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A quick update from Studio J

Autumn 2020

A quick update from Studio J

When I wrote my last blog, I was, like most of the rest of the country, working from home and in lock down. As I think I said at the time, working from a poorly lit upstairs room at home wasn’t particularly easy. That said I did get three new paintings completed by the time I returned to my studio at the start of July. So not exactly prolific but time well spent. The paintings are all based on sound recordings I made back in December while we were walking a section of the Great Glen Way along the shores of Loch Lochy.

425 ‘Loch Lochy, December, 1’, Oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm

During the summer, I went to Graham Byron’s audio studio and together we mixed a three section soundtrack to play with the paintings. Graham has created a video version of the work and we hope to have everything finished before too long. Obviously the latest restrictions here in the Central Belt of Scotland have meant that we haven’t been able to work together in the studio again recently but we meet on-line and exchange ideas and audio and video files. It’s a bit slower, but we can continue to do this work and of course it’s very important as we are still hopeful that our exhibition will go ahead in the Barony Centre in West Kilbride in March…… and these new audio visual works will be the centrepiece of the show.

426 ‘Loch Lochy, December, 2’, Oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm
427 ‘Loch Lochy, December, 3’, Oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm

Anyway, here’s a bit of good news:

A quick rewind to December last year

You may remember that about a year ago I was asked whether I was interested in being included in a arts documentary commissioned by BBC 4. In short, I agreed and spent a couple of days with a small team from the company making the programme. Anyway, a few days ago I was told that the programme, called “Disordered Eye”, will be transmitted on BBC 4, on November 4th at 9pm:

Now that I know for definite that it’s going out on national TV, I’m getting a bit nervous I have to admit! Oh well, it’ll only be a very small part of the overall programme and so if the painting and audio are included, it’ll be a great way to get the work out to a much larger audience. Fingers crossed!

Summer walks

The day after the travel restrictions were lifted in early July, we headed back up into the Southern Highlands for our first hill walk for many months. We avoided all the popular tops figuring that everyone would be doing what we were now that the shackles were off and so headed back to some small hills above Glen Ogle. With legs that were well out of condition, we made our way up to the small cairn that marks the summit of Beinn Leabhain at around 700 m. We’ve visited this top several times over the last few years but the views make it well worth while, especially when looking out over Loch Tay towards the big hills of the Ben Lawers group. It was just so good to be out wandering the hills again.

Towards Loch Tay and Ben Lawers
From the slopes of Beinn Chaorach

We followed this trip by visits to other small less frequented hills that we know and love; Beinn Inverveigh, (that lies above Loch Tulla), Beinn Chaorach near Tyndrum and a few weeks ago, Beinn Eich in the Luss Hills.

Looking down into Glen Luss from Beinn Eich

We tried at all times to minimise the impact of us visiting these beautiful areas and so always carried disinfectant wipes to clean any gates we passed through or stiles we crossed. By avoiding the popular hills we avoided contact with others and so we left almost no trace of our visits except a few boot prints. Fantastic. With the new restrictions we’re staying within Ayrshire for the time being and are waiting to hear the latest advice from the Scottish government. But hey, we’re really lucky as Ayrshire has miles of beautiful countryside and just ten minutes walk from my studio here, we have a huge beach that stretches all the way to Troon. So then, it’ll be a few more local walks for the time being I think.

Loch Lomond from Glen Luss

Finally, just to remind you that despite everything, I’m still in business, still working away in my little studio here on Irvine’s Harbourside. We’ve been making a few changes to my website recently and you’ll see some of my more recent paintings there. If you are looking for something special for your wall, do go and have a look. I can ship work easily so there no problem if you can’t get to the studio and you will be supporting one of Ayrshire’s long serving artists during these very difficult times.

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