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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)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Tripping the Light Fantastic to Joan Eardley Country

The Watchie, where Joan Eardley often painted

Joan Eardley at her easel in Catterline

Catterline Wall by Stuart Buchanan (Stuart lives and works in Catterline – he lives in her old house and paints in The Watchie, where Joan also painted)

Kate Downie's Hymervan monoprint series- Catterline IV

Now here's a bus-trip which sounds hard to resist...

Last year, one of the highlights of the annual Mearns Connections Festival, based near Laurencekirk in the north east of Scotland, was a Ballad Bus which featured  a voyage around the work of Arbuthnott-born author Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

This year, the organisers have decided to focus on another local hero, Joan Eardley.

Joan Eardley, who died in 1963 at the age of just 42, had a house in the north east coastal village Catterline, which is close to Arbuthnott, birthplace of Sunset Song author, James Leslie Mitchelll (Lewis Grassic Gibbon).

Like many people with a passion for art, I am drawn to the work of Joan Eardley like a moth to the light. Joan, like Grassic Gibbon, burrowed her way underneath her subject matter in a way which is almost primordial.

Her Catterline paintings represent some of her best work. When I first saw them in the 2007 at the retrospective devoted to her at the National Gallery of Scotland, I was quite literally thunderstruck. Up until then, I had only really known about the paintings she did of Glasgow street kids in the late 1950s.

The Ballad Bus, will rev up for business on Saturday August 13 and will take its passengers through the life, works and times of Joan Eardley. In Catterline, it will visit  places which were both everyday and special to Joan.  

Organisers promise 'an interesting, relaxed and enjoyable Ballad Bus experience is in store for all those attending, including the usual morning coffee break with home-baked scones.' (That does it, I'm in...)

The Ballad Bus leaves from the Grassic Gibbon Centre in Arbuthnott (three miles from either the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee dual carriageway, or the A92 coast road) just after 9.30am. on Saturday 13th August, and will collect passengers en- route starting with Edzell Post Office at 9am.,  Fettercairn Ramsay Arms Hotel at 9.10am  and then  Laurencekirk Mearns Academy at 9.20am. 

It is advisable to book places by phoning the Grassic Gibbon Centre on 01561 361668 or emailing isabella@grassicgibbon.com 

For further information, see:

Or from Marion Robson 01561 377501

The Ballad Bus is part of the Mearns Connections traditional arts festival organised annually by a committee of  Mearns folk chaired by the master of entertainment and good fun, Mr Jim Brown.

Beehives at Catterline by Joan Eardley

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