‘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.
‘Wolf’. Mixed media on 12×12 inch canvas. Rose Strang 2019
‘Giant Snowballs’. Mixed media on 12×12 inch canvas. Rose Strang 2019
Above, my two paintings, on a winter theme, available for sale at the SSA (Society of Scottish Artists) Open Exhibition, which launches 22nd December and ends 30th January 2020. Venue – the Royal Scottish Academy on the Mound, Princes Street, Edinburgh.
I’ve been a member of the SSA for many years, and was delighted to be accepted as a professional member last year.
You can buy tickets for the exhibition (just £3) on their website Here
It’s a huge exhibition, featuring the work of artists living in Scotland as well as international artists, always innovative and well worth a visit!
Today’s paintings – ‘Home, Moonlight’ and ‘Skating’, for the Winter Series. Exhibition opens in just five days – all info Here
I’m almost there with ‘Sea, Storm’ below, which needs a bit more work, but all completed paintings are now in the ‘Artworks’ gallery. I altered ‘Red Velvet Dancing’ a little (also below)- taking out the second figure and adding some more impasto highlights to the dress to show reflected firelight.
So that’s now just two paintings to finish, then the series is complete! Atzi has also tweaked the short music pieces to his liking, as mentioned each painting comes with a CD of all 12 music pieces.
‘Sombre Constellations’ has already sold, to a former buyer and friend in Australia, it’s a great home for the painting to go to, not just because Linda Cairnes is a talented painter herself, but because I think ‘Sombre Constellations’ perhaps has something of the Aboriginal ‘dreaming’ to it! All completed paintings viewable on ‘Artworks’ in menu above.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the paintings, the exhibition, or would like to buy a painting or print – firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Winter 2’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. £150
‘Winter 1’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. £150
‘Winter 8’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel. £150
A definite feeling of progress at last …
Above are the latest pieces for the upcoming Winter Series exhibition (info Here) which is opens in just 9 days!
As mentioned in a previous post, the challenge of this series is that I’m trying something new; responding to twelve two-minute pieces created for this project by composer and cellist Atzi Muramatsu, but also I’m finding it a challenge because each piece of music is entirely distinct, so with each painting I’m exploring a new theme as opposed to variations on one subject.
With nine days to go, and half the works finished, I’m finally getting into the swing of things. It was particularly enjoyable to paint the figure dancing in red velvet by firelight, this one ‘painted itself’ as they say. That’s partly because I took photos of myself in a red velvet dress for reference. That’s much easier because the proces is mimetic. The first thing you learn as an artist is to copy. It’s much more challenging to create something abstract and from imagination.
A couple of photos the painting in progress (I might take out the smaller figure, or make it recede a bit more).
‘Winter 1’, in response to the first piece of music, was quite difficult. The music itself felt like a meandering descent, and at the same time very cold with a sense of space. I tried several epic-style paintings looking from a height down to a frozen valley but they just didn’t work. This descending waterfall, which leads the eye down to a ship frozen in ice, seems to fit the mood.
The running snow hare was the immediate image that sprung to mind when listening to one of the pieces where the cello style is speedy, scratchy, scittering and staccato (to use a musical term!) also springing, just to add another word starting with ‘s’.
Below is the ground-work for a portrait of Atzi playing cello, in response to a Baroque-style cello piece. This monochrome sketch onto grey ground is a very traditional approach – I wanted to try a traditional technique so it feels in keeping with the 17th century music style. I’ll gradually build up more complex tones, then overlay with colour glazes, followed by some impasto highlights.
I feel I’ve earned a short break now, so I’ll spend the rest of the day relaxing before the Edinburgh Art Fair preview which launches this evening. I have four works in the show, hosted by the Limetree Gallery (at Stand D11). All info Here
Two works in progress (right) today for the Winter Series which launches on 25th November.
This project is a collaboration between myself and composer/cellist Atzi Muramatsu, who’s creating twelve two-minute pieces for cello on the theme of winter. I’m responding to each piece with a painting.
I decided to make two paintings in response to the first piece of music, just to see which works best! I can always paint over the one I’m not keen on. At the moment the one above on the left is working more for me, or at least it reflects the mood of the first piece of music more.
While listening to it for the first time I immediately felt space, height and distance. The mood is sombre yet soft – very still. There’s the sense of cascading, or gliding downwards, maybe looking downwards from a great height, either as a bird or a human.
Bear in mind I don’t know what Atzi has in mind other than winter, since we agreed he wouldn’t reveal his ideas until after the exhibition – it should be fun seeing how the paintings corrrespond to his ideas behind the music!
While painting today (which was a pleasure in my new studio space – more room, better light) I had the two-minute piece of music on a loop so I’m very familiar with it now. There’s a moment that feels as though it’s going to melt into something warmer, which reminded me of one of my favourite bits from Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, by Vaughan Williams, so I tried to suggest that hint of warmth and gentleness, though overall the music is very still, wintry, with a feel of introspection and solitude.
I appreciate music, but my knowledge of musical terms is patchy – I must remedy this by asking Atzi and other musician friends more questions!
(Paintings for this year’s winter series don’t begin until October. Read on, below) …
Winter Series: Music and Image.
Private View 25th November 7 – 9pm
Open studio 26th November to 3rd December
Venue – Lyne Street Studio, 5 Lyne Street, Abbeyhill, Edinburgh
This project is a development of a five-year collaboration between myself and Atzi Muramatsu. It’s a collaboration that has involved many approaches, including individual responses to shared subjects (such as the Eigg Island projectat the Scottish Storytelling Centre in 2015) or Atzi’s live response to my paintings, from which I created video montages.
For Winter Series: Music and Image, I’ll be creating a series of twelve paintings in response to twelve pieces of music composed by Atzi Muramatsu, on the theme of winter.
For this I’ll respond solely to the form, mood, texture and musical references of the music. It’s going to be an exciting new challenge for me as I’ve focussed mainly on landscape painting for the past five years.
In the process of collaboration, you become immersed in the work of the other person, more than you would if you heard a one-off performance, or visited an exhibition for one evening, for example,
For Atzi this has been at times an unusual experience where it feels as though he’s actually in the landscape as he responds to the painting. To get the sense of this, have a look at my recent video where you can see Atzi become more involved with the paintings as the performance develops, it’s particularly affecting during his improvised response to ‘Moonscape, Harris 4’, which you can see in this clip from about 3:19 onwards. (The clip shows the painting, then cuts to Atzi performing, and back again). Clip – Moonscapes
I found the juxtaposing medieval-sounding and folk influences most dramatic – absolutely relevant to the subject matter, which was all about the idea of living through the darkest times in a Hebridean landscape. I knew the painting was a bit dark for some tastes (it won’t be a best seller – dark paintings rarely are!) so I was gratified that Atzi went into that dark landscape so willingly!
In the editing process of making these videos and synchronizing music with image, I’ll often hear the same piece about twenty times or so. So the music really plays over and stays in my mind. Some fragments stay more than others, one of my favourite pieces is probably the beginning of Hebridean Light, which you can hear from about 3:38 in this video – I find it joyful.
Over the years I’ve come to appreciate more deeply the eclectic nature of Atzi’s influences, I think of him sometimes as a musical encyclopaedic sponge! But it’s the musical talent in expressing, juxtaposing or harmonising these influences, and the level of expression, that I find so inspiring. It’s one thing to hear all those influences in a piece that’s been composed and worked on over months, quite another to hear it improvised live.
So it’s no surprise to know that much of Atzi’s work has been created for film, his score for ‘The Making of Longbird’ being a recent example (the film won a Scottish BAFTA). Atzi then went on to win a BAFTA last year.
As someone who’s always been fascinated by film scores, music and image (in fact my art college dissertation was partly on this theme, but don’t worry I wouldn’t inflict that on anyone!) from Moricone and Herman to recent compositions by composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto who created the incredible score for The Revenant, I can absolutely see where Atzi’s ear for music traditions – from ancient to modern in the eastern and western hemispheres, would suggest a future in film music composition. More recently I’ve been exploring the music scores by Bear McCready for the Outlander series. It’s mostly a commercial approach – unashamedly romantic, though extremely well researched. I was particularly struck by the subtle arrangements used during dialogue which correspond so brilliantly to time and place – for example Jacobean times in 18th cent’ Scotland, or 18th cent’ Paris, post WW2 Britain, or music reflecting courtlife in contrast to country-life and folk traditions. It’s really a fascinating subject to explore, but I’m digressing!
In short, it’s going to be a most enjoyable journey for me to respond to Atzi’s music through paint. I want to honour the process and make sure that buyers of the paintings experience it too, so with each painting sold, buyers will recieve a CD with recording of Atzi’s music score, and a music notation of each piece. This means that people can experience the image/painting and music together, exploring for themselves how the image responds to music. If they’re musicians they might themselves play with the the themes too perhaps, and who knows, it might lead to new collaborations, I’m always open to that.
I’ll be sure to post the making of each painting as they progress, and to include music sounds clips here on the blog as the series develops. The main body of work will happen in October, wish us luck!