Author Archives: rosestrang

About rosestrang

Artist, Painter

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.

I’ve been corresponding by email, while here on Iona, with Chris Jupp, a friend from Edinburgh who plays lute and writes Haiku. We plan to create a couple of booklets combining haiku and paintings.

It’s proving inspirational indeed! I’ve been looking at Agrippa’s books of occult philosophy. Not that I intend to become a witch any time soon – I just find his writing interesting, and it feeds in to seeking to find and paint the magic I see in Iona’s landscape.

After discussing this, Chris sent an excerpt from an essay on painting by Merleau-Ponty titled L’oeil et l’esprit (Eye and Mind) in which he discusses the ways that painters see, or attempt to unveil what they see – which he describes as a magical process in many ways.

I’m also finding that my usual layered approach doesn’t feel so authentic, I’m trying to take myself out the equation when looking, to allow what I’m seeing to reveal itself ( very much in the way described by Ponty) then trying to recreate this freshness of experience through sketching, or later in the studio.

I’m finding that simple line sketches appeal, so I created this line (below) several times, to express the feel of October winds and chaotic energy, then after Chris sent a haiku (below) in response to the paintings so far, I added appropriate colour!

out of cerulean
the painter




I’ll be sharing more about our collaboration in future posts …

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 …

Limetree Gallery, exhibition launch

What an absolute pleasure it was to travel down to Bristol for the launch of Texture – the new exhibition at the Limetree Gallery featuring works by Vivienne Williams, Henry Jabour and myself.

I was so busy in conversation with people there I forgot to take more photos as the day progressed, but as you can see it was beautifully curated by gallery owners Sue and Stephen…





Sue’s aesthetic sensitivity to colour and form, in the placing of glass art, paintings and ceramics was just lovely; I particularly enjoyed the way these gorgeously textured black and turquoise glazed ceramics (below) related to my Iona paintings (apologies I forgot to take a note of the ceramics artist, but if you’re interested in these or any other works you can find these on the Limetree Gallery website which has contact details too).



Also the glass forms echoing Vivienne’s calm, elegant still-life paintings, and the vivid colours echoed in Henry Jabour’s atmospheric, expressive figurative work. Luckily I arrived early so I was able to appreciate it before the day became busier.








It was great to meet Henry and Vivienne, and to chat more with Sue and Stephen too, whose very genuine interest in the work that their artists produce is outstanding – I felt warmly welcomed.

I’d decided to stay two nights in Bristol, so was able to catch up with friends nearby, hang out in Bristol’s numerous waterfront cafes, and take a boat trip! …






Many thanks again to the Limetree Gallery for their outstanding friendly, professional support, and for a really successful exhibition – almost all of my works sold, so I want to express warm thanks to the buyers too, it’s most encouraging, and much appreciated!

All works in the exhibition can be viewed Here

I’ll be staying on the Isle of Iona again from the 21st October to 4th November this year, and creating new works for the Limetree’s winter exhibition and the Edinburgh Art Fair in November. I look forward to being on the island in winter-time where I’ll have time and peace to develop my creative response to the island.

Colony of Artists

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

The Colony of Artists is an eclectic group of exhibitions that occurs each year in Edinburgh’s Abbeyhill, which includes open-house exhibitions and arts organisations local to the area.

Alan Spence and his wife Janini have kindly offered to show my paintings in their book shop – the Citadel – on Montrose Terrace, as part of the exhibition. So if you’re planning to drop by the Abbeyhill area to explore the Colony of Artists, I hope you’ll drop by the Citadel to see the paintings and browse their excellent book collection! (address on map below)

The Colony of Artists runs from the 22nd to 23rd September, 12 to 6pm





The works on display are those from my ‘Wells of Arthur’s Seat’ series, which can all be viewed on this link (scroll down to paintings) .. Wells of Arthur’s Seat


The works