Who would have imagined when art sessions resumed last January that we would be spending all our creative time at home. Painting doesn’t instantly spring to mind when you think of sociable activities, but it is amazing how much support, encouragement and inspiration we derive from our group sessions. We have all missed that, and while some have found it easier to settle into projects, it has been difficult for many. We are all looking forward to being able to meet again as soon as it is safe and we are very much hoping to welcome some new members.
We have plenty of inspiration in our little corner of the world for painting seascapes; just imagine if we lived in Timbuktu or Phoenix, Arizona for instance. It’s a special kind of landscape and one that has always drawn artists to try to capture the light and mood. Aberdeen Art Gallery has some amazing seascapes and it is fascinating to compare them; I have recently spent a blissful hour splashing around in the water there. From Joan Eardley’s wild storm in ”High Tide – a Winter Afternoon” to” The White Calm, Ailsa Craig from Port an Righ” by William McTaggart, the sea is an ever changing, never ceasing challenge. Now is an ideal time to visit, if you are able, as it is quiet, and feels very safe.
Now all I have to do is pick up my paintbrushes …………
It’s a good while since we were able to meet for our art sessions and we had all been hoping that they might be resuming before the end of the year. Well, there has been no news from our venue, and of course, we all now know that there will be no easing of restrictions for the foreseeable future. We enjoyed several weeks of outdoor companionship in the summer down by the river, when we caught up on news, put the world to rights and sometimes even talked art! Now even that isn’t possible, we are having to dig deep to keep our creativity going. At the moment we are still able to visit galleries, and are hoping to post some reviews in the coming weeks. Between those and all the inspiration we have had over the summer from our ”neater than usual” gardens and the beautiful Aberdeenshire countryside, we are bound to be coming up with some lovely work!
On a recent visit to Bergen I visited 3 of the main art galleries that had just reopened for the summer – Kode 2, 3 and 4. The exhibition in Kode 2 was on Picasso called Utstilling: Pablo Picasso. Suite 347. It contained 347 drawings and lithographs, nearly all nudes, painted in his later life aged 75+. I felt it was rather a manic repetition on the same theme (!), but there were a few exceptions. I particularly liked these two for their very fine artwork
In the other galleries Kode 3 and 4 are permanent exhibitions of 18th, 19th and 20th century art, featuring some well known Norwegian artists, including Edvard Munch and Nicolai Astrup. It was good to discover the pioneering female artist Harriet Bakker (Chez Moi, 1887), Ludvig Karsten (portrait of a lady, 1915) and Hans Gude (Kystbile)
Next to a building site there was some interesting street art. This painting of the elephant and rhinoceros being led towards a precariously fragile bridge made me think of impending extinctions due to human behaviour, but in fact it was a deep, psychoanalytical piece that I won’t even attempt to describe! It just shows how imagination can create a meaning that is not always the intention of the artist, but it seemed to me to be equally relevant.
Local artist and gallery owner,Nicole Porter, has managed to establish a fine reputation in just a few years. Educated at Ellon Academy and then Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, where she obtained a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art in 2008, Nicole then embarked on a series of study placements in Norway, Paris and New York. Returning to Aberdeen in 2010 and with no business experience, she decided to open her own gallery. Looking back, she says, ”It was a bold move. Creating paintings is one thing, but being able to run a successful business is another thing altogether”. Well, she did make a success of it and her Gallery is now very well established and flourishing. Over the years she has won many awards for her work and exhibited in galleries in both the UK and abroad. Her speciality is portraiture but she also paints inspirational city landscapes. She now juggles, her painting and gallery management with bringing up a family of three small children.
The outdoor meetings have proved a success socially, but not, as yet, artistically. We will meet again this coming Thursday (July 23rd) and possibly subsequent weeks whilst the good weather lasts and until indoor sessions resume.
The seasons are marching on and we are now into what would have been our summer break. It is strange to think that we haven’t held an indoor session since March and I think we have all missed that weekly gathering. Weather permitting, we will hold two outdoor sessions at the Riverside Car Park in Ellon on Thursday July 9th and 16th from 10.30 until 1.00. We plan to do some sketching and painting or just plain socialise. This would be a good opportunity for anyone who is interested in joining the group to come along and see what we get up to; please just turn up and introduce yourself.
An artist who lived in Ellon for many years, has done this sketch to represent what is dominating our lives at the moment. ”I was looking for an expression of what was happening and this seemed to fit the bill. The virus strangling humanity”