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Painting trip to Ardnamurchan

Ardnamurchan, Ardtoe. (photo Rose Strang)

On the 22nd March I’m off to Ardnamurchan again on the west coast of Scotland. I’ll be painting Ariundle Oakwood and the coast of Ardtoe, including Castle Tioram.

I’m traveling there with my friend Donald, who’s a  talented guitarist, and I’m hoping I can also capture some nice video footage of the landscape with accompanying guitar sounds! Here’s my recent sketch of Donald playing ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a vid of Donald and Charlotte playing at the Open studio eve in December last year ..

I’ll be dropping in to the Resipole Gallery again, it’s a lovely space, and I’m happy to be showing some larger works there (of Ardnamurchan) for their new exhibition from 17th May this year (I’ll also be showing paintings from Ardnamurchan at the Morningside Gallery, Edinburgh from this April)

The trip will continue exploration of the Planets series, this time the planet Mars, which in Medieval times was associated with war but also early spring and trees – hence the trip to Ariundle oakwood. I’ve never actually visited the wood before and look forward to it. It’s a remnant of the ancient oakwoods which once stretched all the way along the Atlantic coastline from Portugal to Norway.

Some photos of Ariundle, and Ardtoe (these are stock photos, I’ll have many of my own photos after the trip) …

Ariundle

Ardtoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And some maps showing where we’ll be ..

 

Battersea Art Fair – March

Above, Battersea Art Fair 2018.

I’m looking forward to showing at the Battersea Art Fair this year (courtesy of the Limetree Gallery). It’s held in southwest London, and if you’re there this March it should be worth a visit. It’s always well-attended with an excellent diversity of paintings, curated by 100+ invited galleries. The fair began in 1999, and is particularly popular as the works are priced between £100 to £6,000.

All info/address/tickets on this link: Battersea Affordable Art Fair, Spring 2019 

I’m showing my new ‘planets series’ painting –  ‘Jupiter’, also a few works from my Winter ‘Iona series’ too (below), wish them luck! I’m not sure yet what price the Limetree will put on these two, but it will be somewhere between £1700 and £2500, at a guess. The Fair runs from the 7th to 10th March.

The Limetree Gallery’s selection of works can be viewed on this link – Limetree Gallery, Battersea Art Fair

‘Planets Series. Jupiter’. Mixed media on 40×40″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘October Tide. Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 30×30 ” wood panel. Rose Strang 2018. £1450

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Marram Grass, Isle of Iona’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018 (£450)

Portraits, in progress …

(in progress) Portraits in oil on 10×8″ canvas. Rose Strang 2019

Today’s progress on a private portrait commission, the figure on the left is more or less finished, it just needs a bit of tweaking with tone and colour, and with a bit more work on the figure on the right I think it’ll be finished tomorrow.

I’m trying to keep it fairly loose, showing brushwork and a nice sense of energy – it was a lovely day at Portobello beach with soft light and a feel of spring in the air. I’ll add some subtle sea and clouds as a last touch (that will be the least of my worries – portraits are considerably more tricky than clouds!)

Open Day, and available paintings …

‘Moonscape’. Oil on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2019. (unframed) £195

‘Jupiter (sketch)’. Mixed media on 10×7″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2019. £85

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above, two studies for the larger works (Jupiter and Saturn).

Thanks to all who dropped by for the Open Day today. It was most convivial and we enjoyed poet Tom Hubbard’s reading of  a comic poem (on the planets theme), translated from Czech into Scots, about a classroom of young frogs being taught astronomy (badly)!

 

 

 

 

The two studies for the larger paintings (above) are for sale, so email me if you’re interested in those at rose.strang@gmail.com.

Tomorrow I’ll be continuing with my private portrait commission, and will post some images of that as it progresses …

Planets Series Open Studio Day

‘Planet Series, Saturn’. Oil and mixed media on 40×40″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2019

‘Planets Series. Jupiter’. Mixed media on 40×40″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2019

Above, the first two paintings from the Planets Series which I’m working on throughout 2019.

This Sunday there will be an Open Studio day at Abbeyhill to view the paintings before they’re sent off to the Battersea Art Fair in March, all info here Open Studio Event

This series of paintings takes inspiration from the planets as understood in Medieval cosmology and mythology, and the seven books of Narnia which were each inspired by the seven planets.

All info about inspiration for the series below ..

C.S. Lewis, the planets and the Narnia Chronicles

Until recently, literary critics tended to be slightly dismissive of the Narnia Chronicles. They appear to be a random set of stories, with unruly themes and a vague Christian element that comes to the fore most obviously in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Last Battle. Critics were confused about the structure of the stories; Tolkien (a close friend of Lewis) described them as a ‘hodge-podge’! Yet The Narnia Chronicles are among the most enduringly popular children’s stories of all time (over one hundred million have sold since their publication in the early 1950s).

They have broad appeal, not just to children but to adults, also to varying religious groups due to Christian themes (Lewis wrote on theology), and literary academics since Lewis was a scholar and professor of Medieval Classics. The author Michael Ward, one of the world’s leading experts on C.S. Lewis, was completely familiar with Lewis’s work and was the first person (publicly at least) to recognise that the books were inspired by the seven planets.

This wasn’t obvious to the average reader (or any reader) since C.S. Lewis deliberately obscured the idea of planets in the books – there is very little mention of planets, sun or moon other than the usual descriptions of light, time of day or night and so on. It took someone dedicated to Lewis’s work to recognise the particular mythologies and qualities of each planet, and to see that each of the books was written ‘under the influence’ of the planets.

C.S. Lewis wasn’t being secretive simply to amuse himself, this was more a reflection of his philosophy – he believed that objectivity, or pure reason, stultified imagination and therefore the emotional (or spiritual) influence and atmosphere of a story. He wanted readers to experience the effect of each planet, rather than understand the stories as allegories, or a series of symbols to be recognised by an educated few. As Michael Ward writes in Planet Narnia, the distinctive atmosphere in Lewis’s fiction was a deliberate and important element of his approach to story-telling.

The planets

Each of the seven books of the Narniad correspond to the planets as understood in Medieval cosmology…

Jupiter (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) Mars (Prince Caspian), Sun (Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Venus (The Magician’s Nephew), Mercury (The Horse and his Boy), Moon (The Silver Chair) and Saturn (The Last Battle).

About the planets series of paintings …

 ‘Planets Series. Saturn’ …

‘Planet Series, Saturn’. Oil and mixed media on 40×40″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2019

(Side View) ‘Planet Series, Saturn’. Oil and mixed media on 40×40″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then Aslan said, ‘Now make an end.’

The giant threw his horn into the sea. Then he stretched out one arm – very black it looked, and thousands of miles long – across the sky till his hand reached the Sun. He took the Sun and squeezed it in his hand as you would squeeze an orange. And instantly there was total darkness.

C.S. Lewis The Last Battle

Saturn is the planet of endings, death, law, structure, order, liberation or learning following sacrifice, and time (the myth goes that Father Time will be the last person on earth at the end, who will extinguish the sun).

Saturn’s influence was understood in Medieval cosmology as dark, powerful and oppressive – it was perceived as the ultimate teacher through challenges or difficult experience. Its associations were Winter, the winter equinox, the darkest months of the year – December and January, the constellations Capricorn (goat) and Aquarius (water bearer). Its element is earth, its day, Saturday. Colours – black, dark and earthy colours. Associated animals include crows, ravens, owls…

Festivals, rituals and feasts have traditionally been held at the winter equinox since ancient times. Christmas adopts the date and corresponds to the themes of death and rebirth associated with Saturn.

‘Planets Series. Jupiter’…

‘Planets Series. Jupiter’. Mixed media on 40×40″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

(Side view) ‘Planets Series. Jupiter’. Mixed media on 40×40″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

(Hand to show scale) ‘Planets Series. Jupiter’. Mixed media on 40×40″ wood panel. Rose Strang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every moment the patches of green grew bigger and the patches of snow grew smaller. Every moment more and more of the trees shook off their robes of snow. Soon, wherever you looked, instead of white shapes you saw the dark green of firs or the black prickly branches of bare oaks and beeches and elms. Then the mist turned from white to gold and presently cleared away all together. Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down on to the forest floor and overhead you could see the blue sky through the treetops.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 

In one of Lewis’s ‘Planets’ poems from the 1940’s, he describes the influence of Jupiter as Winter passed, Guilt Forgiven.

Jupiter represents the overcoming of Saturn and long winter. Not quite the arrival of spring (associated with Mars) but around February and March the days become noticeably longer and we see the first snowdrops.

Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius and Pisces was seen as the ruler of all the planets. Jove (Roman title) was the name of the ruler of Jupiter, which also relates to Zeus (Greek title) and Thor (Norse), god of thunder, storm and the north wind.

Subjects associated with Jupiter were higher learning, theology, the cosmos and the sea. Qualities – joviality (optimism, laughter), honesty, monarchy or kingship. Colours – azure blue, sea green, purple. Animals – horses, dolphins and various others including the mythical centaur. Plants – wood anenome, celandines (among many others). Trees – Oak mainly (associated with Thor, also associated with Jupiter). Day – Thursday.

Also … Wardrobes! These were items of furniture which held robes worn by nobles of the court – ‘Ward Robes’ – associated with monarchy and therefore Jupiter.

(References:  Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia (2008) , and the Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535))

If you have any questions about the paintings email rose.strang@gmail.com