne) on a Scottish Gaelic song about beautiful Ardnamurchan.
It’s called ‘Nach Falbh thu air an Turas Leam’, which means ‘Won’t you go on a Journey with Me?’. Translation below the video. Hope you enjoy it!
The song was written by Donald McColl of Ardnamurchan (1901 – 1978) in 1975. It was re-recorded and arranged by Adam Brewster, Donald Ferguson and myself with kind permission of the McColl family and also thanks to the School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh, where I first discovered the song. (Link Here – ‘Nach Falbh thu air an Turas Leam’ )
Without the help of Scottish translator and singer Ceit Langhorne there’s absolutely no way I could have sang the song – it was quite the learning curve, but so rewarding, and fun to work with Ceit!
It was wonderful to hear the sensitive and beautiful arrangement by Adam (harp) and Donald (guitar) taking shape. Adam also produced the song recording, which (despite my voice wavering here and there) sounds so lyrical.
Scottish Gaelic lyrics below, with English translation below each verse …
‘Nach Falbh thu air an Turas Leam.’
By Donald McColl- Ath Tharachail (1901-1977).
Translation and Transcription by Ceit Langhorne.
Sèist: Nach falbh thu air an turas leam
Gu Rubha Àird nam Murchan?
Far am bi na h-eòin cho basganta
A’ seinn sa bharraich uaine.
Nach falbh thu air an turas leam?
Chorus: Won’t you come with me on a journey
To the Point of Ardnamurchan
Where the birds so melodiously
Sing on the tops of the verdant birches
Won’t you come with me on a journey?
Bu mhiann leam a bhith nam fhòrichean
Air madainn òg-mhìos driùichdach
Na h- eòin air gleus sa chamhanaich
A’ seinn le blàs san ùr-choill’
Nach falbh thu air an turas leam?
I would greatly desire to be alone
On a dewy June morning early
The birds with their reeds tuned on the branches in the gloaming
Singing a song with a fresh voice in the blooming forest