Session #1

Last night we had our first online gathering for Circus Grads.

We discussed communities of practice, what contemporary art is, grit, resilience/failure, the pros and cons of setting goals, strategies for showing work and how to balance the business Vs making sides of being a working artist today. A friend made an interesting comment that having a fixed goal/target can limit spontaneity and creative flow. I agree, though I guess the opposite could also be true.

The image above is a visual represention of the group’s creative interests and practices, it’s quite a diverse mix as you can see. Lots of food for thought and challenging in a good way, it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced a group dynamic like this.

Reflecting on it today, I think an important ingredient in being an artist is forgiveness… Goals and grit and targets are helpful, but so is having a forgiving attitude towards yourself for not getting things right, for struggling, for always being a ‘work in progress’ both personally and professionally. It’s a challenging job to be an artist because you’re always putting yourself on the line, taking risks, remaining open to judgement and public critique/misunderstanding and unsure where the path is even going!

It’s about finding a balance between self improvement and self acceptance, pushing things and allowing them to happen. I am learning that incremental change through doing is a valuable attitude towards creating. This is something I experience and work with in my yoga practice too. I suppose these principles can be applied to all kinds of practices..?

Circus Grad Associates

I’m glad to share that I will be part of the Circus Graduate Associates programme 2021, starting in a week on March 29th!

Over the course of the year we will meet online for workshops and discussions based on forging and sustaining a creative career. The programme is designed for emerging artists based in the Scottish Highlands and Islands:

“Through regular online training, a peer review summer school as well as different opportunities to show your work (online, print, exhibition), the programme is structured to encourage dialogue with your peers and help you to navigate career pathways during these uncertain times…”

I am looking forward to it and will be sharing my experiences here in my blog as I go along.

You can learn more about Circus here:

Art North feature

There is a nice featurette of my ‘Shapes of Water’ commission in the latest edition of Art North magazine. I responded to an open call for artists working with risograph printing. I learned how to use risograph printing specifically for this body of work, because it uses vegetable-based inks rather than oil-based inks.

Sadly the ‘Shapes of Water’ exhibition with the Travelling Gallery couldn’t tour this year as planned, although it is set to run in 2021 so we’ll look forward to that!

Art North is an independent art publication run from the northern highlands of Scotland. It focuses on visual art of the northern latitudes and is distributed internationally. It supported artists during lockdown with online exhibition opportunities and has more projects in the pipeline.

To learn more, go to:

Summer Online Exhibition

This month, 4 works from my ‘Ever-true’ series are featuring in the Gradcurate online exhibition.

Run by Bloc Galley in Edinburgh, this platform has been set up to support recent art graduates and promote their work. After a few months of very little external activity, it’s great to have my work in this interesting and diverse group show. Check it out here:

Running from 21st August – 21st September 2020

‘Made at Home’ creative resilience

I’ve been invited to contribute my ‘Wild daffodil’ drawing to the Crowdfunded book ‘Made at Home’, by Independent Scottish publisher Wide Open Sea :

The book is a testament to creativity and resilience during lockdown, raising funds for those without a home. All proceeds go to the Scottish homelessness charity Crisis.

All contributors share their creative projects and reflect on feelings of home…

Only one more week to pre-order your copy and support the cause! The fundraiser is live until May 1st 2020.

John Muir day 2020

Happy #johnmuirday ! John Muir was a Scottish naturalist, pioneer of the American National Parks all round nature activist. ‘Nature’s Temple’ is one of my current reads, here’s a wee bit of it:

“…to the outer ear these trees are silent, but their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fibre thrilling like harp strings while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves.”

Beautiful. Thank you John Muir, it is good to collectively remember you today.

Mini ‘Shapes of Water’ exhibition books

As our ‘Shapes of Water’ exhibition is sadly postponed for now, so I’ve decided to make miniature versions of it in book form. A pocket exhibition!

I repurposed test A3 risograph prints and folded them down into A5 book formats. I then digitally rescaled my original water molecule designs, recoloured them and printed giclee copies on recyled paper which I attached to the books. I also finished the pages with grahite pencil drawings, as I did on the walls of gallery space itself.

Each book features the 8 Scottish river patterns that are in the exhibition: River Tay, River Dee, River Forth, River Spey, River Esk, River Clyde and River Tweed.

I have a limited edition of 10 books. 2 of each colour: cream, yellow, green, pink and brown fsc certified recycled paper. Each is uniquely arranged and containing all 8 river patterns. Please contact me if you would like to own one.

In this collection I asked:

Can our thoughts and emotions influence the crystalline structure of water?

Dr. Masaru Emoto tried to prove that human consciousness could change water, creating harmony or dissonance in it’s structure. Based on this conjecture, I have visualised Scottish waters in a state of optimal health and balance, relative to our own inner states of peace, health and wellbeing – – –

The ‘Shapes of Water’ collection has been commissioned by the Travelling Gallery, as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.