Saturday, 30 July 2011

A Weekend of Art - At Home

Kathryn with Antony the whippet.

A few weekends ago my friend Kathryn came for a visit. She moved to London last year and I miss her a lot so it was good to spend time together and catch up with all we've been up to since we last met.

Having a couple of days off work gave me a chance to tour around the region and it felt like a holiday, even though we only ventured a few miles from home. We took Antony my new puppy with us for a lot of the trips and he loved going out and about. The only photo I have from the weekend is this one of Kathryn and Antony in the gallery garden. I wish I had taken my camera to Kirkcudbright as Hornel's garden at Broughton House is in full bloom and absolutely beautiful.

When I picked Kathryn up from the station in Dumfries we went round the corner to Gracefield Arts Centre to see the Vija Celmins exhibiton - it is part of the Artist Rooms series of touring exhibitions. Dawn Henderby, the Arts Officer, very kindly let us watch a 20 minute film of Celmins talking about her work and the techniques she uses.  The woodcuts, charcoal and pencil drawings are meticulous and you can really only appreciate their qualities with close observation. This was my second visit and I definitely needed to come back and really study the work. Unfortunately the exhibition closed today but hopefully there'll be more Artist Rooms touring exhibitions coming to Dumfries.

On Saturday, after a trip to Loch Ken, we went to Kirkcudbight to see The Glasgow Boys. I had seen the exhibition briefly on the Opening night but it was good to go back for a much closer look. I think I'll go back for a third visit before it closes at the end of August. Most of the paintings are different from the major Glasgow Boys at Kelvingrove last year. There are so many I absolutely love: David Gauld's portrait of a girl and Patterson's portrait of his wife to name but two.

The Tolbooth on Kirkcudbright's High Street has a really interesting exhibition called The Glasgow Style with lots of applied arts: copper work, painted pottery and glass and jewellery by artists such as Jessie M King and Mary Elizabeth Watt. It was much quieter than The Glasgow Boys exhibition but it really is worth a visit if you're in Kirkcudbright this summer.

Further round the corner on the High Street, past Jessie M King's house - Greengate, is Broughton House. I've been visiting Broughton House, which was Hornel's home and studio since I was tiny. We picked a good day to visit as the sun was blazing and the garden was looking quite magical. I loved the greenhouse full of geraniums and the beds of scented roses. It inspired me to plant some Sea Holly in my new garden as the purple thistles looked so magnificent. They were planted next to a bed of bright red flowers and the red and purple looked fantastic. I am surprising myself with how much I love my new garden... I just have to get my house renovated so I can actually spend some time there!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Galloway Paintings - online

The Tolbooth, Kirkcudbright by Charles Oppenheimer RSA RSW 1875-1961

Our Galloway Paintings exhibition is available to view on our web site. Please phone if you would like to view any of the paintings prior to our Opening on the 6th August.

We are looking forward to this exhibition with much excitement. Jill has been busy painting the gallery walls ready to start hanging the paintings next week and I have been updating our web site and also working on a new site. More news of that to follow

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Scotsman Steps

I recommend a visit to the newly refurbished Scotsman Steps in Edinburgh.

Martin Creed's work 1059 uses 104 different types of marble. The work was commissioned by The Fruit Market Gallery. I love all the beautiful colours and patterns in the marble.

Last week I climbed them on a gloriously sunny day. I was in Edinburgh to view work for our forthcoming 'Galloway Paintings' exhibition. We have some outstanding paintings for the show and we are really looking forward to having Oppenheimers, Mounceys and James Faed Juniors (to name but a few) in the gallery for our annual exhibition.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Yellow House

Tea and Cherries in the gallery garden as Jill finishes The Yellow House before her book group meeting.

Jill had her book group on Friday. It was started by her friend Vivien and is a very friendly informal group who meet at each others houses about once a month. Jill chose The Yellow House by Martin Gayford and hosted the book group at our house. We chose snacks to theme the evening 'Old Amsterdam' and Brie cheeses to represent Van Gogh being dutch and Gauguin's french heritage, and a lemon tart because of the yellow colour of the house in Arles where they stayed! We even had a bowl of sunflower seeds and Joyce brought a lovely bouquet of Sunflowers.

Leo recommended the book originally and then I read it and recommended it to Jill. It is about the time Vincent Van Gogh spent in Arles, staying in 'The Yellow House'. During his time there Paul Gauguin came to stay, and they painted together. The letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo give many details of Van Gogh's life at that time. Gayford has cleverly woven the tale around historical facts. Reading the book made his life very real. I loved reading about how he furnished the house and the details of how he managed the domestic arrangements when he had another artist come to stay in the house. He was obsessed with making a sucesful artists' house and how they should both work together to fulfill their artistic visions. I've been lucky enough to see Vincent's paintings at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and my visit there was definitely enhanced by all the little facts about his life that I gleaned from reading 'The Yellow House.' I highly recommend it, and so did the book group. The worst thing about the book is the poor reproductions of the paintings, they are only in black and white.

Joyce is now suggesting a book group trip to Amsterdam to see all Vincent's paintings described in the book in all their colourful glory.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New Etching by Pamela Grace

Pamela Grace Late Spring In The Garden solar plate etching £135
Pamela Grace came to see us in the gallery yesterday. She brought a new collection of her Solar Plate etchings. The image I've chosen for this Blog post is my favourite - Late Spring In The Garden. It is a hand coloured etching, so each one in the edition will be slightly different. There's something absolutely lovely about a good washing line and the hens really make it for me too. I regret not taking a photo of an all pink washing that I hung out once -  it looked amazing, an art work in itself!

The etching is available to buy in our online shop, so where ever you are in the county it can be yours. It is mounted, ready to frame.