Author: Christine Richard OBE FRSA

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Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 at 8:51 pm
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John Bellany Commemorative

The Capercaille’s Song is an exhibition marking the start of the Festivals in Edinburgh.  At the Open Eye Gallery, it is  a commemorative tribute to the late John Bellany CBE, with works  chosen by his wife, Helen, who was John’s inspiration during their long marriage and artistic partnership together.

Bellany was born in Port Seton, East Lothian  in 1942; his father and grandfather were  fishermen in the locality. He studied at the Edinburgh College of Art under those two great artistic giants, the late Sir Robin Philipson and the late Sir William Gillies. As well as a prolific artist, Bellany went on to became a lecturer himself, and a legacy of his life has been the Freedom of East Lothian. In 1994, he was awarded a CBE  and he had several honorary doctorates, medals and commendations from universities internationally.

16When Helen Bellany was asked to make her choice of paintings and drawings which had particular significance for their lives together, she embraced the task with poignancy, tenderness and recognition of what she describes as Bellany’s ‘hedonistic spirit shining through the dark times.’  The works on show exemplify the unique bold and adventurous style of drawing and paining which are integral to Bellany and which have won prizes, been exhibited widely and purchased by discerning individuals and corporate art lovers everywhere.

5. Capercaillie Sings 1984The title of the Exhibition, The Capercaille’s Song’ reminds me, yet again, how many times work depicting a bird singing symbolises the return of joy! In this Festival Exhibition I was also very moved by a lovely watercolour ‘Helen at Cannes’ painted in 1986 which captures the depth of feeling between two remarkable people. ‘To the Lighthouse’painted in oil on canvas in 1986 emphasises the close relationship of the artist both with the sea and, somehow, with being rescued.

Helen Bellany has also written a moving and descriptive foreword to the Catalogue accompanying this exhibition which runs from Monday 3 August to Wednesday 2 September.

I have a feeling that this Exhibition and its moving history will be a sell-out.

Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE, 0131 557 1020

Opening Hours – Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm


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