The Green Gallery
The Coachhouse, Ballamenoch, Buchlyvie, Stirlingshire
www.greengallery.com and www.rosannebarr.co.uk
Daily from 11am-5pm (closed Thursdays)
Until October 12
As has been clear these last few rain-soaked weeks of our Scottish summer, the sky plays a large part in all our lives. If you happen to be an artist gazing heavenwards for inspiration, this land is the place to be, especially if you travel to its outer reaches, where big skies loom large and the ever-changing skyscapes creates a moving picture story above your head.
For Rosanne Barr, who has been establishing herself as a landscape artist of great promise over the last few years, the sky - almost like a figure - has become the key player in her work.
Barr, who grew up in Gartocharn, Stirlingshire, and now lives just outside Dundee is still in her 20s, yet she has developed a sureness of style, which has gained her a growing army of fans.
Her scenes are not site-specific. You won’t find her skies sheltering well-kent landmarks such as the Cuillins or Buachaille Etive Mor and, despite being a finalist in this year’s Jolomo Awards, there are no small white cottages to be found sitting on a familiar foreshore.
There is an almost abstract emotion pulling at the scene Rosanne Barr creates, although it is recognisable as a landscape. Tightly composed and hugely atmospheric, there is also a very pure sense of colour in her work, which has benefited in this new series from a shift into oil paint, applied straight from the tube so as not to muddy the waters.
“The sky is usually the first thing I paint in a picture,” she explains. “It’s always been my starting point. I love the changing clouds and the yellow light you get in Scotland. This summer has been especially good as you got thunderous clouds one minute and sunshine the next. It makes the painting process so exciting.
“Recently, I’ve been going to Orkney a lot, as my brother and his family live up there and our family now has a second home and the skyscapes of Orkney are just amazing.
“You just stand there and get lost between the horizon and the sea.”
In this, her second solo show for Becky Walker of the Green Gallery in Buchlyvie, Barr has produced around 30 paintings despite becoming a first-time mother in the last year.
“Her first show here was a virtual sell-out,’ says Becky Walker. ‘And seeing this new work, in which she seems to be maturing and growing as an artist, I’m confident she’ll do equally well.
“There’s a real sense that she enjoys a space and makes it her own. She creates a feeling and an atmosphere that makes you feel that you might not have seen that particular place but you can feel it. She creates spontaneous movement and feeling in the brushwork but at the same time it is very tightly composed.
Although she didn’t win the overall prize in the Jolomo Awards, Barr has benefited from the exposure which being short listed for one of the biggest prizes for painting can offer a young artist.
“It was a great way to get my name out there,” she concedes. “It was also good to meet the other artists. I’ve become friends with one of the other finalists, Claudia Massie and we share information. It was Claudia who encouraged me to work in oils, for example. Up until now, I have always used acrylics because I liked the way they dried quickly, but I have really loved working in oils this last year. The colour is so vivid.”
Admitting she was ‘surprised to be short listed’ for the Jolomo Award, Barr says she was not disappointed to lose out at the final furlong. “Jolomo came up to me at the end and had a wee chat,” she says. “He told me that I’d do well anyway, so I wasn’t to be downhearted.”
Scotland’s most bankable landscape artist might have a point.
- The story so far
- I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org (All work © Jan Patience)