Tag Archives: Scottish landscape painting

'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

 

 

 

Project progress …

‘Aberlady. Winter Light’. Mixed media on 13×13 wood panel. Rose Strang 2020.

‘Aberlady Bay. Dusk’. Mixed media on 13×13 wood panel. Rose Strang 2020.

Above, today’s paintings of Aberlady – different moods and ways of painting the landscape.

I mentioned a while back that I’m taking things slower this year. I think I’ve maybe painted too busily these past few years, and it’s time to have a deeper think about the ideas that inspire me. It’s good to have a bit more time to contemplate and let projects grow more organically.

This year I’m working on three large paintings in response to the 7th century pilgrim’s route from the Isle of Iona to the isle of Lindisfarne, via Aberlady on the east coast of Scotland.

I’m collaborating with my partner Adam, who’s creating music and probably paintings too in response to the places and ideas. I’m creating a little video of each place, so eventually there will be a video showing footage of landscapes, music by Adam and paintings by myself.

I want to explore what pilgrimage meant in those days in contrast to now. We often talk about ‘mindfulness’ or the peace of solitude and retreat, but what is it really like to remain in solitude or silence for weeks on end? I know that I found it a challenge when I camped on Iona by myself for twenty one days in 2018. Part of that was physical challenge (slugs crawling up the tent, numerous over-friendly spiders that hitched a lift on my clothing whenever I entered the sleeping compartment, howling winds shaking the tent all night for the best part of twenty one days, also the sound of the Corncrake is really not pleasant to my ear!) but it also shook up my emotions. There were beautiful moments, but you have to be self-contained on such adventures; how you relate to people changes somehow.

My plan is to talk to some modern-day pilgrims; people who’ve immersed themselves in these landscapes of Iona and Lindisfarne in a spiritual or personal search for meaning. One of those people is a family friend called Jamie. Jamie was a monk for many years, he also lived on the Isle of Lindisfarne for a time, serving the community there as part of the Hilda and St Aidan Centre.

He took a deep commitment into his spiritual path, at one stage taking a long-term vow of silence to contemplate and, I suppose, face deeper questions about faith and commitment. (You can view an earlier post in which I interviewed Jamie here: The Healing Island).

I was delighted that Jamie recently commissioned me to paint a large-scale painting of Aberlady for his home. It will be an absolute pleasure to paint. I’ll be posting our interview on this blog later this year and it will be (I hope!) a more close and personal exploration of faith and healing, landscape and solitude.

Taking vows of silence, or seeking solitude in remote places is challenging. Recently I contacted a film producer and artist acquaintance to chat about all these ideas; landscape, creativity, healing, spirituality and pilgrimage past and present … and I’m excited about the results of our email conversation. It looks like this project may expand beyond my little video and three large paintings!

I’ll post more about this soon once a few more details are confirmed…

Aberlady mysteries …

Aberlady (in progress) 2020 Rose Strang

Above, one of today’s painting experiments.

I’m playing around with ideas for this year’s project, which will be three paintings, a video, also music by Adam Brewster, inspired by the 7th century Celtic pilgrim’s route from Iona to Lindisfarne via Aberlady. Aberlady was on the route between the islands of Iona and Lindisfarne, on the east coast of Scotland between Edinburgh and Berwick.

Although I’ve been visiting this area all my life, I never realised Aberlady’s importance until I discovered info on the Aberlady Conservation Society’s website. Clues are found in place names and from the 7th century Celtic cross discovered at Aberlady which was very similar to those found in Lindisfarne, which also related to crosses in Iona.

Image from website – eastlothianheritage.co.uk

Iona and Lindisfarne are famous for their ancient abbeys of course, but Aberlady’s only apparent claim to fame was its railway station, which shut down in the 1970s. Since then it’s mostly known to people as the village you drive through on your way to Aberlady nature trail, or the road to North Berwick and Berwick-upon-Tweed. I remember as kids we sometimes stopped there on our way back from North Berwick to buy fish and chips, it just seemed a sleepy sort of place, not significant at all.

I always find this sort of thing quite moving – the changing significance of places through time (just think of the discovery of Richard III’s remains, discovered some years ago, under a carpark!)

Near Aberlady you’ll find places named after St Bathan, such as Abbey St Bathans. Nowadays there’s a Kirk there, the abbey no longer remains, just the name.

It’s now believed that this name refers to Baithéne mac Brénaind, the second abbot of Iona after St Columba’s death. Bathan (a contemporary and disciple of Columba’s) would have continued Columba’s legacy – to spread Christianity through Britain, which was exactly why Lindisfarne monastery was created.

The ‘Bathan’ or Baithéne – related place names between Aberlady and Lindisfarne (and the 7th cent’ Celtic cross at Aberlady) therefore mark the fact that this was an important pilgrim’s route from the 7th century.

Image from website – eastlothianheritage.co.uk

At Abbey St Bathans you can see the remains of a 12th century Cistercian Priory, nothing relating to Bathan. In the 1960’s though, excavations revealed an ancient midden, with pottery remains and dedications to St Bathan. Even more significant – the remains of an iron-age broch were found, also a knife dating back to the iron age.

 

Brochs were very important buildings of the iron age, marking the sites of places that were significant then, if not now. Orkney, for example, has the remains of ancient brochs.  Just think of the significance of the Ness of Brodgar and its stone circle in Orkney – far older than Stonehenge and far more significant in its time, though why it was so significant is still a mystery.

This is maybe part of what I want to express with my paintings of Aberlady, Iona and Lindisfarne – peering back through the mists of time, feeling the human significance of a place without fully knowing its story – enjoying the mystery and trying to make sense of it through a combination of fact and creative instinct. The creative part allows me to retain respect, and I suppose wonder, for the sacredness of these places; so their significance and inspiration is not reduced to mere fact.

For those interested in the creative process (see images below) – I painted the dunes and coast of Aberlady a few days ago, then today covered this in a  film of gesso (semi-transparent white paint usually used to prime the surface of canvas etc before painting) then wiped that back to reveal the landscape through mist. I then re-gessoed the painting and wiped out an area to reveal a sort of window to the landscape. I re-gessoed the painting, popped it in the oven to dry, then I drew the line of Scotland’s east coast and the pilgrim’s route from Aberlady to Lindisfarne.

I played around with carbon paper and a rotary thing to create the dotted line that suggests a route or footpath, then I scrubbed off the surface layer of gesso with steel wool which destroyed the painting underneath, but I quite liked the effect. I also love the look of black carbon paper with mysterious markings that are difficult to see.

All of this will (eventually) result in a series of three interesting paintings on a much larger scale at some point later this year!

(Thanks to the Aberlady Conservation Society and East Lothian Heritage for Aberlady pilgrim’s route info. Find out more here: http://eastlothianheritage.co.uk/aberladyconservationsociety/linking-iona-and-lindisfarne/ )

 

 

 

 

Limetree Bristol. Christmas Exhibition

Above and below –  three paintings which are included in the new Christmas Exhibition which launches 5th December at the Limetree Gallery, Bristol.

‘Early Evening, Ardban’. Mixed media on 14×11″ wood panel. Rose Strang, 2019

‘Dusk, Sanna Bay’. Mixed media on 14×11″ wood panel. Rose Strang, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a delight to show with the Limetree Gallery Bristol again. Have a look at their lovely brochure for the exhibition (link below), which includes beautiful artworks by talented artists including Aldo Balding, Mike Carter, Andrew George, Ian Humphreys, Barry Kelly, Jane Kite, Alan James McLeod, Alison McWhirter, Teresa Pemberton, Helen Sinclair MRBS SWA, David Smith RSW, Trevor Sowden, Malcolm Taylor PS VPMAFA RBA, Peter Wileman FROI RSMA FRSA and Sian McGill.

Thanks to the Limetree Gallery for placing ‘Dawn, Ardtoe, on the front cover!

Lime Tree Christmas Exhibition Brochure Bristol

Paintings for Limetree Gallery, Bristol

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

‘Early Evening, Ardban’. Mixed media on 14×11″ wood panel. Rose Strang, 2019

Above, three paintings for the Limetree Gallery in Bristol for their upcoming Christmas Exhibition. I’m very happy to be showing again at the Limetree Bristol, which showcases some of Scotland’s leading landscape artists. If you’re interested in any of these paintings, please contact Limetree Gallery on their website:

http://www.limetreegallery.com/

In this series I’m trying to capture the mood of changing light at dawn and early sunset. The term ‘gloaming’ – used to describe a particular pre-twilight Highland light, sounds romantic and it is quite magical. It’s a light that makes things slightly difficult to see;  a sort of subdued glow. I think I’ve maybe captured it in ‘Early Evening, Ardban’. Dawn on the west coast, looking out to sea, usually appears misty with suffused light since it’s coming from the east – colours are softened and low contrast – very tranquil.

These three paintings are worked up from sketches I made this year while at Ardban in Applecross, Sanna bay and Ardtoe beaches in Ardnamurchan – beautiful, remote places on the west coast of Scotland. I couldn’t resist a hint of chimney smoke from Ardban cottage, we had great times around the fire! Here are a few photos from my stay there in August …

Cottage. Rose Strang

Euan, Adam and Donald (playing guitar) outside the cottage. Rose Strang

 

 

‘Ardban’ – exhibition launch

My new series for a solo exhibition – ‘Ardban’ – launches on Friday 18th October at the Limetree Gallery in Fortwilliam (not to be confused with Limetree Gallery Bristol for whom I’m creating new works for their Christmas exhibition this year!).

A few photos to show framed painting and to show scale …

 

I look forward to traveling up to Fortwilliam for the exhibition launch – all welcome to attend, it’s open to the public and starts at 7pm, 18th October (exhibtion continues to 30th November).

The address is Lime Tree An Ealdhain Gallery, The Old Manse, Achintore Road, Fort William, PH33 6RQ.

Map of the area ..

 

 

 

If you’d like to reserve a painting, please contact the gallery at info@limetreefortwilliam.co.uk

All paintings from the series …

 

Ardban Series completed!

‘Stormy Sky. Ardban’. Mixed media on 31×22″ paper. Rose Strang 2019

‘Sea Pools. Ardban’. Mixed media on 31×22″ paper. Rose Strang 2019

‘Morning. Ardban’. Mixed media on 31×22″ paper. Rose Strang 2019

The three paintings above complete the series for an upcoming exhibition at Limetree An Ealhain Gallery, in Fortwilliam, opening on the 18th October.

The full series can be viewed Here. If you’d like to reserve a painting, please contact the Limetree Gallery Fortwilliam at info@limetreefortwilliam.co.uk

I’ve been fighting off a cold as well as painting all week so I’m too puggled (old Scots word for tired) to write more today, but here are two more videos (by Adam Brewster, thanks Adam!) of painting on the beautiful beach of Ardban (one showing that it can be sunny, the other showing that sometimes you can dispense with brushes). Thanks again to Donald Ferguson for arranging this amazing holiday – I look forward to going back there again!

Ardban Series

‘Twilit Sea. Ardban’. Mixed media on 31×22″ paper. Rose Strang 2019

‘Early Evening. Ardban’. Mixed media on 31×22″ paper. Rose Strang 2019

Today’s finished paintings for my upcoming exhibition at Limetree Lime Tree An Ealhain Gallery, in Fortwilliam, which opens this year on the 18th October.

You can view all the paintings so far Here (there will be ten in total). If you’re interested in reserving any of these paintings, please contact Limetree Fortwilliam at info@limetreefortwilliam.co.uk

Most of these paintings were painted in situ on the amazing peninsula of Ardban near Applecross on the west coast of Scotland. I’m finishing the rest in the studio which is less idyllic but more practical at least – here’s a video showing the wild conditions! …

 

Idyllic

Adam and I painting on the beach. Photo by Euan Ferguson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt really lucky last week to be painting in a remote and beautiful part of the west coast with three lovely people – Donald (who organised staying at the cottage, thank you!) Adam and Euan.

Our cottage was 40 minutes walk from any roads, on the Applecross Peninsula, which has I think the most stunning views of the Cuillin in Scotland.

Also no TV, and internet connection only findable if you walked up a little hill outside the cottage. The cottage itself hasn’t been much changed since the 30s, and as you can see in photos below, the walls are festooned with art from visitors over the years (one of them was a painting I made there about ten years ago, which someone had kindly put in a clip frame!)

We all painted or took photos, so I’m treating readers of this post to a few of these, below.

I was busy painting for an upcoming exhibition in October for The Lime Tree An Ealdhain Gallery in Fortwilliam. (I’ll post more details on that soon, but in the meantime you can view the paintings in progress on this link – https://rosestrangartworks.com/gallery/ )

It was really special to spend time with folks in such a beautiful place – the lack of distractions from TV and internet made for some highly entertaining evenings, cooking, painting, listening to music, watching sheep in the garden, but mostly interesting (at times insanely ridiculous!) conversation.

Thank you Adam, Donald and Euan, for one of the loveliest holidays I’ve ever experienced!

(From left) Donald, Adam, me, Euan. Photo Adam Brewster.

Wild conditions! Photo Donald Ferguson.

Preparing paper in the sea. Photo Adam Brewster

Adam painting watercolours. Photo Rose Strang

Adam’s lovely watercolours. Rose Strang

Etching on found slate by Donald. Photo Rose Strang

Cottage. Rose Strang

Euan, Adam and Donald (playing guitar) outside the cottage. Rose Strang

Summer dress weather. Photo Adam Brewster

Cuillin across the sea. Rose Strang

Molto romantico sunset! Photo Adam Brewster

Idyllic! Photo by Donald Ferguson

 

 

Exhibition at the Resipole Gallery

‘Sanna Bay. Turquoise’. Mixed media on 20×16″ wood board. Rose Strang 2019

I’m excited to be exhibiting as part of a group show at the excellent Resipole Gallery this month.

The exhibition launches next week on Friday 17th May (there’s a private view from 6 to 8pm)

As the Resipole Gallery is in Ardnamurchan on the west coast of Scotland it’s a bit remote for some folks! So here is a link to their website page showing my paintings – https://www.resipolestudios.co.uk/rose-strang

And this is their contact page if you have any sales queries – https://www.resipolestudios.co.uk/contacts

I love the Ardnamurchan landscape so I’ll be traveling up there with some friends for the exhibition launch, also for more photos and sketches of the beautiful Castle Tioram which is featuring in my ‘Planets Series’. Here are a couple of photos from my last trip there ..