Friday, 27 September 2013

Liverpool - Chagall and the RC Catherdral

We had a great trip to Liverpool on Friday. Both Jill and I love Chagall's work so we'd been looking forward to this exhibition and it certainly didn't disappoint. The exhibition was in chronological order, ending up with the period when he was living in the South of France as an old man.

Highlights for me were The Poet Reclining and The Green Donkey. Both of these paintings were based on memories; the latter of his native homeland, Russia and the former of his honeymoon with his wife Bella.

We were staying near Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral and took the opportunity to explore it. Designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd and completed in 1967 it is certainly a building of the modernist architecture of the 1960s. That's me in the photos in a pink top, you can see the impressive scale of the building. I loved the concrete simplicity of the design. It was good to see how many artists had been involved in the project - Elizabeth Frink made a sculpture for the altar and John Piper designed exquisite stained glass windows, many more artists contributed pieces to all the different chapels.

The crypts, underneath the modern Cathedral, were designed and built in the 1930s by Lutyens for a Cathedral that was never completed. The brickwork and motifs are absolutely beautiful and typical of Arts and Crafts Architecture.

I was in my element as the building as a whole combines two of my favourite periods of architectural design.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

EAFS - The Nithraid

It was the Autumn equinox and the highest tides of the year at the weekend. So, the Environmental Arts Festival marked this event in style with The Nithraid.

My preparation for The Nithraid began with a mammoth baking session. Lots of hungry sailors were due to arrive up the Nith and The Stove were making sure they were well catered for.

I didn't speed round any corners with this lot sitting in my car boot on the way to Dumfries!

Beautiful banners swirling into the Nith as the boats arrived at The Caul, in the centre of Dumfries.

Artist Stan Bonnar, maker of the salt cow, playing his 'pipe' instrument!

Stan Bonnar with his Salt Cow - which was about to be dunked in the Nith.

The Salt Cow rises above the Nith.

The cow is lowered into the Nith by Stan, Sam Booth and his winning crew.

My neighbour Morag arrives with her crew.

Morag looking very proud, and so she should after tackling such a challenging route. She was sailing for Relationship Scotland and Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust

The Nithraid - a daring raid up the Nith into the centre of Dumfries on Saturday- was quite a spectacle. The boats left from Carsethorn and made a 20 mile journey up to The Caul in the centre of Dumfries.

As the boats were setting off, the Salt Cow was leaving The Stove and journeying through Dumfries. It was followed by an enthusiastic percussion group, expertly led by Christine Hester Smith. Christine had written a song for the cow and lots of different drumming rhythms. I joined in with the band but I'm not sure how much I added to the Samba Rythmns as a complete novice!

The cow was symbolic of the trade between Dumfries and the rest of the world - at one time Dumfries had a thriving port and exported beef preserved in salt. It had been beautifully sculpted by artist Stan Bonnar.

As the cow was being transported out to the middle of the river the first boat arrived, skippered by artist blacksmith Adam Booth. The cow was ceremonially dunked by the winning crew and the salt dissolved into the Nith to join the incoming salty tide.

I met up with some neighbours and we were lucky enough to see another neighbour, Morag, arrive on her boat and we gave her a big round of applause.

Then it was time for soup and cakes and home for a well earned rest.

Many thanks to Kevin for such great photos - you're a star!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Sue Binns Pottery

Calling all fans of stripes!

Sue Binns pottery with Claire Harrigan RSW's painting 'Mangoes and Starfruit'

We have a new delivery of stripy loveliness in the form of Sue Binns pottery in the gallery. Endless combinations of blue and white stripes. They are so decorative but also so enjoyable to use. At coffee time we always reach for a Sue Binns mug.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Visit to Philip Mould's Gallery

A week to go until The Wigtown Book Festival and if you haven't got tickets yet I highly recommend it: it is absolutely brilliant.

Last year Jill and I bid in the Wigtown Book Festival Fight For Sight charity auction for a visit to Philip Mould's gallery in London.

We went down to London at the beginning of the summer and had a wonderful time in Philip's gallery. The collection of portraits was quite awe inspiring. Jill and I both loved the two van Dyke self portraits, they were the highlight of our visit. Philip was a fantastic host and even showed us some of the paintings that will be featured in the new series of Fake or Fortune in early 2014. Although he didn't tell us what the outcome of all their investigations was!

Here are a couple of photos from our visit:

An amazing self portrait by Anthony van Dyke with the most beautiful frame.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

EAFS - Walking The Tide

 Waiting to set off at Kippford Village Hall

About to cross to Rough Island

Walking The Tide

The flags following on from the windcatchers - this is the group of people who followed with flags, they had young children and or dogs and didn't carry the big windcatchers.

On Rough Island we all lined up along the tide marks on the beach.

Happiness! Jill's face says it all.

For me, Walking The Tide was definitely one of the highlights of the Environmental Arts Festival.

Artists Florencia García Chafuén and Jo Hodges produced a piece of art full of happiness and joy. We enjoyed the Galloway landscape at its best, and left nothing more than a few extra stones on the cairn at Rough Island at the end. Visually, it was absolutely stunning but, to many of the participants, the experience were also incredibly moving.

From the jolly walk through Kippford with a band playing, to the silence of the crossing and then the coming together on Rough Island where we all sang together into the wind (expertly lead by Ali Burns). It was an amazing experience.

Sometimes environmental art takes on a very masculine nature with large objects on the landscape 'making their mark'. This piece had a very feminine feel to it - not surprising considering it was a collaboration between three women. For me the piece was about reaching out, forming bonds, treasuring the landscape and collaborating to make a thing of immense beauty. We all came together in windswept Kippford, linked the mainland and Rough Island with our billowing red wind-catchers, and left with memories which will last forever.

Photographer Mike Bolam took some great photos of the event here.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

EAFS - The Rise and Fall of The Grey Mare's Tail & The Dark Outside FM

James Winnett - The Rise and Fall of The Grey Mare's Tail

The inaugural Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS) took place across the region from 30th August - 2nd September. It was a busy weekend for us, opening our new exhibition, but by the end of the day on Saturday we managed to rush away and go to Clatteringshaws to see what was happening up there. Sadly we didn't get there in time to see Alex Rigg's Sporopollen but the location was spectacular and we met up with lots of friends who told us the Grey Mare's Tail installation was just along the road (not in Moffat as we had thought!).

Having been at work all day we made our way along the road feeling quite hungry and tired and wishing we'd brought something to eat. We tuned into The Dark Outside FM and enjoyed the journey along the road. Low and behold The Green Tea House was parked by the road side serving lovely hot dinners to all the people who were gathering for a night of intrigue and mystery. Green Tea lady Catherine Braid saved the day.

It was interesting to see that James Winnett had produced Victorian looking prints of his work The Rise and Fall of the Grey Mare's tail. In our gallery we sell work by Victorian aritst James Faed Jnr - an artist well known for his love of waterfalls. I pondered on what James Faed Jnr and his family would have made of it all?

As we started to walk up to the Murray's Monument some excited children ran down the hill towards us and stopped to explain that they'd just met The Archivist and seen EVERYTHING in his suitcase. We were intrigued. And there he was with his suitcase, half way up the hill and surrounded by midges. What followed was a brilliant piece of performance art. We delved into the suitcase, our questions were answered with great insight, knowledge and theatre and we learned of all the proposals that didn't make it into the final festival line up - some of which sounded amazing.

At the top of the hill, in the shadow of Murray's Monument The Dark Outside FM was broadcasting recordings that had been sent in from all over the world - none of it had been heard in public before. We lounged in the blow up sofas and had a rest away from the midges. What a way to spend an evening in the Galloway Forest...

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Opening Night

Jill and Vivien with paintings by Alexander R. Robb and Glen Scouller RSW RGI

Painting by Jock MacInnes and ceramics by Rebecca Callis and Sue Dunne

Ceramics by Rebecca Callis, paintings by Ewan McClure, Claire Harrigan RSW and Leo Blamire

We had a wonderful opening night on Friday for our new exhibition, The Art of Still Life. We were very lucky to have artist Ewan McClure painting a Still Life during the opening. Here are a couple photos - you can view the full set on our Facebook page here.

We were very lucky to have people travel from far and wide to see the exhibition. It truly is a celebration of Still Life and it is amazing to see the different styles and subjects all coming together to make a captivating show.