Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Rachel, Alexander and Angus

An email from Rachel Sharp this morning reminded me that I haven't mentioned her gorgeous new-look website here yet. Here's just a taste of the lovely new original works she has on view in her online gallery*.

I've been a devoted admirer of Rachel's work (and indeed of Rachel herself!) for several years - ever since the day I first saw her brilliant watercolours of flowers and fruit. Her paintings are filled with light and colour, and it was no great surprise to discover, once I got to know her, that Rachel's list of 'favourite artists ever' is almost identical to mine!

The crucial difference between us, however, is that while I merely studied art history and haven't picked up a paintbrush with intent to create for more years than I can remember, Rachel applied her studies of, for example, Matisse , Vuillard, Dufy and Rothko in the development of her own artistic vision and technique. The results speak for themselves.

Rachel's work has been exhibited at the New York Studio School Gallery; the Chautauqua Gallery, New York; Splash Gallery, Somerset; Paisley Museum and Art Gallery; and Transmission Gallery, Glasgow amongst many other venues. Born in the American Mid-West, Rachel now lives on the Berwickshire coast, in Scotland, and as if being such a gifted painter weren't enough, she is also a writer - her article on the artist Georgia Russell will appear in the December issue of American Style (Georgia's extraordinary works can be viewed at the England and Co Gallery, London ) and she has also written for the Scotsman newspaper this year.

To buy signed, limited edition prints of a selection of Rachel's paintings, including the widely admired Yellow Jug (original pictured below) - which was specially selected for the 2006 Aspect Prize exhibition - click here.

Multitudinous thanks to Julian Roskams of Etica Press Ltd for explaining very carefully, in words of one syllable, several times, exactly how to make the clever links with which today's blog is liberally sprinkled. I just know I'm going to have a lot of fun with this!

Finally, apropos my small-hours blog last night, you can see Alexander McCall Smith talking about his book Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams here.

The Scotsman reviewer said of Dream Angus: 'This last tale is perhaps the finest I have ever read from McCall Smith's pen.' While the Daily Telegraph (and it's not often you will read the name of that particular newspaper in this blog, I can tell you!) said that is is a '[g]em-like piece of work, slim and polished, and written in a very different voice from any of his other novels.'

Easily seduced as I am when it comes to poems and songs featuring curlews, I'll leave you with the words of a traditional Scottish lullaby about Dream Angus:

Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell,
Angus is here wi’ dreams to sell o
Hush my wee bairnie an’ sleep wioot fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear

Can ye no hush yer weepin
A’ the wee bairns are sleepin
Birdies are nestling, an’ nestling’ the gither
But my bonnie bairn is waken yet

Dreams to sell . . . (Chorus)

Hear the curlew cryin’ o
An’ the echoes dyin’ o
Even the birdies are cuddled up sleepin
But my bonnie bairn is weepingreetin

Dreams to sell . . . (Chorus)

Soon the lavrock sings his song
Welcoming the coming dawn
Lambies coorie doon the gither
Wi’ the yowies in the heather

Dreams to sell . . . (Chorus)

There's a lovely version on this collection of Celtic lullabies by Lynn Morrison.

* Image © Rachel Sharp 2007.

No comments: