Finding inspiration right here at home
While some artists search far and wide for inspiration others find it at home '“ within their own families.
Several families and couples are among the talented visual artists and craft makers selected to take part in this year’s Spring Fling open studios event in Dumfries and Galloway.
Among them is portrait artist Luke Fitch whose work is noted for its use of space and muted colour. It includes striking portraits of his father Doug Fitch and Hannah McAndrew – a husband and wife team renowned for their slipware pottery.
Luke, who moved from England to live in Galloway, said: “After I graduated I was looking round for somewhere to work and wanted to be near Doug and Hannah. And Dumfries and Galloway is such a great place to be. They offered me a room in the house and space in the caravan where I could set up and work. There are real benefits from us all being artists. Even though the disciplines are very different there are lots of parallels and their advice is always great on things like motivation.”
Luke was recently praised in Scottish Art Scene magazine as “a young man who can really go forward”. He also now has his own studio at The Crichton in Dumfries while Doug and Hannah are based on a farm at Kelton near Castle Douglas.
Ian and Claire Cameron-Smith share a studio in the Wasps complex in Kirkcudbright while Ian’s son, Ryan Gillan, has the one directly above.
The Cameron-Smiths both work primarily in wood; he specialises in furniture while she is an expert in Japanese woodblock techniques. Ryan, by contrast, uses sophisticated software programmes to produce incredibly detailed digital art.
Ian said: “Claire and I often work on projects together. I tend to focus on the furniture and woodwork while she concentrates on the finer detail, it’s a very good combination.
“All three of us are constantly bouncing ideas of each other. It’s particularly useful being close together as Ryan has Asperger’s and there are a number of ways in which we are able to support him.”
Other Spring Fling participants include painter Heather Blanchard who is known for her landscape painting and her husband Colin, an original printmaker with a love of wildlife, who exhibit together from their rural studio in Waterbeck.
Gwen Adair, a painter fascinated by the human form, and her ceramicist husband Andrew, will be exhibiting at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries.
Joanna Macaulay, Events and Exhibitions Manager for Upland Arts Development, which runs Spring Fling, said: “One of our aims is always to encourage new artists and its great that a love of art and making is being handed from one generation to the next.
“In an area where there has been such an outflow of young people it’s even more encouraging to find that some emerging artists are finding that Dumfries and Galloway is exactly the kind of place where they want to live and work.”
For full details of everyone taking part in Spring Fling see the website at www.spring-fling.co.uk.