Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Joyce Gunn Cairns MBE

I met up with one of my favourite artists yesterday.  Joyce Gunn Cairns is a fabulous Edinburgh artist who dares to delve, and who doesn't shy away from anything that her art enables her to explore. 

Joyce in her studio

She exhibited recently in a two person exhibition at the gallery with the famed writer and artist, Alasdair Gray.  The exhibition was a hugely successful and joyous experience and I can't wait to exhibit Joyce's work again.

Lady Lazurus

She is one of the most interesting and talented people I know, completely dedicated to her work.  She creates powerful works with a lightness of touch that I haven't observed before.

Literature and poetry is also a passion of hers and she sometimes incorporates a poet's verse into the piece.  This beautiful sketch of a hare is accompanied by 'The Hare's Form' by Valerie Gillies.

Detail from a new painting - Absence

I'm glad to say I will be receiving new works by Joyce as part of our upcoming November exhibition.

Not being able to wait that long, I have chosen several unframed beautiful drawings from her studio which can be viewed in the gallery browser.  Thank you Joyce!

Thanks for reading!


Friday, August 24, 2012


Two words!  Sandy Murphy!

Yes, regular readers may know that he's one of my very favourite painters and I'm delighted to announce that he will be exhibiting soon at Smithy Gallery along with three of his contemporaries (buddies).

All four artists hail from Ayrshire, one of Scotland's talent hot spots.  Sandy will be exhibiting next month alongside James Cosgrove PAI, Michael Durning PPAI and Euan McGregor.

I'm trying to tell myself not to take any more home with me, but having already see some images of the paintings . . . .

 . . . . I fear I may be not be able to resist . . . .

But then, I am going to be distracted by three other fabulous talents . . . . 

Stay tuned for much, much more on the Ayrshire Four!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's The Point of Art?

Now there's a question.  

I'm going with Francis Bacon on this one.  He once said 'It is the artist's job to deepen the mystery'. 

I wholeheartedly agree that a true artist doesn't just represent what we can already see clearly around us, but encourages us to look at everyday things in a different way, allowing us to explore our mysterious world.

Sian MacQueen RSW - Journey To Jura

Take the Scottish landscape.  We are already lucky enough that it seems to shift and change before our eyes due to the ever-changing weather, but it also provides massive inspiration to many Scottish artists, allowing them to interpret the world around us in their own way.

Out current three-person exhibition has three artists working in this way, as expressive individuals. 

Sian MacQueen takes the Scottish islands, the places she loves, and pairs them with meaningful mementos.  These are personal to her, but the viewer takes delight or confusion from the symbols and makes their own interpretation about them and their relevance to the landscape.

David Martin RSW RGI - Field and Dark Hill, Perthshire

David Martin is a wonderful expressive painter who breaks the landscape down into rhythm and colour.  We recognise it, but not quite.  His paintings highlight the pulse of nature apparent to the eye but evoke the layers and layers of life hidden beneath the surface.

David Smith RSW - The Rhum Cuillin

David Smith puts himself directly into the Scottish landscape with his love of hill-walking. His is a love of the scale and majesty of our landscape. His paintings denote the power and the passage of time in our world, reminding us to be in the moment, for now is to be cherished.  Okay, that's my interpretation!  All good works should inspire multiple interpretations.

More from these artists can be viewed on:

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Friday, August 17, 2012


I love all things Cubisty - possibly not a real word - but they made up their own rules and so shall I!

David Martin RSW RGI - Ace of Clubs

Cubism was one of the most influential art movements of the twentieth century. It was begun by the powerhouses that were the Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1882-1973) and Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963) in 1907. 

Pablo Picasso - Three Musicians

Georges Braques - The Apple

They were greatly inspired by African sculpture, and by the painters Paul Cezanne (French, 1839-1906) and Georges Seurat (French, 1859-1891).

Paul Cezanne - Victoire

Georges Seurat - Sunday Afternoon on The Island of La Grande

Picasso and Braque initiated the movement when they followed the advice of Paul C├ęzanne, who in 1904 said artists should treat nature "in terms of the cylinder, the sphere and the cone."  The subject matter is broken up, analysed and reassembled in an abstracted form.

I have always been fascinated by these works, and about the uncompromising way in which these artists created paintings that flew in the face of what had come before.  It was a breath of liberating, creative, fresh air that has possibly influenced most artists since.

David Martin RSW RGI - The Round Table

It said it was okay to look at things differently from the way we are taught to process the world around us.  It says there is perhaps more than one way in which we occupy our world.

David Martin RSW RGI - Four Green Beans

I have therefore always been drawn to the works of David Martin.  Born only forty years after Picasso and Braques, it was perhaps inevitable that the young artist would be inspired by these incredible fathers of modern art.  Being in his late eighties now, David has been through many movements of his own, but these paintings are my personal favourites.

I find them inspiring and exciting, and I am thrilled to be exhibiting them just now at the gallery as part of a three person exhibition alongside Sian MacQueen RSW and David Smith RSW.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I surprised myself by being completely swept up in everything to do with the Olympic Games.  I have never really been a sports-lover, but the games opened up my eyes to what their forte can mean to the individuals competing, to the spectators, and to the people who have perhaps followed an individual career trajectory.  They witness the highs, the lows, and most of all the extraordinary passion and determination.

All of us who chose to get into the Olympic spirit saw this too.  We also saw how inspired people from all walks of life were and how the achievements of the athletes or lack there of (in their eyes) are echoed in so many other areas of life.

I believe that knowing your passion and being able to strive to achieve great things within that passion is an immense gift.  I think to be challenged and driven is one of the keys to happiness.  Whether this is to huge or tiny ends it doesn't really matter, but caring about it does.

I realise that the artists that I work with and admire all have this quality.  Some say it can be a double-edged sword.  Such personal drive can lead to heartache in the low times, but I believe that the passion for their work and hopefully enough highs, make up for this.

Thank you to the three wonderful artists who we are currently exhibiting.  They are all at different stages in their careers, but they all have this champion quality.  I admire them very much.

Sian MacQueen RSW . . . .

David Smith RSW . . . .

David Martin RSW RGI . . . .

To view more of this exhibition, please click on the link.


Thanks for reading!