Bajun Girl

Robin Paine & Stephen Howard Harrison | Dundas Street Gallery

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Dundas Street Gallery, 6a Dundas Street, Edinburgh
Exhibition continues until August 10

Robin Paine was born in Kenya and educatated in Europe and the UK. She received her BA degree in Fine Art from Edinburgh College of Art in 1980 and having specialised in portrait painting, she was twice a Finalist in the annual Portrait Competition for emerging artists at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Moving to the USA, she graduated with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Tufts School, Boston in 1995 and then taught here and School of Visual Arts, New York,

It was at the ECA where Robin met Stephen Howard Harrison, both fortunate to study under Robin Philipson, Dr David Mitchie, Victoria Crowe, George Donald and Elizabeth Blackadder.  Harrison’s mother was a highly renowned artist Mary Kent Harrison (RBA, NEAC), and he grew up surrounded by easels and the smell of oil paint. While still a student, one of his paintings ‘The Room’  was highly commended at the 1979 Stowell’s Trophy in London, and he received a medal from Sir Hugh Casson.

This joint exhibition at the Dundas Street Gallery, is the first time they have collaborated and their respective genres create a fine selection of distinctive work.

Here are superb portraits by Robin, facial expression, hair, jewellery fabrics are all meticulously handled. Bajun Girl is particularly striking, (illustrated here), a picture of youthful innocence but with a knowing half smile (very Mona Lisa!), her eyes looking at the artist, but as if her thoughts are elsewhere. The earrings, glistening pearls around her neck and the patterned wallpaper all create an enigmatic study.

“My paintings would probably be best described as “figurative” or “realist”. I work from life whenever possible and I have found that this is essential when I’m painting people” says Robin, who is inspired by natural history, anthropology and mythology.

The exhibition also shows her figurative drawings, nudes and animal paintings – from wild jaguars to domestic cats.  Landscapes too – or more correctly skyscapes, such as “Evening Sunset” which is quietly atmospheric, with shifting clouds and a soft buttery sky.

City and Landscapes are Stephen Howard Harrison’s forte – iconic scenes of Edinburgh Castle, captured from different locations such the often unexpected view from Inverleith Park.  The tranquil garden of Saxe Coburg Place, Stockbridge is beautifully preserved on canvas as seen through different seasons, from springtime to autumn, blooming with flowers and golden leaves.

“I like to make paintings that reach out and, for want of a better word, radiate in a fairly assertive way into the space of the room in which they are placed”.  Stephen

Perspective and space to view art is everthing.  Standing back in the gallery to view “Tulips in Saxe Coburg Place,” you can detect a rich, timeless, impressionistic style which is clearly reminiscent of Van Gogh.  The detail of each leaf and petal, colour palette, precise pattern and bold brushwork come together through tone and texture to create a bold composition.

N.B.  Stephen is having a solo exhibition at Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh, 16th to 21st December 2016.

For more information on the artists –  &

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