Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Scottish Art - A Day at the Shore

Alan's painting seems to go from strength to strength at the moment. The painting above (acrylics on canvas board - 20 inches by 16) is one of my all time favourites. It's titled 'A Day at the Shore'. A young woman in a long red dress and sunhat, walks along the sand of what is very obviously a West of Scotland beach. She is pushing one of those big, old fashioned, comfortable prams with one hand, while with the other, she holds the hand of a toddler, a little lad in blue, who is carrying his bucket and spade. In the background you can just make out a misty Ailsa Craig, while a paddler steamer motors along on its way 'doon the watter.'
I don't know why I like this one so much, except that there seems to be something wonderfully evocative and atmospheric about it. The composition is lovely - the eye goes straight to mother and child, but then picks up on the paddle steamer - quite detailed - and drifts across to the distant Craig. There is something so typically West of Scotland about this day - warm but not sultry - always a little breeze in the Clyde. And the little boy with his bucket and spade has, I think, had his attention caught by the paddle steamer. (As anyone who has seen the Waverley pass by knows, they are impossible to ignore - just beautiful vessels.)
The painting is currently for sale in our eBay shop - but when it sells, as I'm sure it will, I'll be very sorry to see it go. He'll just have to do me another one like it!
Alan has been fairly desperate to get away from woodcarving for a little while now. It's not that he doesn't enjoy it, and - as you can see if you visit his site - he is very good at it. But he was constantly being asked to make ever larger carvings for ever lower prices, and each time it seemed to effect his health adversely - carving on this scale is definitely a young man's game. He had always sketched - most of his carvings began life as a series of sketches - and painted, but he himself was aware that his paintings were too stilted and photographic. As a sculptor, a certain meticulous quality was in them. I've been bending his ear for ages to try to get him to free his imagination, but it was when he began to paint in acrylics that things started to go right for him. What he was aiming for, I suppose, was that sense of freedom that he managed to encompass when he was doodling and sketching for a carving - the drawings he produced then were lovely. Acrylics demanded a certain speed. He couldn't possibly hang about! And at the same time he began painting not what he saw but what he felt. There is a certain narrative in these pictures - but there is an evocative quality about them - sometimes nostalgic and timeless, as with this one - but sometimes right up to the minute.
Now that he has begun, he has almost more ideas than he can cope with - so watch this space!

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