Tag Archives: eigg art

Eigg Series No. 45

Eigg Series No. 45. Acrylic and ink on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 45. Acrylic and ink on 5×5″ wood

P1110557Today’s painting; a view of the mountains of Rum from Laig Bay in acrylic and ink



In yesterday’s blog I described the way I became more familiar with Beuy’s work through the Demarco archives, but my perspective was also coloured by articles I’d read about Beuys..

There was an amount of controversy around the story of Beuys having been healed by tartar tribes with felt and fat after being shot down in his plane, but to me, the story serves its purpose; to transmit a visceral sense of what Beuys understood as the important elements of our existence – for example protection, nurture and survival. Also compassion for our fellow human beings, regardless of ideologies or comparative status.


Joseph Beuys on Rannoch Moor (Demarco archives)

Going through the archives , I dscovered a short video made around 1970 when Beuys visited Scotland at Demarco’s invitation. I was immediately fascinated by the grainy black and white footage of a windscreen wiper, filmed from inside one of those tiny 70s style cars, rain lashing against the screen and views of the Scottish Highlands flashing past. Eventually the car stops and Beuys walks out onto Rannoch Moor.


There’s something in his hand which appears to be pulsing and I wonder if it’s a live animal. In close-up I can see it’s a lump of gelatin formed into the shape of a heart, Beuys then makes a hole in the ground and buries the gelatin heart in the earth of Rannoch Moor, suggesting a healing gesture. This possibly refers to the painful history of Highlanders over the centuries – the massacre of 1692 in nearby Glencoe following the beginning of the Jacobite uprising, and later the Clearances .

Today Rannoch Moor is appreciated by tourists and mountaineers as an area of stark beauty, but its tree-less emptiness is due to ecological change as well as the effects of tree clearing for sheep during the Highland Clearances

Beuys died in 1984 of a heart condition. I once interviewed Richard Demarco as part of my

Beuys (left) and Demarco (right)

Beuys (left) and Demarco (right)

post graduate studies in Museum and Gallery curating and asked about the ways Beuys had influenced him as a gallery director and arts curator, to which he replied; ‘I miss him, he made me feel not alone. When he first visited the Demarco Gallery he questioned it and found it wanting, and though it was painful, having to change, I knew he was right and it was inevitable’.

Jospeh Beuys and Jimmy Boyle

Jospeh Beuys and Jimmy Boyle (Demarco archives)

The subsequent changes, which included supporting an art exhibition of Jimmy Boyle who had been imprisoned for murder and was on parole, resulted in The Demarco Gallery’s Arts Council funding being cut. For Demarco and Beuys, the exhibition had been a natural development of the idea of art as a healing or redemptive influence.



I Like America and America Likes Me. Coyote. Beuys, 1965

I Like America and America Likes Me. Coyote. Beuys, 1965

On first meeting Beuys, while on parole, Boyle remarked ‘I am the coyote’. He’d seen Beuys’s work from 1968; ‘I like America and America Likes Me’. In which Beuys spent three days in a small space with a coyote. The coyote, similar to a fox in the UK, is seen as vermin in America.




For Beuys it represented aspects of native American culture that he was interested in, and the notion that society should include outsiders or those who can’t align themselves with mainstream approaches or ideologies. This concept related to Beuy’s concept of ‘social sculpture’ – the idea that art communicates across the spectrum of society – the opposite of exclusive or elitist presentations of art. One of Beuy’s most well-known statements is ‘everyone is an artist’, by which he meant we can all be creative, we can step beyond our modus operandi, however un-comfortable that may feel, to communicate with others and create new ways of thinking or collaborating

A legacy of this idea might be multi-disciplinary art projects – acknowledgement of the diverse influences and interests involved in creativity. Also the idea that artworks are not just a product in themselves, but that art has a deeper, more profound human value, going beyond materialism.

Lastly on a personal note, I remember attending an art exhibition organised by the Demarco Foundation in 2000,  swanning around in a nice dress chatting to people, as you do at exhibitions. Richard Demarco said to me ‘I hope you know why you’re here’. I’m not 100% sure I did at that time!

But I also remember, a few years later (while driving to Stoke on Trent where I began work as an arts curator for the NHS) listening to the interview I’d taped with Richard Demarco where he discussed Beuys and the context of art; ‘You know where you are in a gallery, there’s the art on the walls, in gold frames or whatever, but though it’s difficult, as an artist you have to take the road that’s harder, it can be more painful’.

Working for the NHS was more painful, Demarco was right about that. But it was valuable. Nowadays the influence of Beuys and Demarco on my work as an artist, is my wish to embrace a wider context of art. Although I  exhibit in galleries, I avoid government funding and try to position the work I do, modest as it is, in a setting that has an everyday context which I hope interweaves with other areas and ways of life.

In the next few days towards the end of 50 paintings of Eigg, I hope to include an interview with Norah Barnes, manager of Eigg’s Eco Centre

Links relating to this blog –









50 Paintings of Eigg 42 and 43


Eigg Series No. 42. Ink on 5×5″ wood


Igg Series No. 43. Acrylic and ink on 5×5″ wood

P1110511 P1110502Today’s paintings; two simple sketches on wood of boats in the Pier Bay on the east coast of Eigg.

I’m offering these two paintings as a pair at £60

Recently I was involved in an interesting discussion about literalism in art; for example themes that are non-abstract and can be read as symbols or allegories, or which tell a story or narrative. A recent example might be Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences (which refers to the story of The Rake’s Progress as depicted by Hogarth).

Without going into all the history, I’d say it’s quite a British tradition to view art in this way – as a means of telling a story. In the UK there’s also still a tendency perhaps to admire or prefer realist, or photo realist art as opposed to abstract work where meanings are unclear. For many, it feels more comfortable to understand exactly what the artist is telling us!

I don’t speak as an artist here particularly; I’m not attempting to break traditions or challenge ideas of what art can be (I’ll leave that to the geniuses that come along every century or so!). But I do hold a strong belief that art, at its highest level, is not easy to paraphrase or pin down to precise meaning

There are many reasons for this, one being that a truly creative mind doesn’t seek to reflect the status quo, but rather explores possibilities. Institutions, art colleges, academia, political influence through public funding – all of these can be a kind of death knell to creative thought processes.

One of the artists whose work I most admire, Joseph Beuys, spent his lifetime eluding these influences. Taken separately, his works individually aren’t easily accessible or understood, but taken as a whole his work becomes enriching as it’s explored more deeply.

I have a free day tomorrow to research online and indulge myself in appreciation of Beuys, so I’ll continue this theme tomorrow and I hope you’ll find it interesting!

In the meantime, some images..

7000 oaks project

7000 oaks project









'Oh Falada There You Hang'. Beuys, 1950

‘Oh Falada There You Hang’. Beuys, 1950

'The Difficulty of Producing an Egg'. Beuys, 1968

‘The Difficulty of Producing an Egg’. Beuys, 1968

I Like America and America Likes Me. Coyote. Beuys, 1965

I Like America and America Likes Me. Coyote. Beuys, 1965















I Like America and America Likes Me. Coyote. Beuys, 1965

I Like America and America Likes Me. Coyote. Beuys, 1965

50 Paintings of Eigg Series – 8 days to go!

On Thursday next week my 50 paintings of Eigg series ends. It’s been such an interesting process and I’ve enjoyed exploring the Isle of Eigg. I’ll miss the daily painting, but the Eigg project continues with two exhibitions coming up in June and July, for which I’ll be painting a series of larger works of Eigg on wood and canvas, and another stay on Eigg in early September

Below are numbers 1 to 41 of the ’50 Paintings of Eigg in 50 Days’ series

They are all on 5×5″ wood, £45 each and are available on a first come first served basis. Please feel free to email me at rose.strang@gmail.com if you have any questions. (£45 includes post and package). * Please note which ones have sold in the caption of each painting

You can also read more about each painting and my Eigg project by clicking on ‘Home’ above, and scrolling down to previous posts..


50 Paintings of Eigg Series 40 and 41

Eigg Series No. 41. Ink, acrylic and sand on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 41. Ink, acrylic and sand on 5×5″ wood

Eigg Series No. 40. Acrylic and sand on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 40. Acrylic and sand on 5×5″ wood

P1110495 P1110496Today’s paintings; A wave at Singing Sands Bay and the mountains of Rum from Laig Bay.


If you like the idea of a mid-summer music festival on Eigg you’ll probably be interested in the Howlin Fling Festival, organised by  Lost Map Records (a music label and collective organised by Johnny Lynch, former FENCE collective manager and organisor of the Pictish Trail).

I didn’t realise that Lost Map Records was actually based on Eigg. They’ve organised many events and gigs around the UK, but Howlin Fling is Lost Map’s debut festival on Eigg.

The festival runs over the weekend of 18th to 20th July. Performers include Beth Orton, also Steve Mason (who used to be in the Beta Band). I’ve seen both live and would love to attend this but sadly it clashes with my exhibition. Live music with the backdrop of the mountains of Rum and west coast sunsets sounds blissful – I’m not a fan of huge crowds, small outdoor festivals are far more relaxed – a million miles away from the epic, mud-drenched nightmare of events like Glastonbury!

There’s more info about times/tickets in The List Here

And here are a few videos..


50 Paintings of Eigg No.s 38 and 39

Eigg Series No. 38. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 38. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

Eigg Series No. 39. Ink and acrylic on 5x5"wood

Eigg Series No. 39. Ink and acrylic on 5×5″wood

P1110486 P1110484Today’s paintings; waves in Singing Sands Bay. Showing contrast between ink and acrylic



(I’m happy to announce that as of today my blog is working again! )

As mentioned a while ago, I contacted Camille Dressler, Eigg’s local historian, to ask a few questions about the island’s history. Camille runs two projects on the island; a small museum which focuses on the island’s geology and involves local schools in history projects, and a Croft in the Cleadale Valley which she’s restored exactly as it would have been 100 years ago…pres.camille_portrait

Rose: Firstly Camille, many thanks for agreeing to answer some questions about Eigg’s history. Can you tell me how you came to live on Eigg and also, was it your first move from France?

Camille: I was living in France studying English, and my boyfriend’s mother found us this place on Eigg for a winter let so we came to spend the winter here to study, write and paint!

R: Can you tell me  what you do now on Eigg?

C: As well as running the museum and croft I’m studying energy arts, such as qi gong and dao yin yoga, also writing and making arty crafty things…

R: So, going back to Eigg’s early history, is there any evidence of pre-historic settlers on Eigg, such as archaeological remains or evidence of how the earliest settlers might have lived?

C: There is evidence that the first people of Scotland – people of the Mesolithic, i.e. 8000 years ago – were on Eigg as well as Rum where they collected flint-like bloodstone. They seemed to have been camping by the shore and spending much time making bloodstone tools, as a lot of their discarded tiny flint shards have been found when gardens have been dug close to the shore….

R: And what would you say are the most significant changes they would have experienced over the centuries – such as different houses or ways of finding food?

C: Probably the introduction of cultivation was the most significant change for these hunter gatherers, then the way they bury their dead in stone costs in the middle of the land, indicating that it was important to have the blessing of the ancestors for its continuing fertility…

R: Can you tell me about life for Eigg’s inhabitants in the Middle Ages – how were communities organised and what kind of hierarchical systems existed then?

C: They’d have been part of the clan system, a tacksman holding the land from the clan chief to whom he was more or less distantly related, and a lot of ordinary clansmen tilling the land in exchange of military service…. land being used to grow oats and raise cattle mostly, it’s a system that was basically unchanged until the end of the clan system in the 18th century…

katie maclean 022

© Katie Maclean (from Eigg Historical Archives)

chrisie oliver 003

© Chrisie Oliver (from Eigg Historical Archives)







R: Scotland went through many changes from the 15th to 18th centuries. Can you tell me about the most significant changes for these communities over that time? For example the Clearances?

C: Well, after Culloden, there was massive emigration to the New World, Crofting put an end to that by attaching people to the land by forcing them into wage labour to supplement what they could grow. And then, when the kelp boom subsided that had employed people for 30 to 40 years, folks were then being sent overseas to make room for sheep, which were more profitable for the landlord.

R: Are there any individual stories you know of from the time of the Clearances, for example how might individual lives have been affected?

C: The impact could be devastating. One woman was so upset after having to leave Grulin and seeing most of her neighbours have to leave the island that she threw herself from the cliffs near her new home into the sea and drowned.

katie maclean 004

© Katie Maclean (From Eigg Historical Archives)

R: How far did the population numbers of the island change due to the devastation of the clearances? And when did the island begin to recover again?

C: It went from almost 500 in the late 18th century to 60 in the 1960’s. It’s been increasing since then and is now at around 95 people

R: When I was on Eigg it was highly recommended I visit Croft No. 6, I discovered it in the late evening and it made quite an impression; it was rather haunting – as if the inhabitants had just left, or were about to return. It beautifully captures the life of an Eigg dweller in the last century. Can you tell me about the inspiration for the project?




Croft 6


Croft 6

We just wanted to ensure people could compare the way of life then with the way they live now. The way we set up the museum was largely inspired by the Spinster house museum I visited in a visit to Finland, where the islanders there decided to keep the spinster house just as it was after the last spinster -and spinner of flax- died. We wanted people to feel that experience of coming into an islander’s home, and discover the objects therein for themselves, rather than setting it up as a museum where everything is labelled and out of bounds.





R: That’s exactly how I experienced it; quite fascinating and refreshingly unlabeled so visitors can explore in their own way! Lastly, what projects are you working on now, and can you tell us where we can find more information about them?

C: We are about to start on phase 2 of the croft museum, involving renovation of the cart shed and the henhouse, one of which will be thatched. I’m also involved in research into how we can become part of the international beach art project which seeks to raise awareness of the extent of plastic pollution in the marine environment…

R: Many thanks Camille for introducing us to Eigg’s history. There’s a lot that canbe explored so if you’d like to read more, Camille has written a book called Eigg: The Story of an Island which you can read about or buy Here

mjwWFHLRITMZnDKInctwzYwAlso, for more information on the Clearances and their impact, some more information Here


50 Paintings of Eigg Series No.s 36 and 37

Eigg Series No. 36. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 36. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

Eigg Series No. 37. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 37. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

P1110465 P1110464Today’s paintings; a view of Eigg’s Sgurr from the shore and a sunny view of the cliffs of Cleadale



I can’t quite believe I’m nearly at Number 40. – I’m going to miss this daily painting after the 29th, which is actually Thursday next week!

As mentioned there are two exhibitions coming up, these are;

June 22st to July 26th, Gallery Ten, Stafford Street, Edinburgh (The West Coast and Beyond – group exhibition)

July 17th to July 23rd, Whitespace Gallery, 25 Howe Street, Edinburgh. ( Eigg Island – solo exhibition, Rose Strang)

You are all of course most welcome to attend the previews. Though I enjoy the process of blogging, there’s no substitute for paintings in situ, and there’s always that nerve-wracking moment when you see your work installed in a public space so I feel I’m psyching myself up for the next stage now..

For the first exhibition at Gallery Ten in Stafford Street it’s a mixed show. I’ll be creating two 10×10” paintings on wood and around four at 5×5”. It’s a lovely gallery with an excellent collection of rare contemporary prints, ceramics and paintings.

For the Whitespace (another lovely space – a Georgian former house in the New Town) I’m working on two 40x 30 inch canvases and around four canvases at 20×15”. It’s going to be a challenge after a month of working at 5×5, but I’ve bought the canvases and they’re sitting in my studio saying ‘paint me’ so there’s no going back!

One thing is for sure though, these small paintings of Eigg have been a delight to paint, and the techniques and views I’ve explored here will definitely be developed onto canvas.

I’ll be posting full details and links to exhibitions of exhibitions with maps and directions in the next week or so

50 Paintings of Eigg Series No. 35

Eigg Series No. 35. Acrylic, medium and salt on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 35. Acrylic, medium and salt on 5×5″ wood


Today’s painting, a simple sea-scape and experiment with textures – lots of medium, glue, salt and acrylic.

(The blog is still giving me problems, but only wordpress is affected, so I hope to have everything sorted by the end of tomorrow).

I said I’d opine on yesterday’s play ‘Banksy the Room in the Elephant’. I can’t give a full review though because I walked out after 15 minutes. It’s a bit like people who get worried that they’ll die on a plane because statistically it’s more likely if they fly a lot, I’ve seen too many bad plays and one of these days I may keel over suddenly with boredom, what a way to go!

Suffice to say I highly recommend you avoid this play; An insufferably badly written, badly acted self indulgent monologue. What’s worse is that I left out of the wrong door. It was the door I came in by, but everything had changed, like a weird Mr Ben world. I found myself in the strange subterranean bowels of a theatre underworld where every door was marked ‘no entry’ or ‘play in progress’.

The only door I could go through led me to the back stage of the play I’d left where I could hear the tedious monologue continue. I then saw an enormous black stage with a green exit sign at the other end. and thought ‘what’s the chances if I cross this vast stage the curtains will come up and I’ll be in the middle of some strange satanic ritual.

I got out the fire exit and maneuvered my way through many more labyrinths before discovering the sign ‘toilets and bar’. I negotiated a complex rope sculpture then found myself at the entrance to the play again, then finally saw distant light, walked towards it and found myself in blessed daylight at the other side. I had to visit my friend Donald, who I introduced on Day 27 (Here) for a cup of tea and restoration to normality!


50 paintings of Eigg Series No. 34

Eigg Series No. 34. Acrylic and ink on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 34. Acrylic and ink on 5×5″ wood

P1110355Today’s painting; the  mountains of Rum Island in sun and shade from Laig Bay. In acrylic, medium, ink and varnish.

As you can see I’m posting again! But from a friend’s PC as it seems my server  provider has an issue with wordpress, and various other tedious technical matters that I wouldn’t wish to bore you with any further!

So today/s post is a little short again. Also I’m off soon to see a play at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre ; Banksy; The Room in the Elephant (link Here). It’s probably touring the UK so I shall report back tomorrow to opine on its quality..

50 Paintings of Eigg Series No. 33

Eigg Series No. 33. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 33. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

P1110317Sparkling effects on water – from the ferry boat.



I’m using a mixture of glue and salt for texture, which makes highlights stand out, also the salt has a subtle glitter which you can’t see from the photo.

I haven’t had time for two paintings today. Starting to get organised for upcoming exhibitions and am off to look for some canvases today..

I watched the documentary series ‘The Story of Women and Art’ last night. Excellent and very informative. Here’s the first episode on BBC Iplayer if you didn’t catch it..

The Story of Women in Art


50 Paintings of Eigg Series. No.s 31 and 32

Eigg Series No. 30. Ink and acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 31. Ink and acrylic on 5×5″ wood

Eigg Series No. 31. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series No. 32. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

P1110308 P1110309Aerial views today – looking south west to the Isle of Muck from Eigg’s Sgurr and a view of Laig Bay from above.


I’m very keen to paint a large canvas of the view of (the amusingly named) Muck from the Sgurr, so this is a first experiment. What I love is the view of changing weather moving across the seascape

I’ve mentioned that I’ll soon be featuring a post about Eigg’s history, also the Eco Centre, so these are coming up, it’s just the usual business of varying delays!

I’d like to express today how much I’m enjoying this blog. There’s a feeling of ‘why didn’t I do this before?’. It’s a daily discipline, which is good for any art form, but it’s also the connection with people. Through email exchanges with buyers and chatting to people from Eigg, it’s become a very friendly process and it struck me today that, of course, painting is usually a solitary task. I enjoy the solitude while painting, but afterwards it’s great to share it with other people.

So sincere thanks to readers, islanders, buyers, re-tweeters and sharers!