Thursday, 26 July 2012

Personal Spaces

Hello everyone, and a warm welcome to our new friends and followers.

Today I thought I'd bring you some behind the scenes footage from deep within the hub that is artist Claire Duguid's studio.

Lovely, juicy oil paints ready all for use!

As any artist will tell you: the studio, where all the magic happens, is a place of both excitement and of torment.  It's the place where an artist can fly high in the knowledge that they are producing their best-ever work, or it can feel like solitary confinement - a place of doom when things aren't working for you.  When an artist is working towards an exhibition deadline, those highs and lows are compounded as the clock ticks.  It's an intense and grueling process that requires a certain amount of 'mind over matter', not to mention hours upon hours of fighting it out with the brushes and paint.  You could call it a love/hate relationship.

However, I am pleased to report that all the angst and dedication from artists Claire Duguid and Dylan Lisle was more than worth it, with both of them producing their best work to date for this exhibition.  Here's a snap of Claire Duguid getting stuck in:

Those of you who have viewed Claire's work will have recognised the incredible skill required to produce such paintings.  To be this precise, whilst using so much white oil paint, requires a very steady hand and nerves of steel.  Make one tiny mistake and it will set you back hours or, even worse, literally send you back to the drawing board.

So we applaud you, Claire Duguid, for putting in a herculean effort and remaining calm under pressure. 

Leaving you with my favourite snap:

Here she is managing to force a smile and put on a brave face from the confines of her personal space.

Speak soon.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

My Cunning Disguise

Hello everyone

In my last post we discussed the merits of one foxy lady, artist Claire Duguid, although again I'd like to stress that you pay attention to her paintings ;)

Not to be upstaged, artist Dylan Lisle also has some foxy offerings and trust me, they are smack you in the face, drop dead gorgeous.
Take a look at this:

'Sionnachuighim', oil on canvas by Dylan Lisle.

Some of you have been highly impressed by my perfect pronunciation of the intriguing title, 'Sionnachuighim' which, translated from Irish, literally means, 'I play the fox'. Inspired.
This incredible painting warrants a detail:

I have so far managed to resist the temptation to stroke fox's nose.
If that wasn't good enough for you, it gets better:

'My Cunning Disguise', oil on canvas by Dylan Lisle.

What can I say? A mysterious and compelling image I'm sure you'll agree.
'My Cunning Disguise' just begs the imagination to go wild. My personal interpretation is this:

Being an artist involves occupying what can often be a strange and uncertain world, often lonely and sometimes demoralising.
Exhibition opening nights are a classic example, and what many artists dread the most. You see, when you have locked yourself away in solitude to concentrate on the work and painted your 'babies' with every fibre of your being (in Dylan Lisle's case he has worked on this exhibition for a year and a half), its only natural that, given the time, financial and emotional commitment to an exhibition, that you are nervous of how the work will be received. I must say that in Dylan's case, as with Claire, there were no 'smart arse' comments, only praise and admiration for his undeniable skill and subtle story-telling.
I believe 'My Cunning Disguise' to epitomise much of how Dylan Lisle feels as an artist. In those dark moments of uncertainty, you have to dig deep to garner the courage to keep going, to remain a true professional at all times. I have no doubt that during the opening of this exhibition Dylan Lisle was experiencing that excruciating 'out of body' experience which I'm sure is all too familiar to many an artist. Yet, and much like a fox, he did so with with stealth, charisma and resourcefulness, all of which are essential qualities required of a credible artist.
I find 'My Cunning Disguise' a stark and tender painting and I adore the caught 'off guard' and behind the scenes atmosphere: the precious disguise, the make up, has been taken off and been lovingly to tendered to.
Surely we can all perhaps relate to this? Do we not all have days when we need to pull on a 'thick skin', an act or performance to get us through the day and be the person we are expected to be?

Speak soon x

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Pretty as a Picture

Hello everyone,

As the Claire Duguid and Dylan Lisle exhibition continues to amaze all those who see it, I wanted to take a close look at Claire Duguid's work, and maybe even read between some lines.

Now there has been a lot of talk and excitement about Miss Duguid, particularly amongst the men folk, so lets get straight to the point: she is a good looking woman.  However, what I am most concerned about is her real talent.  Take a look at this:

'Blessed', oil on canvas, by Claire Duguid.
Yes, that is the artist in the painting, and she is indeed very pleasing on the eye.  But there's a lot more to this talented young woman than killer looks and a stunning set of pins, and I defy anyone to argue that this work of art has not been executed with real precision, skill and attention to detail.  There is a great deal of talent on display here.

I'd also like to add that it takes a brave person, man or woman, to appear on the walls alongside the mighty talent that is Dylan Lisle.  And what can I say?  I couldn't be more proud and happy with the result:

I do believe that in these two artists we have found both a really class act and the perfect foils for each other.  I'm biased of course, but it's no coincidence that internationally acclaimed artist Derek Guild, former tutor to Claire at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, has stated that he thinks this is the best exhibition currently in Scotland.  Praise indeed, which might lead me to have one of my 'emotional' moments!

Use of light is extremely important to both the artists in this exhibition, and both are admirers of the great masters like Caravaggio and Velasquez.  Whereas Dylan Lisle's work is dark and dramatic, Claire Duguid's is drenched, almost bleached, in sunlight which enhances its ethereal quality.

Personally, I enjoy that you can tell Claire Duguid's work has been painted by a woman.  There is a real femininity and softness of touch to the work; perhaps even a vulnerability which I think is very brave and encapsulates all that in means to be a modern woman.

I've often thought that being 'blessed' with such attractive features and a charming manner such as Claire's can be something of a hindrance.  What I mean is, on the opening night for example, many of the gentlemen visitors seemed to be fixated by Claire's charms.  I can't help wondering if, when she's talking about something so important and personal as her work, she is sometimes concerned that her words are sinking in.  I believe that Claire Duguid is far too polite to complain about this, so I feel compelled to shout on her behalf.  Yes, she is lovely to look at and it is a pleasure to be in her company, but PLEASE look at her work!  There is so much to admire in these paintings - the brains, the precision, the hard graft and the determination that goes into creating such exquisite paintings is there for all to see.  It is these things that I believe are truly rewarding and, I believe, are what make up the true talent of Claire Duguid.

Happy weekend, all.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Personal Helicon

'Personal Helicon', oil on canvas by Dylan Lisle.

Personal Helicon by Seamus Heaney
As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.

One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.

A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.

Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.

Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


The hottest ticket in town opens Friday and sees artists Claire Duguid and Dylan Lisle take to the walls!

Mother and daughter. Team Duguid deliver the first batch of paintings fresh from the framers.
Mum is on the left and Claire is on the right.....just so there's no confusion!

And from deep within El Studio Diablo:

A tense Dylan Lisle prepares to amaze us with his latest offerings.
Do you see that we gem he's holding onto? Seen again here:

In my sweaty grasp! The little gem is called 'Magician's Assistant' and is going to be something of a curators choice.

Be here Friday or miss out.