Friday, 29 May 2009

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

VINCENT VAN GOGH The Potato Eaters

Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Stichting) 

This is the last of my Amsterdam Blogs and I'm ending with what was one of my favourite places in Amsterdam: The Van Gogh Museum.

We chose a visit to Amsterdam specifically because of the 'Colours Of The Night' exhibition, with works lent by MOMA. Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' painting was the centrepiece of the exhibition, back in Amsterdam for the first time in 20 years. The exhibition was beautifully curated and took the viewer through night paintings that Van Gogh would have been aware of by other artists and then on to his early work, followed by the transition into his distinctive impressionist style of painting and finally his night paintings, showing his fascination with the stars. My favourite night painting wasn't the 'The Starry Night', but an earlier work called 'The Starry Night over the Rhone'. For me the painting had a peaceful but almost hypnotic quality and I felt compelled to view it again before leaving the exhibition. 

What I found so unbelievable was the relatively short period in which he was a painter, only ten years, and how extraordinarily productive he was in that time. It was hard to imagine how he maintained such an output when he wasn't having commercial success or even recognition for what he was doing.

The Van Gogh Museum kindly gave me permission to use an image of The Potato Eaters to illustrate my Blog. This painting looked incredibly contemporary. The way the faces of the peasants were painted reminded me of the style Scottish artist Peter Howson and also one of our own gallery artists John Johnstone.

We visited the exhibition on Jill's Birthday, she was celebrating a certain milestone and it was a lovely place to be on a special day.

The exhibition runs until the 7th of June, so not long left to see this brilliant exhibition.

Finally, I'll end with some snaps of us enjoying wonderful Amsterdam.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

William Blake's 1809 Exhibition

I saw this fascinating exhibition recently with my friend Kathryn. She was able to write about it from the perspective of an Archivist so I thought I'd include a link to her Blog here.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Handsome Family and the Art of Rennie Sparks

I was lucky enough to see the Handsome Family's sell out show in Glasgow just over a week ago. Their music is captivating, mysterious and full of the best stories you could ever hear. This is down to the partnership of Rennie and Brett Sparks who are celebrating 25 years of marriage with the launch of their latest album 'Honey Moon'. Rennie painted the cover of the album (above) and does the most fabulous pet portraits I've ever seen. I would rather like Beano and the Shetland ponies immortalised by her.

Rennie Sparks paints very much in the style of American Folk Art and decorates the frames of her pictures with heavily varnished dried beans. Her amazing imagination weaves it's way through their music: she writes the lyrics and Brett writes the melodies. Here's an original screen printed band poster by Rennie:

I wish more bands produced screen printed posters these days!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Purple Alliums

The purple alliums that have sprung up in the Gallery garden (thanks to Bob and Val) are looking great and the sunny weather means our customers have been able to wander out to the garden and enjoy the space.

I can't wait for August when the garden will be used as an exhibiting space for Richard W. Boardman's Bronze fountains, all the way from Italy.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Lemonade and Christmas Wrapping

Well, I've just served the last of our home made Lemonade, which we were offering customers over the Bank Holiday Weekend. The three days of Spring Fling brought visitors from far and wide and the weather yesterday and today was perfect for it.

I did quite a lot of gift wrapping for customers over the weekend and that gave me chance to use our new gift tags (pictured above). Today was a first for me as I wrapped a Christmas present - in May no less! A very organised man said he normally bought a couple of Christmas presents during Spring Fling and luckily I found some Christmas wrapping paper in the gallery!


Our friend Rollo the dog paid his second visit to the gallery today.
He had a drink of water...
He flicked through the Dictionary of Scottish Art...

And then left.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Review from The Galloway News

What a busy weekend we've had! Loads of really interesting people to chat to in the gallery and lots of people appreciating the work we have on show. One more day of the Spring Fling Open Studios event to go and I'm sure that will bring lots more art lovers to the gallery tomorrow.

Here's a review of our current exhibition, it was published on the 21st of May in The Galloway News:

McGill Duncan Gallery in Castle Douglas is showing work by painters Jonathan Mitchell and David Sinclair with porcelain by Rebecca Callis. David Sinclair lived and worked in Galloway for many years before moving to the Borders. Jill Blamire who runs the gallery said ‘We’ve had lots of local people in the gallery who have fond memories of David both as a teacher and artist’. Most of David’s work concentrates on Still Life. David paints with an unmistakable style and his work conveys a subtle humour through clever composition: a bunch of grapes suspended above a coffee cup in ‘Coffee Fable’ or a large pottery jug balancing precariously on the edge of a table in ‘Peeled Orange’. David was awarded the prestigious RSW title when he was elected to become a member of The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in 2001. He attended Glasgow School of Art and studied drawing and painting under William and Mary Armour and David Donaldson. The body of work that he is showing in this exhibition reflects his life long commitment to painting and his standing as a well-known and respected Scottish artist.
DAVID SINCLAIR RSW Coffee Fable £800

DAVID SINCLAIR RSW Peeled Orange £2000

Jonathan Mitchell exhibited at McGill Duncan in 2008 and his Angus landscapes were so popular that for this exhibition he visited Galloway to capture the beauty of the landscapes. A popular painting in the exhibition is ‘The River Dee at Glenlochar’ it shows Jonathan’s extraordinary skill for capturing light on water in his landscapes. His style is realistic without being tight or in any way photographic. Last year he began to take an interesting new direction with his work, painting atmospheric cityscapes. This has given him a chance to use vivid colours such as the bright emerald green of a traffic light in ‘6pm Central Glasgow’ or the many hues of blue in his depiction of late-afternoon shoppers in ‘16.30, Buchanan Street, Glasgow’.

JONATHAN MITCHELL 16:30 Buchanan Street £925 

JONATHAN MITCHELL 6pm, Central Glasgow £950
Jonathan says of his work ‘I don’t differentiate between my rural and urban paintings, the latter being ‘landscapes’ within a city; each a record of what is there, and an attempt to convey what it feels like to be there.’ Castle Douglas King Street hasn’t escaped Jonathan’s attention and he has painted both a daytime and evening scene of this familiar street specifically for the exhibition.

REBECCA CALLIS Porcelain Vessels
The two painters have their work beautifully complemented by the Porcelain Tableware of talented ceramicist Rebecca Callis. Rebecca’s pottery studio is in Sedbergh, Cumbria and her exhibition in Castle Douglas meant she made her first visit the region and immediately fell for the beauty of Galloway. She uses subtle pastel glazes and delicate forms to make pieces such as jugs, tea, coffee and cocoa cups and rice bowls. Rebecca was chosen by the Crafts Council to take part in their touring exhibition ‘Table Manners’. Her pieces are intended for everyday use and Rebecca hopes they will become much used and loved pieces in peoples’ kitchens. She says ‘We all have our preferred cups with size, colour shape and weight contributing to their appeal.’ Rebecca’s work certainly holds a delightful appeal and the clusters of vessels in delicate pastel colours look stunning displayed around the gallery. 

REBECCA CALLIS Porcelain Bowls
The Gallery will be showing this exhibition during the popular ‘Spring Fling’ open studios event. They have extended their opening hours from 5pm to 6pm from the 23rd to the 25th of May and will be open on Sunday the 24th of May. Jill said ‘Spring Fling is a fantastic Arts event for the region. Last year we had visitors coming to the gallery from far and wide, even from as far away as Vancouver, Canada. Galloway has a thriving artists’ community.’ The exhibition continues until Saturday the 25th of July.

Friday, 22 May 2009

'Spring Fling' Opening Hours

We have extended our Opening Hours over the Bank Holiday weekend to coincide with the Spring Fling Open Studios event in the region.

On Saturday 23rd, Sunday 24th and Monday 25th of May we will be open from 10am to 6pm.

Saturday the 23rd of May is also Castle Douglas Food Town day and we will be serving home made Lemonade in the Gallery.

DAVID SINCLAIR RSW Hanging Lemon and Glass

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Allan Craig Copper Work

This week Allan Craig sent the Gallery more of his Copper Work. We have beautiful new candle sconces, mirrors and clocks. In the photo above you can see David Sinclair's paintings reflected in the mirrors, and also in the top photo, the bluebells that are scenting the gallery at the moment.

Allan Craig trained in the art of repousse (metal sculpting) at Second City Studios in Glasgow in the late 1980s. He is inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and for twelve years he designed and produced copper and pewter work exclusively for Liberty in London. Allan now supplies his work to galleries and this has given him the freedom to expand his design ideas and introduce a more contemporary style, although he still makes pieces with a very traditional Arts and Crafts style. 

His style of work seems to be made for our gallery spaces and always looks completely at home as soon as we unpack it!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Bob in Glasgow

Music is Art so I think Mr Bob Dylan deserves a mention on the Gallery Blog. His concert last night in Glasgow was completely captivating.  I was standing right at the front, a few metres from the great man himself. I could see his expressions as he picked out the harmonica he was going to use for the next song and the intense looks from his band as they followed his every move with great affection. It didn't feel like there were another 8499 people in the hall.

Before the gig I'd been warned by so many people: he won't look up, he'll have his back to the audience, he'll be in a bad mood, you won't be able to understand what he's singing...

Well, they were all wrong. Bob, you were amazing, see you again tonight in Edinburgh.

Z x