Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Period Living Magazine

We get a brief mention in the October issue of Period Living Magazine, in the regional property section which features Dumfries and Galloway: 'In Castle Douglas don't miss the exceptional McGill Duncan Gallery.'

Joanna Willcox, the journalist who wrote the piece, spent a long time with Jill in the gallery and was most complimentary about her visit.

Monday, 21 September 2009

The British Art Fair...and more.

I'm just back from a trip to London - a mixture of research for the gallery and seeing some exhibitions that I wanted to catch before they finished. I got quite ill with a cold bug while I was away, being on the Tube with a temperature wasn't fun but I still managed to stick to my plans more or less.

London always seems so sunny and warm compared to Scotland and, sure enough, as I walked to my hotel, I wondered why I'd brought a coat. I went to the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House to see 'Beyond Bloomsbury' an exhibition focusing on the work of the 'Omega Workshop'. I was meeting a friend who I hadn't seen for a year and we did more chatting than concentrating on the exhibition - even so I was a little disappointed and thought the exhibition was a bit light on content. I love the Courtauld Gallery though, home of one of my favourite Modigliani paintings.

We then went to the Private View of Ceramics In The City. My friends Hannah McAndrew and Philomena Pretsell were both exhibiting and it was great to see them. There was a fabulous selection of work on show and I was very tempted to buy quite a few pieces. I bought a mug for Jill by Sophie McCarthy, it's decorated with a beautiful design of green grass and blue birds using a wax resist technique.

I was staying in Bloomsbury - a new part of town for me - so the next day I took a nice walk in the sunshine through Russell Square and went to the British Museum to see Gardens and Cosmos. The paintings were exquisite, I didn't want to leave. So much detail, colour and beauty in every painting. Every painting told a story

A big disappointment were the commercial galleries in Cork Street - there didn't seem to be much going on at all and what I did see made me feel quite bored. I made a swift exit to Liberty's and saw better examples of Art in the Scarves and Handbag department!

Finally, I went to The British Art Fair. It was unlike other Art fairs I've been to as each exhibitor had been allocated quite a large space. There was some great work on show. I fell in love with a Whyn Lewis painting... one day!

Before I caught the train I managed to see the new Ceramics Department at the V & A. What a treat! Studio Pottery, Commercial Pottery, pots from 3500 BC, a fabulous coil pot by Grayson Perry (one of my favourites potters), so much to see that I want to make a return visit soon.

Can't wait for the next trip!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Italian Blog

The card for our current exhibition of Richard W. Boardman Bronze Sculpture has been featured on an Italian Blog:


For those of you who don't speak Italian here is a translation, kindly provided by Richard:

We highlight a major exhibition of Richard W. Boardman, opened this summer at McGill Duncan Gallery in Castle Douglas in Scotland. The exhibition features bronze sculptures of the artist and will continue until October 2009, on the official website of the gallery you have more information. The brochure of the exhibition was created with Adobe InDesign for page layout and Photoshop for cropping images

This card was my first attempt at using InDesign for gallery publications and I have since gone on to do a couple more designs - it's getting easier to use and I'm finding many more functions - in fact it is such great sofware I feel as if I will never stop learning how to use it!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Feast Of Fine Work By The Artists Who Lunch

Pat Edgar and Allan Beveridge from the Artists' Lunch

A review of our current exhibition was published in The Galloway News today:

Feast Of Fine Work By The Artists Who Lunch

Sunday saw the start of a lively exhibition at McGill Duncan Gallery, featuring artists from the Dundee, Angus and Fife area, accompanied by a wealth of different ceramics from the gallery’s favourite potters.

The exhibition has an unusual title: ‘The Artists’ Lunch with a Feast of Pots’. Lil Neilson (1938-1998), an artist and friend of the late Joan Eardley, founded ‘The Artists’ Lunch’. Her idea was that as her artist friends often worked in isolation, they should have the chance to meet and exchange ideas, as well as good food and wine! The tradition continues to this day and all the artists exhibiting in Castle Douglas are members of this fascinating artistic group. Joe McIntyre from Dundee is showing a new collection of his oil paintings alongside the group.

Their styles are diverse and this has given the gallery space a vibrant energy. Two of the gallery’s regular exhibitors – John Johnstone and Barbara Robertson are part of the Artist’s Lunch group and the gallery thought that exhibiting work from the whole group would be a great chance to bring a diverse range of painting and printmaking from some very talented artists. John Johnstone’s eye catching and distinctive works are full of characters and unusual compositions. ‘Swings in a Red Sky’ is a vibrant painting of people swinging against the backdrop of a bright red sky, the people perched on swings appear from all corners of the painting and what is unusual is that they are not children playing on swings, but fully grown adults. It is unquestionably a ‘John Johnstone’ painting- you won’t find anyone else painting like him. John says he is interested in painting ‘characters’ not just people.

Another gallery favourite, printmaker Barbara Robertson, works exclusively in linocut. She has produced a linocut that is particularly appropriate for an exhibition in Castle Douglas – a cat called ‘Black Douglas’. But this is no ordinary cat, this cat has an evil looking toothy grin and a bright red heart round his neck, and he is perched on stone ramparts. Barbara says this came about as she has a friend with a cat called ‘Black Douglas’ and she imagined the cat as the evil resident of Threave Castle!

Rufus McKidd paints cows, in fact she loves painting cows so much that she paints nothing else. Her two paintings ‘Crail Cows’ and ‘Coastal Cows’ hang as a pair in the gallery, you can almost feel the cows’ heavy breath as you look at the paintings and Rufus has displayed great talent in her depiction of these peaceful beasts. She says many people have asked her to paint horses but she finds cows and all their different personalities far more interesting.

One of the largest etchings ever exhibited at the gallery is ‘Cabbages Under Snow’ by Dawson Murray RSW RGI. This well established artist and printmaker has shown incredible sensitivity in his depiction of what could be viewed by some as a mundane subject. His composition of soft curves and delicate colours takes the snowy garden into near abstraction and confronts the viewer with both the delicacy and tenacity of the cabbage plants, surviving through the harshest of winters.

To complement the exciting collection of paintings and prints the gallery is bursting with pots from ceramicists including a McGill Duncan Gallery first – ceramics from their first artist living and working in the USA. Ron Philbeck makes earthenware pots decorated with endearing scraffito drawings. Zoë Blamire from the gallery found Ron’s work through writing about the gallery on her Blog (www.mcgillduncangallery.blogspot.com). Ron writes regularly in his Blog and shares ideas through the Blogs of local potters Christine Smith and Hannah McAndrew. The Private View saw a rash of red dots on Ron’s Work and only three pieces remain. His ‘Washing Line’ design on plates was incredibly popular and the gallery could have sold them several times over.

‘The internet has made the world a smaller place and it is now much easier for artists to get their work and ideas across to a larger audience’ says Zoë, ‘living in different countries is no boundary and I think it’s wonderful that the Web can bring to my attention the work of artists from all over the world. And, in turn people living anywhere can read about what I’m doing here in Castle Douglas at the Gallery. I must admit that unpacking a parcel of pottery that had travelled all the way from the US was a little nerve wracking, but Ron’s work survived the journey - it was such a thrill to see it for real, only having seen the pottery before in photographs, and after reading about all about Ron’s creative exploits on his Blog.’

This eclectic and diverse show runs until the 10th of October. www.mcillduncangallery.com

Happy Birthday Beano

Beano was eight yesterday - yes eight! I baked a cake for him.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Photos from our Opening

Here's the photos from the Opening on Sunday of our new show 'The Artists' Lunch with oil paintings by Joe McIntyre and a Feast of Pots'.

Dot and Allan Beveridge with their dog Inky and Pat Edgar. Allan and Pat are both members of the Artists' lunch.

Allan and Pat with Pat's painting 'Sun Shower.'

Ron Philbeck's pots - I wanted to display them like a picnic so I put a green cloth under the table and a bunch of jolly looking yellow daisies on the table - I was really pleased with how it all looked. As you can see from the red dots the pots were nearly all sold.

My brother Joss and our friend Judy Lever sitting under John Johnstone's painting 'Swings in a Red Sky.'

Me and Joss with Richard Boardman's bronze elephant - the elephant got a lot of pats on the back from passers by!

Friday, 4 September 2009

How to display...?

Setting up a new exhibition is pretty hard work - it takes weeks and weeks of planning. When the time nears for the Private View I really enjoy the transformation that takes place in the gallery. Every time there is a different feel about the exhibiting space.

For the show which opens on Sunday (2 - 4pm, you are all welcome!) we have many different pots from lots of different potters. It is called 'A Feast of Pots' to go with the painters who are 'The Artists' Lunch'.

Hannah McAndrew makes beautiful earthenware slipware using traditional coloured glazes. I bought some red gingham to display her pots on as she has sent a complete table setting. I wanted to display her work in a homely way. I think it works, but I'm not sure if I should set it with the knife and fork? Is this taking 'A Feast of Pots' too far?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Our first artist from the USA - Ron Philbeck.

We had a rather exciting delivery today.

A delivery of pots all the way from US potter Ron Philbeck. I came across Ron's work through the amazing network of potters who Blog. My potter friends Hannah McAndrew and Christine Smith both share ideas with him through their own Blogs.

I particularly love his decoration - the great sense of line he has in his scraffito work and his choice use of colour.

Here I am unwrapping the pots today - no breakages thank goodness.

What does bronze look like before the patina is applied?

Many of our customers have been fascinated by the process involved in casting the bronze sculpture that we have in the Gallery. The artist Richard Boardman sent me these two pictures, taken at the Bronzarte Foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy.

This photo shows the molten bronze being poured into the moulds.

Here is Richard's fish after it has been cast and before the patina is added. You can see the natural colour of the bronze. The patina is realised by applying acid to the bronze. Different types of acid produce different coloured patinas. Many of the sculptures in this exibition have gone through this process twice with a black patina being applied followed by a coloured patina such as green or brown.