The range of four exhibitions this month at the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh celebrates the birth of Spring with blossoming flowers and city streets to stylish jewellery and decorative vases.
Renowned as a land and seascape artist following in the tradition of Joan Eardley, David Cook is constantly inspired by the scenic views around his remote beachfront cottage, Seagreens on the Kincardineshire coastline. Over the past three years he has focused intensely on his wildly overgrown garden for this collection of paintings, aptly called, Earth Shaker. This is a wilderness jungle of trees, plants, shrubs and flowers as well as a sculpture gallery with a collection of carved driftwood.
‘When Spring arrives, the garden bursts into life, as do I, a relief from long, dark winters. I wanted to show the garden, the colour, the energy.’ – David Cook
Entitled with the date when painted, here are the early shoots of tiny buds, delicate blossom, long, green grasses and spiky briar as witnessed day by day through the year, in sunshine, wind and rain.
26.10.19 – the golden copper shades of Autumn have appeared amongst a glimmer of soft summery pink and mauve to brighten the day.
Springtime arrives with a host of golden daffodils and what may be pretty, purple Irises, as spotted on 9.4.20.
Fast forward to July, 21.7.20, when the garden is a riot of crimson red petals and a tangle of green leaves. Maybe a butterfly or two, well camouflaged, and honeybees buzzing from flower to flower.
David Cook, ‘Flower Study II’, oil on board
Flower Study II is most imaginative – perhaps Himalayan blue poppies – given the abstract treatment with a bold, brash splash of brushstrokes creating a decorative pattern.
Take a virtual tour around the gallery online to view these evocative botanical studies in close up, with such a fiery flourish of colour you can almost detect the floral scent. A fascinating video of Cook in the garden, describes his immersive working process to observe nature’s sprouting growth from the earth through the seasons.
A Sense of Place: Michael McVeigh specialises in figurative work and cityscapes, described as ‘a modern day folk artist’ capturing the social, cultural ambience of daily life. McVeigh is a true observer, walking around Edinburgh streets to capture its iconic architecture, The Castle, gardens, pubs and harbours. These are places he knows well, transformed into charming, comical illustrations with a dramatic storytelling mood etched with delightful humour.
Conan Doyle, Winter – this pub beside the majestic St. Mary’s Cathedral, is a tribute to the novelist born nearby on Picardy Place, the renowned creator of Sherlock Holmes.
Timeless and traditional, Bennets Bar, beside the King’s Theatre, is frequented by actors, theatre-goers and local Tollcross residents enjoying a pint.
There is a real Lowry-esque style in Candlemaker Row, with tiny caricature images of people walking up the cobbled street, with two men clearing the snow.
The Hole at St. James depicts the building site of cranes which has dominated the Edinburgh skyline for several years as the new W hotel and shopping district emerge from the rubble.
View these paintings online and do watch the video of McVeigh at work, mapping out the skeletal structure of St. Cuthbert’s Church, then adding a glow of sunlight through the trees – a magical wee movie.
Chain Reaction is a showcase of innovative jewellery by Shelby Fitzpatrick, skilfully crafted from frosted Perspex.
Reminiscent of making daisy chains as a child, these are thick strands of laser-cut flowers and geometric shapes in vibrant colours. The various necklaces measure between 48 cms and 59 cms, (19 inches to nearly 2ft.), – funky, chunky statement pieces to jazz up a plain T shirt or dress. Lightweight, easy to pack, with matching ear-rings too, the perfect accessory for Spring 2021.
Lara Scobie specialises in smoothly polished, fine parian porcelain and Grapphica is her series of delicately sculptured bowls and vases. Black & white, blue, orange and yellow designs blend bold pop art with elegant decorative style.
With thanks to Vivien Devlin for this review.