We’re back again!
Due to the vagaries of our arrangement with the National Galleries of Scotland, the RSW are exhibiting for the second time this year, in the Royal Scottish Academy.
The galleries here are even more of a haven than usual, a place of calm and light where the contrast between the space inside and out couldn’t be greater, right now, as Christmas approaches. As you reach the top of those grand steps from busy, noisy Princes Street, you enter another world, far from the jarring sounds and exotic ‘scents’ of the exuberant and often brash annual Christmas Market right outside, at their feet.
A quiet celebration of light, water and colour awaits.
It’s been an especially thrilling show this year for me, as I was honoured and over the moon to be presented with the Walter Scott Award, at the Private View last Sunday, for my watercolour “between heaven and earth”. The work was also purchased for the company’s collection.
This year, it was exciting to have the whole of the main floor again, in which to exhibit and we were able to include nearly 400 works by members and non-members. This used to be the norm for us, before major renovations of the Royal Scottish Academy, which the National Galleries (the public body which owns the building) decided to undertake in the early years of 2000.
Once the underground link between the RSA and the National Gallery was completed in 2004, the rental to the Artists’ Societies was increased tenfold. Yes…. tenfold. It suddenly became essential, if extremely challenging in more ways than one – including having to economise on space and time – to share this privilege with the two other national artists’ organisations, the Society of Scottish Artists and Visual Arts Scotland (of which I was President during the late 1990’s). These exhibitions will follow the RSW’s and then the galleries will be unavailable to us yet again, while more renovations are underway.
So, it will be a sad farewell, and for some time, before we see this grand space again. We have no tenure and can only offer to Scotland the very best of its living artists’ work. If curators and tourists prefer revenue-producing block-buster shows of work by artists of the past, then so be it. We will be showing in a smaller, regional venue in the West next year – Dunoon. Art lovers outside the capital will have a chance to see what the Society’s artists have to offer to Scotland’s cultural life.
Imposing pieces by members James Cosgrove and Janet Melrose in the sculpture court (above) and work by Claire Harkess and Jennifer Irvine (below) in the main Gallery II
My friends enjoy the display of sketchbooks and studies by RSW members Janet Melrose, Helga Chart, Jean Martin, Ann Ross, Frances Law and Douglas Davies.
An impressive diptych by John Brown and memorial work by our late President Phillip Reeves (above) in Gallery II…
a stunning piece by Marj Bond and the meticulous, vibrant work of invited American artist Laurin McCracken, President of the Watercolour Honour Society, USA (below).
A wall which sings softly, yet still resonates powerfully – including Fiona Macintyre’s “Winter Morning, The Minch” and Helga Chart’s striking “Three Stacks”, inspired by her recent trip to St. Kilda… and “Nocturne – Manhattan Bridge”, by invited artist Antonio Masi, President of the American Watercolour Society.