About Me

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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 janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Sandra Ratcliffe proves there is life after the Daily Record

I first met Sandra Ratcliffe many moons ago when I was a rookie reporter on The Sunday Mail and you still got ink on your bum when you sat on seats in the canteen which had been honoured by the black bottoms of the 'inkies' as the guys from the pressroom were called. Seems almost quaint now...
When I was blundering around in a daze of crazy and occasionally harrowing news and features, Sandra was a features writer on the Daily Record and a few of us (including journalist turned novelist Joe Donnelly and legendary film writer John Millar) used to sit on the inky seats of a lunchtime and chew the fat of what ifs. As in what if you could go off and do the thing which would most feed your soul.
Well, more than 10 years after leaving the coalface of the Record, Sandra has carved out a new career as an artist. Her work is filled with bold colour and incredibly confident energy. She is not a woman to leave her emotions behind when she paints and seeing people react to her work last weekend at the opening of her second solo exhibition on the beautiful Hebridean island of Gigha, was a fascinating experience.
Gigha Gallery owner Henri MacAulay (a glass artist herself and a skillful mandolin player to boot as she revealed at a wee opening night ceilidh) was delighted when 11 paintings sold in the first weekend.
I bought a wee one myself which I can't wait to pick up in March when the exhibition closes.
Sandra's paintings have real vigour and presence. People pick up on that when they look at them.
The painting of a wild sea (pictured) was bought by our mutual friend from Daily Record days, fashion guru/PR extraordinaire Fiona Black. Fiona and I are now officially collectors...
It seems rather muted in terms of colour compared to her other paintings, but look closely and it's quiely oozing with it.
The exhibition is in Henri's gallery, which is just a short walk from the ferry terminal and adjacent to the Hotel. Getting to Gigha as a foot passenger from Tayinloan on the Kintrye Peninsula couldn't be easier.
It was the first time I'd been to Gigha. I'll be back.
Sandra even made the news when her local paper, the Ayrshire Post ran a story about how she was stuck in the lift of her Ayr apartment block for an hour with all 39 paintings (minus mobile phone) as she loaded paintings into her hired car in preparation for the journey to Gigha. Calls to the emergency hotline in the lift's phone failed to raise a proper response so she hollered for all she was worth and her cries were finally heard by fellow residents.
A couple of burly firemen finally appeared to rescue the poor woman and took one look at the paintings before uttering the words: 'You've been busy!'
The lengths some people will go to get a fireman's lift (from a lift...)

To see more of Sandra's work, go to: http://www.fynesand.com/

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