Tag Archives: Scottish artists

'Aberlady Dunes'. Mixed media on 30x30 inch wood panel. Rose Strang April 2020. (Private Commission, NFS).

Art Commissions

Above, Aberlady Dunes. Mixed media on 30×30 inch wood panel. Rose Strang April 2020. (Private Commission).

Lockdown has been a good time to focus on private commissions. I’ve found it grounding and uplifting to focus on painting, and I think most people find art uplifting – a solace in strange and anxious times.

I accept most landscape commissions, even if it’s from a photo of someone’s favourite landscape, as long as I’ve been there and experienced that particular light, I’m able to paint it. I don’t aim for photo-realism. I deliberately keep brushwork as loose and expressive as possible and paint quickly for the sense of energy I’d feel if I was in situ. Painting En plein air is ideal of course, but with experience you can bring that same energy to painting in the studio.

The first commission this year – Aberlady Dunes – (above) was commissioned by a friend of the family who liked one of my previous smaller paintings of Aberlady. He’d lived on Lindisfarne some years ago and loved the sense of space  -stretching to the horizon across the marram grass to the sea and sand beyond.

North Berwick, Summer was commissioned by a doctor who lives in England who’d seen Aberlady Dunes and wondered if I could capture a stretch of his favourite coast near North Berwick, but on a smaller scale. I chose a spot that’s very familiar to me, just past the headland south of the town. It has many happy associations since I’ve been going there with family and friends since childhood, so it was a pleasure to paint.

'North Berwick, Summer'. Mixed media on 18x18" wood panel. Rose Strang 2020. (NFS, Private Commission).

‘North Berwick, Summer’. Mixed media on 18×18″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2020. (Private Commission).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most recent – Sunrise, Ruby Bay, Fife  captures sunrise on Ruby Bay on the east coast of Scotland. It’s very large and I decided to experiment with acrylics and oils together with this one. I think I’m onto something as it came together in a very atmospheric way in the end. You can read more about painting it Here

'Sunrise, Ruby Bay. Fife. Acrylic and oil on 36x36" wood panel. Rose Strang 2020. (private commission)

‘Sunrise, Ruby Bay. Fife. Acrylic and oil on 36×36″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2020. (private commission)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To me, the difference in light between the east and west coast of Scotland is very clear – especially at dawn or sunrise. This painting below shows dawn on the west coast – far more diffused, since the sun, rising from the east, doesn’t touch the sea till later – you see the sun’s warmth more in the under-lit clouds.

‘Dawn, Ardtoe’. Mixed media on 14×11″ wood panel. Rose Strang, 2019. £495

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you like the look of these paintings and are interested in commissioning me, you can contact me at rose.strang@gmail.com

I’ll be happy to discuss price with you (the painting price varies according to size of course) and what mood or atmosphere you’re looking for. Below are a few more of my paintings showing a myriad of moods and atmosphere! …

 

 

'Sunrise, Ruby Bay. Fife. Acrylic and oil on 36x36" wood panel. Rose Strang 2020. (private commission)

Sunrise, Ruby Bay.

Above: Sunrise, Ruby Bay. Fife. Acrylic and oil on 36×36″ wood panel. Rose Strang 2020.

Below, some details from the painting …

 

This latest private painting commission is of Ruby Bay in Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It’s so-called because if you sift through the small pebbles in the bay you can find tiny little garnets, not rubies as such but very like them!

Ruby Bay is on the Fife coastal path, near Elie Bay. It’s a beautiful stretch of coast-  the most famous beach on that stretch being St Andrews (of Chariots of Fire fame). The tower, built in 1779, is called Lady’s Tower as it was used by Lady Janet Anstruther (Janet Fall) as a bathing tower – a rich person’s beach hut if you like!

I wanted to capture the classic cool tones of an east coast sunrise – clear, cool and only slightly hazy. Looking at this painting in real life (it’s bigger than it seems form the photo at thirty six by thirty six inches) you sense movement from a calm tide about to recede from its high point. The lilac tones of pre-dawn are just about disappearing, replaced by clear turquoise. Lemon-yellow sunlight is just kissing the tips of the rocks, tower and grass.

The painting took about six days. It was started with gesso to lay down composition and background texture, then acrylics to get contrasts, the acid tones of lichen and the built up layers of rough-textured rock. Lastly I used oils for the sea and sky, and the cool light blue in the shadows.

It’s been a pleasure to paint  – complicated and with varying textures, but I think I’ve captured the calm and the pure light of sunrise in the east. I’m quite keen now to have another go on smaller wood panel to create a more abstract version.

The photos below show most stages of the painting …

 

 

'Water of Leith. 10'. Oil on 7x5" wood. Rose Strang, May 2020. Unframed £250

Summer Exhibition, Limetree Gallery

Above, Water of Leith. 10. Oil on 7×5″ wood. Rose Strang, May 2020. Unframed £250.

The ‘ Water of Leith’ series of paintings below will be on sale from the Limetree Gallery from around mid-June. If you are interested in any of the paintings, or would like to reserve or buy one, please contact the gallery on their website here – Limetree Gallery, Bristol

Below the paintings – more about the inspiration behind this series …

This series takes inspiration from Edinburgh’s Water of Leith, the river that runs from the Pentland Hills twenty five miles out of the city, to the shore at Leith Harbour.

The paintings are mainly from the stretch of river that runs from Stockbridge in Edinburgh up to Roseburn – possibly one of the most scenic areas of Edinburgh, which is already a very scenic city!

I took photos and made sketches last month for the oil paintings, which were completed in my studio. The time of May is always beautiful, but one of the upsides of lockdown has been the quiet and the cleaner air – these paintings hopefully reflect some of that peace; the gentleness of rain drops on a peaty river, dark as a glass of Guiness! I particularly love the vivid greens of May against these dark backdrops.

I’ve shown a variety of views – some detailed and others more abstract. I enjoyed paring these colours and compositions down to their more abstract basics in some paintings (7, 8 and 11) but equally enjoyed painting the complex scene in number 9, which shows the glassy stretch of water just before it tips into a waterfall at the most scenic part of the Water of Leith at Dean Village. Number 6 is just below the statue of Hygeia (I didn’t paint her but might do in the next few weeks – interesting to think that in ancient times we’d all have been praying to her during this pandemic!) I remember playing in these shallows as a kid and thankfully it’s not changed at all since then.

This stretch of river is in the most elegant (or posh if you like) part of the river, you can see across the river to private gardens, which, along with green light of the deep, tree-filled valley adds to its feel of mystery.

It’s taken a lockdown to make me focus on places closer to home, and though I’ve missed trips to the beautiful west coast this year, it’s been more rewarding than I imagined to paint my home town in spring.

As mentioned these paintings are all available through the Limetree Gallery, Bristol, who will be very happy to answer any queries you have about the paintinngs, you can contact them here – Limetree Gallery Contact

'Water of Leith. 9'. Oil on 7x5" wood. Rose Strang, May 2020.

Water of Leith Series (in progress) 2

Above Water of Leith. 9′. Oil on 7×5″ wood. Rose Strang, May 2020. Today’s painting from the Water of Leith series, which will be on exhibition at Limetree Gallery, Bristol. If you’re interested in any of this series, please contact the Limetree Gallery on their website – Limetree, Bristol. (As the paintings are in oil they’ll take till mid June to dry).

This is a strange view, odd in real life yet compelling. I haven’t captured it exactly to my liking but it has a bit of the mystery I was trying capture. It’s a view across the river to gardens, the river is just about to tip over into a waterfall on the right and has the glassy smoothness rivers have at that point.

Below I’ve shown a bit of process – the clarity of the first sketch is nice, but the colours were wrong. I’ll most likely have a new attempt at it tomorrow, but I’m happy with this one as a finished painting. There was too much going on in the top half so as you can see I just wiped it out! It’s a bit more restful I think.

 

'Water of Leith. 7'. Oil on 7x5" wood. Rose Strang, May 2020.

Water of Leith Series (in progress)

Above – today’s two paintings for the Water of Leith series, which is in progress. These are available (though as these are oils they make take a week or so to dry) through the Limetree Gallery, Bristol. Please contact the gallery if you are interested in any of the paintings, on their website – Limetree Gallery

I’m still very much enjoying the process of working in oils for this series. Well, enjoying isn’t exactly the word! I’m muddling through my experience of working in a new way – I find it’s conducive to more simple abstracted painting. Not because that makes it more easy but because the paint quality asks for more space and simplicity. Also, if I wanted to paint a very detailed oil painting it would take months due to drying times, not my favourite way of painting – which is akin to binge-watching a series rather than waiting for a once-a-week installment! A mood and volition can be sustained more easily without long breaks.

I’ve always admired artists who can say more with less, but the process (or at least my process) is always to start with observing everything in some detail; like a camera pan that then takes ever closer close-ups. I can’t reduce down patterns until I understand them. Maybe in a few years that process will become easier though.

This is a calm series, reflecting my mood during lockdown, which on a personal level I’ve enjoyed in many ways. I’ve been painting more with less distractions, which is welcome.

The two paintings above were just finished today, anyone interested in them can reserve or buy them through the Limetree Gallery, but they won’t be completely dry till about the 7th June.

Here’s some images showing the series so far …

 

'Traigh Bhan Nam Monach. Iona'. Mixed media on 12x12 inch wood board. Rose Strang 2020

New paintings for the Limetree Gallery

'Sanna Sundown'. Mixed media on 12x12 inch wood board. Rose Strang 2020

In progress. ‘Sanna Sundown’ and at  top – Traigh Bhan Nam Monach, Iona

Today’s paintings in progress for the Limetree Gallery, Bristol. Traigh Bhan Nam Monach, Iona is complete. Sanna Sundown needs a bit more work. ‘Traigh Bhan Nam Monach’ means ‘white strand of the monks’.

How much would I like to be on that beach on Iona right now! I’d planned an arts project with my partner and a filmmaker from New York which would have been happening this month. (Sigh). Painting that crystal-clear turquoise sea was therapy anyway!

I went very loose and ‘painterly’ with these as I think that will work well for the Limetree Gallery. The brushwork is very spontaneous with just a few areas of detailed focus – it makes the eye work more and Limetree art buyers seem to enjoy this painterly approach that lets the viewer see more of the artist’s hand in the brushwork.

Needless to say, I enjoyed painting them and I’m happy with Iona, once I had that little sun-lit ripple at the bottom I was pretty much finished. I like the freshness of these and look forward to completing Sanna and another painting, tomorrow.

'Labyrinth'. Mixed media on 7.5 x 6.5 inches. Rose Strang, April 2020

Labyrinth

Today’s painting – Labyrinth. Mixed media on 7.5 x 5.5 wood. Rose Strang 2020.

(side view) ‘Labyrinth’. Mixed media on 7.5 x 6.5 inches. Rose Strang, April 2020

This painting will feature as part of the up-coming exhibition on projectroom2020, set up by Art North (edited by Ian McKay) which goes live tonight at 7pm on this webpage: projectroom2020

I painted this as a response to the current situation. Whatever your thoughts about what’s caused it, how to deal with it, the lockdown and whether it’s being dealt with in the right way or not, there’s no doubt it’s pretty bewildering, hence the labyrinth from a window.

It’s a painting from a photo I took a few years ago from a window in Traquair House in the borders of Scotland. The labyrinth was actually extremely difficult to work out – it’s a strange experience – as I remember it – humbling for my friend and I, as we grew ever more exhausted and frustrated!

 

The view is tranquil though. Spring is here, we have quiet and solitude, less pollution and time to meditate on life. I don’t doubt how hard it is for most people to feel calm though – we don’t know what’s going to happen, for most of us the future financial situation is daunting. I can’t distill this experience just now, so this painting simply says something about my feelings at the moment.

This painting will feature as part of the up-coming exhibition on Project Room 2020 as part of  Postcard From …  a facebook group I set up to bring artists together during Covid19

Wishing everyone the very best of health and happiness!

'Aberlady Dunes'. Mixed media on 30x30 inch wood panel. Rose Strang April 2020. (Private Commission, NFS).

New Commission – ‘Aberlady’

Above, my new commission, painted for a friend – Aberlady Dunes. Mixed media on 30×30 inch wood panel. Rose Strang April 2020. (Private Commission, NFS).

I wanted the feel of walking towards the sea through tufty marram grass, sunlight traveling towards you. There’s the sense of changing weather – a soft sky that might rain a little, or break up into glorious sunshine.

This image shows scale …

(To show scale)' Aberlady Dunes'. Mixed media on 30x30 inch wood panel. Rose Strang April 2020. (Private Commission, NFS).

(To show scale)’ Aberlady Dunes’. Mixed media on 30×30 inch wood panel. Rose Strang April 2020. (Private Commission, NFS).

Like many self employed artists, I’m thinking ahead to how I might sell work when this year’s exhibitions won’t be going ahead due to the Covid pandemic. I’d prefer to live by selling artworks, not by applying for Universal Credit.

Not only does it seem the government is not prepared for the millions of freelancers out there, I’d want to see those who need it most being the first recipients of benefits.

 

 

 

Who knows how long we’ll be in lockdown? I have time to paint so if you’d like a painting that captures your favourite landscape, feel free to commission me to paint something for you, whether it’s a few inches big, or up to several feet! I usually charge a third of the payment up front, then the rest when a client is happy with the work. Email me on rose.strang@gmail.com if you’d like to chat about a possible commission.

The photos below show some of the process of painting ‘Aberlady’.

Keep well folks! X

'Aberlady' in progress. Rose Strang 2020

1. ‘Aberlady’ in progress. Rose Strang 2020

2. 'Aberlady' in progress. Rose Strang 2020

2. ‘Aberlady’ in progress. Rose Strang 2020

3. 'Aberlady' in progress. Rose Strang 2020

3. ‘Aberlady’ in progress. Rose Strang 2020

4 'Aberlady' in progress. Rose Strang 2020

4 ‘Aberlady’ in progress. Rose Strang 2020

 

 

 

Aberlady

‘Aberlady 1’. Mixed media on 5×6″ wood. Rose Strang 2020

‘Aberlady 2’. Mixed media on 5×6″ wood. Rose Strang 2020

Above, today’s quick paintings of Aberlady.

I’m experimenting with atmospheric depictions of Aberlady’s coastline for this year’s project which follows the 7th century pilgrim’s journey from Iona to Lindisfarne via Aberlady.

In March I’ll be traveling to Lindisfarne, then Iona in May. The plan is a series of three large paintings which capture the timeless atmosphere of these places. Also a video which I’m in the process of editing, with music composed by Adam Brewster.

There’s loads to be inspired by, but at this stage I’m not sure how I’ll choose to paint these places. The paintings above capture something of the dreamlike nature of Aberlady with its subdued east coast light and long stretches of marram grass covered dunes.

Aberlady coast. Film still, Rose Strang

This part of the coast is a nature reserve and it’s a 30 minute walk to the beach across grassy plains with a multitude of wild birds and occasional deer. Few people take the walk, so even in summer it feels as though you’re on an island. Folks who know how cold the east coast sea can be will hopefully be impressed when I say that Adam and I swam there last summer! However, that’s only because there’s a long stretch of shallow sea bed so it actually feels relatively warm since the sun heats up the water as it passes over long stretches of sun-warmed sand.

I’ve always felt there was a special atmosphere there and recently this was enhanced with the discovery of the remains of an ancient 12th century Carmelite Monastery, hidden away near an ancient yew forest near Luffness Castle.

One corner of the monastery remains intact and as you walk around it there’s a slight shock when you discover the weather-worn sculpture of an ancient knight under a crumbling stone archway (film still below). No-one knows who he might have been. A local V.I.P. perhaps, or an early pilgrim? The sculpture will feature in my video. More on that in coming months …

Aberlady knight. Film still, Rose Strang

 

 

 

 

'Wolf'. Mixed media on 12x12 inch canvas. Rose Strang 2019 board

Winter Landscapes: Exhibition

'Giant Snowballs'. Mixed media on 12x12 inch canvas. Rose Strang 2019 board

‘Giant Snowballs’. Mixed media on 12×12 inch canvas. Rose Strang 2019. Unframed £290

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two paintings above will be on exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, from 22nd December to 30th January 2020.

This is part of the annual Open Exhibition organised by the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA), who accepted me as a professional member in 2018. All details about tickets and venue Here

‘Giant Snowballs’ was inspired by snow sculptures on Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh and ‘Wolf’ was inspired by watching the Seven Worlds series narrated by David Attenborough – the wolves were viewed through heat sensitive cameras, adding to their mystical presence – they looked primeval and otherworldly. I made a quick sketch in paint on canvas while watching, then surrounded it in thick layers of white gesso.

The exhibition launches 22nd December, all details on link above.