Author: Christine Richard OBE FRSA

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Monday, March 16th, 2015 at 8:40 pm
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A Breath of Sea Air

The latest Exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh’s Abercromby Place starts on Monday 16 March and runs to Wednesday 1 April. I went along to the Private View and was very much impressed – particularly by the work of artist Donald Provan.  Donald uses shoals of fish and seascapes as his subjects and inspiration. I met him at the gallery and was able to ask him personally about his artistic background and inspirations.

Donald trained at Edinburgh College of Art when it was independent in the 1980’s. When I asked: ‘why all the fish?’ Donald told me he had grown up in Fife and loved the sea; he has made this genre his signature work. He has a studio at WASPS in Dalry in Edinburgh.  Oil on board is his preferred medium, which really brings his subjects into bold relief. When we see the whole of one lovely room filled with Donald’s work, you can almost smell the sea. No wonder his work sells well.

curlew, sandpipers

Also reminiscent of the coast is the eye-catching, clever and quirky work of Michael Lythgoe.   My particular favourite is ‘Curlew sandpiper with wee blue fish’.  Michael has a unusual background for an artist. He was born in Liverpool in 1950 and after an engineering apprenticeship he joined the Merchant Navy in 1970 as a Junior Officer. Later he and his wife, Carol-Anne, emigrated to Canada where he spent many hours photographing birds.

His beautiful carvings are made primarily from American Red Cedar, chosen for its attractive grain and stability. Artist acrylics are then applied and sealed with a wax finish which preserves and enhances the results. His first Exhibition at the William Marler Gallery in Cirencester in 1989 was a sell-out and he has gone from strength to strength. In 1989 he won the European Decoy Carving Championship, which he clearly deserved.

Michael’s work has been described as ‘fluid, curvaceous and calming. I agree!

In this Exhibition there are excellent paintings by other major artists, among others, John Bellany and as ever, this Open Eye Exhibition is well worth a visit.

Open Eye Gallery
34 Abercromby Place,
Edinburgh EH3 6QE

Telephone 0131 557 1020

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