…who happen to be women.
Last week (before our failed camping trip - broken tent-pole [say no more]) we set off for the Edinburgh Festival by train to see two current exhibitions of paintings. The first is of Impressionist paintings gathered from around the world and is getting big licks in newspaper reviews. Unfortunately it is also attracting huge crowds with airport-style queuing systems to get in. Not for me. Gave it a miss for the time being and hopefully in a month or so, after the Festival has packed up and gone, we will try again.
Their present loss however was undoubtedly our gain for in order to escape the crush and madness that is Princes Street and Waverley Gardens we headed out to peace and quiet of The Royal Botanic Gardens to see the other exhibition that is also getting big licks: Joan Mitchell at Inverleith House.
Now, with all this thrill and excitement coursing through my veins I enjoy what I call “delayed gratification”. It’s good for the soul, I believe (and a bit nutty). It means not rushing headlong to the object of your desire but holding off with other diversions first.
So, first stop along the way was into the Open Eye Gallery where they are showing my kinda stuff:
Colourful, loud, highly expressive abstracts based on landscape or as I would have it - semi-abstract landscape painting. A lot what I would have liked my semi-abstract figures to have been.
Next stop, the Scottish Gallery, in Dundas Street where they are showing new work by another Scottish artist, Victoria Crowe. Quite different to Rae’s work, quieter, more refined even, and very beautiful. In my less exuberant moments I sometimes paint like this. But not often. I am inspired again by both of these artists, but not as much as I am about to be by the third, non-Scottish artist on my itinerary, although I don’t see any reason not to make her an honorary Scot: Lady Joan of Inverleith perhaps?
What a fabulous park The Royal Botanic Gardens is. I need to get back there again soon, on my own, just to sketch and paint the wonderful parkland views. But it is to Inverleith House which stands on a promontory in the park and the exhibition I have come to see.
Greeted at the door by this fantastic poster I immediately buy one just in case there is a sudden rush and I am left disappointed:
Inverleith House is an old 18th century mansion converted into an art gallery with spacious rooms, white walls and natural wood floors, large windows with a lovely quality of light flooding in, and views of the park looking out. What a wonderful place to show these monumental canvases:
Well, it's big, but not that big, it's just that Jacqui is so small!
And smaller rooms showing some of her pastel studies:
I wish that eejit would get outa the way and let me photograph the picture!
In the basement study room a 58 minute video was showing which was fascinating to listen to Joan, as an elderly lady, talking about her life and work. The quality of filming wasn’t always good and the soundtrack often hard to follow, but still so much to get from it:
“I paint from landscapes of the memory I carry with me - and feelings from the memory of them which naturally become transformed…I prefer to leave nature to itself. I do not intend to improve it…I could never mirror it. I love most of all what it leaves inside me”.
And this quote by her gallery owner, Robert Williams: “If only you were French, and male, and dead!”. I’m sure that may resonate with many of you ladies out there.
I liked this one - Joan says: “While out walking one morning (in New York) I met Hans (Hofmann) who says: ‘Why aren’t you working?!”.
And this one is for Melinda: “I often painted at night (in Paris). When it got light I went to sleep”.
So, three more women painters, each one inspiring me to get back painting again.
Now where did I put my brushes after cleaning out the budgie-cage?