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.