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

Exhibition at Summerhall

One of the works by Terry Newman at the ‘Homage to Beuys’ exhibition, Summerhall (till the 30th September)

I missed several arts events at this year’s Edinburgh Festival while up north, but one exhibition I’m very glad to have attended is Homage to Beuys, featuring work by artists Terry Newman and her daughter Sarah Waters.

Terry Newman and Sarah Waters (photo Fernanda Zei)

I recently attended the preview, presented by Richard Demarco at Summerhall in Edinburgh, which was inspired by the work of Joseph Beuys, whose creative approach crossed many disciplines including art, nature, ecology, science and healing, – an approach which changed the context in which art is normally shown or perceived.

During his presentation of the exhibition Richard emphasised Terry and Sarah’s background as sheep farmers, and the fact that this informed their work as artists in an entirely different context from an art world that is, in so many ways, detached from the context of art creation.

Beuys’ influence is clear in the beautiful lines and expressive, though minimal, approach of Terry Newman’s work, also thematically – in the focus on nature, spirituality, death, survival and the presence or essence of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terry’s daughter Sarah Waters (with whom Terry managed the sheep farm) works in felt, as did Beuys. For Beuys, the material of felt represented sustenance and healing, his work also referenced history, mythology and the way we as humans make meaning of our world through art, going back to pre-history. In Sarah’s work this is echoed in forms reminiscent of standing stones, beautifully crafted from felt, and quite unique.

I can’t do justice here to the many themes inspired by the exhibition, and of course my photos don’t capture the presence of the works themselves, so I recommend that you visit the exhibition in person …

Homage to Beuys continues until the 30th September, at Summerhall, Edinburgh.

The exhibition is by appointment only. Contact the Demarco Trust on their facebook event page, on this link: Homage to Beuys

Or by email at terryan@richarddemarco.org

 

Limetree exhibition on Saturday 15th September

‘Seagull, St Ronan’s Bay. (Isle of Iona)’. Mixed media on 16×12″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2018

Just 11 days to go until the launch of the new three-artist exhibition Texture, at the Limetree Gallery in Bristol!

The private view is on Sat’ 15th September from 11am to 3pm. I hope if you’re in the area you’ll drop in to see the work, which includes beautiful paintings by Vivienne Williams RCA and Henry Jabbour, also my recent paintings of Iona (see below).

Two have sold (Iona I and Iona II) also several by Henry Jabbour and Vivienne Williams, so if you’re interested in buying and don’t want to miss the opportunity, give the gallery a ring and they’ll reserve the work for you (contact details on link below)

The Limetree in Bristol is a lovely gallery next to the waterside, with large windows that bring in plenty of natural light – have a look at this link to Google maps which gives a 3D view of the space –

3D View, Limetree Gallery 

Map and contact details

Ardnamurchan

 

Ardnamurchan coast

My two latest paintings of Iona (below) will be included in the new Autumn group show at the Resipole Gallery on the beautiful Ardnamurchan peninsula on the west coast of Scotland.

The show runs from the 7th September to 31st October. Link and info about the gallery here .. Autumn Show

 

‘Storm coming, Goirtean Beag beach, West Coast of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018

‘Storm, Goirtean Beag beach, West Coast of Iona’. Mixed media on 1px10″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could have posted the paintings but decided instead to deliver them in person, not just because Ardnamurchan is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt landscapes of Scotland, but also to meet gallery owner Andrew Sinclair. I think it’s always good to meet in person and, if the paintings do well, I hope to show more there.

The Resipole Gallery was launched in 2004 by Andrew Sinclair on his return to Ardnamurchan after his graduation from Goldsmith’s Art College in London. He and his family are from the area (they own a farm there) and the gallery was formerly an agricultural byre which he renovated over two years. I enjoyed chatting away with Andrew, my friend Sabine and I were impressed with his energy, vision and resourcefulness!

It’s a beautifully designed space which shows a range of artists from lesser-known to renowned (they recently held an excellent exhibition of works by Jon Schueler), the gallery also provides studio space for local artists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last time I was in Ardnamurchan was around 1992. The landscape hasn’t changed much, but the world has become a busier place – and I suppose we’re all feeling the effects of this (not least in Edinburgh with the August festival and festival fringe) so I felt mixed about the clearly very wealthy new settlers in the area. You do meet local or indigenous people here and there – most who have remained have adapted to change by branching out into the tourist industry or similar.

The houses of the newer settlers are immaculate – grand designs-esque, but there’s a sense of ‘keep out’, an excluding atmosphere perhaps. I suppose this change is inevitable. Former communities with little money had to rely on each other during the long hard winters. Some places in Scotland retain this idea of community – places like Knoydart, Eigg or Achiltibuie for example. It’s not just that it feels different, it is different and I’m certainly not alone in believing that this approach – sharing resources, creating sustainable energy systems for all to use, community buy-outs and so on – is the only way forward.

Similarly to Iona though, the landscape remains the same, for now at least given what appears to be inexorable climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in 1992 or thereabouts, I was driving around the west coast with a friend from Italy, wild camping and therefore looking for the wildest places – we discovered Ardnamurchan and Moidart by chance. I remember being entranced by the area around Castle Tioram, the forests that grew all the way down to the coast and high into the mountains. This was what Scotland’s landscape used to look like almost everywhere …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Castle Tioram again, I felt deeply moved by the landscape – it’s difficult to put into words what felt so moving, except the obvious fact that it’s beautiful and as yet relatively unspoilt. – you breathe in the most wonderful scent of spicy ferns, the honey of heather, pine trees and salty seaweed. I will definitely be going back there to paint next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this year though, I’ve booked two weeks at Iona hostel at Lagandorain on the Isle of Iona for Oct/Nov’ and look forward to experiencing the island at a quieter (though colder!) time – more on that in a future post …

On the subject of unspoilt landscape, this is a link to one of my favourite documentaries, about the history of Scotland’s trees, presented by the excellent Dr Ian Stewart. (I shared this in a previous post some time ago but it’s worth sharing again!) ..

 

 

New paintings for the Resipole

‘Storm, Goirtean Beag beach, West Coast of Iona’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018.

‘Storm coming, Goirtean Beag beach, West Coast of Iona. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. Rose Strang, August 2018

Two finished paintings for the Resipole Gallery in Acharacle on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.

These will be part of a group exhibition in September, I’ll add more info when the dates are decided.

The view is of Goirtean Beag beach on the west coast of Iona and the two paintings capture the sudden changes in Hebridean weather – one minute you’re having a picnic in the warm sunshine, the next you’re scrambling for cover!