Friday, 23 November 2012

Something for the holidays

Tomorrow morning the Royal Scottish Academy's Annual Open Exhibition 2012 will begin. I had a look in yesterday, at the artist's preview in the afternoon. With three hundred pieces on show in four rooms, this is a busy salon-style show. Naturally, there are a wide variety of styles represented, in both two and three dimensions, with enough to suit almost any tastes. I saw a few pieces that I was temped by myself, however I shall have to be patient and see what Santa brings! Repeat visits will help too, because there is simply so much to take in.

My painting 'When we float' is on the wall immediately opposite the entrance to the exhibition, which is on the lower ground floor galleries. I'm really pleased with how it looks under proper gallery light, the reds and oranges in particular really pop.

RSA Lower Galleries
The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL

24 November – 31 January, Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-5pm
Closed 25 & 26 December, open New Year's Day 12-5pm

Saturday 8 December is going to be a busy day. At home, I will be at Out of the Blue's Drill Hall for the second of their one-day Christmas Art Markets. Just like the last one I exhibited at, I will be bringing my smaller works, my illustrations and my card. I will also have a select few larger pieces, and maybe even a few of my new series, on the wall behind me. I hope that I'll see plenty friendly faces dropping by again. The Art Market is a great place to pick up locally-made art and crafts as ideal presents for the festivities.

The market runs from 11am-5pm, with a good variety of art and crafts, all being sold by their makers. The Drill Hall's café is also open during these times, selling tasty treats.

The second reason that Saturday 8 December is going to be a busy day is that it sees the second day of the second East Prospect Exhibition in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Once again, I am one of the artists featured in this unique show. Just like the last time, there will be a lovely variety of work on show, including paintings, photographs and wearable art, that have been created by local, national and international artists. It's a great opportunity to buy work directly from artists and also a great way to find presents for the holidays.

The exhibition is open for two dates: Thursday 6 December 5-8pm and Saturday 8 December 11am-4pm. Sadly I will be unable to attend, although given that matter transporters still cease to exist, that is hardly a surprise, given the Art Market finishes precisely when the second day of the East Prospect show opens! I really wish I could be there because the exhibition looks like it is going to be a really exciting. If you're in Northwest Arkansas, you really don't want to miss it!

If you can't make it to any of the above, or if you're just looking for something a bit more convenient, I also have new paintings (and other work) available in two art and craft oriented online shops. My biggest collection of work for sale online is on my Etsy store. I've had the store for over a year now and have a variety of pieces there, from my affordable paper paintings to illustration prints. Recently I opened a Folksy shop, which is very similar to Etsy although is based in the UK. There you will find a small selection of my newest paper paintings. I'm really pleased with these pieces and as with all of my paper works, I have priced them very affordably, because I really want everyone to have the opportunity to bring original art into their homes.

Friday, 16 November 2012


With my new series off to a good start, I was planning to reveal here the first completed paintings, when events overtook me. I received this:

Dear Stewart,

The Royal Scottish Academy would like to thank you for submitting your work to the 2012 RSA Open Exhibition. The interest and support that artists continue to show for the exhibition is greatly appreciated.

I am happy to inform you that the selection committee have selected your work titled When We Float for this year’s exhibition. Congratulations!

Yours faithfully,
The RSA Team

Royal Scottish Academy Building
© 2011 Kim Traynor
I was talking to a friend when I received this email and I was pretty much rendered speechless. For hours afterwards I could not stop smiling and every so often just breaking into disbelieving laughter. This is the first time I've been accepted into a juried exhibition and, as far as they go, in Scotland there are none as prestigious.

The RSA, which was founded in 1826 and was granted a royal charter in 1838, has been holding an annual exhibition (I believe) for over a hundred years, in Royal Scottish Academy Building on The Mound at the very heart of Edinburgh.

When we float
Mixed media on panel
Selected for the 2012 RSA Open Exhibition

This year's annual exhibition received more than 1,200 entries, which is 20% more than last year. I am not sure how many pieces are in the show, but I would expect it to be less than 200.

To have been selected to be part of a such a prominent show, and to beat such odds is truly stunning. I do not think I will believe it, until I am standing in the gallery and see my piece on the wall. I might even believe it then!

The exhibition opens a week today and will run until January 31st. Can you imagine?! A painting of mine, probably my favourite piece from my Worlds Apart series, is going to be in the Royal Scottish Academy building in the very middle of Scotland's capital city for more than two months, on public show! How utterly brilliant is that?

I think I might need to go and have another wee lie down now!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Doing the do

I've tried to start this post countless times since Friday, when I was supposed to write it. Each time I got no further than around two sentences before grinding to a halt. Maybe I couldn't quite focus, or maybe every idea was a bit thin, a bit lacking in substance. Whatever it was did not matter, it simply kept on happening. At the same time, whenever I got to thinking about painting, I realised that I could in fact be painting. Which, in many cases, was what I ended up doing.

Now while painting may seem on the surface to be a good thing (remember, every day of painting is a day of victory), my unfocussed mind proved something of a hindrance. I painted, yes, however I painted oddly, as if I were someone else. With an unfocussed mind, I allowed older methods to direct my hand and they proved far to controlling and… reasoned. This has left me with the task of undoing a certain amount of my work, to try to push it to where it needs to be, not where it is.

All that aside, since Wednesday I have started three new paintings and totally reworked an earlier unsuccessful one that had been stagnating for months. I also varnished six more panel paintings and re-varnished all fourteen of the paper pieces I made last month.

It has been a curiously busy few days. The amazing thing in it all is that I have no reason for doing this. There is no exhibition or competition imminent that I am working towards. I am doing what I am doing because it is what I do.

Friday, 2 November 2012


I have been involved in several collaborative projects in the past decade, working in music, painting and photography. The processes involved have always been rewarding, bringing together aspects of creativity and communication. In some ways the surrender of a portion of control in these projects is in some ways comparable to that which I have written about previously when experimenting with chaos and order.

This week, one of my recent collaborative projects has come back to life, with the publication of iteration/span. This attractively-designed square books collects for the first the entire project that Craig Munro and I worked on over the winter of 2010-11, which was subsequently exhibited in May 2011 at the Fayetteville Underground.

Blind conviction
© 2011 Bremner & Munro
In the book, you can see how our photography for the project developed. Everything is documented here, from the first trial films, through to our intense redscale images, via wide an assortment of films types. In all we shot twenty-nine films, producing 330 photos, with every film given two pages to show their progression.

As well as this array film, the photos chosen for the exhibition have been given whole pages to themselves, giving these curious and baffling images space to once again be properly considered. There is also a six-page essay at the back of the book, containing all the background information on the project anyone could wish for.

What I especially enjoy about this book, is how easy it makes turning the photos upside down. It has never been this easy to see both sides of every photo!

Each book is printed on demand and usually arrives within two weeks of your order being placed. I recommend searching for Blurb coupons before making your order, as often they offer percentage discounts or free shipping.