Author: Christine Richard OBE FRSA

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 at 9:59 am
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Serenity at The Open Eye

Unless there is a solo exhibition at any gallery, regular readers will know I usually cover most of the work on show. However, the current exhibition at Edinburgh’s Open Eye Gallery compels me to concentrate on the moving and beautiful story told in works by Susie Leiper.

Susie Leiper’s work is inspired by the late Nan Shepherd and Nan’s book ‘The Living Mountain’. Susie says ‘I seek a kind of soothing serenity in my work, like the escapism afforded by the mountains. I love being in them: Scotland’s Munros, the French Pyrenees, the sacred peaks of China. As a tribute to Nan Shepherd and the mountains of Scotland most of the painting titles refer to Scotland’s Munros, in translation from the Gaelic.’

Looking at these images in a moment of calm as the first day of this new exhibition began, I too felt I was in a space of great, almost spiritual, tranquillity. There is hardly any colour used in the mostly small calligraphic works but this does not deter from their impact – rather the reverse.

Hill of the clamshell5Susie’s interest in calligraphy and painting grew out of an editorial career where she specialised in books on Chinese Art and archaeology. The use of Chinese paper using ink and, in some cases gouache, is a characteristic of her work. Also she paints in oil on canvas. Many of the works are small in size but this simply intensifies their effects.

She has exhibited many times since 1997 and has received both commissions and awards. Her work is in a number of collections including the British Museum, London; Edinburgh College of Art; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Glamis Castle, Angus; as well as the National Library of Scotland and the National Museums of Scotland

Born and educated in Glasgow, Susie has degrees from the University of St Andrews and the Courtauld Institute of Art.  She is a Fellow of the Society of Scribes and illuminators. Now Susie works freelance in Edinburgh, being involved for some time with a painters’ group run by Paul Keir.

This latest Exhibition runs until Wednesday 22 April at The Open Eye, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE.

Contact: 0131 5571020, or

Hours are Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday 10 am to 4 pm

All the works are well worth going along to see and buy.



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