Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Christopher Wood RSW

As a gallery owner, I have a secret list of 'would love to show' artists. 

There were many things that inspired my dream of one day opening my own gallery.  One of those things were the artists whose work I most admired, wished I could paint like, and hoped one day to be lucky enough to have their work hanging on my walls.

One of those artists was Christopher Wood RSW.  He has always been on my dream list and at last he is exhibiting at the gallery in our special exhibition, Six Degrees of Separation.

His paintings go straight for my heart.  Essentially abstract, they are full of passion, colour and fearlessness.  Everything I love, and terribly hard to find in the one package!

Still a young man, Christopher is an incredibly highly esteemed artist with the accolades to prove it.  Having trained at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating with an Honours degree in Drawing and Painting in 1984, he has been awarded as: 

President of the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA); Vice-President of the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA); Board Member of the Exhibiting Societies of Scotland (ESSA); An elected member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW); Elected to serve on the Council of the SSA; A Professional Member of The Glasgow Art Club; An Elected Member of The Paisley Art Institute (PAI); An Elected Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA).  Collections include: HRH Prince Charles the Duke of Rothesay.

You get the picture!  A highly successful artist who is respected by art-lovers and artists alike, always a sign of a truly great artist.  I am delighted to be exhibiting his work at long last at Smithy Gallery.  Dreams do come true! 

To view all works by Christopher Wood RSW, click on the following link:  http://www.smithygallery.co.uk/CurrentInages6.html

Thanks for reading!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Kevin Low

Kevin Low is currently exhibiting in our new exhibition, Six Degrees of Separation.

I spotted his work a year or so ago and was immediately taken with it.  This response is always what I'm on the look out for, and it doesn't happen very often.

The Acrobat

His work is striking and enigmatic.  Each painting draws you into the world of a carefully crafted character, complete with back story, hopes and dreams.  They are at once intriguing, witty and mysterious.  And most intriguing of all, this isn’t painting as we know it.

Annie Copeland as the Ingenue from 'The Devil in the Wings'

Kevin is using a new technique to create his beautiful works.  Recently championed by David Hockney, the technique of digital painting is being explored by more and more artists.  Never to replace painting, it is another medium that can now be used to create works of art.

Miss Heatherwicke as 'Winter'

He draws and paints with a digital 'tablet' and 'pen', building up layers and layers until his vision is complete.  Then they are printed using the highest quality archival papers and inks. Each print is produced only in an edition of 10, making them pleasingly more affordable.  They will never be reproduced.

Parlour Window Waiting

Kevin is fast becoming one of Scotland’s best-known digital painters and we are delighted to welcome this new medium and it’s gorgeous results to Smithy Gallery.

The medium, like any other is secondary to what is created.  I think these paintings are beautiful and intriguing, and yes I'm taking one home with me!

Take a look at the website for all of Kevin's paintings at http://www.smithygallery.co.uk/CurrentInages9.html 
And just look at those red dots!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It Was Six Degrees on Sunday!

There was a fabulous turn out for the opening of our new exhibition, Six Degrees of Separation on Sunday. 

The champagne and the sales flowed, and I want to thank all the artists and the art-lovers who made the day such a success.

I am absolutely loving the look of this exhibition.  We have six very different artists exhibiting:  Kirsty Wither, Kevin Low, Alice McMurrough, Christopher Wood RSW, Hazel Nagl RSW RGI PAI and Emma Waine. 

These artists are all coming from different places, and are at different stages in their careers, but when their work hangs together, there seems to be a certain magic about it. 

Surreal, figurative, abstract, expressionist.  These differing works sit together so well because each artist is so incredibly defined in personality and consequently in their self-expression.

There is a strength about each artists' collection that stands alone and also complements the others'.  It feels like a celebration of the individuality that we all possess, and that only a true artist can express.  This for me, is exactly what art art is about and that as a gallery, I am lucky enough to be able to draw attention to.

So, you are all invited!  The exhibition continues until 24 June.  The champagne and exquisite cakes have been quaffed, but you will be far too distracted to notice!

The exhibition can also be viewed on line at http://www.smithygallery.co.uk/currentExhibitions.htm

Thanks for reading!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Six Degrees

I'm surrounded by beautiful paintings, hanging the new exhibition.  Six Degrees of Separation previews this Sunday and it is around this point that I start to get butterflies.  There is so much planning that goes into an exhibition.  And when that first exciting thought is so close to fruition, you want to get it right!  

I have invited six very different and successful artists to exhibit together, and luckily they said yes!

Kevin Low

Kevin Low is fast becoming one of Scotland's best known digital painters.  His work is striking and enigmatic.  Using the newest medium championed by David Hockney, there will only ever be ten of each, making them pleasingly affordable.  Each painting draws you into the world of a carefully crafted character, back story and all.  They are at once intriguing, witty and mysterious.  I want one.


Kirsty Wither

Kirsty Wither is a beautiful artist and a beautiful girl who has been the darling of the London and Edinburgh art scene for several years now.  Her shimmering landscapes and still lifes are an ode to the medium of paint, and look good enough to eat.  Her success is well-deserved and I am delighted to be showing her at Smithy Gallery.

Christopher Wood RSW

Christopher Wood RSW is a fabulous Edinburgh-based abstract artist.  He was recently honoured with the role of President of the Society of Scottish Artists.  His work graces many impressive public collections, and amongst his esteemed collectors are HRH Prince Charles (and me!).

Emma Waine

Another bold and abstract artist is young and upcoming artist Emma Waine. Already the winner of scholarships and awards, watch this space!

Alice McMurrough

I love Alice McMurrough.  Her paintings are steeped in theatrical characters, symbolism, legend and narrative.  Always strangely beautiful, the viewer must study the detail and make up their own minds.

Hazel Nagl RGI RSW PAI

Hazel Nagl is a really beautiful painter, with the accolades to prove it.  I have wanted to exhibit her work for a long time.  Her paintings are dramatic but tonally subtle, always imparting a sense of space and light.

The exhibition is now available to view online at http://www.smithygallery.co.uk/currentExhibitions.htm

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Birthday Wishes

Not once have I missed writing a blog post! 

Every Tuesday and Friday I love the chance to write.  However serious or frivolous, it's a pleasure to write, and a privilege that people take the time to read it.

But yesterday I missed one . . . for the very first time.  Well, it was my birthday, and I am of the opinion that birthdays are special, whatever digits you have clocked up!

So here I am, a day late, after running away on a birthday adventure.  I believe we are all children at heart.  That is, unselfconscious and in awe of the beauty of the world we find ourselves surrounded by.  So I was taken away on a beautiful adventure, exploring some of the gems of Scotland that when we lift our heads, we see glow and sparkle in all directions.

Now I am happily back in the gallery surrounded by all the new work for Six Degrees of Separation opening this Sunday.

I feel invigorated.  Very happy to have had my senses caressed by the wonderful flora and fauna of the Scottish landscape, but now very happily inspired by the spectrum of creativity that our wonderful Scottish artists enhance our world with.

Six very special and diverse artists will be exhibiting together in Six Degrees of Separation which opens at the gallery this Sunday at 2pm.  For details please check http://www.smithygallery.co.uk/index.html

I can't wait!

Thanks for reading!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Truth Wins Out

It is a wonderful thing when art encourages discussion and debate, broadening into fields far beyond the gallery walls.

Joyce Gunn Cairns  - Childhood Unmasked

The Alasdair Gray and Joyce Gunn Cairns exhibition ends this Sunday, and for me, it has been a joyful experience.

Alasdair Gray - Inside

It has been the busiest exhibition the gallery has had yet which doesn't surprise me, but what does, is the time and enjoyment people have taken over looking, reading, pondering and discussing both of the artists' work.  Staying a while and taking it all in.  It has been an exhibition of many elements, and also one of a kind.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this special exhibition such a success, especially to all the art-lovers who are taking a little part of the exhibition home with them!

The opening of the exhibition

I really want to thank the wonderful Joyce Gunn Cairns for creating such beautiful and thought-provoking work, and also for her friendship and encouragement.  She's a very special person and it has been a joy to get to know her even better than I already did.

Joyce in her studio

Thank you to Alasdair Gray for being the unique and talented human being he is.  He has brought a lot of joy and intrigue to the gallery for the last five weeks.  People have come in their droves to appreciate this huge Scottish talent and I am delighted to say like myself, some have been inspired to read or re-read one of his many works, or to again enjoy one of his several murals adorning well-known Glasgow landmarks.
Alasdair and Joyce - artists and friends

What I am most pleased about is the publlic's response to work that deals with some serious and challenging subjects.  The work of these artists is beautiful, but not always pretty.  It has shown me that great talent and and the ability to get to the truth of the matter, whatever the subject, has a beauty and joy all of its own.

The exhibition continues until Sunday 13 May.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Smithy Gallery Award

I had the great honour of being asked to select a painting for the new Smithy Gallery Award at the Paisley Art Institute's annual exhibition.

The exhibition opened on Saturday 5th May, but what a thrill it was to be invited to visit a week or so earlier to peruse the exhibition alongside the other judges.  I viewed for more than two hours. 

This grand exhibition is now in its 124th year and the standard is extremely high.  I loved several of the paintings, many by artists I admire hugely, so how to choose just one!

As is often the case, it's the one that grabbed me straight away.  Love at first sight!  There is something very distinctive about this Neil MacDonald painting.  It had a very strong quality about it that felt quite new to me.  The composition is striking, raising you far about the water below and in person, it shimmers magically. 

It's a beautiful work and I'm very pleased with my choice, even although it meant passing by fabulous paintings by Sandy Murphy RSW RGI PAI, James Cosgrove, Michael Durning, three artists who incidentally will be showing at Smithy Gallery later in the year!

Thank you to the president of the PAI Michael Durning, and to all of the committee members for being so welcoming and making this such a warm experience.

The exhibition continues until 3rd June.  Go see!

Thanks for reading!


Friday, May 04, 2012

A Life in Pictures

Being immersed in all things Alasdair Gray for the last month has been more than an enriching experience. 

Having always been aware of this great Scottish talent, I wasn't really familiar with the depth and breadth of the man and his contribution to the world of art, literature, also spreading into the fields of philosophy, politics and religious debate.

The exhibition has has been a feast for my eyes, heart and mind, and I think the man is astonishing.  I have been reading his stunning autobiography A Life in Pictures.  It charts his family background, his childhood, inspirations, loves, losses, and of course the works of art that have been the constant heartbeat in the background and in the foreground of his life.

Most of all, he communicates with the world the way few of us are able to do.  Some of the writings can floor you with their brutal honesty.  But you get it, you know what he means, he just said it first.  And then come the illustrations, where colour and each line of intricate beauty make the words bigger and rounder because everything has dimension, light and shade, and most of all, things always change depending on where and when you are viewing them from.

As I make my way through his writings my mind, at least momentarily, is moved from it's well-worn path.  I feel enriched.  I only experience this in the beauty of nature and in the presence of great art. 

This exhibition continues until 13 May.  Catch it while you can.

We also have several copies of Alasdair's beautifully illustrated autobiography (and they're cheaper than in the shops!).

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Six Degrees of Separation

Around half way through an exhibition, I have to turn my attention to what is coming next.  And it's a goodie, so here's a taster before the invitations are sent out!

Our next exhibition, Six Degrees of Separation, previews on 20 May.   This well known phrase refers to the idea that everybody on earth is approximately six steps away from everybody else.  So in effect a chain of people, places or events can be identified that links us all.

I'm using it to refer to six very successful artists, all with different backgrounds and styles, but who are now going to be linked by exhibiting at Smithy Gallery.  Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare also happens to be one of my favourite plays, so run with me!

More importantly, this is who is coming to Smithy Gallery . . . .

The beautiful Kirsty Wither, who has reached stellar heights over the last few years in London and Edinburgh is finally coming to Smithy Gallery.  And we're over the moon!

I am delighted that Edinburgh's Christopher Wood RSW will be showing alongside Kirsty.  One of my all-time favourite painters, his works have depth, passion and the most beautiful of palettes.  It makes me hungry just to look at them! I have a large painting of his hanging in my lounge, but I think it will be time for another one!

Then we have our youngest artist, Emma Waine.  I have been excited about her work from the moment I saw it.  She creates canvases of all sizes with a boldness and energy that you don't often see.  There is meaning behind all of her works.  She travels extensively with sketchbook in hand and notes all aspects of her journeys.  These experiences culminate in vibrant pieces that I just love.  She's been busy winning awards and scholarships and I'm so glad to be exhibiting this rising star.

I love it when out of the blue I see something different that completely captures my attention.  I especially love it when it also happens to be very beautiful.  This is work by Kevin Low and I had no idea just how different his work was until I asked him about it.  They are paintings, but they are painted digitally.  Not a paint brush in sight!  He uses the technique now being championed by David Hockney.  It is art, it is creation, but by means of a new medium.

Also working with a feather-light touch is Hazel Nagl, but with very different results.  She is a beautiful painter, creating works way beyond her subject matter.  I have admired her for many years.  Her work is unique to her and the paintings always catch your eye and lift your mood, like sun breaking through the clouds.

And then there is Alice.  Alice McMurrough creates worlds of dark, light, magic, symbolism and wonder.  They are beautiful and intriguing and these narrative works invite the viewer into a different world.  You can dip your toe in, or go the whole way!

Six Degrees of Separation - a wonderful play and soon to be a very wonderful exhibition!

Thanks for reading!