Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Olympian Exhibition Edinburgh

I have paintings for sale at Olympian Furniture store on Angle Park Terrace (Gorgie-Dalry down from the Diggers Pub) along with several other artists. My small copper paintings are for sale and available now! The aim of this exhibition is for Olympian Furniture to support local artists from Edinburgh.

The paintings are the small copper paintings I have talked about in previous posts. One of the main inspirations of the pieces was the artists Paul Bril and Adam Elsheimer (images of work available on the National Galleries of Scotland website online collection and in the gallery itself on display). The idea of cabinet paintings inspired the scale of these paintings, a small painting placed in a small room in the house for contemplation and privacy.

'Mass Games' 20 x 15cm. Acrylic on incised, patenated copper. £350

'Off Work' 20 x 15 cm. Oil on incised and patenated copper. £350

'Mass Games' £350

The paintings are all for sale at £350. Please do pop into the store to take a look at;

8 - 13 Angle Park Terrace
EH11 2JX

Tel. 0131 337 9284

Monday, 27 September 2010

Public Art Erfurt

Here's some pics of public art from Erfurt, Germany

A pretty excellent use of a tree I'd say and rather witty too!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sketches from Paderborn

Greetings all!

I have been busy working on several new painting projects but thought I would upload the last of the sketches I did in Germany that are worth looking at in this stage.

A drawing of the Cathedral in Paderborn drawn from a park on the lower side. The whole town of Paderborn was revolved around the cathedral (at least in some aspects). The cathedral is the resting place of the relics of St Liborious who draws massive pilgrimages once a year when they are removed from the crypts for public display. It was very interesting looking in the cathedral which was very badly destroyed during the second World War. You could not tell it was refurbished, apart from the stained glass a lot of which was designed by modern artists. In this sketch I wanted to capture the cathedral from a lower angle which got in the Palace of Charlemagne in the mid-ground and the park in the foreground.

When in Paderborn we were staying in the glass workshop of the company Glasmalerei Peters. Peters is a well established and worldwide glass company that produces modern glass project from various buildings, from embassies to renovated churches. They also restore glass. They were very welcoming to us and we enjoyed staying in this building which was full of mad glass everywhere. I wanted to sketch this to capture the original building with the modern glass attachment.

This sketch is of the medieval city wall of Paderborn. I liked the way it was incorporated into the modern world, history peeking out of the cracks in the city.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Arsenic Mines

Here's some pictures of a large scale painting I am working on. It's of Tin Mines in Cornwall and is based on the strange structures left behind on the landscape after the centuries of mining in the area.

The remains of what were arsenic mines and processing buildings were dotted all over the landscape close to Lands End. Cornwall was once the world's biggest producer of arsenic, besides copper and tin. See for more info if you are interested. Now all that is left are strange structures rising out of the orange soil like standing stones. The landscape is bleak but beautiful with a strange mix of windswept cliffs and half buried mines dotting the cliff edges. The soil too has a weird colour, the heavy metals present prohibit any type of farming.

In this painting I am working on it in oils, ink and gouache. I intend to have it finished in the next week or so ready for exhibiting and will buy a few more canvas/board of a similar size to do a few more. The subject matter fascinates me, a 'wild' landscape that when viewed closer reveals centuries of heavy industrial activity.

A close up of the concrete pillars. The weathering effect of the Atlantic Ocean made these very beautiful and aged. More detail to come..

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Neo Rauch At Museum Bilden Kunst Leipzig

Whilst in Leipzig I went to the Museum Der bildenden Kunste. It is located centrally about 5 minutes from the main station. It has a very good collection, and the building really shows of the paintings, sculpture and installation well. The gallery is literally a big cuboid that has been spiced up all modern by cladding glass over the entire building.

Whilst there I got to see the Neo Rauch exhibition. It was very good, it is not often you are really impressed with both the layout and the overall quality of an exhibition but Neo Rauch's work was very good. I have only ever got to look at his paintings in books before and in person they are all the more impressive. I managed to get a few snaps, despite the gallery's guards impressively dogged security (they would follow you from room to room which in the upstairs galleries was a little unnerving being the only person on an entire floor, it was a little like having a surly guide who didn't speak. Just stared at you..). The exhibition is sort of a retrospective with works spanning from his early career right up to the present including works he created while Professor at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts.

Scale clearly plays an important part in his work and some are huge. The juxtaposition of almost every element in the painting, be it historical period, figure and landscape creates a strange hybrid between surrealism and socialist realism.

The Museums website states:
'Neo Rauch, born in Leipzig in 1960, is undoubtedly the most internationally important and most discussed German painter of his generation. The Museum of Fine Arts and the Pinakothek der Moderne Munich dedicate his work in a comprehensive exhibition, which is to see both places simultaneously. For more information about the exhibition on' (

The pics aren't great but they give an idea of the works.

Some of the paintings in the collection were extremely good. Highlights include Caspar David Freidrich's, Arnold Brocklin 'Isle of the Dead' (third version), Max Klinger 'Peeing death' as well as his sculptures. So all in all if you are ever in Leipzig I recommend you go!

PS: A website with better pictures of Neo Rauch's paintings:

Thursday, 1 July 2010

More Sketches From Erfurt

Some more of the sketches I made whilst in Germany,

This is the view from our window in our tower block in Erfurt. It did however feel cosy and I enjoyed drawing this view from the window on the hot and sunny days.

A quick drawing of the Krämer bridge in Erfurt across the Gera. In German its called the Krämerbrücke and means 'Merchants Bridge'. It has houses across the entire length of the bridge and has shops etc. on the bridge itself. It is a very interesting example of what no doubt many ancient bridges might have looked like.

A very quick sketch I made whilst in Gotha (mentioned in an earlier post about Lucas Cranach) of the view down into the old looking town centre. The architecture was sort of reminiscent of the architecture of the old town/royal mile edinburgh. The shapes were not perfect and parts of buildings bulged as if they were full of rice and ready to explode. The view interested me because of the large fountain in the foreground, the huge (it was really huge) crane in the middle ground wrapping wreath around the May pole, the old town hall and of in the distance the huge numbers of wind turbines.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sketching ideas

These are a couple of images from my sketchbook of ideas for using elements of the cityscape and blending them together, much like what I did in my painting 'I love the smell of Ammonia in the Morning' (see earlier posts on painting on copper)

This image is based on several elements of Erfurt, I liked the idea of playing with continuing/mirroring the lines of one element into another one and the resulting play in scale. I was also interested in the idea of presenting quite realistic detailed areas next to the more abstract areas and how this can represent the seemingly random elements of the city.

This sketch was based on a trip I made to Leipzig. I sketched in the building and at a later point in the day added the railings. When I added the blue marks I intended this to be quite decorative as a juxtaposition to the austerity of the block of buildings and the railings.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Sketchbook Erfurt Cont.

Another page of drawings I made while in Erfurt. I worked on these using a mechanical pencil with small lead width.

This is a drawing I did directly after the last one in which I drew Roz sleeping. The odd shape of the tree intrigued me as its small branches all pointed vertically upwards towards the sun like an anemone. This was also drawn in the Ega park Erfurt.

This is a sketch of the view from the steps of the cathedral of the Domplatz. I just roughly drew in a couple of the timber framed buildings to give myself an idea of scale in comparison to the massive obelisk in the centre of the square. The oddly shaped roofs of differing sizes and heights is a good example of the older architecture of the city. The outlined building on the far left is a more modern building and marks the passage through to the Rathaus (town hall).

Sketchbook Erfurt

I have been doing some sketching in Germany, which with the photos I have taken and the various mental notes in my head will become paintings when I get back to Scotland. This is the first page of sketches I did in Erfurt in the first week we were staying there.

This image is a view from the Schlösserstraße across the Gera towards the Anger. The mixture of traditional buildings and newer ones interested me. We were told by people we befriended from Erfurt that much of the city was quite run down until recently and that when unified with the West the city had been refurbished. I also found out that it was largely because of being in East Germany that Erfurt has so much historical and ancient buildings in it. In the west they would have sold the land to developers.. surprise, surprise and they would have been knocked down.
I used pencil and watercolour for this, drawing it out in pencil first and colouring in details with the watercolour before adding more pencil in top.

This is a drawing I did of Roz sleeping in the 'Ega Park' a large botanic gardens in the city. The weather was so hot we sat out most days in the parks or drank beer in the beer gardens.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Lucas Cranach and Erfurt cathedral

From a post on a the evil atheist Socialism.. I thought I might smoothly transition to a post on a catholic cathedral. Perhaps it is part of my upbringing (a granny who constantly told me from as young as I can remember not to trust anyone religious, or men with beards) but I am scared to enter churches or cathedral. Scared is maybe too strong a word, unworthy? Being not a religious type in the slightest I often think that the folks in these churches, being nutters as my granny hath made me believe, will smell my unreligiousness like animals smell fear and send me out to the devil with the rest (Also on a another level I don't want to offend anyone). Clearly this is stupid and my interest in art usually overrides my fear of being burnt as a heretic.

In Erfurt there was a very beautiful cathedral called the Domberg St. Marien. It set a great scene, sitting on a hill in all it's gothic spikey towers. This was the cathedral where Martin Luther was ordained, so lots o' history too.

Inside was a lot of stained glass which was our reason for being there, however it was covered with scaffolding. What a disappointment, however, there was paintings there for me to look at. In particular a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Having seen a few of his paintings of weird naked women in the national gallery I quite liked his style and was interested to see such a famous 'name' in the painting world with their work in-situ (much like the last post the work makes more sense in a cathedral, rather than in a gallery)

'The Maddona and Child with SS Catherine and Barbara'
By Lucas Cranach the Elder

The painting was interesting, although impossible to see up close as there was ropes in front. It shows the typical style of his workshop and I believe is one of only a few that he is known to have definitively done himself. The figures with oddly elongated proportions reminded me of his painting 'Venus in a Landscape'. I also went to the town of Gotha, near Erfurt, home of the founding of the German Socialist party (in yet another nod to the last post) and of the British royal family. The city centre is dominated by Schloss Friedenstein a former palace which housed King Albert of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in his days as a Prince. Later changed to Windsor during the War.. Anyway the castle inside had a pretty impressive collection of paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Younger. The paintings were very beautiful and I recommend anyone interested should go and see them.

Another cool piece of art in Erfurt Cathedral was this Bronze cast made in c. 1160 of 'Wolfram'. At 850 years old it looks remarkably modern in design, when I first saw it I thought it could have been made today.

There was also a painting donated to to the cathedral by a local family I thought was quite cool. The perspective tile element I always appreciate in an old painting, I also liked the architectural elements the artist has employed. I don't know who painted it and couldn't find any info in the church.

Socialist Realism Pt.2

Here are some more images of the mural. These complete the view of the painting (from right to left).

Socialist Realism

While staying in Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany in an ex-DDR tower block I got the opportunity to see at first hand some real live Socialist art. I don't know who painted this (and if anyone knows I would very much like to know) and how big it is, I forgot my measuring tape. It is probably (at a pretty bad estimate) 10 metres long (as I measure a metre with my arms and remember the size of the painting.. accurate) and at floor to celing it is maybe 4-5 metres high.

Being a fan of this sort of painting I liked that it still survived in-situ, not thrown in the bin after reunification. Having said that it did look a little sad in places up close and needed a repairs. It was a time warp where we were living, with lots of 60/70s furniture and wallpaper. It made where we were staying like a sort of museum which added to the paintings resonance. The painting was meant to live in a working building and affect people on a daily basis. I have seen this type of art shown in large commercial galleries amusingly and be-musingly being sold for large sums of money, or occasionally stripped entirely of their original meaning and instead some sort of kitsch joke for rich folk.

The painting follows the fairly strict rules of Socialist Realism - it represents the worker and deifies him and the Socialist struggle. The figures are painted realistically, it could not be called abstract, however it does have elements of abstraction within it. This section shows a miner.

The painting also uses mechanical objects and modern inventions as a way of selling Socialism, and the progress of humanity with figures like this pilot as heroic figures of the revolution.

The painting shows influences from futurism as can be seen in particular above and below the figures with the geometric lines which intersect and come from the figures. This is a way of portraying a feeling of motion linked to the modern machinery in the painting, and perhaps as the painter intended as portraying socialism as a modern forward moving idea.