Friday, 24 March 2017

New work

It has been a while...I have been working  over the winter on a  new series of paintings (about 20 or so) for an upcoming exhibition titled Purlieu which opens on March 30th.

Being incapacitated as I was with my recent ankle operation and subsequent recovery period I was literally tied to the studio...I had little excuse not to work and as it was it kept me going for the 3.5 months that I was unable to walk unaided.

The paintings for Purlieu reference  places I know and frequent, some literally on my doorstep and others further afield.

 They are in no sense literal in terms of the actual topography of the land or environment of these places......they are intended to be more of a representation of a memory or semblance of place.

I have had tremendous fun working on these paintings and have enjoyed the virtually uninterrupted time I have had to work on them.  The exhibition is hosted by LiveBorders and is on at Coldstream Museum, 12 Market Street, Coldstream TD12.

I have to admit there is something quite quirky and a little surreal to be exhibiting alongside the permanent display in the museum which relates to the Coldstream Guards! 

Purlieu runs from 30th march -4th June 2017

Open: Mon-Sat 9.30am-12.30pm,.1.00-4.00pm & Sundays 2.00-4.00pm. 

The private view is on the evening of the 30th from 7.00-8.30pm. All welcome!

NT 6297 2505   1  100x100cm Oil on Canvas

NT 6297 2505   2  100x100cm Oil on Canvas
  Groundswell  40x40cm Oil on Canvas

Saturday, 26 March 2016

On Reflection

This week our Level 2 students were invited to join a number of other artists and students from Edinburgh and Sunderland for part of  a three day creative residency at The Haining  , Selkirk to work on ideas surrounding 'Reflections' and glass as a medium.

The idea seemed to me to be very much about responding to the location and creating very experimental almost ethereal 'art' works.The artists taking part ranged from sound artists, to sculptors, glass artists and everything in between. The university students came from courses in architecture and glass.

It was a very enjoyable day and we were  fortunate that the weather was so sunny. 
Our students form Borders College are just starting out on their creative lives and this opportunity  certainly placed them outside of what they usually associate with creativity and making important and useful learning curve!

What is so very good about events like this one, apart form meeting new people and discussing ideas is the provision of time and the 'permission' to explore, experiment and respond in the knowledge that what is important is, that  it will be alright...out of small kernels of ideas come more resolved things that will grow and travel hopefully or not? 

Experimentation is key, and the idea of impermanence is central to this way of working......most of the work made during the artists time at The Haining will exist through documentation and memory. I only managed to see part of what everyone else was doing but no problem there as a selection of work made on the residency will form part of Reflections an exhibition of contemporary glass, at The Haining, Selkirk from 20th of April -8th of May.

 I took a series of photographs on the day idea was a simple one and centered around the notion of how to disrupt or intervene with the environment around me through using some reflective materials in the process.

 A simple but  interesting thing to do!
I have been thinking about what I could do with these images and one idea would be to have them printed onto( Japanese) tissue paper, set them on the water surface and watch them dissolve...maybe I will.

Thanks to Niall Campbell and Inge Paneels for arranging our visit.

Thursday, 31 December 2015


This post is dedicated to (you) Debi 'O Hehir,  my much loved sister who sadly passed away on October the 1st this year.

In this life it's good to have and make plans.....but not to the exclusion  of living. "Life is what happens to you while  you're busy making other plans", this quote often attributed to John Lennon sums this sentiment  up pretty  well.

I had many plans for 2015, many of them were more intention than plan, but made none the less. Many of them simply didn't materialise......I'm wary of plans!

One of the many plans I had was to chart, mark, punctuate, record or whatever the passage of time through monthly blog posts....needless to say I only managed two.

 So in light of this I want to end 2015 with a series  of images and some captions for each.

Wishing all family, friends, acquaintances and pooches near and far a healthy,  happy and creative New Year :)
Go Gillean go, lovely to watch our boy start proper leading this sumer, well done Gillean xx

This is what keeps him going

Green the colour of growth and renewal

Happy days,rare family self portrait after one of our multi pitch climbs this summer in the Lakes

Debi, Miles and David photographing the finished sculpture, great and cherished memories from my w/k in TGC in May 2015

One of our walks, close to home
Owl sniffing it up in the Cuillins, the first Jackapoo to scale the Bhabheinn -Clach Glas ridge?!

Two minutes in the grand room/hall ? at the TGC, beautiful light

John doing his stuff in the Lakes, summer 2015

After Debi's beloved dog, Wilco died, the garden became a haven for wild animals....they were a great comfort to her in her final few weeks on this earth.

July rushes by
Deb working on her last big sculpture at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in May 2015

Ruberslaw and Fatlips in the distance
Beautiful rainbow on our way up to Blabheinn and Clach Glas
That rainbow , again
Unfurling ferns
Rock puddle, Hepburn last week
December skyes-from back Bowden, Northumberland
Back Bowden

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Seen it all before, see it all again and again......

Clean slate
Half way through February and finally it feels like there's light at the end of the tunnel. The dark months of winter are often a good time for me creatively, cocooned in the studio when the weather is bad I 'm not so easily distracted and in a strange way I like this part of the year.

With the advent of Spring comes a feeling of unsettledness and anticipation. It's the  changing over of one kind of living to just takes time to readjust .

The Working Perspectives exhibition is up now and it was great to see the varied range of work on show. It's really interesting to see how artists respond to different locations and stimuli.

I enjoyed the whole experience and it really pushed me to consider areas of exploration and experimentation in my work not thought about for a long time.

Like all professions and jobs in life, being an artist demands a certain level of planning...something I am not always prepared for!
So next in line is work for the Scottish Borders Art Fair in Kelso, a group show at the Stonewall Gallery in Duns, representation on the all new online OGallery and finally two great opportunities in September and October....a small solo show at Coldstream Gallery and taking part in  a group  exhibition titled  The Debatable Lands at the Scott Gallery in Hawick. 

So my work is cut out and I am eager to make headway. 

So to the title of this months blog...occasionally I feel that my ideas and inspirations may dry up and some days there is nothing, the muse goes silent.
 But like yesterday when I put brush to paper the landscape opened up before me and it felt like I was back in a place I know very well. Perhaps a bit of a cliche but to me the landscape keeps giving...I have seen it all before, but I see it again and again in new and different ways. This is what keeps my work going and strangely remains a mystery to me at times.

The snow didn't stay long this year but it was still a small thrill to see the landscape transformed from earth colours to pristine white.

The noughts and crosses tree top walkways at Go Ape featured in many of my images for the Go Ape Working Perspectives residency. 
The stitching that appears on the small concertina card constructions is a reference to the many mountain bikes tracks winding their way through Glentress forest.

Oil on Linen 30x30cm
Detail -Monoprint ,cut out and stitching on Rosapina paper
I see the paper concertina constructions as pieces that echo in part the shapes and parts of the high up walk ways. They  have images on one side and rolled on solid oil colour on the other. Both sides are intended to be seen by the viewer and the idea is about making the simple distinction of being on the ground and being up in the trees. 

And so...finishing with a few  images from January this year. Thanks if you have been reading :)

Hownam Law

The Working Perspectives exhibition is showing at Tweeddale Museum & Gallery, Chambers Institution, High Street, Peebles. Open Mon-Friday 10.30-12.30 & 1-4pm Sat 9.30-12.30 Closed Sundays. Exhibition runs until 11th April.