Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Homage to Bernard

I'm long overdue a blog post on how my show went ( well) and other things, but today I'd like to talk about Bernard Lacoque, a very talented artist who I've just found out passed away this week.

Bernard was an incredibly prolific artist, and one who was warmhearted and generous with his praise of others. The joy of a place like Redbubble is finding artists whose work is radically different, yet you can wholeheartedly enjoy and appreciate each others work - and a relationship of sorts, of mutual support and recognition, springs up, and before you know it develops in to a friendship of a kind. Not long ago, Bernard commented on my Valle d'Or series, and I replied back it would be great to see them in a gallery . 'yes', he said, 'then I'll come and see them!' - Would that he had been well enough to do so.

Bernard's images were a punctuation in my day - they would pop up in my image feed, and though I didn't comment on every one, they would always make me smile. He had a gift for sad faces, for cartoon like drawings that were expressive and touching.

He drew on whatever came to hand - books, lottery tickets, newspapers, sometimes feeding in to the story behind the art, as with the 'resistance' piece at the bottom. No titles for him, all drawings were 'face', or 'bird', or 'nude' - his three favourite subjects. I just bought a calender of his 'faces', so I'll still see his pictures every day. But I wish I had done it when he was alive, so he could know how much I loved his pictures.

I didn't know Bernard well - I didn't even know he had been ill. But I did like him tremendously, and I treasured our dialogue, as I do with a good few Redbubble artists. He was funny, clever, and utterly unique in his artistic style. I will miss him greatly.

Friday, 27 November 2009

The show is ready..

Just finished hanging my paintings along at Joseph Pearce's. It was really exciting seeing the Valle D'or series, all together, all framed, for the first time. The bar staff loved it, which was encouraging! Vanessa and myself have both put a lot of work into promoting, so I'm really hoping this goes well. If not - well, it's a start, right? and something to learn from. Now roll on sunday!

Friday, 20 November 2009


Had a very exciting meeting with Vanessa of Delicartessen yesterday about a christmas show at Joseph Pearce's, with all the work shown here and possibly a few more - haven't quite decided yet.

Delicartessen is a mobile gallery -Vanessa has a stable of artists that she exhibits at a range of places across the city - bars, restaurants and even a youth hostel. A friend of mine on redbubble, talented ptographer Chris Clarke reccommended I talk to her months ago, but as is often the case with me I lacked the courage to make the call and get my art out there. But inspired by a very good couple of weeks, both selling prints and calenders on Redbubble, and a lot of enquiries about buying originals, I decided it was time to stop procrastinating and approach some galleries and people.

The day after I put a package of work and cv's out there, I got a call from Vanessa, and she came round to have a look at my work. She particularly wanted to see the Valle' d'or series, so that's going to be one of the things shown at Pearce's. It's not a solo show, but there will be a lot of my work up there for a couple of months, with a saturday morning preview on the 28th of November. To say I'm excited is an understatement .

The drawbacks? there's aways some..unlike my work on canvas, all the Valle D'or series need framed. That's going to be tricky both in terms of money, and also to ensure I find the right kind of frame that doesn't detract from the serial nature of the paintings. Clip frames would be the obvious option, but I'm worried they'll look a bit naff, so It's going to take a bit of thought to work that one out. But I am really excited this series will be shown. It's a bit of a 'baby', in that I know I love them but I wasn't sure about how anyone from the art world would respond to them.

The other drawback - well, it's not a huge drawback to my mind, but anyway - is that Pearce's is not a dedicated gallery, but a gastro pub. Hence the morning preview, and the (very slight) chance of damage to the paintings. But I've always had good experiences with selling through informal arts venues, be it bars or cafes or even markets, so I'm not seeing that as a bad thing. This is going to be a lot of my work shown in one place - probably almost 20 pieces - and it'll be awesome to actually be able to invite people to a show of mine.

So..umm..hurray! Now I have ten days to prepare..

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Raiding the cellar..

I was down in North Berwick yesterday, picking up some paintings from a gallery someone had shown an interest in buying, and looking for various bits and bobs in my parent's cellar there. I came across a wee pile of watercolours, mostly from 2002, and thought I'd put them up here just to show how much my style has changed over the years. I painted almost exclusively in watercolour back then, and most of my work was commission based one way or another.

I used to be asked to paint Edinburgh castle all the time – I ended up trying to find a lot of different angles to paint it from so I didn’t get bored with it!

This is an old piece from when I was mainly doing watercolour house portraits to commission. This was my ‘sample’ painting, of the centre building in Ann street, one of the finest streets in Edinburgh’s new town. I actually used to have a similar painting on my business card, but unfortunately a lot of people thought I was an artist called Ann Street.

A gallery who'd bought a few of my pieces asked for some Stockbridge pieces. Unfortunately they didn't think many people would recognise this one, which still surprises me ( maybe they just didn't like it :p). It's a lovely old folly that sits on the water of Leith.


This was a commission from a couple who lived near Fidra, an island of the East coast of Scotland. I wasn’t quite happy with it at the time, so I ended up doing another for them. I seem to do that a lot! Maybe I should make myself just do ONE painting per commission..

Anyway, there ends my trip down memory lane. I'm thinking of putting some of these older works up for auction on Ebay, with 30% of the proceeds going towards charity. I'd be interested to know if anyone thought that's a good idea?

Friday, 13 November 2009

Works in progress : Morar Bay

I thought I'd do a slightly longer post on a work in progress today, showing you a bit of my studio, and the tools of the trade.

First off comes the base image - I generally print two or three versions of whatever photo I am going to work from, with different lighting so I can both get some sky drama and pick out the details .

Then studio set up - the joys of being a very skint artist means a studio in the living room. Thankfully my fiance is very patient if I'm not done by the time he gets back from work...

One good thing about it is I get to watch TV while I paint ( or rather listen).

Once the painting is at a stage as shown above, I'll often take a pic and fiddle with it on the computer to work out colours, contrasts, what it's going to be like if I put all the landscape elements in. It helps rather a lot when I'm a bit stuck.

I can tell now I want the blues to be a lot more intense, the boat to be far to the right ( not where shown above) and that yellow taken down to a slightly less mustardy colour.

So back to painting. Half way through is always the bit I like least - I know where I want to get to, but I don't always know how I'm going to do it . I probably shouldn't admit that! I'll update with a finished version later, if it goes where I want it to go..

Edit to add - the final version :

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Works in progress - Arisaig

I took a break from the Valle D'or series yesterday to start work on some more highland paintings, inspired by a trip out to the car where I noticed a big canvas that had been left in the boot..
I took some stunning sunset pics when I was up at Arisaig in June, but hadn't done much with them yet as it's too my mind quite tricky to turn a sunset photo into a sunset picture without it looking rather tacky. But I felt emboldened yesterday and decided to give it a shot anyway. I'm a bout three quarters of the way through this painting, and I'm at this horrible stage where I can see all the bits that need work, but I don't want to start on them in case I ruin what I've done. Because I like it! Grr. Wish me luck..

Finally, there's still two days left in the Redbubble Sale : one calender like the one below sold this morning, plenty more available..

Calenders here, Prints and cards here.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Sea Sale! 3 days only..

First off, there's a sale on at red bubble of all my works that are linked to the sea. 15% off all prints, cards, posters.. Just hit the link and go to the sale gallery.

Calenders are also reduced by 15% - Check them out here.

The sale only lasts three days though so don't wait around..

And a quick update on what I have been up to painting wise..

I finished my Ardtoe Beach series with this painting here :

I painted it up fairly quickly, and thought, 'hey, I'll finish it off after I come back from my weekend away. Upon my return though, I realised there wasn't any more to do really. This made me happy :)

I've also been working on my Valle D'or series again - I'm up to 11 paintings now. Almost enough for a calender :p. Very pleased with how some of the new paintings have been coming along - not sure if this will be too small to see, but will give you the gist.

Hmm. Weirdly unfixably blurry! but if you click on it, it takes you to a full version that is fine.

Friday, 30 October 2009

West Highland paintings

Broke my long spell of not-very -much -painting at all with a couple of paintings inspired by our holiday in the highlands last week. It's always difficult to pick up a brush again after a long time away, so I was quite pleased with how they turned out. Some paintings are better in photos than they are in the flesh, with these it's the other way round, but here they are anyway.

Both are acrylic on Box canvas, 16" x 12". The originals are for sale at £120 each, or £200 for both. As always, cards and prints can be bought at Redbubble via the link on the side.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Just a quick heads up that 2010 calenders are now available on RedBubble, with a shiny 15% discount for the next two days.

Check out my various calenders here. There's a lot of great calenders by other people too on Redbubble, so if mine don't tickle your fancy, have a look around the site anyway, you may find something that does.

Monday, 22 June 2009


Hallo, poor little neglected blog..

I've not been regularly painting, and no regular paintings means not much to write about. But I do have a few things to show.

First up, my partner and I took a wee trip to the highlands and I produced a couple of en plein air little canvases -

Sanna Beach

Back of Keppoch

These, and the hundreds of photos I took, will be used as the basis to work up some bigger canvases. Hopefully I'll be back up there later in the year to work as well - the west coast of Scotland does just make me want to paint, paint paint.

Secondly, a commission to paint the local bistro out here in France. The proprieter is leaving, and my mum wanted to give her a leaving present. Hopefully it will remind her of good times there - We certainly had many great evenings at Le Lion D'or.

Finally - some good news in that a couple of sets of paintings have sold - Belhaven Bay and East Beach tryptichs were sold through Blues and Greens gallery in North Berwick recently.

And that's the news for now..hopefully there will be more to show again soon.

Monday, 11 May 2009


Now I'm back in Scotland for a while, regular service can resume...

My painting schedule has been pretty scrappy and intermittent of late, but what I have managed to get done is a couple of presents for people.

Painting for presents is a funny thing - whenever I am painting regularly, it seems quite a lot of my output is always marked out as presents. If I have a wedding coming up, or someone I want to thank, or a birthday, I never like to give people something 'off the shelf' - I'd far rather make a bit more effort to make something that is personal to them, that I think would suit their taste.

Sometimes this is easy - La Barthe was a painting for our neighbours in France, to thank them for all their help to my family of late, phoning the hospital daily for us and generally rallying round in times of trouble. Subject matter was fairly easy then - their house, nestled between the maize fields and the hills. I wanted to catch a soft twilight light, and the way the house glowed goldenly when the sun was rising or setting on it. On the computer screen, it looks almost too vivid - garish almost - but seen hanging within their sunny yellow salle, it works.

The Lighthouse was a slightly trickier one - a wedding present for my swedish friend Anna and her new husband Neil. I've never been to Worthing, where they live in the Uk, or Sweden, but I know her well enough to know she'd like a stormy sea scene. I asked a mutual friend for some help, and he suggested using a lighthouse she liked in Sweden - Morups Tånge fyr

Morups Tånge Fyr, April 2008
Creative Commons photo by Sune Frack

So I pulled together a few images of the lighthouse, such as the one above, and set about creating a turneresque moody sea, with gloomy colours but a pale yellow light. Challenging, but fun - and hopefully enjoyed by the recipient.

It's one of the nicest things about being a painter - being able to give people pictures that are personal to them in some way. Just as well I like it though, as we have a lot more weddings coming up that need presents of some kind..

Monday, 27 April 2009

Anne Staub - Feature

After a bit of a hiatus, the blog is back -my father's on the mend, family crisises resolved, and I've managed to get myself engaged. So - back to real life (or internet life) with a feature on Anne Staub discussed previously. Please click on the pics to see them in their full glory - am limited on the size ( and number) I can show them here!

I'm not neccessarily an enormous fan of photography - but as with everything, there are exceptions to the rule. Anne's work struck me from the first time I saw it as something other than run of the mill photoshopped photos, and she has the honour right now of being the only artist on RedBubble who has moved me to buy some of their work ( granted, a lot of that has to do with the financial restraints I'm under, I'd like to buy a lot of stuff - but there it is.)

So what makes her work stand out so much for me, amongst the 90,000 + photographers on RedBubble? I think all art is most interesting when the artist concerned has the ability to present another world to us - one which we can't always see, but one we'd like to see, and be part of. As a friend of mine once put it, art should show us the magic present in the world.

I could go on about colour, and composition, and when to post process and when to stop, and all these things are great strengths of Ann's. But at the heart of it, it is this that is important. that her art is revelatory - of a world painted in sombre yet elegaic tones, a time past but cherished, a place where objects are seperated from the mundane and the multitude and allowed to exist in elegant purity.

But - that's my take on her work . Anne's answers are as folllows..

1. Your book talks about your ‘creative journey for the last two years’. Does that mark the beginning of a new way of working? Or of your interest in photography? Some background, please!

When I first selected images for the book “My Creative Journey”, it was for me a way of summarizing the last two years. My ideas, my perspective, indeed my journey. I always had in interest in Photography but in the last two years I dedicated a lot of my time to it, photography and creating images using my own photography had turned into a passion. I have learned a lot, it has been very enriching creatively and also in many other ways. After “publishing” this book, I realized that it was also marking the end of a specific creative journey for me and the beginning of something else….

2. I dislike the term ‘digital art’, and I don’t think it appropriate to your work, so I won’t use that – but I see your work as being in an interesting place somewhere between painting and photography. How would you describe it?

I don’t mind the term “digital art” but I don’t feel it applies to my work as to start with. I think I must use about 20% of what my software does offer. Apart from adding textures, contrast and alter colours or tones, I don’t do anything digitally as such to my images which I feel would be considered as Digital Art. I currently describe my work as Photography and Decorative Art. My main interest and passion is photography, I can’t paint or draw, therefore I compose a visual with photographic equipment, sometimes it will be altered, and sometimes it won’t be.

3. When you take photos, is the eventual image you wish to create in your head? Or is it something that comes out when experimenting in post production?

Most of the time it’s in my head, I go out and “see” images (which is rather annoying when I have no camera with me), my eyes pick up on composition, strong lines, contrast and textures mainly, whatever the subject/s. I always know at the time of shooting if I’ll convert an image in black & white. I also usually know if it will be untouched. Other post-processed images are more ideas but I usually know very quickly what I will enhance and/or add to it. I don’t spend a lot of time altering an image (I’ll rather be out shooting), if my idea does not work for my eyes, I will discard it quite rapidly. I never try “to save” an image either. If there is no inspiration to start with or I’m unhappy with the composition or light, I will not use the image or post-work on it at all.

4. Tranquility, Nostalgia, Delicate, Composed and Subtle are the words I would use to describe your work – is that what you are aiming for? How would you describe it?

Different......or some of my work hopefully is. I think these words are a very good description of the journey I have mentioned above, which I presented in various ways (black & white, minimalism, textured images, abstract …). I think my future work will still convey the above but possibly in a less eclectic way. But I can’t see myself ever producing one single “type/style” of images as such. I think variety is the key to ongoing creativity. It’s not unusual to get comments on my work saying that that they saw an image and they immediately knew that it was one of mine. Considering how varied my portfolio is and has been in the past, this is very encouraging as for me not to be concerned about being creative in different ways. Some of my images convey various emotions, sometimes stories to the viewer. Sometimes, it’s reflecting my views at the time, sometimes it’s more open and let them “see” their own and sometimes both.

5. Where do you see yourself going with your work – what are your goals, artistically and commercially?

I have inspirations and ideas which will make me focus more on a certain way of “emphasizing” what I “see” ……. Watch out for “The Ongoing Journey” book… My main aim is to carry on learning and using photography as my main tool to present what I see and how I see it to others, to communicate at times and share ideas with others. I have started selling my work directly and have several events planned this year (all can be seen at I love to meet Artists, Photographers and anyone interested in creativity and Arts in general, I hope to meet more in the future and possibly work with them. I am also looking to exhibit some of my work.

6. Finally, name three artists who have inspired you on red bubble – pay it forward!

So many have inspired me in one way or another since I have joined Red Bubble and because of this I regularly feature others’ work or link to other members’ portfolio. I use my journal on RB for this and it’s quite popular with my “watchers”. I can not name just three and would have to provide probably a list of 30 instead as the use of negative space, textures, composition, tones, shapes, and much more has inspired me through viewing others’ creations on various media, I feel very fortunate to discover, enjoy and learn from so many talented photographers and artists exhibiting their work on Red Bubble from Abstract Art to black and white photography, paintings and drawings, macro and minimalism just to name a few.

Anne's work can be seen at RedBubble,, and Fine Art America