Tag Archives: Scottish Borders

‘The Green Woods Free’

Below are all works that will be included in this Friday’s exhibition (details here)

The Green Woods Free

Preview Evening: Friday 17th July, 7 – 9pm (including live cello performance by composer/cellist Atzi Muramatsu)

Whitespace@25 Howe Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6TF

Exhibition continues until 23rd July (open every day 10am to 5pm)


Borders Country Series

P1250985Below are all available paintings from the Borders Series and exhibition, The Green Woods Free, which continues until the 23rd July



Borders Country Day 10

'Wood Cabin, (Leithen)'. Acrylic and varnish on 10x10" wood

‘Wood Cabin, (Leithen)’. Acrylic and varnish on 10×10″ wood

Today’s painting – a mysterious hut near Leithen, in the gardens of the equally mysterious Leithen House.

I’m very partial to cabins in the forest. They have a Hansel and Gretel magical-ness to them and there’s always the sense that someone intriguing lives there.

We drove through Leithen a while back, stopped near a river to explore and discovered Leithen House, which had beautiful natural grounds; huge ancient trees, a small river, pond and dense woodlands over a stone bridge.

No one seemd to be around except a small black & white dog who appointed himself as our guide, but eventually we spotted a gardener several hundred yards away, standing still and staring at us in a slightly hostile manner. I plucked up the courage to walk over and say hello and ask him where we were.

‘You’re not supposed to be here’ he answered tensely.

‘Oh? Why’s that?’ I asked, smiling

‘It’s private’ he hissed.

I said I didn’t know, but thanks and we strolled away. Only the black dog seemed to want us to stay so we ordered him ‘home’!, We’d seen no signs marking the place as private. (I’d definitely looked, as I have a mostly irrational fear of some aggressive owner’s rottweiler biting my hand off! ) Anyway, when I returned home I did a quick search online and discovered it was a luxury retreat hotel. I still couldn’t see what the gardener was so up-tight about mind you.

I’d love to say it was owned by a famous recluse or eccentric but the truth was quite ordinary. Nonetheless, the atmosphere inspired me!

Leithen House

Leithen House

My sister Catherine and friend Donald, dad in the background, trespassing at Leithen

My sister Catherine and friend Donald, dad in the background, trespassing at Leithen

Black&white dog and Cousin Kerr

Black&white dog and Cousin Kerr

Borders Country – WASPS

P1220485On Sunday I visited Selkirk in the Scottish Borders where Selkirk’s WASPS Artists Studios was celebrating it’s 10th anniversary with a Spring exhibition. I feel this project is truly up and running now that I’ve started to meet creative Borderers in person!

Rose, Mary and Grace Smith

Myself, Mary Morison and Grace Smith (photo Donald Ferguson)

I’d contacted artist Mary Morrison (also Creative Leader of the Creative Arts Business Network funded by Creative Scotland and Scottish Borders Council) to let her know about my project before dropping in to Selkirk WASPS yesterday. Mary was imediately helpful and enthusiastic, with a wealth of useful links, places, books and contacts for me to follow up; so I’ll be posting about these over the next month or so.


This is what I really enjoy about working on projects this way – the organic development of meeting people, growth of ideas and the enjoyable lack of certaintly about where it will all lead creatively!

John Berry, Rob Hain, Alex Hain, Kerry Jones and Rose

John Berry, Rob Hain, Alex Hain, Kerry Jones and myself (Photo Donald Ferguson)

WASPS Selkirk currently has 13 artists renting the studios. Mary and all the artists I met there gave me a warm welcome – this is a lively, creative space so there was a really nice energy about the place.

I took time to look around the works on display, which were very varied in creative approach – all artists working to a high or professional standard in their particular style, or area of interest.



I also looked around some of the studio spaces (backstage as it were) and was intrigued to discover the studio of artist Alan Richmond (as a landscape artist I’d encountered his work online while researching and admired the textures, subtlety and techniques of his work). Have a look through the artists’ websites I’ve listed below, to explore their work in more detail. (I could post photos I took of the artists’ work but I’d rather the works were viewed as presented by the artists themselves).

WASPS Studios originated in Dundee in the 70s, as an affordable solution for artists needing studio space. They’re now situated throughout Scotland in the main cities and in quite a few larger towns. They’re usually developed from former industrial buildings with either separate studio rooms or partitioned areas.

There’s a long, long, waiting list if you’d like to rent a studio as they’re in high demand and the standard is generally very good as studios go. It’s a great way to share resources and support with fellow artists, since, let’s face it, most artists aren’t earning very much! (According to the official WASPS brochure the average artist earns just £5000 per year through their artwork.)

wasps-studios-june-2014-4-638Exhibitions at WASPS are artist-led and can happen any time of year, but as with most artists’ studios, there are ‘Open Studio’ events once a year where the studios are open to the public.

P1220484Selkirk Wasp’s Open Studios event is in October this year, so don’t miss it if you’re nearby! Personally I really enjoy Open Studio events as It’s a really interesting way to see the work, where it’s created, in a slightly less formalised setting, and to chat with the artists over a coffee or glass of wine or two.

Below is a list of the Selkirk WASPS artist’s websites (not all have sites but I’ve included links to Selkirk WASPS website and if there are updates I shall add them as I go). I think you’ll enjoy browsing through the work; as mentioned there’s an interesting variety of approaches, all by experienced, talented artists.

Lastly, I’d just like to say many thanks to Mary Morrison and all the artists I met yesterday for their friendly welcome and helpful ideas (as mentioned, in the next few days I’ll be posting more about Selkirk and its surrounds). I’ll drop in there again at some point. Also I’m sure interesting opportunities to exhibit, work together, or just share ideas and news will come up this year as I carry on with my meandering exploration of the Borders!

WASPS Selkirk Artists

John Berry – johnberryart@btinternet.com

Jim Douglas – jdoug.9876@virgin.net



Alex Hain – http://www.facebook.com/AlexanderHain




Fiona Millar – fionamillar@fastmail.co.uk





On the road, through the undulating hills of the Borders…


Borders Country


‘River Tweed near Peebles 1’. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

'River Tweed near Peebles 2'. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

‘Water Reflections (River Tweed)’. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

The two small paintings above and right show views of the River Tweed in the Borders of Scotland, a favourite family picnic spot for as long as I can remember.

These are the very first in a new series for my 2015 project which explores the dramatic landscapes of Borders country, from Dumfries in the West to Berwick in the East.

Each month I’ll be painting  landscape and exploring the history and culture of each area, then blogging the new paintings and experiences here.


The project will take me on a journey from the West coast of Scotland then through the densely forested river valleys and hills near the ancient towns of Jedburgh, Melrose and Kelso, following the course of the River Tweed then on to the East-coast seascape, ending at Lindisfarne (Holy Island) in the English Borders.


Flaubert Gallery, St Stephen’s St, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

The paintings (on wood and canvas) will range from small to large with every size in between, and they’ll be available to buy here online, and as part of exhibitions throughout the year.  

Exhibitions for 2015 in Edinburgh include the Whitespace Gallery, Howe Street  in July, and the Flaubert Gallery in early Autumn

For the Flaubert I’ll be showing a series of twenty five 4×4 ft paintings (exclusive to the gallery) on wood panels, capturing the beautiful Borders landscape from coast to coast.

If you’re interested in buying the smaller works throughout the year, such as those below, email me at rose.strang@gmail.com and I’ll post the painting to you within the week. 5×5 inch paintings are £57 each (or two for £100). They’re ready to hang, or can be propped on a shelf.

P1210162 P1210165