We thought you might like to know what we get up to between exhibitions, find out how we research and make our work and see photos of some of our work in progress as it unfolds:
20th October 2017
Well, that burst of two posts seems to have exhausted me it seems!!!!!! What have I been doing? Holidaying, Summer Schooling, enrolling for a second year at Leith School of Art for the CAP Course (Contemporary Art Practice), painting, framing and label making for the fast approaching Biggar Little Festival Open Studios Trail! Busy, busy, busy…… We are open 10 am to 4 pm next Sat & Sun – 28th & 29th Oct and look forward to seeing old friends and new! Hope you can make it. To tempt you there will be the now famous Home made Chocolate Fudge (- now Vegan friendly , Gluten Free and even more delicious) as well as our art work! Some samples:
Also on show will be my Memories Sculptural piece and hopefully my two video animations ( longest is 3 minutes!!!!)
31st July 2017
Two posts the one month – progress?!? Still painting – veering on to hedgerows rather than verges – but this one had aspirations in the trees direction so is untitled so far!!!
Have just finished a Summer School at Leith School of Art improving my jewellery making skills. Quite addicted – so have to divide available time between jewellery making and painting etc.! Just amazing how these:
ended up looking like this:
12th July 2017
It has taken me a good while to get back into the swing of things after all the course work and exhibition setting up, invigilating and taking down involved. However I am getting back to painting again. As I have a commission for a There is Beauty in the Grass Verge painting I have been able to slot back in quite nicely with the familiar subject:
17th June 2017
Can’t believe it is so long since I wrote in the Blog – well actually I can!! I have been immersed in the world of animation – 5 to 7 hours a day – all to produce an animation about Parking Ticket Machines lasting just under 3 minutes!!!! At last it is done and on show in Patriothall – off Hamilton Place, Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Opening –
tomorrow ( Sunday ) 12noon – 6pm and then daily Wednesday 21st – Sunday 25th June 12noon to 6pm Here is a still from my film:
Two old rusty meters are drinking pints of oil outside the Just the Ticket Pub while a young couple are being served by the waiter prior to joining the protest rally – protesting about unequal pay and working conditions – before all repairing to the pub once more to see the breaking news that their rally has been successful!
14th March 2017
Glad to report both now feeling much better at last. I have been busy with my Coursework and this time it involved animation! I fell in love with these two characters and made a video with them in starring roles! The scenario was that their sink was blocked by a careless student putting plaster down the drain! Using various combinations of gurgling drain noises, bottle blooping sounds and balloons, a recorder, peoples voiced noises, fingers squeaking over wet surfaces and twanging rulers I made several versions of the animation and had tremendous fun! I hope to show at least one version at the Open Studios on the last weekend in October
5th February 2017
Oh dear! Not much blogging – sorry! Ken slipped on the ice and cracked a bone in his foot so has been out of action – foot up – ice packs on for the last 3 weeks! Just to spice up the mix I have had a nasty chesty cough/cold virus for 2 of those weeks – still ongoing. I generously passed it on to Ken so we are a sorry pair. Hopefully we will get back to art and blogging before too long!
2nd January 2017
Moira: HAPPY NEW YEAR! I have been making video footage over the Festive period ready for my next Course Project. I took some footage of Edinburgh’s Wheel etc. and some today of the Biggar Bonfire remains – always a fascinating subject the two or so days after the event when there are the smoking remains. Pictures are still being downloaded so you’ll have to make do with some of my course work from last term!
Three pieces from my Light project where we had to use Light as the subject and Light as the medium. The first two are experiments with glow sticks, the first is 2 sticks in a jar of bubble mix water, the second was the result of pushing bent glow sticks into balloons and letting the air out. The third photo shows the set-up of coloured shot glasses and crystals which made a fairground /or city at night effect when illuminated by a moving torch!
19th December 2016
Moira: Some of my studio work leading up to the final exhibition piece involved trying out different ideas. Thinking of the neurons in the brain I worked with latex and balloons and this work might be developed further in the future.
18th December 2016
I have been really busy with my Leith School of Art Contemporary Art Practice Course and have not been painting at all until today – but more of that another day, perhaps! We had the end of term exhibition last week and my piece was about Memory. Memories are so fragile and we have so many of them in our heads. I tried to convey this fragility by using old dressmaking pattern tissue to make a large container for the smaller containers – also made of tissue- which contain ribbons of my memories coiled inside them and trailing out. I made readable versions for people to read to display beside the piece itself. It was amazing how many memories were triggered as I went along! I think there is more mileage here! Here are some images of the piece:
29th October 2016
Day one of the Open Studios! Great day – lots of lovely visitors – didn’t have time for lunch until after 2.30pm! Pleased to welcome familiar faces once more and lovely to see new ones too.
This much love painting has gone to a lovely new home – thank you Nikki & Cameron – enjoy it!
16th October 2016
On Half Term from Course. Having a look at work to be shown in the Open Studios in 2 weeks time. These were inspired by the remains of writing on buildings and street furniture:
5th October 2016
Oh dear – I am the world’s worst blogger!!! Have been really busy what with getting ready for the Open Studios on the 29th & 30th of this month and I have begun an art course – one day a week – Contemporary Art Practice – and have not had time for any painting at all! Fortunately I have plenty of new work ready for the Open Studios!
My course is really interesting and is keeping me on my toes! This last week I was given 2 rolls of nylon netting – one black & one white and a box of rubber bands with which to start a 3 week project on sculpture! I was fortunate – someone near me ended up with a tin of baby powder and a roll of foil!!! This week we are adding plaster, latex and wax to the mix! Will keep you posted, hopefully!
5th September 2016
Oh dear! Is it really that long since I wrote in the blog?! It has been a busy summer with 2 summer schools and a wee holiday. I am starting a year long one day a week course at Leith School of Art this month – Contemporary Art Practice – really looking forward to it! As a bit of light relief Ken & I were out blowing bubbles yesterday with a special mix which results in longer lasting bubbles. I managed to photograph quite a few and one of the first we blew lasted for several hours on the side of the plant pot it landed on!
It was quite magical! The third image shows the shadows created by the clear bubble on the edge of the coping. The marks are caused by the surface of the bubble which appeared to have a “cracked” layer inside.
28th July, 2016
I have a painting in the Edinburgh Macmillan Art Show 2016!:
17th July 2016
Have just finished a week of Summer School at Leith School of Art on the subject of Beneath the Surface -Water. We studied the water at the Water of Leith for several days and drew in pencil, charcoal, ink & wash and finally soft pastel. Back in the studio we made black & white and later, colour, monotypes before making an acrylic or oil diptych painting. I went on to make a further piece – all in acrylic.
An inspiring week – thank you Kittie Jones!
1st July 2016
Phew! Just getting my breath back after a busy weekend with the Open Studios! Lovely to see and catch up with old friends and great to make new ones. Some of our work has gone to new homes so very pleased. Getting back into gear again to do more work for October Open Studios (29th & 30th) so hope to see you there!
19th June, 2016
Moira: Busy working on some cards for the Open Studios on the 15th & 26th!
9th June, 2016
Moira: I have been doing some work based on the compost bins I saw at the Allotments. There is a video of me working on one of the collage papers on the Biggar Artist Open Studios Facebook page. I also have a Moira Russell Artist Facebook page which you might like to check out. Here are some preparatory pieces and the final piece:
7th June, 2016
Both: Reminder – Our Open Studio event is coming up – 25th & 26th June! Further details available on Facebook – Biggar Artist Open Studios page (where you can view a readable version of the poster below!) as well as searching for the others taking part : www.colinsemple.com , Facebook page for Sabhal Mor Arts, & www.BECKSY.com. Come for a lovely trip round the Borders/Biggar area and visit us all – Stobo, Kilbucho, Biggar and Roberton.
3rd June 2016
I have reached the stage with the compost heap painting where I think it is finished!
22nd May 2016
Have started some preliminary work on the compost heaps – work in progress….
15th May 2016
Just back from a wonderful seaside break! Fitted in a weekend course at Leith School of Art and we went to the allotments at Leith Links for our inspiration. Mine came from the compost heaps!!!
a feast for the eyes with wonderfully coloured cabbage leaves and multi coloured beetroot and that amazingly creepy crawly like root! These will, when I get time, fit nicely into my Traces theme as will my inspiration gleaned from the beach:
now all I need to do is find the time to follow up all these ideas!!!
16th April 2016
Both: NEWS! A Date for your Diary: We are opening our studios for a local Summer Open Studio event on the weekend of 25th & 26th June 2016. We look forward to welcoming you then!
8th April 2016
Moira: Oh dear – sorry – much too busy doing still!!! Have made some mixed media paintings inspired by the leaf shadow work – see Moira’s 2016 work page. Here is one for a taster:
Have been working on Artist’s books tooThis one is in 4 parts for re-arranging as suits:
18th March 2016
Moira: Where does the time go!!!!!! Too busy having fun experimenting with the collagraphs to realise how long it is between blog entries! I have been trying out various surfaces and different finishes to make a bank of information so that I can select from them to obtain the results I want for any particular area of a collagraph. I have coloured some of the leaf prints using watercolour and quite like the effect.
26th February, 2016
Enjoying working with the new press! I have been using as inspiration some photos I took one autumn. We were walking through the Meadows in Edinburgh early one Saturday morning and the sun was shining at a very low angle and the crisp autumn leaves which had fallen on the path were being lit and their cast shadows were absolutely amazing! Here is an early proof print of the collagraph I have made where I have printed (intaglio) the shadow and will later print the leaves and stalk in relief.
19th February 2016
Moira: Have been working on the ghostly figures again:
3rd February, 2016
Our La Cerise Winter exhibition has been extended to the end of February!
Have been too busy drawing, painting and dealing with stormy weather to catch up with the blog!! However, here I am! Just taken deliver of a brand new hand made etching press this morning and quite nervously excited. It has to come to temperature and be cleaned of its preserving oil before use. Traces project has taken a new twist with dipping into the past. Where I lived as a child there was a plumbers’ workshop with a whisky advert painted on the wall. It has more than one layer showing – even today when it has been converted into a dwelling house! The whisky was 3/- & 3/6 a bottle in the good old days – probably from before the first world war as the building dates from the 1899 – 1900 period. The first owner was a grocer and by 1912 it was under different ownership and was a grocer & wine merchant. I used to play ball against the wall and as it is a hazy memory now the idea of shadowy images of me as a child playing have added themselves to the theme!
shadow ball game 2
12th January 2016
Another traces of the past painting. Originally the sign painted on the wall has said Painter & Decorator but people have painted and decorated over it many times and bits have flaked off leaving something for the attentive eye to find!
2nd January 2016
Happy New Year to all our readers! Biggar has a famous Hogmanay Bonfire. It produced these fantastic shapes today!
31st December 2015
Moira : The last day of the year! I have been busy developing my ideas for 2016 – based on the idea that the coffee pieces came from the Traces of coffee left in my cup and I got to thinking about Traces in general and have a lovely bank of ideas to dip into in the coming months! I have begun with the traces of writing in the environment from torn posters with just a trace of the message visible to the hard to see but visible if you look writing on buildings telling of their use in former times as business premises. In the New Town there is an upholsterer’s name and business advertisement on the wall of a basement for instance. Here is one of 3 little poster based pieces I have been working on (& see you next year!):
7th December 2015
Moira: Set up a joint exhibition today with Ken – downstairs in La Cerise, 199 Great Junction Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 5LQ. www.lacerise.biz . It will run until end January 2016. Open Mon – Fri 8am – 5pm. Closed weekends. Christmas – closed 24th December and re-opening on Tuesday 5th January 2016
21st November 2015
Moira: Another in the coffee series!:
17th November 2015
More of the coffee series:
A ‘rebellion’ piece! Got tired of the tidiness of the others and chaos reigns!
7th Novemeber 2015
2nd Planet Coffee painting:
3rd November, 2015
Two nights in a row – I am excelling myself! Here is the first Planet Coffee painting:
2nd November, 2015
2 coffee cup paintings completed! A third – more abstract one is on its way!
Samples of the coffee cup ‘planets’:
Convinced? Would love some feedback!
22nd October, 2015
Have spent the last two days re-doing our website – have got Ken’s all sorted – just got mine to do now! The Coffee Bubble/ Planet painting is underway with Bubbles having won this round! Second one begun with Planets to be the stars this time. Watch this space!
17th October, 2015
Open Studio Weekend!
Where does the time go?!!! Can’t believe it is so long since I updated the Blog! We have put up a new hanging system in our hall and in my studio and have been busy with the hanging of the pictures and making up the title sheets and route map for the big day – which arrived today!! We have had a really busy day with lots of lovely people with home we had interesting conversations. I was kept busy explaining my new obsession with the inside of my coffee cups as they look when I have drunk all my coffee! The residue of the crema in the bottom of the cup has the look of a planet and I am in the process of translating what I see into a painting! Lots of lovely play with ink and bleach and much splattering of paint etc. Great Fun!
23rd September 2015
Moira: Have been busy framing things for the up coming Biggar Little Festival Open Studio Trail – 17th & 18th October!
11th September 2015
Enjoying working in our new studios. Here is my latest work in progress:
1st September 2015
Glad to report that one of my pieces sold at the Macmillan Art Show! Thank you to the kind purchaser! We are enjoying painting in our new studio – the light is terrific. Thank you Thea & Ian (Chambersmacmillanarchitects)
27th August 2015
The Macmillan Art Show opens today (Thursday) 10am – 7pm and Fri, Sat & Sun 10am to 4pm at Bonhams 22 Queen Street Edinburgh and at least one of my entries will be on show.
18th August 2015
Very conscious that I have not updated the blog for almost a month! We have been working all hours sorting out our new studio arrangement – putting storage etc. on wheels to make it easier for us to move it around – so lots of DIY! We have also made an inventory of all books and equipment as it is so easy to forget where items are stored and then waste lots of time searching for them. We also had a week attending a Leith School of Art Summer School – out every day from 9.30am until about 3pm drawing and sketching the Water of Leith, The Forth Bridge, Princes St.’s view of the Castle, The Saughton Rose Garden and Holyrood Park! Poor Ken had the misfortune in the Park to have a, fortunately small, dog have a wee on his sketchbook as it lay on the ground when we drew with pieces of charcoal taped to long sticks! Hope to get back to normal soon.
23rd July 2015
Goodness – can’t believe how long it is since I have written in the Blog!!!! Things have been hectic with reorganising the old studio with the stuff which remained here and today we got the rest of the boxes back from the storage container so more organisation required. Ken’s studio had its final floor levelling compound applied this evening. We still have to have the painters back – hopefully tomorrow, the roofer – hopefully also tomorrow and the electrician & then the roughcasters have work to do after that. Ken has been busy building trolleys so we can move everything about more easily and making a new cupboard for the old studio. We are looking forward to having some time to think about our artwork soon!
PLEASE NOTE – My Exhibition continues – changing to framed work – but LA CERISE’s opening hours have changed for the Summer (Wedding Season!) Mon – Fri 7.30am to 5pm with NO SATURDAY or SUNDAY OPENING.
8th July 2015
Moira: The decorators are still painting, we have been measured up for flooring but still have the radiators to be installed and the lighting and power to be done so Friday not looking too likely for a finish date at the moment as decorators say they’ll be back tomorrow!!
1st July 2015
Moira: New completion date – end of next week – plasterers tomorrow, Joiners on Sat. & decorators on Monday so it is all go! We have to do some wallpapering between Saturday night and Monday morning to be ready for the decorators so it will be a busy weekend. Got news today that two of my Shed Window pieces have been chosen by Macmillan to be in their Edinburgh Art Show in Bonhams during the Edinburgh Festival!
27th June 2015
Have been working on my Biggar Project: This time looking at Reflections:
14th June 2015
Wow! What a lot has happened with the new studio this week!! On Friday we had 2 joiners plasterboarding. 3 plasterers taping ready for plastering (which was begun on Saturday morning!), an electrician and a young lad to break through beneath the old window to join the two studios – and – our growing heap of rubbish was carted away!
It was all happening!!!
The first small break through!
only the window sill to go!
The cleaned up result with the light flooding through the Veluxes and the two strip windows-to-be. The green covered loft bit is to be another window and you can get views right through – fantastic! It is all starting to look like our new studios!
11th June 2015
Moira: Work is progressing well with the studio extension – but it is not just the builders who are working! A wasps’nest has appeared in the spaces where the cladding is not yet in position so I had a new role today – and a very natty outfit to boot!!! Enter the Exterminator…. The nest:
Several new stages have been reached by the proper workers – the old studio window has been taken out
7th June 2015
Moira: Made an entry today to the Facebook page for the Biggar Little Festival Open Studios! Some updates on our studio extension – have a look!
1st June 2015 :STOP PRESS – La Cerise is closed from the end of the afternoon of Fri 5th June until it re-opens on the morning of Monday 15th June if you are thinking of visiting my exhibition there!
28th May 2015
Both: Too much going on to concentrate on much creative stuff at the moment!! New Studio making great progress with the huge window being installed:
19th May 2015
Moira: Have managed to find a bit of space and have been inspired by some wonderful tree stumps in Biggar – so far I have done 3 wee pieces. here is the first along with the photo of one of the inspirational stumps!
13th May 2015
The photos show my temporary studio!! It is not just ‘head space’ that is in short supply!!
11th May 2015
Still battling with (even more) basins and buckets in the rain!! Good progress with the extension but waiting for insulation, windows…… and finding it hard to create our art work with so little ‘head space’! Usually too many people passing through and asking hard questions during the day and we are too exhausted by evening to manage more than half an hour or so .. but hopefully we’ll get more into the way of it and feel more creative soon – and some dry weather with no ‘bucket duties’ would be a help!!!!!
29th April 2015
A really bad spell of weather at just the wrong time!!! We were wet inside:
and out in the new studio space too!
Our excellent architects and contractor joined the electricians and joiners on site today, brickies and joiners are to come tomorrow and roofers to follow so, hopefully, we’ll soon be a bit drier and not spend our evenings brushing water from the flooded areas!!
27th April 2015
Both: Not able to do much art work as the build is affecting the area in which we hoped to paint!! However, good progress is being made :-
We are looking forward to being more wind and water tight though!
20th April 2015
Both: Progress with the extension! Today the frame went up – and up!!! The old window will become a doorway through and the tallest area in the front will be the new window – with the new back door on the right. The waste pipe is not, of course, a permanent feature!!! Tomorrow the ceiling in our existing studio will be removed and a new beam inserted to support the part remaining. All very exciting – if not a bit nerve wracking! Here is how it looked at the end of today:
16th April 2015
Moira: One of my new mixed media collages!
14th April 2015
The concrete floor is now setting despite the rain and the block wall has been built! We are about to have the joiners in to start on the wooden parts of the structure! Too distracted to do much but Moira has been working on her new set of collages and Ken has a painting on the go!
2nd April 2015
Yippee! Work started at 7 am on a beautiful crisp morning – such a joy after the repeated hail and snow showers of the last few days. Here is the ‘through the window’ photo of the end of the first day’s work:
1st April 2015
Still waiting for the slabs to be lifted. Went to set up Moira’s mini exhibition in the downstairs section of La Cerise, Great Junction Street, Edinburgh today It will run until June and may evolve during that period! La Cerise has a wonderful range of cakes, sandwiches etc. and excellent coffee! Well worth a visit – and do look at my exhibition too!! Afterwards we went to see the fabulous Kate Downie exhibition ‘Estuary’ in the Scottish Gallery in Dundas Street Edinburgh. It is on until the end of the month – also well worth a visit – unfortunately no delicious cakes though!
31st March 2015
Still no progress – constant snow showers!
The future studio extension space!
28th March 2015
So disappointed – heavy rain this morning meant that the slab lifting had to be cancelled! Hopefully we will get started next week! Fingers crossed. Went to see the fantastic solo exhibition of Kim Redpath’s work in the Corn Exchange in Biggar today. Kim is the nephew of Anne Redpath the famous Scottish artist and he will be 90 on Monday 30th March 2015!
27th March 2015
Both: Work on our studio extension is about to begin!!!! Tomorrow the slabs will be lifted and the foundations will be dug out next week, hopefully……..
22nd March 2015
Out for our walk this morning we met the builder for our new studio extension who tells us he’ll be ready to start in a couple of weeks. That galvanized us into action!!!! Spent the day moving things around to work out what we’ll need and where we can put all of them so that we can carry on with our painting outwith the studio. Also moved boxes of materials and took down shelving so both pretty tired – don’t think much painting will be done this evening!
17th March 2015
First step towards our Studio extension work this week – some decking in the garden to house the whirlie clothes line which will be displaced when the extension work starts in the next month! We’ll have to move out of the studio for a few weeks and we have been busy organising ourselves – working out what we will need to store and what we need to keep around us so it is difficult to be creative at the same time. Will be documenting the progress of the build more than the art work for a while methinks!!
3rd March 2015
Have been selecting work and packing it to go to the Killiecrankie House Hotel for this season’s exhibition with the Madainn Group. My Stained Glass windows idea is still developing and have photographed part of the latest piece:
I like the effect that the light coming through the coloured glass has on the surrounding stonework and objects.
19th February 2015
At last we are both feeling a bit better – both coughing for Scotland – but managing to do more than rest, read and watch TV!!! I had fun with some Gelliprinting today – working on an idea about the light cast by stained glass windows!
13th February 2015
My cough and cold are abating – Ken’s had a recurrence of his virus and now I have put my back out just to add to our joyous Friday the 13th!!!
Looking forward to NORMALITY soon, please!!!!!!!
6th February 2015
Snow and cold have taken their toll – I now have a streaming cold!!!!! No time between sneezes to hold a paint brush!!
31st January 2015
Can’t believe it is the end of January already! Still battling with snowy icy pavements so every outing is an adventure! By the time we get boots, coats, hats, scarves and gloves on half the morning is over! Doing some experimentasl work at the moment using gesso and different mediums to build up interesting surfaces to work on.
25th January 2015
Have been working on a painting inspired by the old station (now a ruin) in Biggar. I liked the view through the broken window to the rear open window and beyond. I had a couple of shots at it before ending up with this one which I thinks captures what I wanted:
23rd January 2015
Life is beginning to get back to normal – Ken’s back is much better – the 6″ snowfall is now melting and we can get out and about once more! Have been doing some painting based on the old collapsing mill. I liked the door halfway up the wall and without any means of access, the crumpled roof ( now gone for the most part!) and the feeling of being suspended in time:
15th January 2015
Ken has had a bad back for the last week. Went to doctor today – he has a slipped disc!!!!
14th January 2015
Have been working on a couple of paintings – one based on Biggar Kirk’s architecture and atmosphere and the other on the old mill in Biggar which had a further collapse at the end of 2014 and I was inspired by the state of it to make a painting.
7th January 2015
Happy New Year! Hoping to get started to our art work again! The dark days are not conducive to bright thoughts but going to make the effort to see things ‘in a different light’!!!
30th December 2014
What with Christmas etc. no progress made and now Ken has a nasty chesty cough which is keeping us awake at nights and me busy shopping ‘nursing’ cooking and cleaning during the day – there’s not much chance of progress until into the new year!! Happy New Year to all our readers – hope to be back in business soon!
15th December 2014
When I took the photos in October ( see below) I liked the reflection of the trees in one of the windows at Biggar Kirk. The trees looked like a fairy tale or medieval castle on a hill so I have tried to recreate that effect. Still a bit of work to do perhaps…
Also, I didn’t like the top of the painting below so worked on it a bit longer and am better pleased with the result this time:
12th December 2014
Still continuing with the Gelli prints and really enjoying experimenting. Have invested in some of the Golden Open Acrylics which give a much longer working time for ghost prints especially and these are my favourites anyway. I have also found time to do some painting – starting work on a Biggar inspired project (see photos taken in October). The first idea I have tried is this one which blends a map,the door porch area and a window structure :
5th December 2014
At last back almost back to normal! Hurrah! Have resumed work on Gelli printing experimenting with working in layers sometimes on top of previous prints, sometimes on top of collaged papers
The results are promising and I am learning what works and what does not!
27th November 2014
Foiled again,again!!! Back much improved on Monday – ‘stupidly’ blew my nose and threw the tissue in the bin and – Bingo! away it went again so still not able to stand, sit or lie down in comfort for any appreciable time so not much to report on. Fingers crossed for an improvement soon!
19th November 2014
Foiled again! Have had to abandon my Gelli printing and painting etc. for the time being as my temperamental back has ‘gone’ again and I am doing a pretty good impersonation of a witch in a children’s book illustration – all over to one side and stooped! Hopefully the magic pills will sort me out soon and let me get back to ‘work’!
16th November 2014
Here are the Gelli print results – some have collagraph prints as a first layer :
Lots of potential with this don’t you think?
It is good to play and discover without the need to produce a finished piece. I am having FUN!!!!
15th November 2014
Have been experimenting with Gelli printing. It was great fun but hectic as acrylic paint is used and it dries so quickly. Didn’t manage to do any photographs of it but will try to have some of the results ready for the next entry!
10th November 2014
Looking forward to some down time now after all the excitements of the exhibitions and the Open Studio events! Fun but exhausting! We met some lovely, interesting people and have made some new friends. Some time now for experimenting with ideas and techniques. The poppy seedheads are manifesting themselves in print with collagraph to the fore after a Saturday workshop with Susie Wilson at Leith School of Art – most inspirational but I just want to let things emerge and enjoy the process after all the pressures to get things ready.
28th October 2014
Working from the experimental drawings in the Poppy seedhead below I did some experimental painting today trying for the feeling of being up close and personal with the seedhead structure. I began with dark colours and then white over scraping to reveal the colours below and adding water spots to create more texture. Then I began to define areas with black oil pastel rubbed and smudged in. I continued to darken and define – ending up with:
22nd October 2014
Some of yesterday morning’s photos:
I also like the reflections in the windows of St. Mary’s Church and have been working up some ideas about windows and doors etc. for my project. Today I have been working on my collagraph plates, experimenting with layering the prints.
The plates are based on the skeletal poppy seedheads.
21st October 2014
I can’t believe it is more than a month since I last blogged! Where does the time go? We have been busy with the Roseleaf deliveries and collections and getting ready for the Biggar Little Festival Open Studios weekend – from which we are now recovering!
It went well with lots of interested and interesting people to talk to despite the very wet and blustery weather – well done those who turned out! One of my paintings, Echoing Through Time, was bought by Frieda Oxenham (who has an amazing blog to be found at http://friedaquilter.blogspot.co.uk ). I had visited her exhibition recently in Peebles and we found we had a lot in common with our sources of inspiration. It has been reinvigorating to hear people’s thoughts and opinions on our work and we have set out to research for our next project based locally – even took photos this morning before breakfast!! Will prepare some ready to share with you soon.
17th September 2014
I have finished my work for my solo exhibition in the Roseleaf starting on 2nd October! I have created a new Page for the website of My Latest Work so much of what I have been up to can been seen there.
I have also started my next project – developing work based on the skeleton poppy seed heads which I have found in my garden. Work is at a basic stage so far:
6th September 2014Moira: Alongside Ken’s Exhibition I have some Artist’s Books in the Cabinet at the door. They are based on Leith and 2 are based on the photos which Ken took in the 1960s /1970s and which inspired two of his paintings.Ken:A few pictures of the Roseleaf today when we went for lunch! Well worth a visit – and the paintings aren’t too bad either!24th August 2014Moira:Good News! I have sold both my collages from the Macmillan Exhibition!12th August 2014Moira:Last week Ken & I did our second Summer School Course at Leith School of Art with Jenny Martin. We had to choose a subject to study & work on for the week in sketchbook development. I chose a wonderful old lamp-post in King Street, Leith for mine! It has amazing surfaces where the many layers of paint are peeling and it was this that attracted me. We made collagraphs & monoprints and I even went in my lunch break one day to take rubbings of the surfaces!
Having experimented with many ways of portraying the surfaces using collage and layered prints I went on to make a collage and paint piece as my next step:I have been documenting the processes and have made an artist’s book based on my photographs of the lamp-post for my mini display in the Cabinet of the Roseleaf Bar Cafe in September (see Exhibitions page). It was a week packed with experimental work which I shall take forward, hopefully!11th August 2014Moira:
I have handed in my 2 pieces (above) chosen by Macmillan for their Art Show ‘Inspired‘ in Bonhams, 22, Queen St. Edinburgh, EH2 1JX from Thurs 14th – Sunday 17th August from 10am until 5pm Th & Fri, 10am – 4pm Sat & Sun.23rd July 2014Moira:Have had our first Summer School Week at Leith School of Art. Based on work done there I have documented the progress of one piece:8th July, 2014Moira:Just heard today that my work has been accepted again this year for the Macmillan Art Show in Bonham’s, 22 Queen Street, Edinburgh, 14th – 17th August 2014!4th July 2014Moira: Still suffering from the after effects of Shingles with two numb fingers and some nerve pain but, at last, able to concentrate enough to get started to some art work again. I have begun work on a collagraph of the broken windows in the old, abandoned cranes at Leith Docks. Special card is cut to varying depths to give a white, midtone and dark toned image when printed using a press.Ken:Now Moira is a bit better I am able to get back to preparing work for the Roseleaf exhibition. The above was inspired by a photograph taken by my brother in the 1950s. It shows an interpretation of Swinton Row – a street that is no longer with us – near St James Square in Edinburgh.23rd June 2014Moira: Joy of joys – the blistery rash has turned out to be Shingles!!!!22nd June 2014Joint:Not having a good week! Moira has a trapped nerve in her neck giving her numb fingers in her painting hand plus a painful blistery rash in the same hand. Ken has been looking after her and so not much painting has been done.16th June 2014Joint entry:The 3 Harbours Arts Festival is now behind us – a few sales were made and we learned a lot! Further sales at the Killiecrankie House Hotel too so exciting times! We are taking stock of our work for our solo exhibitions – in Sept (Ken ) & Oct (Moira) looking through all the work for each of us – organising what goes together and what to leave out & getting our framing lists organised. This all takes time and does not leave much time for the lovely business of actually making work – writing Blogs!!!! Will try to do better soon! 1st June 2014Joint entry: All our hard work for the 3 Harbours Festival has resulted in this display with which we are very satisfied. On with the preparations for our exhibitions in October & November (see Exhibitions page) and, of course, new work for the Killiecrankie House Hotel exhibition which will be changing at the end of July. Moira heard this weekend that she had sold a big painting at Killiecrankie so it has been a good if busy week.25th May, 2014Moira:I have been working on my Artist’s Books for the 3 Harbours Festival – making labels, packaging and so on. Today the final one is finished – just in time as the work has to be delivered tomorrow! The last one is called ‘A Celebration of Rust!’: Ken:It has been a wee while since my last blog because I have been getting ready for the 3 harbours exhibition. The painting above is a colour version of the pen & wash I showed on my last blog. I don’t know where it is or rather was as I am “mining” colour slides I took in Leith in the 1970s.12th May 2014Moira: The little perspex boxes now have tiny (compare to the 50p piece) accordian fold books which fit neatly inside! I am working on the little ‘slide’ books once more and building up my work for the 3 Harbours Festival which is later this month.Ken: Back to the pen and wash I started before the holidays. I like the tone and textures that can be achieved in this medium. I will attempt a painting of these buildings in the future.4th May 2014 I have been in Dunbar for the past week staying at an excellent self catering cottage and immersing myself in drawing and painting. This is a quick painting of the rocks near Dunbar castle next to the harbour.Moira:Back, refreshed, after a week by the sea in Dunbar sketching and painting outdoors… … and indoors! How can 2 people make so much mess when making art?!!!!25th April 2014Moira: I came across a few 3cm square clear plastic boxes with hinged lids which are crying out for something like tiny accordian book contents!Typically, they have grabbed my attention and I just had to get started! So far, I have thought of using the coast outline of the Forth Estuary and creating something out of it by drawing: or perhaps use some of my abstract, burnt image transfer papers; or maybe a series of little drawings or photos. It is a case of trial and error with much folding and snipping. If any of the ideas bear fruit I’ll keep you posted!Ken:For a change I decided to make a pen & wash image of some buildings in Leith. I used a photograph I took in the 1970s before the warehouses & factories were cleared away. Originally on a transparency, through the wonders of technology they can be printed quickly and easily. There is a bit to go in the picture!20th April 2014Moira:Here’s how I am making some rusty pages! First I crumpled some brown kraft paper, burned the edges slightly and then glued a variety of thin, textured papers to it. Using my paints I built up the colours and used the textures to build up a rich surface. Once it was dry I completed the other side in the same way: Hopefully this will for a double page in a Rust book once I have prepared some more!Ken: I am Still working on the trees!!16th April 2014Moira:Working on my artist’s books for the 3Harbours. I have used my burnt paper and image transfer work to create papers to use in various ways. Here is a sneak preview of one section of the piece I am working on!Ken: I am not happy about the trees, I think I will put it aside for a while then see how it looks. I feel it has lost the excitement it had earlier 13th April 2014Moira: More work on image transfer, burning holes and embossing. (Makes for rather a smelly studio with the after effects of the burning!Yesterday we went to see, for the second time, a fantastic exhibition in the Dovecot Gallery, Infirmary St. Edinburgh. The work is by Paul Martin. He uses varnishes, pigments, gesso as well as found objects on may of the pieces and collaged monoprints on others. We were lucky enough to meet Paul on this visit.Ken:Progress is being made, thought I should work on the closer of the two wagons today. I hope there are no wagon experts reading this as I have taken liberties with the braking system. I think I need more trees, perhaps closer to.10th April 2014Ken: Have added some black ink to ‘destroy’ the wagons painting as it was becoming too detailed too soon!9th April 2014Moira: Instead of scenic views from the shed/greenhouse windows I have been trying allotment plots – this has possibilities, I think!7th April 2014Ken:Have finally got the crane painting underway – not satisfied yet!6th April 2014Ken: Stage 1I was fascinated by two wagons on the Prestongrange site. They had been pushed into the undergrowth and left. There is no track beneath their wheels! They are stranded and neglected. What stories these wagons could tell, the places they have been. It was these feelings which inspired this paintingMoira:One of my little books for the 3 Harbours Arts Festival – a series of views of sections of the wagons which can be seen at Prestongrange. 4th April 2014Moira:We have been out and about again – off to see the wonderful historical houses of Prestonpans. I have been working on my artist’s books and experimenting with embossing and image transfer techniques.Ken:I have switched my attention to my Dolphinton Railway project once again. As the railway no longer exists my work has to come from maps and imagination! I am trying out new paints – from the Golden Range and am enjoying their brilliance of colour.30th March 2014Moira:
- A window collage
Having a change of subject matter to refresh the brain! For the last few days I have been working on pieces for my Roseleaf Exhibition in October. Some of the work will be inspired by the Warriston Allotments and the pieces I’ve been working on are on the theme of greenhouse / shed windows.
I was fascinated by the crane at Prestongrange and have begun a painting.
New to blogging we will share it between us and see how it goes.Joint News:Last week some of our paintings went up to the Killiecrankie House Hotel as a small part of the Madainn Group’s exhibition there. The work will be on view in all the public rooms and corridors for the season, changing throughout.We are also working towards our next exhibition – The 3 Harbours Arts Festival 31st May – 8th June. (www.3harbours.co.uk) so, on Saturday, sustained by a coffee and a chocolate brownie each, we took the train to Prestonpans and paid a return visit to the Prestongrange Industrial Museum’s site. The Visitor Centre does not open until April so we had the place more or less to ourselves. We spent a happy couple of hours collecting information for our work – more of that later.
I am making some artist’s books for the 3 Harbours and am especially interested in the textures and weathered surfaces at Prestongrange.
I have been exploring different ways of using and creating these surfaces and combining them with the amazing structures preserved at the Industrial Museum.
The industrial present and the industrial past fascinate me so my interest was in some of the decaying machinery. I am painting several canvases for the 3 Harbours using Cockenzie Power Station and the Prestongrange site as inspiration.