Spring in air in Castle Douglas
Castle Douglas is playing host to seven dynamically different artists in the new spring exhibition at McGill Duncan Gallery. It may still be cold and a bit rainy outside but the gallery is bursting with colour and warmth. To complement the beautiful art work Jill and Zoë Blamire have filled the gallery with hyacinths, daffodils and primroses. ‘To us this exhibition is a celebration of the end of a very cold dark winter. The work is all very uplifting and vibrant and looking at it makes you feel good.’ said Jill, one of the gallery owners.
Only one of the artists lives in Galloway – Amanda Simmons, who has created new pieces inspired by hydrangeas for this spring exhibition. Her kiln formed etched glass bowls are sophisticated in their colour and form. A new wall piece – Tea Time Treats was created after Amanda spent time enjoying baking in her Corsock kitchen during a winter that saw her snowed in on more than one occasion. The pieces convey her delight in making cakes and serving them with proper cups and saucers. Amanda is taking a break from Spring Fling and not opening her studio during the event so this is a great opportunity to see her work locally. Her work is very much in demand nationally and 2010 will see her taking part in some major exhibitions.
Three of the artists, Michael J Ashcroft, Winifred Hodge and Rosie Villiers –Stuart, make frequent trips to Galloway to paint. Michael Ashcroft is particularly drawn to coastline around Kippford and Rockcliffe and there are sea scapes and village scenes by him including one of ‘The Ark’ shop in Kippford.
Winifred Hodge was born in Galloway and lived here for many years. She now lives in Wensleydale and is inspired by the hills of Galloway and Yorkshire, as well the seas around the Hebrides and the North West Coast of Scotland. Her work has proved very popular with customers.
Another popular gallery artist is Rosie Villiers-Stuart. In the past she has had an artist’s residency at Carlaverock, painting wild birds. She uses watercolour in a direct masterly way and makes very little marks, if any, on the paper before she starts painting. This style of working lends itself to painting ‘en plein air’ which she does on the Bass Rock and Treshnish Islands, painting Shags and Gannets whilst perched on cliffs.
Anitra Rushbrook paints still lives in oils. They have a still, peaceful, quality. This quality can be seen in her painting ‘Out of The Box’ : a small figurative sculpture standing in front of an empty box. Her palette is often very neutral but this show has seen her presenting new paintings in a richer palette such as ‘Fruit’ and ‘Purple Flowers’.
Dutch born artist Josephine Broekhuizen is a new face at the gallery. She comes from a long line of famous Hague School painters. Her work reflects her family life on the Isle of Arran where she paints from a large studio on her eight acre small holding.
Collectable artist James Orr has exhibited a selection of scenes from the West Coast of Scotland. The colour and vigour of his work mark him out as a distinctively Scottish artist. His colourful paintings balance perfectly with some of the more feminine works on show and create a display of great artistic talent in Castle Douglas not to be missed.
The exhibition runs until the 4th of May. www.mcgillduncangallery.com