Organising a Group Exhibition

The last few months has been filled with organising Romance of the Falls exhibition in Lanark, and I loved it!

 

It has been a tremendous opportunity to meet other artists and locals in the community. As a self employed artist working from home it is easy to find oneself isolated. I no longer feel isolated. I feel connected to some great people.

 

The 3 arty parties we threw for the exhibition saw not only artworks bought but friendships formed. Like minded folk connecting. Be that artists with other artists or art lovers getting a chance to meet the artists and vice versa. It’s been great! The feedback has been really positive.

 

Today is the last chance to see the morphed exhibition – Artists Choice.

 

A big thank you to everyone who has exhibited or visited and especially those who have bought art work.

 

A massive thank you to Ian Leitch for his continuous tireless and voluntary work at the Tobooth and support of this exhibition. You’re a star!

 

Much love Kirsten

www.kirstenharrisart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art, Bamboo Glasses and a Foul Mouthed Pub Landlady

Last night at the exhibition opening of Seascapes at the Old Chain Pier in Edinburgh, stories were told about the eccentric landlady who presided there in the 50’s and 60’s. Her family had owned the pub since the turn of the century.

 

My friends mum and dad, revealing how they went on their second ever date to the Old Chain Pier 55 odd years ago, reminisced.  Last night was their first time back…

 

Apparently Betty Moss was a character and a half, always resplendent in oriental costume and bamboo glasses. She swore like a trooper, shot a gun to the ceiling to call last orders, swung a cutlass over her head to deal with rowdy customers and told everyone to ‘fuck off children’ at the end of the night. It was a sailors pub and she was in charge! 50 years later she is still talked about, her photo, found by the present owner in the cellar, hangs above the bar.

 

 

(Betty Moss – check out the earrings!)

 

Back then every inch of the pub walls were covered in postcards from all over the world. There was no picture windows to the amazing sea view! I guess sailors don’t want to look at the sea whilst drinking a pint and a nip. In fact everything about the inside is different, yet the memory of Betty Moss lives on.

 

Later in the evening my friends gave me ‘how to’ instructions on a contemporary kind of postcard,Instagram, wondering why as an artist I hadn’t made use of this ‘postcards to the world’ form of communication to show my paintings.

Um, no answer apart from not knowing how to do it! Dah!

So I was given a brilliant impromptu masterclass from a professional marketeer, the art director of an ad agency and someone who has 1000’s of followers on the said platform… WOW! Thank you guys, I hope it all went into my brain. Brilliant stuff.

 

I wonder what Betty Moss would make of the social media conversation? By the sound of her she would have embraced it long since, have made big ripples in new medias and be talked about all over the world!

 

Hmmm ….. where are my bamboo glasses?

 

 

 

 

Exhibition on until the end of January.

Framed seascapes from £100

check out my website… www.kirstenharrisart.com

 

‘My Walls are Too Small!’

‘My walls are too small for a big painting!’

 

It’s a comment I hear a lot and it always makes me laugh. I look at the person and think, ‘What a load of rubbish, you don’t live in a hobbit hut!’

 

So here is my low down on why ‘my walls are too small’ is not true!

 

  • It may just be a matter of education, you may never have tried a big painting on a wall and so have no idea how amazing it will look, so are possibly assuming your walls are too small.
  • Did you know that a big painting in a small room will make the space look bigger?Breaking up the space with lots of small paintings can actually make a room look smaller.
  • A big painting adds wow factor to a room. It can save decorating. Just hang a big painting and bobs your uncle, you have impact. I am not a fan of rooms with a TV a sofa and white walls, the so called minimalism. Add a big painting and your room will suddenly have a heart!
  • Most ceilings are much taller than you! (I will make an exception for very tall folk entering low ceilinged ancient cottages) Most big paintings won’t be taller than you. Therefore your walls are definitely not too small!
  • If you buy directly from an artist most artists will be more than happy to let you try before you buy. I am like to hang a painting for someone who is interested in my work and try different wall positions to see if the painting is going to work in the space,  with absolutely no obligation to buy. So do ask. In fact my sister would say I should come with a warning as I will probably help you rearrange the furniture too!
  • On the subject of redecorating – if you are redecorating think about choosing the art work first then the wall colours after. It’s logical if you think about it!
  • A big painting can add structure and cohesion and flow to the look of a room, pulling all the elements together. By the way you can hang oil paintings in bathrooms.
  • And here is a radical thought, it is ok to take paintings down and put new ones up. I rotate my paintings all the time creating a new vibe in the room instantly!

 

So, go on … I dare you, think about being bold and buying a big painting. A big painting needn’t be more expensive and your walls are probably certainly not too small!

 

 

Wind and Sea and my hair being buffeted by the weather! – SOLD

A Falling Romance – SOLD

 

 

A big painting and some handsome men!

SOLD

Michael Douglas and a big giraffe painting … Genius me, I managed to get both him and the painting out of focus! I think I was too excited by having him at my exhibition! What an incredibly nice man. He loved the giraffes ….

 

There is another big giraffe painting hanging at the Tolbooth in Lanark this week.

 

Two upcoming private views – this week

 

 

and now for something completely different here is a link to my colouring book – I love it! Xmas pressie idea …

The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods  Colouring Story Book HERE

 

My Colouring Book

How about a giving a gift of planting a tree via a colouring book this Xmas?

At the same time you will be sharing a a healthy dose of Alexander Technique and mindfulness nature wisdom …

 

If that sounds appealing you have nothing further to do than click here and buy The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods, my Alexander Technique inspired colouring story book.

 

I am super proud of it – it is hand drawn and written with love inspired by walking in the woods with my dog Maisie. All profits will be used to plant trees, so please do consider supporting this environmental/educational project.

 

Front and back cover .. showing details of drawings inside…

 

  • ‘A very beautiful combination of writing and pictures’ John, AT teacher
  • ‘It’s making me want to go for a walk … That’s amazing in itself!’ Dougie
  • ‘Within the Words and magical illustrations are lots of wonderful reminders of the wisdom and teachings of the Alexander Technique. It is a delightful, gentle, joyous book of wisdom for all ages.’ Sally

 

The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods buy here! 

(sample pages when you follow link)

 

Please ignore the bit on the link that says local pick up only. I haven’t figured out how to change it!

Free postage in UK.

Please email me for costs to post abroad.

kirstenfharris@btopenworld.com

 

I hope to hear from you

 

Love Kirsten and Crazy Maisie dog x

Maisie walking int the woods in Scotland

 

 

If you love art you will adore an open studio …

Every year all over the country artists open their studios to the public.

This is a fantastic chance to buy directly from an artist. It is a win win situation for both artist and art lover. Here is why …

 

  • No commissions to pay to middle men aka galleries, art websites etc. This means that the artist does not have to add money to the price of the artwork to allow for commission, meaning that you the buyer can purchase the work at a better price.
  • The artist gets to meet you the buyer. Over the years many of the people who have bought my work have become great friends! Why? Because we share a similar vibe as evidenced by the art that we both like. Some unspoken, unquantifiable, joyous link is established. When you buy through a gallery or a website the opportunity to make that connection is not there. It is huge loss.
  • From an artists point of view it is absolutely brilliant to get feedback, positive or otherwise from your visitors. You learn so much by folk coming to your studio. Don’t be shy to talk to the artist about their work. It is also brilliant to know who has bought your art. Having put your heart and soul into the art work, to not know who has bought it is a little bit sad.
  • Open studios are often in the artists home. Visiting you get to see what influences the artist, how they live, what they surround themselves with, the environment the work is made in. Very famous artists studios have been known to be dismantled intact and rebuilt in a gallery situation after their demise! I can think of two examples local to me. Ian Hamilton Findlay’s amazing garden Little Sparta is now an out post of the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. I was lucky enough to meet Hamilton Findlay and look around his garden before his death. Link to Little Sparta Trust here. Also Leith born artist Eduardo Paolozzi’s studio has been rebuilt in the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh Link here.
  • An artist will want to find you something to sell at a price you can afford! Trust me on this! It is such a good feeling when someone want to have your work in their home, it gives you impetus to keep on creating. At an open studio you will see work that you won’t find on websites or in galleries. Ideas, work in progress, sketch books, unframed masterpieces … you will find treasures!
  • The artist will be delighted to see you. It is a lonely business being an artist. Folk paying an interest in your work is amazing. You will probably get a cuppa or a glass of wine or a bit of amazing home made cake!
  • It is a great day out. These days artists  often collaborate to make a yearly artist trail in their area. My open studio this weekend is part of the Biggar Little Festival.
  • www.kirstenharrisart.com

Open Studio – Up Cycled Danishly

I have been working towards Up-Cycled Danishly for over two years.

That is, painting furniture and doing seascapes for the walls.

This open studio I have achieved it the look I was after… It is not quite a fabulous as I hoped due to lack of space, so everything is a bit  crammed, but mission accomplished!

The idea was to up-cycle furniture in an antique Danish peasant style, as inspired by my Danish grandmother, and combine the furniture with seascapes. A look that reminds me of my childhood and one that I have always loved. I have a few inherited pieces of painted furniture so decided to add to the collection. My rule was to take solid pieces of furniture and improve them, rather than just make them look different. They were to look old and as though they were meant to be that way.

 

Bizarrely the  best brush I found for painting the motif details was a Japanese sumie brush, designed for painting on rice paper not wood. But it worked.

It has been a huge amount of work. Painting furniture is a slow business.Also bulky! My house is now beginning to be rather, um, full! Time to let go and sell a few pieces to create space to keep painting.

 

In order to set the room up I have turned my painting studio aka the garage into a dump. Anything that doesn’t go with the look has been put in there. OMG, total mess! But hey ho, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, and being a finisher/completer type (so a human resources friend once told me) Up-cycled Danishly it is.

 

Essentially the look is striped upholstery and rugs, roses and other flowers, hearts and birds as motifs, colour schemes blues, greens reds …

 

Carnwath, the nearest village to me, prides itself on being the village in Scotland furthest from the sea, which to my mind says nowhere in Scotland is very far from the sea! But oh to now transport the work to an old farmhouse on the coast with lots of space to see the pieces in interior design vignettes as opposed to squashed together.   In the meantime here is is in South Lanarkshire –  Up-cycled Danishly.

I hope you like it. All work is for sale.

 

Up-cycled Danishly

Next weekend … 28-29 October

My house …

Coffee and Danish biscuits and a warm welcome …

 

Berry Knowe Cottage, Westsidewood, Carnwath, South Lanarkshire. ML11 8LJ

Phone me for directions – Kirsten 07711 903537

Or by appointment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this Free Creativity E-Course Testemonial

This blog is a letter from someone who took my free creativity e-course. (link below.) Maybe you can relate to what she says about spending 50 years thinking she wasn’t creative …

 

‘Kirsten, through your online art course you made me feel like I CAN be creative after 50 years of thinking I can’t! You opened my mind to a new possibility and showed me art – my art creations – in the simplest of things. This is a mind opening, chink of possibility. I have yet to transform this new way of thinking into an actual, physical piece of art although I did go and cover my walls (the canvas) in paint recently. It was hard physical work and my arms ached for days afterwards but as I did it I reminded myself that this too, the simple act of decorating a room, could be classed as art when thought of in this way. Paint on a canvas. Strong roller strokes of a colour I love … And now I love the new feel of the room I have recoloured and recreated.

 

I want to find another slightly less physical way of covering a canvas in paint. I like words. They too are art I now realise. Squiggly lines on a piece of paper that convey something – a thought, an idea. I love the thought that putting on my moisturiser and painting my face with makeup is also an art form. This opens up my mind so much to all these ways of being creative. My garden – selecting just the right flowers and placing them in certain places that I choose, is a creation. Who knew? Me! Artistic. What a concept!

 

I love the concept of the physical body and the mind working together (or maybe letting go together) to allow a piece of art to flow and become. My art. My expression of something – as it is and as it shows up in that moment. But can I manage not to judge it? That’s a challenge. Years of internal criticism habits are hard to erase. A lot of old thinking patterns to break and yet you have helped me make a beginning. I don’t think I shall really draw or paint – I don’t think it’s my medium although I don’t rule it out, but you have opened my mind to the possibility that I can be artistic in so many other ways… my signature, my writing, an arrangement of objects, flowers, a choice of a photograph to take – oh so many possibilities suddenly appear. And art can be fun it seems – not too serious a business after all.

 

You work your magic in so many ways. Thank you for all the thought, love, experiences and fun you poured into this wonderful creation of a course – I loved it. It is a gift.’  Sally, Scotland

 

Why don’t you sign up for 8 days of ideas about creativity in the free e-course below, it is totally free, just an artists way of making connections …

 

 

 

Free Creativity E – Course – Testemonial

This blog is a letter from someone who took my free creativity e-course. (link below.) Maybe you can relate to what she says about spending 50 years thinking she wasn’t creative …

 

‘Kirsten, through your online art course you made me feel like I CAN be creative after 50 years of thinking I can’t! You opened my mind to a new possibility and showed me art – my art creations – in the simplest of things. This is a mind opening, chink of possibility. I have yet to transform this new way of thinking into an actual, physical piece of art although I did go and cover my walls (the canvas) in paint recently. It was hard physical work and my arms ached for days afterwards but as I did it I reminded myself that this too, the simple act of decorating a room, could be classed as art when thought of in this way. Paint on a canvas. Strong roller strokes of a colour I love … And now I love the new feel of the room I have recoloured and recreated.

 

I want to find another slightly less physical way of covering a canvas in paint. I like words. They too are art I now realise. Squiggly lines on a piece of paper that convey something – a thought, an idea. I love the thought that putting on my moisturiser and painting my face with makeup is also an art form. This opens up my mind so much to all these ways of being creative. My garden – selecting just the right flowers and placing them in certain places that I choose, is a creation. Who knew? Me! Artistic. What a concept!

 

I love the concept of the physical body and the mind working together (or maybe letting go together) to allow a piece of art to flow and become. My art. My expression of something – as it is and as it shows up in that moment. But can I manage not to judge it? That’s a challenge. Years of internal criticism habits are hard to erase. A lot of old thinking patterns to break and yet you have helped me make a beginning. I don’t think I shall really draw or paint – I don’t think it’s my medium although I don’t rule it out, but you have opened my mind to the possibility that I can be artistic in so many other ways… my signature, my writing, an arrangement of objects, flowers, a choice of a photograph to take – oh so many possibilities suddenly appear. And art can be fun it seems – not too serious a business after all.

 

You work your magic in so many ways. Thank you for all the thought, love, experiences and fun you poured into this wonderful creation of a course – I loved it. It is a gift.’  Sally, Scotland

 

Why don’t you sign up for 8 days of ideas about creativity in the free e-course below, it is totally free, just an artists way of making connections …

 

 

 

Disappointment, Destruction and Recreating

The last ever trip I did with my dad before he died was to go and see a field shelter that I wanted to buy for my ponies. Here it is

Sadly within a few short months it started to collapse as the arches were built out of unsuitable material. I phoned the guy who built it who came and stuck a bit of wood in the middle saying ‘I didn’t realise it was this bad’ and promised to come back and fix it. He did not. Nor did he answer my phone calls. I felt so disappointed having saved up for a year to buy it.

So I paid someone to take it down as I was scared of it collapsing on my ponies and felt really upset. A pile of timber sat in my driveway for several months.

 

This summer a retired friend offered to help me to rebuild it, reusing as much of the wood as possible. Tears came to my eyes when we got the bones of the structure up as it felt enormously healing. Recreating something ten times more solid – I know dad would be really cheered.

Here is the finished shelter …

 

So despite being really upset about the lack of response and the shoddy workmanship of the original arc here is what I learned …

 

I learned about the art of hammering, with a free neck and a free wrist, letting the momentum of the hammer do the work.

I learned about the kindness and pure goodness of people  ‘I am not doing it for you, but for the ponies so they have shelter in the winter’.

I learned about patience. The original arc was erected in a morning. Our shelter took us many days, making sure that the structure was entirely solid from base up.

I learned about pacing yourself when doing a big job like this. Work away with awareness and consideration and a structure will emerge and you won’t ache.

I also wondered whether in the long run it is entirely more satisfying to make something yourself than to buy off the peg!

 

My friend tells me that I would now be able to build a shed myself, though I am not entirely convinced, but I do have a much better sense of construction having gone through this.

 

The tortoise and the hare story springs to mind.

We got there and the ponies LOVE it!

 

 

 

 

 

Press Release – Romance of the Falls Exhibition

During the Napoleonic Wars when Europe was closed for The Grand Tour, The Falls of Clyde at Lanark became a ‘must visit’ place on what became known as Le Petit Tour.

 

Determined to continue the Romantic tradition, Romance of the Falls is an eclectic, exciting group contemporary art exhibition at the newly refurbished historic Tollbooth in Lanark’s High Street, opening on the 12 October for a month.

 

Following in the the footsteps of JMW Turner, Jacob More, The Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott to name a few of the greats who have drawn inspiration from this spectacular scenery over the past centuries, a collection of artists are once again being inspired by The Falls of Clyde which have been flowing at full power all summer. It was the building of the hydro electric power station in the 1920’s that caused the Falls of Clyde to fall off the art map! (See before and after photos at end of this post).

 

Painters, sculptors, steam punk makers, furniture creators, illustrators, glass workers, jewellers, textile artists and a film maker exhibit side by side in this powerful exhibition, each interpreting the theme of Romance of the Falls in their own style, ranging from wildlife to landscape, abstraction to surrealism.

 

A percentage of sales from the art will go to the Tolbooth to continue their exciting refurbishment work, bringing this fifteenth century former prison into an exhibition and event space with wow factor. The next phase is refurbishing the magnificent high ceiling upstairs room.

 

Art work will be exhibited on both floors during this show.

Come and see what amazing artistic talent there is in the area!

 

ARTISTS EXHIBITING – Jacqueline MacAteer, Mark Davies, Myra Gibson, Veronica Liddell, Stephanie Whatley, Julie Grey, Evelyn McEwan, May Carnan, Nancy Scott, Kathleen Stewart, Pat McKenzie, Ellen Mc CAnn, Isobel Stamford, Jill Sievewrithg, Jean Mellin, Eve Whittle, Trudi Green, Kaye Shearer, Andy Cross, Hazel Findlay, Elspeth Wight, Jo Green, Janey Horberry, Eileen Hood, Christine Brown, Jane Kirkwood, David Randall, Ewan Cameron, Trevor Taylor, Kirsten Harris

The Falls of Clyde by JMW Turner

Two photos of the same view at Bonnington Linn.

Firstly as Turner and the Romantic artists and writers saw it and the second with the hydro electric diverting it’s power most of the time these days.

 

Above the left hand waterfall is a little iron bridge, now uncrossable, that led to the island in the middle of the falls and a folly temple. It must have been so exciting to cross the fall with it’s 30 ft drop.

 

Remains of the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ opposite Corra Linn.

Mirrors gave visitors the feeling that they were standing inside the waterfall.

Now under threat of collapse from development work at the hydro electric sub station.

 

 

 

Romance of the Falls Exhibition venue – The historic 15th century Tolbooth in Lanark’s High Street and it’s beautiful community gallery.

 

 

Press in the Lanark Gazette

Monkey at a Waterfall

‘A Falling Romance’ Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm

 

Painting on a large scale involves using your legs.

 

Not only do you stand at the easel but in Alexander Technique speak you have to use your monkey. That is to bend at the hips and knees to get into deep squats. Monkey is a must if you are not going to end up with back ache as a painter of large canvases. (An Alexander Technique teacher will show you how powerful your monkey is!)

 

Walking back into your back to get a distance perspective also helps. Walking backwards away from the easel is a chance to connect the arms deeply into your back to flick paint, smear, scratch, dab and throw paint as you move forward and up again into the painting.

 

Staying active up and out of the hips, legs and feet to move while you work is also essential. Move with the paint to let it flow.

Dance like a butterfly, paint like a bee!

 

This style, as used in ‘A Falling Romance’ could be described as action painting or whole body painting. It is exhilarating, gestural, fun and messy. A bit like pogo dancing at a punk concert –  you just have to let go, go for it and not really care!

 

Inevitably beautiful passages of paint get lost in the craziness of the process.

Creativity, destruction, flow …

Let’s go…

 

If you want to let go more in your creativity adventure with a bit of Alexander Technique thinking thrown in, why not sign up for my free creativity e-course.

It’s fun – 8 emails over 8 days to get you thinking a little differently … hopefully!

It may be a good place to start and was written with love … link below

 

 

In the meantime –  here is a monkey (ok a chimp)

Darwin, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 50 cm

 

Link to my free creativity e-course below

To start learning Alexander Technique click here

 

 

 

 

 

An Ashtray and the Inspiration behind Romance of the Falls Exhibition

I smoked as an art student. Nearly all of us did. It was the 80’s after all and we thought we were cool. What we didn’t realise was that the ashtray we were casually flicking ash into was worth a million quid! Now that’s cool!

 

Professor David Hill, the world renowned Turner expert and author, was our art history lecturer at Bretton Hall College in the 80’s. Every class from cave painting to the High Renaissance, from pop art to pointillism, David Hill would find a way to bring Turner into the conversation.

 

As a first year I hated Turner, and with artist Jane Tomlinson took a pop at Turner by writing a joke essay about a fictional Mrs Turner and handing it in. Anything to argue against the revered man. By the third year I was converted and wrote my degree thesis on the Turner Prize.

 

David Hill wrote a book called In Turner’s Footsteps, so of course the big inspiration behind gathering a group of artists for the Romance of the Falls Exhibition at the Tolbooth, Lanark 12 October – 12 November is to follow in Turner’s footsteps drawing inspiration from the Falls of Clyde. Ever since I have visited the Falls I have thought ‘I am walking in Turner’s footsteps’, seeing what he saw. An idea for an exhibition has been brewing for several years. David Hill

 

For the million pound ashtray story and David Hill’s discovery here is a link to his website … well worth a read, quite amazing.

The Bretton Hall Marbles: #1, The Ashtray and the Million Pound Plant Pot

The Royal Academy of Arts in Edinburgh have kindly allowed us to  reproduce Turner’s Falls of Clyde painting as a postcard which will be on sale at Romance of the Falls, Contemporary Art at the Tolbooth, Lanark 12 October – 12 November.

 

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851)

The Falls of Clyde 1801