Together, oil on linen
Together, oil on linen

Doubtfire Gallery Edinburgh: Michael Clark – Quedubon: Just Good Things

Until 1st August

Doubtfire Gallery was established in 2010 by Frame Creative, and now in their 10th year of business have recently moved from S E Circus Place, down the road to a smart new venue in the bustling heart of Stockbridge.

Doubtfire gallery, Michael G Clark exhibition
Doubtfire gallery, Michael G Clark exhibition

 

To launch the new gallery, the summer exhibition is Quedubon by Michael G Clark, PAI, RSW. The title roughly translates as ‘just good things’, the sense of  joie de vivre in France to observe the pursuit of pleasure and leisure in the daily routine. 

Clark visited Paris for the first time in 1980 while studying at the Edinburgh College of Art: the city of light, culture and romance, must have been an exciting, enriching experience for a young artist. Café society, the epitome of the French art of living, is captured with cool, charismatic style. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about the inimitable ankle-grazing apron, style and stature of the traditional waiter, standing here on duty with military precision. This is more than a simple sketch but a charming, impressionistic Lowry-esque figurative study.  Through the window is a shadowy glimpse of a couple sitting inside the café, all part of a hidden narrative, like a paused frame in an animated movie.

Parisian Waiter, oil on linen
Parisian Waiter, oil on linen

 

‘If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.’  – from A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway.

Mostly Bordeaux, watercolour
Mostly Bordeaux, watercolour

 

The fine art of drinking wine is the decorative theme in several artworks on a virtual journey around the vineyards of the Bordeaux, Rhone, Loire and Champagne regions. 

Mostly Bordeaux    the half full (or half empty?) glass of wine is a bright and bold Pop Art image against a splash of Cabernet /Malbec ruby red.   

From oil paintings to small unframed works, here are champagne flutes, clinking glasses and a fine array of bottles of all shapes and sizes. White Wine is a most pleasing composition like a still life, with corkscrew, grapes and bottles against an abstract fertile green landscape of the vineyard.

White Wine, mixed media, watercolour
White Wine, mixed media, watercolour

 

 

Wine Bibbing, unframed, ink and red wine on watercolour paper
Wine Bibbing, unframed, ink and red wine on watercolour paper

With an imaginative use of media, Wine Bibbing is sketched in ink and a splosh of red wine, with a jolly, jaunty angle of the glasses. Santé!

France is, of course, also renowned for haute couture. Clark has the expert eye of a leading fashion designer, specialising with such skill in drawing the most fabulous frocks and a classic LBD, aka Little Black Dress. 

LBD, conte and oil on gesso panel
LBD, conte and oil on gesso panel
The Dressmaker, oil on linen
The Dressmaker, oil on linen

 

The Dressmaker depicts a glamorous cocktail gown, perhaps cream chiffon, and a soft pink sundress, with such subtle shading to denote a light linen texture. Another fashionable frock in Thinking of Summer – a lovely soft pastel depicted in conté crayon and oil.  

 

Paris in the Rain, oil on linen
Paris in the Rain, oil on linen

 

Paris in the Rain reflects the damp chill in the air with the girl in her cloche hat, hunched under her parapluie trying to keep dry. 

Here are many other quirky, quintessential snapshots of traditional French life and times – shopping in the market, a game of Petanque in the park, taking the dog for a walk, and the iconic, close embrace of two lovers in a city street. Again, like an animated movie, these are delightful, romantic vignettes, ‘caricature’ figures but with a depth of painterly expression to evoke a real sense of place and atmosphere – the use of light, shade and dappled sunlight is most effective.

Sunflowers, oil on linen
Sunflowers, oil on linen

 

The beauty of the natural landscape too, such as Sunflowers, with thick brush strokes and smudges of golden yellow paint like a slick of mustard; one blooming flower stands tall and erect to face the sun. 

Quedubon – Just Good Things is the perfect exhibition to bring sunshine into our lives this summer.

28 North West Circus Place
Edinburgh EH3 6TP

Image: Together, oil on linen

With grateful thanks to Vivien Devlin for this review