Tag Archives: eigg art

2014

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Eigg during September trip -a geology trip including Camille Dressler, Norman Bissell, Prof John Hudson , Atzi Muramatsu and myself

This has easily been one of the most memorable years of my life – in particular the inspiration of visits to Eigg and the Scottish Referendum.

The referendum was a political awakening for many thousands of people here in Scotland. P1150335For me it went hand-in-hand with my experience of Eigg – an island which brought about its own independence as a community, then went on to create an award-winning renewable energy  system. (I’ll be posting early in 2015 about the up-coming Eigg exhibition to be held at Edinburgh’s Scottish Storytelling Centre)

I was inspired to learn more about Scotland’s landscape, environment and political history, I spoke to many people, researched and read books such as Lesley Riddoch’s ‘Blossom’ and Andy Wightman’s The Poor Had No Lawyers’, both of which opened my eyes to the changes that are needed for Scotland’s landscape and communities to thrive.

My experiences this year have been a reminder of how art at its best P1130832opens our world; it’s not about prestige, money, recognition or any of those things, it’s a way to connect with other people, where we live and make meaning of our lives.

donald 1I feel very grateful for the people I’ve met on my creative adventures this year, on Eigg and in Edinburgh, and most of all the great friends who’ve shared it with me – especially Donald Ferguson, Jennifer L Williams, Atzi Muramatsu and Alicia Devine.

 

(You can view my paintings and blog posts from the project on this link Here )

0A week or so ago I went along to an exhibition held by Richard Demarco at Edinburgh’s Summer Hall Arts Centre. Richard Demarco (now in his early 80s) is the Director of the Demarco European Art Foundation, which exists to promote artistic dialogue between European countries, it has fostered numerous creative connections with war-torn countries over the decades. (I worked with the Foundation from 1999 to 2000 and have kept in touch over the years).

One of the central themes of Demarco’s life has been ‘The Road to Meikle Seggie’, a concept inspired by creative journey he began in the rural landscape of Fife in the early 70s with artists, poets and creative thinkers. They spotted a sign saying ‘Meikle Seggie’ but there seemed to be no place corresponding to the name!

Meikle Seggie then became a metaphor for the creative journey; it has no end, no particular goal, it’s about a journey made with imagination, an organic journey if you like, on which if we keep our eyes and hearts open, we make meaningful creative connections with our world and with other people.

I can’t put it better than Richard Demarco in his new book ‘The Road to Meikle Seggie’:

The supreme reason and impulse of any journeying is inevitably for us to see, perhaps for the first time, the extraordinary aspects of life which we had begun to call ordinary and take for granted. The land we must traverse is full of the markers and guide posts left behind by those who recognised this truth and traveled before us.

Which was why it was very moving for me to share my news of visiting Eigg with Richard at that exhibition a few weeks ago, and to hear that it had been part of his journey too.

In January 2015 I’ll begin to create a new series of paintings of Eigg which will express my experiences of the past year and what it has meant to me. The exhibition will launch at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the 26th March and will include (among other work) poetry by Jennifer L Williams and music by composer Atzi Muramatsu.

I look forward to adding my story to all those stories that have been and are still to come. Wishing you love, inspiration, peace and success on all your journeys in 2015!

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5 Paintings – September Eigg Series

Below are five paintings which I began on Eigg on the 8th September (I’ve added a little information below each painting). This small series was part of a short trip to Eigg, to research ideas and to chat to people about the exhibition planned for next year at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in March.

They were painted in situ at Laig Bay on the west coast of Eigg, a beautiful day without rain. Later on it was slightly chilly so we lit a fire (some fire ash and sand was added here and there to the sketches!).

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A herd of cattle grazed on the sand, looking slightly incongruous with the epic backdrop of the mountains of Rum behind, as was cello-playing by composer Atzi Muramatsu who accompanied me to the island – how often do you have a cello accompaniment at the beach?! (If funding goes ahead for next year’s project I’ll be able to commission Atzi and poet Jennifer L Williams to create new work in response to Eigg. You can read more about their work Here)

The paintings below are all available to buy as originals, or as prints so let me know if you’d like more information about them by emailing rose.strang@gmail.com

You can read about the four day trip, walks across the island, meeting poets, artists, singers and geologists on these previous posts –

Day two on Eigg     Day three on Eigg      September Series 1

September Series 2    September Series 3

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 1' Ink and varnish on 5x5" wood

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 1’ Ink and varnish on 5×5″ wood. ‘No 1’. This is a sketch and colour wash of St Donan’s church in the vallery of Cleadale on the west coast of Eigg. It’s 100 years old and was recently refurbished. You can read more about the church  –Here

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 2' Ink and varnish on 5x5 wood"

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 2’ Ink and varnish on 5×5 wood”. This is a sketch and colour wash of ‘The Leader’, a sailing boat which recently re created the 1844 trip by geologist Hugh Miller on ‘The Betsey’. You can read more about the trip Here and on my previous posts (listed at the top of this post)

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 3' Ink and varnish on 5x5 wood"

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 3’ Ink and varnish on 5×5 wood”. A  sketch of Laig Bay with the mountains of Rum, one of Eigg’s most captivating views. (This small series of paintings was sketched at Laig Bay). You can read more about that Here

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 4' Ink and varnish on 5x5 wood"

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 4’ Ink and varnish on 5×5 wood”. Sketch and colour wash of ‘The Leader’, a sailing boat which recently re created the 1844 trip by geologist Hugh Miller on ‘The Betsey’. You can read more about the trip Here

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 5' Ink and varnish on 5x5 wood"

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 5’ Ink and varnish on 5×5 wood”. Slightly more detailed sketch and colour wash of ‘The Leader’, a sailing boat which recently re created the 1844 trip by geologist Hugh Miller on ‘The Betsey’. You can read more about the trip Here

September Eigg Series 2

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 1' Ink and varnish on 5x5" wood

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 1’ Ink and varnish on 5×5″ wood

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 3' Ink and varnish on 5x5"

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 3’ Ink and varnish on 5×5″

Two paintings in ink – a church in Cleadale and Laig Bay with the mountains of Rum.

The sea has always been a huge inspiration for music and song around the world – symbolic as it is of connections, arriving and leave-taking, danger and sustenance. I’ve always enjoyed hearing Gaelic songs about the sea because to me the sound of Gaelic has an elemental quality that’s enhanced through song.

As mentioned in yesterday’s Eigg blog my trip to Eigg happened to coincide with a re-creation of geologist Hugh Miller’s trip around the isles on a ship called the Betsey. The crew on the recreated version includes geologists, artists, scientists and musicians, who decided to hold a traditional ceilidh last Tuesday at the Glebe Barn on Eigg (a yoga retreat situated near the Pier Bay). I went along to listen to poetry readings by founder of the Scottish Centre of Geopoetics  Norman Bissell and story-telling by the wonderful Essie Stewart. I also enjoyed a beautiful rendition of a Gaelic song about seals by Kate Langhorne; a 25 year old graduate of Anthropology and Gaelic studies from Glasgow.

All this under Tuesday’s beautiful full moon! Luckily, despite several glasses of wine, I had the sense to record both the song and the moonlight! (Kate has promised to send the lyrics for the song on her return to Glasgow):

A curious seal spotted on the north coast of Eigg..

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And I defy anyone not to feel awestruck by the sight of a real, live Minke Whale emerging from the deep sea. This was on my return ferry journey. Absolutely stunning. The ferry stopped so we could all watch the whale, meaning I caught my train with just seconds to spare, absolutely worth the hectic rush!

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September Eigg Series

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 2' Ink and varnish on 5x5"

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 2’ Ink and varnish on 5×5″

'September  2014 Eigg Series. No. 4' Ink and varnish on 5x5"

‘September 2014 Eigg Series. No. 4’ Ink and varnish on 5×5″

I’m back in Edinburgh now, missing the fresh air and various happenings on Eigg. As mentioned in previous blogs (Day Two and Day Three on Eigg)  it was somewhat tricky uploading and blogging from my phone with an intermittent connection, but I also really felt I couldn’t do justice to my trip. It’s been a fascinating and stimulating time – there was very much a sense of contrast with my earlier trip in April – more people, more vegetation, much more going on..

I’ll be posting more paintings in the next few days, also some lovely footage of Gaelic singing by moonlight, among other videos.

The two paintings above were made in Laig Bay on Monday. A slightly surreal day, with a herd of cattle roaming the beach against the backdrop of the mountains of Rum, also Atzi Muramatsu playing cello. It got slightly windy so I built a fire, which all added to the idyllic outdoor studio setting. I was painting in black ink and have never in all my time as an artist managed to do so without the resulting black ink drenched hands! Afterwards we dropped in to say hello to Lucy Conway after our creative beach session (Lucy runs Eigg Box, which I wrote about in my April Eigg blog Painting No. 5 )

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The sketches/paintings above are of a ship called the Leader which is cruising around the inner Hebrides with geologists, writers artists and musicians on board. The trip re-creates the journey made by geologist Hugh Miller in the summer of 1844. Among other things Hugh Miller discovered the bones of a Plesiosaurs on the north coast of Eigg.

I had no idea this fascinating historical journey coincided with my trip, and I discovered more when we were invited on to the geology day trip around the island on Sunday. Eigg is a truly extraordinary island from a geologist’s perspective, well, from any perspective, and our Sunday walk was enhanced with stories by Prof John Hudson, an expert on the geology of the small isles , also stories about past inhabitants by local historian Camille Dressler (interviewed in April’s Eigg blog in ‘Paintings No. 38 and 39’ )

As John Hudson mentioned during the geology trip on Sunday – Eigg’s landscape changes radically, evoking epic Norse sagas, when you climb out of Cleadale and over into the north end of Eigg.

In the photos below you can see the dramatic change from the gentle valley and sandy beaches of Cleadale to the dramatic rocky coastlines of the North end of Eigg…

 

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Current and upcoming projects..

'Black' Ink, acrylic and salt on 5x5" wood

‘Black’ Ink, acrylic and salt on 5×5″ wood

A painting created last year in response to Bulgari’s perfume Black

As I’m in between painting projects for the next couple of weeks (preparing for trips to Lindisfarne then Eigg) I’ve been writing about my other love – perfume!

My recent article about perfume and perceptions can be viewed Here

Did you know that sniffing perfume and remembering/identifying its notes can help prevent dementia? Also, it’s interesting to explore the ways that different cultures perceive or use perfume. This article only touches on these subjects, but you might also be interested to know that the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York, now has a permanent olfactory curator, more info Here

I’ll be posting more info about upcoming art projects on Lindisfarne and Eigg in the next few weeks. ..

holy_island_largeFirstly, I’ll be on Eigg from the 6th of September to explore creative collaborations with islanders. Then in mid to late September I hope to be briefly visiting Lindisfarne with Jennifer L Williams and Atzi Muramatsu, where we’ll be seeking inspiration for artworks, music and poetry in response to the island.

 

Visual arts-wise, it’ll be a mini version of the 50 paintings of Eigg project, with ten 5×5 inch paintings of the island, and of course time and availability willing, Jennifer and Atzi will be producing poetry and music too.

The plan is to present this as exhibition and event in October (I’ll post updates on this blog of course).

Following on from the September Eigg trip, I’ll be waiting to see if a funding application has been successful, which will allow for a more collaborative and inclusive exhibition about the Isle of Eigg, where I’ll be collaborating with Eigg Box and other artists/musicians/writers, to be launched at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in March 2015.

I hope everyone’s having a lovely summer. Speaking for myself, I can’t wait to be back on the beautiful Islands of Eigg in the west and Lindisfarne on the east coast..

 

A magical evening at the Whitespace Gallery..

P1130836To spend several months painting a subject can be quite a solitary challenge,  though meaningful. Then when you share your efforts with the public, it’s a vulnerable moment to see your paintings (which seemed such large swathes of blank canvas) for the first time in the gallery, where they appear to be swallowed up in public space!

 

P1130803The journey from personal to public was borne along on a tide of good feeling, thanks to the help of family and friends! But also by two very moving performances by Jennifer L Williams and Atzi Muramatsu, who responded to the paintings in poetry and music.

 

 

 

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Jennifer recited three poems, one of which was written in response to ‘Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay’, and Atzi improvised on cello to several paintings in the exhibition.

I was so very moved by their artistic responses, I found them quite magical, and I’ve included two videos here, along with the text of Jennifer’s poem.

The videos below (taken with my little digital camera!) show part of Atzi’s performance (mostly in response to ‘Moonlight on Eigg’). Followed by the poetry recital by Jennifer (also the poem text, and paintings – ‘Moonlight on Eigg’ and ‘Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay’ below the video links) …

Link: Cello performance, Atzi Muramatsu

Link: Poetry recital, Jennifer L Williams

Poem by Jennifer Williams:

Who lived in a country place as we do

The dead call out to the dead. David Harsent

Looking in from outside where the fire is burning
Looking in from outside so our hair seems to be on fire
Looking into the empty house whose only
People are the forgotten memories of ourselves

Looking in at the tides of dust and the peeling of mirrors
The peeling whose iridescence is reminiscent of shells
The pealing of bells signalling a memory about to appear
Long-buried because of its too-great pleasure

Silent as the witches whose innocence welds the tongue
Outside where we belong with the fire and the sea’s glass
Its waves of green astonishment lavishing the sand
The creatures of the deep and the wild salt

Looking in at our own reflection with sleep-heavy eyes
As if a spell has been cast from which we cannot wake
Our hands forever wet with the birth milk of the milkweed
Our breath, our image in the painting, fading

'Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay'. Acrylic on 40x30" canvas

‘Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay’. Acrylic on 40×30″ canvas

 

 

 

 

 

'Moonlight on Eigg'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Moonlight on Eigg’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt so uplifted and inspired by the preview night, and I really look forward to future collaborations with Jennifer and Atzi. Also, many thanks to mum, dad, Alicia and Lucrezia for their help!

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(resting weary toes!) Rose, Alicia and Lucretzia

Eigg Island Exhibition – Artworks

These are all the artworks to be included in the Whitespace exhibition starting this Friday

(The Preview is this Friday at 6 – 9pm at Whitespace, 25 Howe Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6TF. The exhibition then runs daily from Saturday 19th July to Wednesday 23rd July, 10:30 to 5pm)

If you have any questions about the paintings (or prints of these) please email me at rose.strang@gmail.com

'Waves in the Rain, Singing Sands Bay'. Acrylic and ink on 40x30" canvas

‘Waves in the Rain, Singing Sands Bay’. Acrylic and ink on 40×30″ canvas

'Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay'. Acrylic on 40x30" canvas

‘Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay’. Acrylic on 40×30″ canvas

'Cliffs of Cleadale'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Cliffs of Cleadale’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

'Cliffs of Cleadale 2'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Cliffs of Cleadale 2’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

'Sphagnum Moss'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Sphagnum Moss’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

'Wave, Singing Sand Bay'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Wave, Singing Sand Bay’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

'Moonlight on Eigg'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Moonlight on Eigg’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

'Boat in Pier Harbour 1'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Boat in Pier Harbour 1’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

'Boat in Pier Harbour 2'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Boat in Pier Harbour 2’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

'Seagull, Eigg Island'. Acrylic on 20x16" canvas

‘Seagull, Eigg Island’. Acrylic on 20×16″ canvas

'Lighthouse'. Acrylic on 10x10" wood

‘Lighthouse’. Acrylic on 10×10″ wood

'Waves from Singing Sands Bay'. Acrylic and sand on 5x5" wood

‘Waves from Singing Sands Bay’. Acrylic and sand on 5×5″ wood

'Eigg Series No. 49'. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

‘Eigg Series No. 49’. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

'Boat'. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

‘Boat’. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

'Eigg Series No. 8'. Ink and acrylic on 5x5" wood

‘Eigg Series No. 8’. Ink and acrylic on 5×5″ wood