Thursday, 30 December 2010

Happy New Year

SILVANA McLEAN Relics of The First Snows 
gesso with oil glazes on canvas 33 x 33 cm £495

We would like to wish all our customers a very Happy New Year.

2010 has been a very enjoyable year in the gallery, with some fantastic pieces passing through our hands. During August we had a record breaking show with paintings from Oppenheimer to Hornel and Paterson, and many other Glasgow Boys. It made us very proud of the history that this gallery has for selling Galloway Paintings from the 19th century onwards and it was such a delight to sit surrounded by paintings which reflect the strength of our local and national artistic heritage.

The contemporary exhibitions during the rest of the year gave us the opportunity to work with new artists and makers, and also invite returning artists. Many of the artists with whom we work have become good friends and we enjoy keeping in touch and hearing all about their latest projects and inspirations.

2011 will bring lots of vibrant new exhibitions to Castle Douglas and we look forward to them with much excitement and anticipation.

We were pleased to launch a brand new gallery web site just before Christmas - this project had been a long time in the planning and it hasn't been an easy process. However, our customers from all over the country can now shop from the gallery online. The web site is an ongoing project and we have plans to develop it further in the New Year.

On a personal note, the New Year will see me embark on my second house renovation project. Not a tenement flat in Glasgow this time, but a tiny Arts and Crafts cottage in Galloway. I am looking forward to reintroducing some period features and furniture and mixing the old with the new. I have to put central heating in before I can get on with the job that interests me the most - interior decorating! I may not have a new kitchen but I already have some fantastic pieces of art for the house, and I can't wait to move in.

New Year Opening Times

Friday 31st December 10 am - 4 pm
Saturday 1st January closed
Sunday 2nd January closed
Monday 3rd January 10 am - 5 pm, open as usual

Galloway News Review

A review of our current exhibition appeared in today's Galloway News. If you can't read it above here's the text:

The annual ‘Galloway’ exhibition at McGill Duncan Gallery is a tradition that dates back many years. Artists who live in Galloway, as well as artists who come to seek inspiration from the landscapes and landmarks of Galloway are taking part in the seasonal show.

Fittingly for this cold snap, there are many fantastic winter landscapes, including an atmospheric scene of Scaur Glen, in the coldest of Januarys, by Alison Proudlock.

Gallery owners Jill and ZoĆ« Blamire have curated a special section of the exhibition along the theme of Galloway Forest’s ‘Dark Sky Park’. Galloway is the first region in the UK to be awarded ‘Dark Skies’ status by the International Dark Sky Association with the Authority of Unesco. For this part of the exhibition potters and printmakers have produced wonderfully imaginative pieces, which have been popular over the festive season.

Sue Dunne, who makes ceramics with impressions of collected plant specimens, searched for plants whose seed heads have a natural starry shape. She also used star fish and create a collage of different starry themed tiles.

Local potter Hannah McAndrew made small jugs depicting ‘Star Gazing’ as well as striking candle holders pierced with patterns of star constellations. When lit, these constellations reflect stars on a wall – a perfect tribute to the fantastic clear starry skies that we get in Galloway.

To coincide with this exhibition the gallery launched a new e-commerce web site, which means customers from across the country can now shop from the gallery online Zoe Blamire said ‘This is an exciting development for our business, we have people who regularly travel long distances to visit the gallery – it will now be much easier for them to buy art from us and it also gives local people the chance to browse online before they come to the gallery’.

The exhibition runs until the 31st of January and all work is available to purchase with ‘Own Art’ a Creative Scotland initiative to make it easy to buy art in ten interest free monthly payments.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Goldfinches Drift

 LISA HOOPER A Charm of Goldfinches hand coloured linocut £250 framed, £200 unframed

Our good friend John Burns sent us this brilliant poem. It's perfect for the season, so I thought I would share it with you. It also goes very nicely with one of the artworks that we have in the gallery - 'A Charm of Goldfinches' by Lisa Hooper. John actually wasn't aware of Lisa's linocut and got a pleasant surprise when he saw it in the gallery.

John is a teacher, poet and author. Some of you may remember the very successful and lively book launch that we had for him in the gallery for his book 'Series of Dreams - The Vision Songs of Bob Dylan'.

goldfinches drift

goldfinches drift
through falling snow
a charm
against the coldness
of the heart

goldfinches drift
through falling snow
a charm
against the coldness
of the heart

goldfinches drift
through falling snow
a charm
against the coldness
of the heart

Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas

JOSEPHINE BROEKHUIZEN 'View From Whiterock' linocut 30 x 30 cm £180 unframed

We would like to wish all our customers a very Happy Christmas.

We are open between Christmas and New Year:
Monday 27th December 10am - 5pm
Tuesday 28th December 10am - 5pm
Wednesday 29th December 10am - 5pm
Thursday 30th December 10am - 5pm
Friday 31st December 10am - 4pm

We will have the coal fire lit in the gallery and we'll be serving ginger wine to our customers throughout the week.

And of course, our new online shop is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Snowed In?

If the snow and ice is keeping you inside you can now shop at McGill Duncan Gallery from the comfort of your home.

Take a look at our great new e-commerce web site

New artwork will be added all the time.

I hope you find it easy to use but if you have any comments or feedback please please email me:

Friday, 17 December 2010

2011 Lunar Calendar by Saskia Pomeroy

Wouldn't this make a lovely Christmas present? Perfect for adults and children alike.

London based artist Saskia Pomeroy has hand printed this two colour screen print on 170 gsm white plike paper. The ink on the moons even glows in the dark. The edition is limited to 100. And it's only £20.

I definitely want one. They're in the gallery now.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Save Our Squirrels

My cousin Amy, who is Red Squirrel Field Officer for The Wildlife Trust in Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside asked me to let people know about this.

Save Our Squirrels is involved in a campaign called 'scribble a squirrel' to raise funds (their funding runs out completely in 6 months).  The idea is that famous people scribble a squirrel and they auction them on Ebay. The first auction is for original drawings by Axel Scheffler (the creator of the The Gruffalo). They are currently on Ebay until 13th Dec. The drawings are absolutely delightful.

More information about the scribble a squirrel campaign can be found here:

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lots of Stripy Sue Binns Pots

We have lots of new stripy Sue Binns pottery in the gallery. I love them! The cobalt blue and white matte glazes are so tactile. The little coffee cups are a delight to drink out of - the porcelain is really fine which makes them nice and light but they still feel very sturdy and they have such an appealing shape.

Leo took this photo of me buried in packaging as I unpacked the pots last week.

On a different note. I know I've been talking about it for a long time, but our new web site really is nearly ready to launch. We are just sorting out some technical hitches and it should be ready to go - exciting!

McGill Duncan Gallery on Facebook

McGill Duncan Gallery now has a Facebook page. Please 'like' us and become a fan.

I will be posting regular photos and updates from the gallery.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Photos from the Opening

Our new Galloway Exhibition got off to a great start with a very festive opening on Saturday. The wine mulled scented the gallery with cloves and cinnamon, and a jolly good crowd turned out in spite of the weather.

Here are a few of my photos from the day:

Lettie Blackett's Seascape looked perfect with Amanda Simmons glass, Stuart Beaty's wood sculpture and Sue Binns' stripy jugs.

Our 'Dark Skies' inspired pieces were highly praised and quite a few pieces were snapped up straight away.

Lettie Blackett's Rockcliffe painting with Hilke MacIntyre's ceramic panels, Christine Smith's Sailor with Telescope and Paul Young's Mermaid Group and Archie Sutter Watt's drawing.

Lettie Blackett's seascape with Freda Blackwood's screenprint of Oystercatchers and Paul Young's brilliant pottery.

James Orr's Balmaghie Church with Lisa Hooper's Oystercatchers. On the mantle piece you can see Christine Smith's pottery penguins (which are all sold) and Allan Craig's copper clock.

A view of gallery two.

Paul Young's striking slip trailed charger and candle holder.

Bella Green's painting 'At Dryfe, remembering Tuscany' with Paul Young's Dovecot.

Margaret Brampton's very popular insect bowls.

The roaring fire in gallery one with Sandy Murphy RSW RGI's Jug with Mixed Flowers painting, Alexander R Robb's Winter Landscape, Auldgirth, and Ralston Gudgeon RSW's Pouter Pigeons.

The view through to gallery two with Paul Young bird egg cups and Sheep and Goat hand built slipware.

And this is only a taster of what we have on display, it really is a great show.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Saltire Prize Green Energy Award

Today Scotland's First Minister announced a £1,000 competition – sponsored by industry body Scottish Renewables and open to Art Students across Scotland – to design an Award medal.

Scotland’s marine energy Saltire Prize Green Energy Award will recognise outstanding contributions to the development of wave and tidal power. It will be presented at Scottish Renewables’ annual conference in March 2011.

My brother Joss works for Scottish Renewables as a Policy Manager and has been involved with launching the competition.

The Medal design competition is open to undergraduate students in further education colleges and universities across Scotland studying in the areas of silversmithing and jewellery, three dimensional design and other craft-based design and fine art programmes.

Entry is free. Entry packs and full details of terms and conditions can be obtained by emailing

I look forward to seeing the winning design, which will be chosen by a judging panel of: (chair) Seona Reid, Director of Glasgow School of Art; Alasdair Gray, writer & artist; Professor Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland; Barclay Price, Director, Arts and Business Scotland; Caroline Parkinson, Director, Creative Scotland; Moira Jeffrey, art critic; Niall Stuart, Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables; Rachel Henderson artist and writer; Leah Black, Independent Jewellery Expert and Neil Kermode, Managing Director, European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

Friday, 3 December 2010

Santa comes to Castle Douglas

This is the view from our gallery last night - Santa had his grotto and a street disco at 'Ranchers' the metal workers across the road from us during the late night Christmas shopping.

We've had a bit more snow today but we're hoping lots of people will still be able to come to our opening tomorrow. We'll have mulled wine and a cosy open fire - the gallery really comes into its own in this chilly weather and feels very festive.

Hope to see you from 11am tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Galloway Exhibition takes shape

Leo took these photos during a tea break - we're hanging the Galloway Exhibition and it's all starting to look just great. In the photo you can see Christine Smith's 'Dark Skies Vase' spying on Jill eating a delicious sour cherry Christmas filo pie from 'Thistle B Scrumptious'. The vase sold as soon as it came into the gallery but we have some more of her amazing pieces in the show. She has really embraced our 'Dark Skies' theme and made some fantastic work for us - thanks Christine!

We're open for late night shopping!

Berries in the Gallery Garden

We're open on Thursday the 2nd of December for late night shopping until 8pm.

We will be serving ginger wine or non alcoholic ginger cordial while you view.

Castle Douglas is looking very festive and there's lots going on in the town on Thursday night. Our neighbour Clint Burgess at Thistle B Scrumptious will be opening late too, so you can stock up on some delicious Scottish fayre on your way down to see us in the gallery.

Leo has been helping us with our in-house product shots today and it's been brilliant to have an extra pair of hands in the gallery while we set up the exhibition. He's been photographing paintings that are already behind glass, which is quite a challenge, but he's done a great job.  He also took some really lovely photos of our snowy gallery garden. Thanks Leo!