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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)

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The art of looking, not seeing...

Autumn Journey by Sandra Moffat, 48cmx48cm, £595

Brand New Day by Sandra Moffat, mixed media, 42cmX43cm, £595

Every day, I walk my dog in the woods around my home. Occasionally, we stray further from home. These walks give me time to reflect.
Last year, on 366 consecutive days, I wrote a haiku, a short three line poem consisting of 5/7/5 syllables per line. One of the principles of this Japanese art form is to muse on the changing seasons, so my walks on the same beaten path gave me ample opportunity to do this.
I used to walk along counting out syllables on my fingers and talking to myself. Just as well it’s only me, the dog, a few deer, loads of burds, and odd wily fox in the woods.
Recently, I read that the great 19th century American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, said that to observe change in nature, you should repeat the same journey every day.
This year, in early March, missing the daily creative discipline of the haiku, I subscribed to Edinburgh-based online daily photo journal site, Blipfoto as http://www.blipfoto.com/JournoJan
The woods are yet again providing a source of inspiration and I’ve found myself fascinated by the patterns and shapes which the bare tree trunks and branches make, set against the ploughed fields beyond the wood.
Sometimes my job writing and finding out about art exhibitions and artists collides with the things I am looking at in these ‘blips’ in my day.
This week, I have been looking at the work of Glasgow-based artist, Sandra Moffat, the featured artist in The Green Gallery at Buchlyvie’s summer exhibition.
The exhibition opens this Sunday and runs until June 23.
Sandra’s new work is rooted in nature and covers all the seasons. It almost mirrors what I have been looking at and thinking about when I’m out and about in the woods and further afield.
Evening Light by Sandra Moffat, 45cmx38cm,  £495
Armies of trees standing to attention with the sun throwing a new day’s light through their ranks, reflections of branches and leaves in water, neatly ploughed fields set against a raggedy bunch of trees, or the end of a day in which tree shapes are mirrored in livid blue as the night sky encroaches.
Her paintings have titles such as Brand New Day, Autumn Journey and Evening Light.
Sandra’s work has a very tactile feel. She paints on surfaces which are heavily textured. Layering different papers on one another and then making that her prepared surface for painting and drawing on.
Her early influences, she says, were her mother and her art teacher at secondary school. Her mum was a primary school teacher and used to do crafts with her her at home, cutting out and sticking on layers to build collage-style paintings
Later, at Glasgow School of Art, despite wanting to pursue pure painting as an option, she ended up in the Embroidered and Woven Textile Department and this shift in expectation led Sandra to the point where she is in her art right now. 
Always looking. Not just seeing. 
She views as a happy default and I’m inclined to agree. It’s beautiful work. 
Green Gallery owner, Becky Walker, has a keen eye for artists working away quietly on work which deserves to be seen by a wider audience. She's also celebrating 21 years in business with this exhibition. Her mum, Ann Johnston, set up the Green Gallery in nearby Aberfoyle  and Becky has since transposed it to her family home in Buchlyve,
It's a gorgeous setting for a gallery (and a home) overlooking Ben Lomond. 
For this summer exhibition, she has also lined up work by gallery favourites, old and new, including; Marion Drummond, Gordon Wilson, Pam Glennie, Nikki Monaghan, Kelly-Anne Cairns and Amaryliss Johnston.
AND, I've got Becky 'blipping' too as http://www.blipfoto.com/gallerygirl1
The eyes have it..
Summer Exhibition

Featuring Sandra Moffat, Marion Drummond and gallery artists
The Green Gallery
The Coachhouse, Ballamenoch, Buchlyvie, Stirlingshire, FK8 3NX
01360 850180
Opens Sunday May 12, 2pm-5pm 
Early bird viewing 11-5pm on Saturday 11th May

My own upside down trees... 

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