Friday, 31 May 2013

Take 3

Hello everyone

As we head into the final weekend of the glorious Annette Edgar solo exhibiton, I simply couldn't let it close without a nod to 3 of my (many) favourite paintings in the show.
First up:

'Stars on Palms', mixed media on card, by Annette Edgar.
I have picked this cracker as it's such a bonnie wee painting and I adore the title.
I would just love to lie under the palm trees in the warmth of the night and gaze up at those stars.


'Mezzogiorno', oil on linen, by Annette Edgar.
I have previously waxed lyrical about details from the incredible 'Mezzogiorno'. It's only right that I show it here in its splendid entirety on the wall so you can get an idea of it's impact.
This seems such a simple, straight forward subject matter: eating al fresco with pals in the sun.
Yet how can something so simple have such an impact, with an almost biblical feel to it? To me it is reminiscent of the Last Supper - perhaps that is what the artist subconsciously intended.
Paul Gauguin has long been one of my artist heroes, and looking at 'Mezzogiorno' everyday has rekindled my appreciation of his work. If there was a toss up between a Gauguin and this particular painting, I actually think the Edgar would win.
Funnily enough, just today a visitor said there was something about Annette's paintings she couldn't quite put her finger on it, but that she felt uncomfortable leaving them. I get it completely: with such profound paintings as 'Mezzogiorno', its difficult to break your attention.

Last but by no means least:

'Wharf Boys', oil on linen, by Annette Edgar.
The wonderful 'Wharf Boys'. I've picked these guys because, amongst many things, they make me happy. There's just something so satisfying in seeing these young boys happily going about their business of fishing and supplying the local restaurants with their catch.
I also enjoy the warmth in this painting. Although its an evening scene, the stars are twinkling and the atmosphere is one of a lively but happy evening about to unfold amongst the locals. It's painted mainly in what would traditionally be considered as 'cold' colours; blues, greens etc, but with the small injections of oranges and pinks Annette has captured the tropical feel perfectly.
The wharf boys are a memory Annette has from a holiday in Mauritius, and I am happy that for many, many years she has carried them around in her head and it is only now that she has immortalised them and brought them to Edinburgh.

Looking back at this blog I have picked out 3 super paintings, just a slice of what truly is an exceptional and eye opening exhibition. The lady was right in saying it's difficult to leave them, but my consolation is that if I continue to find artists of the calibre of Annette Edgar, then I can happily continue to do this job until I drop.

Speak soon.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Pure Love

Hello everyone

I wanted to take a closer look at an aspect of Annette Edgar's work that could be overlooked.
There has been much comment about how bold her work is, how confident and strong it is, and it's true, the work is strong and powerful: it's not by chance that Annette has gained a reputation for being 'fearless with a paintbrush in her hand'.

However, I feel that there are many aspects to this exhibition and, for me, I find the sensitivity and empathy with which Annette records the world around her as compelling as the courageous manner in which she executes it.
Indeed, I find her work to be as laden with soul as it is colour and layers of paint.

'Pure Love', oil on linen, by Annette Edgar.
'Pure Love' is an obvious example, where Annette captures the unbreakable bond between mother and child and it matters not a damn that they are clearly not biologically related.
In a recent interview, Annette is quoted as saying, 'I like a lot of laughs in life, but I also like holding hands, tears and sharing experiences.  I think there's something quite poignant in life and vulnerable in all of us'

In these words, and in the following images, I find that Annette's compassionate and knowing side is of equal importance to the colour and confidence in her work:


'Where Are we Going To', oil on linen, by Annette Edgar.
This painting is the work of a true voyeur and encapsulates the uncertainty of life, whilst at the same time demonstrating the value of hope, of relationships, bonds and sharing.  It is a wonderful, moving work of art.

'Sea Lovers', oil on linen, detail.
In this detail we can again see Annette's sensitive handling of her subject matter. The head has been painted with great care, giving the figure emotion and soul.

'Mezzogiorno', oil on linen.
I adore the face of the little girl. Her gaze is poignant, almost haunting and I feel should belong to a person many years her senior. This little detail also demonstrates that Annette Edgar's handling of paint is second to none. In what appears to be a few, confident brushstrokes, the child's expression is captured for an eternity.
Sadly, as in life, all good things must come to an end and Annette Edgar's exhibition is only on until June 3rd. I strongly urge you to see it.

Speak soon.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Hello everyone

I'd like to draw your attention to a particularly special painting in Annette Edgar's solo exhibition, 'Life Times'.
Annette says of her work, 'hot sunny places, for me, often trigger the beat of music in my head, so I attempt to convey some of these rhythms in my work'.

I feel this painting must surely be the epitome of those words?

'Trees in May', oil on panel by Annette Edgar.

This painting, in all it's colourful and thickly textured glory zings, it's positively dancing on the wall!

And on bright day like today (yes really) it absolutely comes into it's own.
I sometimes feel that common phrase, 'I see something new every time I look' is a bit over used with paintings, but jeezo, this painting must surely be the Queen of ever lasting?
Throwing caution and inhibition to the wind, and sending the colour wheel spinning with fear, Annette Edgar has created a real tour de force.
However, it doesn't stop there. Despite it's obvious bold colour and strong composition, 'Trees In May' not only offers a sizzling eye-full, it provides continuous escapism: so much so that I find myself escaping on a daily basis, and genuinely finding something new every time I look at the painting.

Having just celebrated her 70th birthday, our 21st century fauvist has shown me, and others who have been to see the work, that anything is possible and that the energy in her work is a source of constant inspiration and invigoration.

Ya dancer!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A Way of Life

Hello everyone,

Since becoming more involved in the art world that merely an interested observer, which I suppose means since having met my other (some would say better) half, I have learned a lot about what it is to be an artist.  Of course, having not one artistic bone in my body I can't pretend to know what it really feels like to be immersed in the creative process, but I have had many conversations with some of artists that we work with. And those conversations probably give me more of an insight than most laymen.

So I get that the process of creating a work of art can be a painful one, and that many artists are never really happy with what they do, and that drives them on to do more and more work.  I get that painting is usually a solitary profession, and that there is an obsession with detail that can drive the artist crazy. I also get that even the most casual-looking brushstroke has probably been thought about, worried about and, for it to be effective, has taken a great deal of skill.

But, and many of you will know this, there are things that I don't understand, and that I never will.

Take our current exhibition, 'Annette Edgar: Life Times', which opened last Friday and has been greeted with acclaim by those who have seen it so far. This is an exhibition full of colour and joy. Annette, herself, says that she loves life and her work is a celebration of this - and you can feel that.  Arriving in the gallery each morning is a genuinely uplifting experience at the moment, and there are well documented explanations of how colour can affect you.  You could even say, I suppose, that these paintings are 'good' for you.
Take a look at this:

'Spring Trees', oil on linen, by Annette Edgar.
And this:

'Pure Love', oil on linen, by Annette Edgar.
These are paintings that fill you with joy - there is a beauty and simplicity to them, in terms of colour, subject matter and the skills utilised that make it a real delight to spend time with them.

But, here's what I don't really understand: when talking to Annette about her work, and indeed when talking to others about Annette and her work, it becomes clear that there is more going on than merely talent and commitment. Annette has to paint. She cannot function properly without it - it is as important to her well-being as the air that she breathes.  It is not something she does simply as a career, or even something she just loves to do, it is a vital and irrevocable part of her psyche - a way of life.  Now I am sure that most artists who read this, if there are any, will nod their heads in understanding, but I don't get it. Is it something that she is born with? Or can it be taught? The one thing I am sure of is that it is very, very real, and that for us bystanders it is a very good thing.  The passion and love that goes into these paintings is there for all to see.

So for that, all I can do is thank Annette Edgar, and be happy that such devotion and care can be found on the walls at Union Gallery.