Friday, 16 October 2009

Edinburgh Festival 2009

Festival 2009!.........

Was the the name of our next exhibition.......for obvious reasons. What an amazing place Broughton Street is during the Edinburgh Festival: we even managed to do a little celeb spotting! Edinburgh is at it's best during the Festival and there's no escaping the buzz the city has during August. Again, for such an incredible vibe we wanted to show work that matched this. So we enlisted in the awesome talent of Graham Flack. Sure enough his iconic head paintings demanded the attention of visitors form all over the globe. Graham was in the year below me at Edinburgh College of Art and in the lead up to his degree show people with an eye could tell that Graham was going places. We can't give too much away about his technique, however to me it's like sculpting in 2D. I wholly admire his discipline. He works in quite "mucky" materials: charcoal, oil and turps, yet the finished article has an immaculate finish to it and the presentation in pristine white frames shows confidence in the work produced. Rightly so! Sure enough it wasn't long before a couple of expert collectors welcomed some key pieces into their collections.

"Saul", Graham Flack.
We missed "Saul" once he had gone. I miss his soulful eyes.

A quick image of how Graham's work looked in the gallery. It's not a fantastic image (I am notoriously bad with a camera) yet you can get a feel for how effective they were.

We also showed Lisa Pettersson's work during the Festival. Visitors to the gallery like her style. Her work has a contemporary edge and has a lot of appeal about it. One of Lisa's influences is Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai and in particular his "Great Wave" woodcut. I definitely see this in her paintings. We are looking forward to seeing more of her work....will keep you posted.

The next piece to feature is by artist Derek McGuire. He is an Edinburgh based painter whose work we do not see enough of. The first time I saw this painting I knew it was a real treasure...I gave a little gasp when I viewed it for the first time. Immediately it reminded me of Pre Raphaelite painter John Millais "Ophelia". I love the suggestion of lush vegetation. There is an ambiguity about the piece too which I love.

"Jockey's Cap on the Grass". Derek McGuire. (A gem of a painting.)

I am adding in this photo I took of the water of Leith today. I have not got round to finding out what this plant is called however, it can be seen growing all the way along the water. Everytime I see it, it reminds me of Derek's "Jockey's Cap on the Grass".

Derek McGuire will be having a solo exhibition with us September 2010. I am really looking forward to that one!

"Kalamalka Sunset", a painting by Trevor Jones, was hung in a group of 4. Kalamalka is the name of a river that Trevor lived near in British Columbia. The Native Americans gave it the name "Kalamalka" meaning..lake of a thousand colours, although I don't think there are 1000 different colours in the painting! Trevor is, of course, the master at getting the colour "mix" just right. He fights it out with each piece and the end result always looks effortless. So good were all 4 pieces that a lovely couple visiting from London had to take them all. We should also point out the fantastic work that Trevor does with Art in Healthcare.

And here is the now affectionately known as Dashing Mr Jones taking a rare 10 mins out to see us in the gallery. Naturally we ended up talking about work, art and paintings etc

There is another artist whose really special paintings featured during the Festival. I am true fan and follower of his work and his approach to painting sums up the spirit of our gallery......we will save him for later!
Here he is.....
"As a painter I believe in painting that gives rather than withholds: an intimate art that is alive, joyful, and celebratory. A healing art"

The poignant words of award winning artist Henry Kondracki. My sentiments entirely

Well readers I thought you might find the following stories re the plight of the Ice Cream Van quite interesting....remember you saw it here first....and maybe not for much longer!

The PC police trying to drive ice cream vans off our streets
By Daniel Martin and Sophie Borland
Last updated at 12:42 AM on 25th April 2009

The jolly jingle of a nearby ice cream van is a sure sign of the approach of summer.
But the familiar sound could soon be a thing of the past if council officials have their way.
They are banning ice cream vendors from parking in residential streets for fear they will cause a nuisance or make children fat.
Traders who break the rules are being moved on by police within as little as five minutes.
The crackdown is being spearheaded by Harrow Council in North-West London.
It does not issue street vending licences to ice cream sellers and, in a new step, is encouraging police to enforce the embargo.
Earlier this week, officers moved on Kypros Kimonos five minutes after he parked his van in a Harrow street. His customers were brusquely told to go home.
The 50-year- old from Wembley said: ‘They told me they would arrest me because I did not have a licence to trade. But I spoke to the council and they told me there is no way I can get one – it does not exist.
‘There are at least 20 ice cream vans on the streets of Harrow, does this mean they all have to go away immediately?
Tom Davidson, spokesman for the Ice Cream Alliance trade association, said: ‘When you pitch up it takes at least five minutes to prepare-to get all your stuff out and open the window before you can even start selling.
‘It’s not a case of being there for just a few minutes and moving on. Then if you’re near a school you can have up to 50 kids in a queue at one time and it will take half an hour to get through them all.
‘Once one council starts doing it they all do it. Ice cream vans are just being hit by more and more red tape.’
A spokesman for Harrow’s environmental health department said the council had banned vendors from all public land including parks and streets.
He added: ‘Police are clamping down on it now – we have been very lax. The same applies for hotdog vans, burger vans, any type of vans.’
Jo Stephenson, a writer from Harrow, said: ‘Bugging mum and dad for some money to get a 99 flake when you hear an ice cream van is an essential part of childhood.
‘I feel sorry for all the kids round here who might not be able to do that in future.’ The Local Government-Association confirmed that a number of other councils either refuse to issue licences or restrict how long ice cream vendors can stay in one place.

Angela Mawle, of the UK Public Health Association, said research was needed to see if a ban on ice cream vans would work.
‘Ice cream is a fattening product, a luxury item. Councils need to start thinking about how they can promote healthy communities,’ she said. ‘However, the priority should be fast food.’

CBBC NEWSROUND, 20 August 2009
Ricky looks at vanishing ice-cream vans

Ricky on the hunt for ice-cream vans
There used to be loads of ice-cream vans on our streets every summer.
So why are their numbers dropping? Ricky investigates.
I have loads of memories of ice-cream vans pulling up right outside my house, especially during the summer.
I used to drop everything I was doing, run into my house and beg Mum and Dad for some loose change so I could buy myself a lolly (my favourite was always a Zap!).
When I moved out of London I used to see the odd ice-cream van now and again, but for the last five years I haven't seen or heard any in my street.
And that is happening right across the UK. For many people that familiar theme tune is becoming a thing of the past.
Over 40 years ago there used to over 20,000 vans and now there are just 5,000. The Ice Cream Alliance are campaigning to get more people to support their local vans instead of buying ice cream from supermarkets.

I spent the day with Catherine, an ice-cream lady who runs six vans in Blackburn. I joined her on one of the many ice cream rounds she does every day, and even got to scoop a few chocolate nut tubs and help to make a 99.
It was so interesting to see the inside of an ice-cream van, all the different fridges and I even got to press the button which makes the jingle play!
Catherine puts the fall in the number of ice-cream vans down to the high cost of running them. They cost £40,000, and the price of ingredients has also risen drastically over the past couple of years.
There are lots of rules making life for ice-cream vendors pretty tough.
They're not allowed to play that famous jingle before noon and after 7pm. Lots of councils have banned them from stopping outside schools and there's big competition from supermarkets who also sell ice cream.
Throughout my time with Catherine in her van I spoke to kids. Most of them told me how excited they get when they hear the van coming and they prefer to get their ice cream from Catherine.
But the reality is people find it easier and more convenient to buy their lollies from supermarkets which have a massive variety, cheap offers and are available around the clock.
The ice-cream sellers want more support from the public otherwise ice-cream vans could become a thing of the past."

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