Tag Archives: eigg art



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!


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!).


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..


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!





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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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.





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!


(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

50 Paintings of Eigg. No. 50!

Eigg Series No. 50. Acrylic, ink, salt and varnish on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 50. Acrylic, ink, salt and varnish on 5×5″ wood

P1110668No 50; A view of Eigg from the ferry, with sunlight sparkling on the sea.



Well, this has been such an enjoyable project – mostly the daily discipline of painting, and the feedback that follows, thank you!

Also it’s been enjoyable for the chance to explore subjects I care about – landscape, ecology, social justice, history and the arts. The Isle of Eigg has been a perfect focus for that – a wonderful example of a way of living that’s collaborative, innovative, cultural and above all respectful of our planet.

I’ll be continuing the Eigg project and exhibiting new works as part of two shows this summer:


WEST. The West Coast and Beyond at Gallery Ten (Sat 21st June Private View. Show ends 26th July )

Map/address on this link – Gallery Ten

Rose Strang; Eigg Island Solo Exhibition, Whitespace Gallery   (Friday 18th July Private View. Show ends Thursday 23rd July)

Map/Address on this link Whitespace (Whitespace is at 25 Howe Street, Edinburgh from April to August 2014)

I’ll send an emailed flyer invite to everyone whose email I have, also it will be on Facebook and Twitter

It’s been wonderful getting to know new people through the 50 Paintings Blog, many thanks for following it.

Stay in touch..

I’ll be blogging once a week with updates on paintings and exhibitions, so to receive updates by email click on ‘FOLLOW’ on the right-hand column (underneath the Facebook section)

Or click ‘like’ on the Facebook section on the right and you’ll receive facebook updates

Sincere thanks to readers, also the following Eigg people, buyers and social media sharers. It’s much appreciated!

Isle of Eigg

Lucy Conway – Eigg Box

Maggie Fyffe – Eigg Island Heritage Trust

Camille Dressler – Eigg Island History

Norah Barnes and Bob Wallace – Eigg Island Eco Centre

Trevor Leat – Artist

And many thanks to buyers, I hope you enjoy the paintings! –

Alicia Devine

Alison Kidd

Angela Williams

Carol Strang

Donald Ferguson

Eilidh Soe-Paing

Francis Snee

Gillian Strang

Helen Squires

Ian Nimmo Smith

Jacqueline Tunney

Julia Campbell

Kirsten Beard

Linda Cairnes

Lucy Conway

Lynn Carter

Malcolm Strang

Norah Barnes

Oonagh Reynolds

Rosanna Law

Tony Jones

You can view the entire series on this link – Paintings 2014

Around 20 paintings are still available at £45 each, or if you buy two – £80. If you’re interested in any of these, feel free to contact me at rose.strang@gmail.com

I wish you all a lovely summer!

Best wishes

Rose x

50 Paintings of Eigg No.49

Eigg Series No. 49. Acrylic and ink on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 49. Acrylic and ink on 5×5″ wood

P1110660Today’s painting; The mountains of Rum from Laig Bay with turquoise sea in the foreground.



Tomorrow is the last day of ’50 Paintings of Eigg’ – I’ll miss this daily blog and painting! But I’ll still blog once or twice a week with painting updates etc. Just click ‘Follow’ on the right hand column under the Facebook section if you’d like to receive email updates.

I’ve mentioned a few influences throughout this blog, and can’t get to the end of the 50 paintings series without mentioning my love of perfume – I often use perfume and music  to put me in the right mood for painting (the hourly news on Radio 4 can somewhat deaden inspiration!)

I tend to think that perfume, and the sense of smell in general, have been given something of a back seat in terms of the human senses. Smell is often described as a primitive sense, linked to instinct, as if our other senses weren’t also integral to negotiating our environment!

And it’s almost as though love of perfume is something to be kept in a closet; a frivolous concern. Yet, think of those who after receiving cancer treatment may lose their sense of smell – with no knowledge of whether or not it will return.

This is what happened to a friend of mine (Calum, who runs the printing company Giclee UK, who make art prints from original paintings. I’ve relied on their services quite a few years now). He described how overwhelmingly sad he felt at the loss of smell following cancer treatment some years ago, and the sense of joy when many months later on opening a bottle of Shiraz wine, it all came flooding back.

EXTRACTOFLIMESEAUDETOILETTEIt gave him a new appreciation of scent, and on discovering that his favourite lime-scented soap from Penhaligons had been discontinued, he decided to concoct something similar himself, and thus an amateur perfume-maker was born!

Oakleaf, Ariundle Nature Reserve

Oakleaf, Ariundle Nature Reserve

I’ve only experimented a little with perfume absolutes and essences, but I’ve been collecting and testing perfumes for a few years now and have a good idea of what I’d like to create. So in collaboration with Calum, the plan is to create a new perfume based on the the scent of the Oak woods of Ariundle on the West Coast of Scotland.

Ariundle is one of the last remaining fragments of natural woodland that once covered all of Europe’s Atlantic coast, from Portugal to Norway, so it’s now a protected National Nature Reserve 2148-53.jpg[ProductMain]









I’ll be sure to post information here if and when we launch the perfume, which will of course be titled Ariundle. It’ll be a soft woody/green floral with hints of moss – I can’t wait to begin experiments!

50 Paintings of Eigg No. 48

Eigg Series No. 48. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 48. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

P1110649Today’s painting; Sea-spray and turquoise wave in Singing Sands Bay.



I haven’t included any Scottish artists so far in this blog, or female artists come to that, very remiss! And as it happens, my two favourite Scottish landscape painters are female; Joan Eardley and Kate Downie.

Eardley was born in Essex to a Scottish mother and English father then later, in 1940, moved to Glasgow and enrolled at Glasgow School of Art. (Incidentally you may have heard the sad news about the fire that recently broke out at Glasgow’s School of Art. I was relieved to hear that there was just 10% damage, but there was also quite a lot of damage to art work including student’s degree work for this year. Terrible news, but I have no doubt that restoration of this beautiful Rennie MacIntosh-designed building will be meticulous.

Brother and Sister. Joan Eardley

Brother and Sister. Joan Eardley


Eardley was renowned for her portraits of children in Glasgow tenements in the 40s and 50s, though as a landscape painter I’m most interested in her landscapes. It’s said she was influenced by the Scottish Colourists, but I tend to think her work is more intensely expressive and semi-abstract  – far less post-impressionist in feel.

She eventually set up a studio in Catterline near Aberdeen and focused on landscape painting while there.



I’ve long admired her expressive, immediate and atmospheric style; she has that visceral quality to her work – a way of making the viewer ‘feel there’. Although highly acclaimed in the art world, she perhaps never gained the full recognition she deserved due to her untimely death at the age of 42.

Works by Eardley –

Catterline in Winter. Joan Eardley

Catterline in Winter. Joan Eardley

Sea and Sky. Joan Eardley

Sea and Sky. Joan Eardley

The Sun and the Sea

The Sun and the Sea

Todness Lighthouse, Catterline

Todness Lighthouse, Catterline




































Kate Downie was born of British parents in America, but moved to Aberdeen at the age of 7. She’s a high profile artist within Scotland and was recently President of the Society of Scottish Artists. Though influenced in many ways by Eardley’s work, Downie’s style is far more graphic, less textural and often includes line work in ink.

I love this combination of line and free paint, also her sense of travel – of moving through a changing landscape and the atmosphere of changing light

Indigo Road. Kate Downie

Indigo Road. Kate Downie

The Long Walk Home. Kate Downie

The Long Walk Home. Kate Downie

River Croft. Kate Downie

River Croft. Kate Downie




50 Paintings of Eigg No. 46

Eigg Series No. 46. Ink on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 46. Ink on 5×5″ wood

P1110629Today’s painting; a sketch of the view to the mainland from Eigg’s east coast, on primed wood in pen and black ink with a blue ink colour wash, sealed with varnish



It’s been a busy two days, with a visit to Dunbar and a trip to East Lothian today where we discovered the 16th century Red Tower. Apparently it was used as a halfway point for pilgrims on their way to St Andrews further north.

I love the red sandstone characteristic of East Lothian, and its beautiful beaches..

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