Archive for June, 2010


On the easel

June 28, 2010

I find the whole psychology of mask wearing fascinating.  Covering all or part of the face, not only has the potential to radically change the viewers perception of an individual, it has also been shown to influence the mood, perception and behaviours of the person wearing the mask.  There is an abundance of psychological theory and debate based around masks wearing on a metaphorical basis too.   As an artist with a keen interest in capturing  human nuances the concept of the mask offers a great deal of creative inspiration.

One of my recent paintings depicted a masked young lady.  The painting was deliberately dark and mysterious; there was intentional ambiguity to complement the theme of the mask.  I thought it would be interesting to develop this idea further – what will the viewer and the subject see and feel when the mask slips or is deliberately puched back?

Here is a work in it’s early stages with our masked girl revealed.  I’m seeking a strong contrast between this image and the first painting.

initial study on the easel - acrylic wash and mixed media


Lana Vanguard

June 26, 2010

Lana Vanguard may sound like the name of some glamorous American actress but it’s actually a new type of synthetic plastic paper.  This paper is a cousin of the better known Yupo paper which has become increasingly popular with watercolourists.

Inspired by the fabulous work on Sandy Maudlin’s blog, I’ve just purchased a pad of Lana Vanguard and have had my first little experiment to see what sort of textures and effects I can achieve.  It’s a very interesting surface to work on and isn’t like anything I have ever used before.  I’m liking that paint can easily be lifted back off to restore highlights or add texture.  However, this is something of a double edge sword as it’s also very easy to lift colour off when you don’t want to.  I’m looking forward to spending more time working with this paper and will post any interesting developments.

Experimental study - watercolour on Lana Vanguard

Close up view of watercolour on Lana Vanguard


and there’s more

June 18, 2010

Day three of my forth valley studios tour didn’t disappoint, although I spent so much time chatting I didn’t get to half the venues I’d planned.  Here’s a little rundown of some of my favourites from today. 

Greer Ralston at Venue 23 

I’ve attended many classes with Greer over the years, it was so nice to go out to her studio to see where the magic happens.  Greer had a fantastic selection of her outstanding figurative and equestrian work on display for visitors.  I really recommend a visit but for those who can’t get out to Greer’s Stirling based studio, you can view a selection of her work on her website

Wendy Donaldson at Venue 29 

A stunning oil painting by Wendy Donaldson

 The figurative work of Wendy Donaldson can only be described as exquisite.  She captures children with such a rare softness and sensitivity.  The work shown above is actually larger than life size – it’s a truly impressive painting.

Advent (oil on canvas) Wendy Donaldson

 Wendy also paints colourful and atmospheric landscapes and is particularly fond of snow scenes.  We were lucky enough to see one of these in progress on Fiona’s easel during our visit.    

Fiona Byre-Sutton at Venue 57 

The works on display at Alloa Clay Station exceeded all expectations I had.  Fiona Byre-Sutton and the Scottish Potters Association are exhibiting a great variety of work that will cater for every taste: traditional, elegant, modern, abstract, mythical, charming and quirky all in one venue.  A full listing of the exhibitors and exhibits can be found here.  It was interesting to see the wide variety of techniques deployed – it really brought home to me what a versatile medium clay is.  I’m now very tempted by the ceramic classes that Fiona will be running later in the year. 

Jill Conlan at venue 58 

Jill runs the Newfangled Glass Company and has just moved  into new premises at the Makers Village, Alloa.  Although Jill’s new workspace isn’t fully up and running yet, she gave us a really interesting overview of some of the techniques involved in creating fused, appliqued and stained glass.  Jill hopes to have an open studio day later in the year once she has settled into her new studio. In the meantime, you can check out some of Jill’s works at the Newfangled Glass website.


More From Forth Valley Open Studios

June 17, 2010

My second day of touring studios has been simply amazing.  The imagination, innovation and skill of the artists I’ve met today has been truly inspiring.  Here’s a rundown of my highlights from today.

Margaret Fraser at Venue 40 

Sculpture by Margaret Fraser

Margaret is based in the Mill House Studio where she works alongside three other contemporary artists.  What was striking in the Mill House Studio was both the originality and variety of works on display: textiles, paintings, sculptures, mixed media and more.  The work of all four artists goes beyond representation to explore exciting possibilities in texture, colour, design and concept.

I was particularly drawn to some beautiful black and white mixed media pieces of Margaret’s.  I think it’s only a matter of time before we have a little Margaret Fraser collection in the Broom household.

Delta Studios at Venue 41

A little peak at the Delta Studios exhibition

If you are struggling to find time to get around all the venues then Delta Studios is a great place to get a taster of the work of participating artists.  In addition to the artist studios published in the brochure, Delta Studios is host to an exhibition of work from artists based in all the other venues.

Linda Owens at Venue 51

A lively study of boats in pen & watercolour by Linda Owens

Linda Owens has a fascinating selection of work on display which allowed the viewer to gain some insight into how she has evolved and progressed as an artist over time.  The exhibits included some earlier representational watercolours through to the pioneering mixed media pieces that Linda is currently developing.  I loved that Linda had thought to put sketches, collograph plates and cut lino on display to give visitors some idea of what is involved in each process.

Linda’s work is refreshing and exciting in how she pushes the possibilities of non traditional and unusual media to achieve some wonderful effects.

Val and Rachel Kenyon at Venue 67

Val is one of the most versatile artists I’ve met.  The level of accomplishment Val has attained in watercolour, pastel and oil is unusual, with many artists preferring to specialise in a particular medium.  To add to this versatility, Val can switch between landscape, figure, flora and fauna with ease producing an impressive variety of realistic, representational works.  If you aren’t able to make it along to Val’s studio, there is a good selection of work on her website you can view at your leisure.

Rachael Kenyon designs and makes easy to wear contemporary jewellery that is both modern and elegant.  I was unable to resist temptation and left with two gorgeous beaded pendants.

Jewellery by Rachael Kenyon


Press Release

June 16, 2010

An article from the Alloa Advertiser today complete with a picture from our Open Studios launch at The Gallery.  Good to see our local press giving the event such great support.

Alloa Advertiser 16 June 2010


Open Studios Day Two

June 13, 2010

This afternoon I did a mini tour of some of the open studios venues in Bridge of Allan and Dunblane.  I just have to share some of my personal favourites from today:

Alec Galloway at Venue 7

Alec’s art has an incredible and powerful presence.  It’s dynamic, bold and moving and certainly not to be missed.  Alec is also well known for his works in glass, one of which is on display at Venue 7.  This is the first time I have come across Alec’s paintings and I’ll certanly be actively looking out for his exhibitions in future.

Fiona Campbell at Venue 8

Fiona’s venue showed off textile art at its very best.  I fell in love with every single exquisite piece of work she was exhibiting!  The intricate stiching and beautiful fabrics combined with Fiona’s exceptional talent in design and illustration made for a truly impressive collection.  Fiona also had several of her sketchbooks on hand which were a real treat to thumb through.  I left feeling inspired and am still pondering whether or not to buy a sewing machine …

Gio Martin at Venue 14

Gio’s venue was host to her delightful clay figures which just oozed with humour and charm.  These beautifully textured pieces have a lovely matt finish and subtle contemporary colours.

Gio also makes contemporary jewellery that’s bold and stylish yet really practical for everyday wear.  I left with two gorgeous necklaces in my favourite colour.

The Fotheringham Gallery (venue 12) is well worth a visit too.  I thought the works by Alastair Laing, Sandra Moffat and Gwen Black were particularly interesting.


Open Studios Venue 55

June 13, 2010

I had a fantastic afternoon at The Gallery for the opening of Forth Valley Open Studios.  It was a great opportunity to meet other artists and art lovers from the local area.  I’m looking forward to visiting a large number of the other 72 venues in the coming week.  For anyone who missed the opening and would like to see the exhibition,  it will be open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm.

Three of my works on display

A selection of work by Bobbi Vetter

Mixed media works by Norma Gibson

Me (far right) with some of the other artists from venue 55