Sunday, 19 December 2010

Bird Watching

Hello everyone

So now we have done the fish, it's time for the birds.
And there are some stunning species in Union Gallery's Christmas Exhibition.
Lets start with an all time favourite:

"A Bird in the Bush" by Janet Melrose.
Award winning artist Janet Melrose painted this earlier on in the year, outside in her garden. She tells me that the subject of the work...Mr Blackbird....accidentally flew into the canvas! I like that story, a little bit of history about the painting's creation. The frosty blue pallete is very fitting for the time of the year!

"Green Still Life" by Suzanne Kemplay.
Mmmm. I rather like this painting. Months in the making, that's a hungry little bird in the foreground!

"Sand Martins" by Sally Johns.
The actual birds are done in pastel, but you would be forgiven for thinking they were painted. The be-spoke round frames add to the curiosity factor.
And finally:

"Flat Pack Bird Cage" by Jessica Irena Smith.
Oh folks, this is something else and right up my street! The skill in the making process of this glass cage is quite staggering. Let me know if you want to learn more...prepare to be amazed!
Here was the exciting moment the flat pack arrived with Jessica....

Leaving you with this:

Posted in by lovely artist Ruth Addinall. Another Mr Blackbird, a favourite subject of Ruth's, is checking out the new arrival in the garden. You will be seeing more of Ruth's superb work in the New Year.

Have a warm and happy weekend all x

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Something Fishy

Hello everyone

As promised we are continuing on the fish theme:

Mark Nicholas Edward's "Sasaki Kojiro" series continue to amaze all who see them.  The attention to detail and slick presentation is quite mesmerising.
Also mesmerising:

"The Goldfish" by Drummond Mayo.
I probably don't need to point out how beautiful this painting is.  Drummond is the oldest artist who works with Union Gallery, and his life-long experience with paint and brush is clear for all to see.  A brilliant balancing act between colour and composition...the softness of his work puts those who see it under a spell.

"Two Figures in a Red Garden" by Jean Hall
When I look at these graceful and enchanting ladies, it seems to me that the lady on the right is sporting a regal angelfish on her kimono.  However, I am wrong as artist Jean Hall explains to me that this is actually a traditional Japanese Kimono design.  You know what fascinates me about Jean Hall's paintings (apart from the obvious)?  They are very striking paintings with a great deal of impact, and yet they are very calming and therapeutic to spend time with.  Lovely. 

Take a look at this:

"The Chinese Teapot and Batis" by Jenny Matthews
You might not notice the little fish in this beautiful painting at first glance, but it's worth the effort for an extra treat!  This Balinese Earring Fish (I hadn't heard of it either) is so elegant and graceful.

And this:

"Toy Shark" by Henry Kondracki
OK, so strictly speaking this is not a 'common' fish, but something really gets me about this painting - a mix of museum piece and a special love of the subject.  Please feel free to pop in and learn more...

And leaving you with this.....

"Toy Giraffe" by Henry Kondracki
So this is DEFINITELY not a fish, but I couldn't resist showing him on the blog.  It's not every day you see such an enchanting and lovingly observed painting of a toy giraffe......

All these paintings are currently in the gallery as part of our Christmas Exhibition.

Next up, a spot of bird watching..... 

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Hello everyone

I just wanted to steer your attentions to some really cracking paintings in the Christmas Exhibition....


"Sasaki Kojiro IV" and "Sasaki Kojiro II" by Mark Nicholas Edwards.

I might have previously mentioned that I am lucky enough to own one of Mark's beautiful paintings and I adore it.  Maybe one day I will show you the Auldjo/Union collection.

So these paintings are entitled after one of the greatest swordsmen of Japan. Mark drew an interesting comparison between the skill of a swordsman and that of the artist brush. So, Sasaki may have been the expert of the infamous and brutal "Swallow Cut" but, in my humble opinion, Mark is the expert in wielding the brush with painstaking precision. When you come in for a look you will be able to see the minute detail in these works....they are only 26 x 26 cm!

This is lovely artist Mark Nicholas Edward doing a spot of "Tommy lovin".
A HUGE thanks to Mark for braving the sub-zero temperatures, trekking over town, largely by foot and full of cold to get his paintings here!

Mark also points out that these little fish, swimming away contentedly, will never be great warriors....just eternally peaceful. As with so many artists he has such a beautiful brain and I'm lucky to have him as a friend.

Coming up next......more fishy business!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Labour of Love

Hello everyone

Sore hands from moulding the wire bodies, six months of solid knitting, countless balls of wool later, and 'The Hunt' was born.

'The Hunt' by Hannah Haworth.
I kid you not, the amount of painstaking work that has gone into this installation is mind-boggling. Hannah even made the sledge herself from found green oak. A true labour of love. It reminds me of a really gorgeous Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, 'The Wild Swans'. Read it here if you're not familiar with it:
I'm not sure if you can tell from the images (look at Hannah's page on the website), that this is a large scale work.
However, its not just that it's visually impressive and satisfying to look at. The concept behind the work is equally beautiful and thought provoking; based on an old Inuit Folktale. All this from such a young artist (Hannah's only 21). I think Hannah's work is very special indeed and I intend to enjoy the precious time I will have with 'The Hunt'.

If you are passing you simply must come in to see and learn more about 'The Hunt''s not something you will see everyday! Then, once you've recovered from the excitement you will get an eyeful of some particularly fine paintings.

 Not sure it gets much better!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


"One day she did not return from her fishing and so she was searched for, he reached her spot but it was deserted. And so he began looking for her tracks – they led directly away into the vast interior. It began to get dark as he ventured inland more and more. As night fell, he became sure that her feet were bare. They became smaller and smaller the further he tracked her. As he continued, one of her feet became wolf while the other remained human. As she was like that, he turned back"
"The Hunt" by Hannah Haworth.

Old Inuit folktale

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Last Request? Last Chance

Hello everyone

Welcome to our lastest blog followers.....just wait 'till you see what's coming next!

So the dark and gloomy month of November was successfully fought off by the sheer joy that is Trevor Jones' exhibition, "Synaesthesia II". I have enjoyed every minute of it....even the learning to use the scary MCP3O players! It's good to challenge oneself. However, what I have enjoyed the most has been the reaction of all the amazing visitors who have been in to view this work. It is often said that abstract art is not for everyone, but it seems that Trevor's masterful use of colour and skillful compositions simply delight people. I understand why.

I have also relised something else quite special: having spent nearly a whole month with these paintings in the gallery, I am the lucky person who has spent more time with them than anyone else - even Trevor. It's been an intense process for him, and it's a shame that he has not been allowed the luxury of time to fully appreciate all his hard work - such is the way for artists. So, lucky me! I have been able to spend lots of time with them, and yet I know that I have only scatched the surface of what these paintings have to offer. I am very happy for all of those who have secured one of  Trevor's paintings....they just keep giving.

So, this weekend is the LAST CHANCE to come and see (and hear)  "Synaesthesia II", I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Leaving you with this:

Trevor taking a contemplative moment, spending a little time with something that is essentially part of him.

Speak soon....

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Happy Endings

Hello everyone

I thought I'd share a little 'feel good' story with you:

"Composition 32" by Trevor Jones
This was the first painting to get a new home from the Trevor Jones exhibition. I think it would be fair to say that it was a 'love at first sight' scenario for the lady who bought it: a real 'can't let this go by' moment.  Since then, she has been in the gallery many more times to see the painting, as have many of the buyers of Trevor's work.
What's interesting about this story is that the lady who bought it (an impulse, without her husband seeing it) didn't notice the little fish in the painting initially. It took about 15 minutes before the extra treat was found....and it was much to her delight!  So, I am pleased to report that when Mr "Composition 32" viewed it on the opening night, he loved it too.
 It has since come to light that she is an Aquarian and he is a Piscean....some things are just meant to be.....

I love a happy ending!  



Friday, 19 November 2010

A Great View

Hello everyone,

So here is another video clip of the opening night of Trevor Jones' solo exhibition 'Synaesthesia II', currently running at Union Gallery.  There are some fab close-up's of some of the paintings here too, so it's well worth a look.  There are just 10 days left to view this amazing exhibition....if you can find the time, I strongly recommend it.

Have a good weekend...

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Impressive Vessel!

Hello everyone

Just wanted to bring your attention to this:

An 18C Imperial chinese Vase that Bainbridges sold a couple of days ago for a WHOPPING £51.6m (including commission).  That's a world record price for a Chinese wprk of art. To be fair, it's a very pretty vase, and I think it's almost as nice as Union Gallery's 'ugly jug':

Union Gallery's ugly/beautiful vase.....maker unknown
Although ours has authentic cracks and everything!
 As we all know, the Chinese economy is rocketing at the moment and collectors are very keen to repatriate important's their history and culture.

Anyway, if, like me, you don't have a spare £51.6m kicking around, but you still like stunning creamics or glassware, then we have the answer:


"Flat Pack Bird Cage" by Jessica Irena Smith......a demi-fraction of the price for the Impressive Vessel and just as lovely.

EQUALLY IMPORTANT, you still have 16 days to come in and see (and hear) the Trevor Jones "Synaesthesia II" exhibition - and I can promise you it's well worth it.  I might even share a glass of Irn Bru with you, served in my Faberge glasses.
(Oh, and if any of you reading this can shed some light on the elusive Auldjo Vase, and help me reclaim my inheritance as Italian Nobility, you'll get extra Irn Bru)

Have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Seen and Heard It All?

I don't think so......

Trevor Jones at Union Gallery from stewart bremner on Vimeo.

Highlights from the opening of Trevor Jones's exhibition.Fantastic video care of Stewart Bremner. Love the wonky music for the hanging....very appropriate.
It was such a great night!

And this:

Come in to see (and hear) what all the excitement is about.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

An Explosion of Colour!

Howdy partners and greetings to our latest blog always we shall do our best to amaze and astound you.

So I am waiting for technical wizard Stewart Bremner to finish the video of artist Trevor Jones's opening the other night. I can't wait! It was a fantastic night with a real celebratory feel, well attended and some excellent feedback. Thanks to all who attended and made it such a special night.

It's an interesting and unique exhibition with a musical twist. It's also very colourful......the perfect fix for a drab and gloomy November. So if you fancy doing something fun and rewarding then please come in for a visit. You can have a laugh at me trying to operate an MP,C3PO player.

Speaking of which:

I had to laugh at this. Lovely artist Stewart Bremner left me fool proof instructions on how to operate the camera. Very dutiful and GREATLY appreciated!

Leaving you with this:

"Synaesthesia II" opening 04.11.10.
Here's a wee snap of the night until the video arrives. The master of abstract, Trevor Jones, is pictured in the white shirt.

Speak soon x

Monday, 1 November 2010


Hello everyone - and greetings to latest blog follower.

So Union Gallery will be closed for the next couple of days in preperation of:
"Last Request" by Trevor Jones from his exhibition "Synaethesia II". This painting is inspired by the music of Paolo Nutini.

TIP. If you can manage to lose a couple of pounds between now and Thursday, I suggest you do.....interest is high and it's going to be PACKED!

See you all Thursday......

Sounds like a visual feast

Published Date: 03 November 2010
AN exhibition of work based on the songs of Paolo Nutini and Biffy Clyro is to go on display at the Union Gallery.
Artist Trevor Jones's exhibition, entitled Synaesthesia II, explores the sensory connection between music and colour from tomorrow.

Mr Jones said: "There's been a profound increase in research into synaesthesia (the phenomenon of "seeing" sounds] the last few decades and I was compelled to begin my own artistic investigation. To add another dimension to the exhibition we're providing MP3 players with the relevant songs."

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Autumn Watch II

Howdy partners!

So Autumn has well and truly taken hold and with today being a particularly windy day here in Edinburgh, I have enjoyed watching all the golden leaves dancing along the pavements and footpaths.

If you need an inspirational fix this week, I highly recommend you come in and see "Landmarks II"'s the last week and I believe this to be one of our most beautiful exhibitions to date.

Here is a little tempter:

"Seilebost Rain" by Beth Robertson Fiddes.
This is a really special piece, again there's some collage work that you can't pick out from this jpeg. You have to see the real thing to appreciate it fully.

More comings and goings at Union Gallery of late:

A working lunch. All round creative giant Stewart Bremner (paintings, photography, websites and videos!) pops in to coach me on how to make a beetroot curry.....I have specific instructions. Surely even I cannot mess this up?!
Leaving you with this:

Yes, it's scary season again so if you visit the gallery over the weekend we shall be offering some pretty terrifying treats. That's right very own home baking!!!

Speak soon

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Good News!

Hello everyone

Have a wee listen to this:

Edward Dolman is the chairman of Christies who recently sold an important Picasso painting for £34.7 million, setting a new record for a work of art sold at auction. As with Giacometti's "Walking Man" earlier on in the year, I narrowly missed out on my bid.

Earlier in the week the BBC were reporting form a gallery currently showing the work of Timmy Mallett. Again, they discussed how art is increasingly becoming an attractive investment in these challenging times.

Sadly, I do not represent Picasso, and I'm pretty sure there are no Mallets in here! However, there are some extremely fine yet powerful paintings on display in the current exhibition, Landmarks II.

Take a look:

On the back wall is the work of 3rd year ECA student Martyn McKenzie who I have a lot of admiration for.
I think he has a very intuitive style which is quite a mature skill in an artist. He has great control of the paint and I think could give me a run for my money on the old landscape front! When he talks about his work he does so with sincerity and conviction. At only 22 I think Martyn is going to be a very special painter.

Have a good weekend all x

Monday, 18 October 2010


Hello everyone

Although I'm a die-hard fan of sculpture, drawing and painting, I do often think that some conceptual and installation art can be very beautiful and powerful...when done well.

For me, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's "Sunflower Seeds", currently showing at the Tate Modern, is ticking all the boxes! The work consists of 100 million individually made porcelain sunflower seeds.

So I was very disappointed to hear that officials at Tate Modern have decided to stop visitors walking on "Sunflower Seeds", believing it be a possible health hazard. I feel really sorry for the artist Ai Weiwei, and all the others involved (it turns out that each of the 100 million seeds were hand painted), as the interaction with the work is clearly a fundamental part of the experience. It still is a very special piece of work, I just think it's sad that its chances of being a brilliant and iconic work have been taken away.

The officials at Tate are concerned that people walking over the work will cause "dust clouds" that could be damaging to health. Hmmm....there are a couple of things here: 1. Surely you would need to inhale an awful lot of the dust and do so for a prolonged period of time for it to cause any harm? 2. Could they not just had out white dust masks, which you can pick up for pennies at B&Q, to anyone concerned?

Ai Weiwei and his "Sunflower Seeds".

The timing of this is also rotten. Anyone working within the Arts will be feeling nervous about this week's Government spending/slashing review. It's a foregone conclusion that the arts will get shafted.
Having said that, the Tate officials will be relying on good old Ai Weiwei and his humble sunflower seeds to pull in the crowds. With these record breaking numbers comes money: money that will benefit the economy and surrounding businesses. Much like here in Edinburgh, The National Galleries' exhibition of the Impressionist Gardens has been pulling in the crowds. These visitors will benefit the whole city. Art has its uses.

The scenario at Tate Modern got me thinking about The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The Spanish have got it right! The Sagrada Familia is visited by masses every single day and is effectively a building site. The difference is that you are encouraged to get in amongst it all. There's not a safety helmet in sight available to visitors and as for the just adds to the experience. The officials at the Tate would be having kittens at the sight of the bulldozers, but the Spanish adore Antoni Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia has become a temple to this incredible man.

Myself and some other excited visitors at The Sagrada Familia a few years back. Look at all those bags of scary dust on the ground!! They say the last brick will be laid in 2026. What a momentous day that will be.
I feel better now I've got that off my chest.....the dust is beginning to settle.

Speak soon x

Friday, 15 October 2010

Autumn Watch

Hello everyone

As always a warm welcome to our latest blog follower - hope you are well.

Continuing on the Autumn theme folks, I think I mentioned previously that this is my favourite time of the year to be out in the landscape. Autumn is a landscape painters paradise: amazing cloud formations, glittering light and enriched, enhanced colours.
I'm itching to be out in the wilderness currently, however meantime I am content with my usual stomping ground - Inverleith Park. In between throwing balls and scooping dog poo, I was amazed by this:

Ok, it's been amateurishly and hurriedly snapped, but I hope you "get the picture" (apologies for another feeble joke). I can categorically assert that the sky has not been enhanced or tickled with in any way....that's beyond my capabilities. Seeing this sky immediately made me think of:

"Morning of the Autumn Equinox". An exceptional and eerie painting by award winning artist Philip Braham.
We will see more of Philip's work next year....will keep you posted.

I have to confess to being annoyed with myself for not managing a couple of pieces of my own for "Landmarks II". I knew all the work coming in was going to be superb, but seeing it all hanging together, it really is quite beautiful. I would have loved to be a part of it. Take a look at this:

"Winter Solstice in the Strath" by Hazel Cashmore.
All the way from Thurso, Hazel Cashmore's latest paintings are truly gorgeous. I've been studying her "land meets sky" precision- and she really is the expert. I have also realised that, apart from the brilliant painterly qualities, she is also an expert with colour. These are colourful paintings, yet Hazel's discerning eye and control ensures they are never "shocking" or over the top. Her paintings are both dramatic and sexy, not to mention well observed.

Speaking of drama:

"Big Buachaille" by Beth Robertson Fiddes.
Wow....big skies, roaming mountains, it surely doesn't get better than this?
Of course I want you to come in and see all the paintings for real. This piece for example has exquisite collage work that you can't see here.

Next up. We will be taking a look at 3rd year ECA drawing and painting student, Martyn McKenzie. He's really, very good!!

Have a good weekend.....

Monday, 11 October 2010

Comings & Goings

Hello everyone

Pretty busy here in Galleria Del Fuego so I haven't had much time to compose anything intellegent about the current exhibition, Landmarks II. Suffice it to say its stunning and you should get in here for a look!

For now I'm just going to post a few images of the comings and goings in and around the gallery of late. Enjoy.

Congratulations to artist Laura Homoky who is expecting her second child. Glamerous as ever, she is now sporting a mini bump :)

Union Gallery hound, Tommy, oversees proceedings as we hang the Landmarks II show.

The other Union Gallery hound, Harry....being rather less helpfull.

Like a child on Christmas morning....I couldn't wait to unpack the top notch work of brillaint landscape painter Hazel Cashmore.
Jamie McGrigor MSP, like many others, is suitably impressed by the skills of artist Beth Robertson Fiddes.
A confident, conservative point Jamie.  (And you still owe me a fag!).

The time has come to ackowledge the efforts of gallery supporter Stewart Reid. Mr & Mrs Reid have attended every one of the gallery's openings and their enthusiasm has not gone unnoticed. I feel really honoured and chuffed that every month they come to visit us and see the new work. THANK YOU x
A recent gallery visitor told me he thought I looked like Tracey Emin. Naturally I protested, however looking at this photo I'm not so sure!!
Leaving you with this

Thank you to the kind soul who posted this through my letter box. I thought you might like to know that I have named my new chesnut friend Bert.

Bye for now

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Hello Everyone

The gallery is closed for the next couple of days as we are preparing for the opening of our next exhibition, Landmarks II. Of course, if you are passing and want a little peak just tap on the window.

So leaving you with this gorgeous symbol of Autumn. I'm sure I am not alone in finding Autumn the most insipiring time of the year for the landscape: nothing beats a ramble out in the country on a crisp day to see the leaves turning and the blue skys. If you need further inspiration (or if the sky is not so blue), then I recommend you visit the gallery over the month of October. It's the perfect exhibition for this very special time of the year.

LANDMARKS II: Opens Thursday 7th.
Speak soon x

Friday, 1 October 2010

"The Rears of the Charging Chasseurs"

Hello everyone

I have named this entry as a nod to one of favourite paintings in Derek McGuire's exhibition Ella Novo Loco.

I remember seeing this painting in Derek's studio for the first time and the effect it had on me. It's difficult to describe, other than it being a bit like a slap in the face. There was an immediate feeling of total respect and an almost fear of just how good this painting is.

There is still time to come in and view this exhibition of 24 paintings. Some are dark and challenging, even unsettling. Others are humorous and intimate, touching on subjects that should concern us all. Each brilliant piece has merits of its own: I am not sure an exhibition gets much better than this.
To me, this exhibition has been a real eye opener and I have learned a lot from artist Derek McGuire, seen below (left) during the hanging of his exhibition:

Working with Derek, listening to his ideas and being in the very privileged position of seeing the works progress, has been an extraordinary experience. At times I have been fizzing with enthusiasm about the work and sometimes I have felt down and inadequate as an artist when observing his skill.
I also find it hard to disguise my disappointment that his exhibition, despite a hefty campaign, has not been reviewed. Indeed, I think it's a travesty and my real fear is that in this increasingly 'celeb' obsessed culture, real talent might be overlooked. I'm convinced that had just one art critic worth their salt stepped over the threshold, they would not have been disappointed and I'm pretty damn sure they wouldn't have seen anything like it before. Something new, meaningful and original to write about.....surely only a good thing?

On the plus side, this exhibition has been one of our best attended and most successful to date, with large numbers of people coming to view the work. Buying clients, art lovers, other artists and throngs of Derek's students have all been in to see the work, and all have an opinion. There is no doubt that Ella Novo Loco has polarised opinion - it is challenging work that inevitably has that effect - but then surely there is a need for controversy and debate in contemporary art?
It is a pleasure to be challenged and even threatened by the workings of a great talent occassionally, and I have witnessed both joy and serious argument about Derek's paintings this month, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Speak soon

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Rays of Sunshine

Hello everyone

As always, a warm welcome to our latest blog follower.

The other day I made a point of going to Inverleith Park to see the sunflowers in the allotments there.

I do this every year and its a particularly nice thing to do at this time of the year. As Summer sneaks out by the backdoor and Autumn barges in, its nice to get a last blast of cheery colour. This year I enjoyed it more than usual as it reminds me of one of my favourite paintings in the Derek McGuire exhibition:

"Two Sunflowers in a Dark Garden" by Derek McGuire.
Stunning, I'm sure you will agree. Again, this isn't a huge painting yet the brush work and skill here is quite humbling. At first glance it may look quite dark, however there's lots of rich purples and royal blues which seep to the surface in certain lights......

Here it is captured in a fluke moment during the hanging of the exhibition. The cheerful sunflowers in the painting were given as seeds as a gift to Derek's two daughters, Jessie and Ella. Ella, of course, is a fundamental part in the title of the exhibition: Ella Novo Loco. I should point out that Jessie too has made a huge contribution to the exhibition....producing a work of her own!

"Two Butterflies on a Sunny Day" by Jessie McGuire. I think its fair to say Jessie has inherited her daddy's talent genes.Also, a BIG HELLO to all the children and staff at Oxgangs Nursery where this masterpice was created.
Will leave you with this:

"Carousel Horse" by Derek McGuire.
Also inspired by Oxgangs Nursery, Derek enjoys watching the children at the nursery playing with the rocking horse. I for one are really enjoy the painting. I am very, very tempted by this little jewel.

Speak soon