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Light Effects

What could this picture possibly be? Fingerprints? Abstract Art?

Martian light effects

It’s actually sand dunes on Mars catching low-angled sunlight.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 14/4/2018.

“A New Era” at Modern Two

We’ve been to the New Era exhibition of Scottish Modern Art 1900-1950 at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two.)

It’s not quite as good as the previous exhibition True to Life (for which I see some of the links to the paintings are no longer working) but there is still some good stuff there.

More so in the first two galleries. The pictures became darker both in tone and appearance as the galleries wore on.

Stanley Cursiter’s “The Regatta” is particularly striking with its bold slabs of colour:-

The Regatta

Cursiter’s “Rain on Princes Street”:-

Rain on Princes Street

J D Fergusson is more usually reckoned a colourist but though not an official war artist he was allowed to paint Portsmouth Docks during the Great War.

Porstmouth Dockyard

Another evocation of war is in Eric Robertson’s “Shellburst”:-


So too does Keith Henderson’s “Camouflage Hangars and Gas Gong”:-

Camouflage Hangars and Gas Gong

The caption for Edward Baird’s “Unidentified Aircraft over Montrose” is odd as it says the bridge at the lower left has since been replaced by a suspension bridge but the one depicted is clearly exactly of that type:-

Unidentified Aircraft

William McCance’s “Study for a Colossal Steel Head” is very modernistic:-

Study for a colossal steel head

Mini Kelpies, Kirkcudbright

A small model of The Kelpies in Kirkcudbright. The originals are in Falkirk at The Helix. Bridge over River Dee in background.

Small Kelpies at Kirkcudbright

Side view:-

Kirkcudbright Kelpies

Just along from the minin Kelpies is a memorial, “In memory of loved ones lost at sea.”

Kirkcudbright Memorial to Those Lost  at Sea

More from True to Life

At the True to Life, British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s exhibition at Modern Two I noted down striking works by at least 25 artists.

These two paintings by Harold Williamson sum up the 1930s.


Spray by Harold Williamson


Picnic by Harold Williamson

Other aspects of 1920s/30s life were also covered. This is a portrait of the jazz musician Tom Whiskey (M Julien Zaire) by Glyn Philpot:-

Tom Whiskey by Glyn W Philpot

There was too an example of that quintessential 1930s art form, the railway poster. Fortunino Matania’s “Blackpool”:-

Blackpool by Fortunino Matania

Lancelot Glasson’s The Young Rower 1932, caused raised eyebrows at the time it was first shown – perhaps because it showed a young woman apparently at ease with her body.

On the other hand the distinctly quease inducing (I felt uncomfortable being in the same room as it) Little Sister by Dod Procter seemingly excited very little adverse comment despite depicting a barely pubescent girl.

But how about this: William Oliphant Hutchison’s “Walter Rankin Local Defence Volunteer” which as I recall is permanently on display in room 5 at Modern Two (but don’t quote me on that. Whatever; it surely lies outside the exhibition’s time frame.)

Private Godfrey to a tee:-

Walter Rankin Local Defence Volunteer by William Oliphant Hutchison

True to Life Exhibition at Modern Two, Edinburgh

A couple of weeks age we revisited the True to Life Exhibition at Modern Two, (Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art,) Edinburgh.

I’ve left this a bit late as the exhibition is only on for a few more days now. Its full title is True to Life, British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s.

I found this to be much more enjoyable than the Beyond Caravaggio exhibition recently finished at the Scottish National Gallery (see also here.)

The first picture in True to Life, though, David Jagger’s “Conscientious Objector”, would not have looked out of place at that Beyond Caravaggio exhibition. It exploits light in much the same way as those did. This is apparently a self-portrait:-

Conscientious Objector by David Jagger

“By the Hills” by Gerald Leslie Brockhurst features on the True to Life Exhibition catalogue cover though for me it’s a bit too sharply delineated. The artist was said to have used lipstick to paint the lips here:-

By the Hills by Gerald Leslie Brockhurst

Another such too sharp picture was Meredith Frampton’s “A Game of Patience”:-

A Game of Patience by Meredith Frampton

As with the David Jagger painting above Edward Baird’s “Dan Cross” also looks as if it could leap off the canvas. I feel as if I know this person:-

Dan Cross by Edward Baird

Keith Henderson’s The Harbour Crowd is another fine example of the capture of light. As I recall this painting was one of the exhibits in the Palace of Arts at the Empire Exhibition, Scotland, 1938. There was a black and white reproduction in the relevant souvenir booklet.

The Harbour Crowd by Keith Henderson

Some of the paintings in “True to Life” stretched the definition of realist somewhat.

Though it does contain figures (including the artist) “The Deluge” by Winifred Knights seemed to me to be at least influenced by Vorticism:-

The Deluge by Winifred Knights

Nora Russell by John Downton captures the impatient aspect of the early adolescent schoolgirl very well. I get the impression she didn’t really want to be painted:-

Nora Russell by John Downton

Beyond Caravaggio

This week we again visited the Beyond Caravaggio exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery again as it was its last week.

Apart from the four Caravaggios I thought one of the most striking uses of light was in “Christ Before the High Priest” by Gerrit van Honthorst but the reproduction below doesn’t really do it justice.

Christ Before the High Priest

Two even more impressive paintings were by an artist dubbed The Candlelight Master (whom the information labels suggested may possibly have been Trophime Bigot.)

One was “A Boy With a Lantern” of which I can find no example to show here. The other is from the Royal Collection and is called “Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop.”

Christ in the Carpenter's Shop

This last one, “A Man Singing by Candlelight” by Adam de Coster, is absolutely stunning on the wall.

Adam de Coster

More Paintings

I’ve been going to Art Exhibitions again.

The Scottish National Gallery at the Mound, Edinburgh, at the moment has an exhibition entitled Beyond Caravaggio (until 24/9/17.)

The entry is £12 but the good lady and myself joined as “Friends of the Gallery” earlier in the year to take advantage of free entry to such exhibitions.

As its title implies most of the works shown are by followers of Caravaggio; though the three or four by the master himself are stunning. Some of the others are almost as good but there was one (which I shan’t name) which I thought was a bit cartoonish.

It was good value even if you’d had to pay £12. There are at least five rooms filled with paintings.

I couldn’t help remarking to the good lady, though, about one of the exhibits, “Why on Earth is there a painting of Russell Brand on the wall?”

Christ Displaying his Wounds by Giovanni Galli

The painting is in fact Christ Displaying his Wounds by Giovanni Antonio Galli – called Lo Spadorino.

This painting is owned by Perth and Kinross Council. On the UK Art site he’s listed as Giacomo Galli.

I noticed after we left the building that a full building height reproduction of this painting adorns the front of the gallery.


Stromness (the name is derived from the Norse Straumsnes [headland protruding into the tidal stream]) is Orkney’s second biggest town but that doesn’t mean it’s big. It has just under 2,200 residents.

It has a brilliant Art Gallery called the Pier Arts Centre with several works by Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Stanley Cursiter among others. Well worth a visit – and it’s free.

Stromness Museum does have an entry charge but the ticket gives you entry for a week. It is also interesting with exhibits covering Stromness’s sailing hostory and from the Grand Scuttle of 1919 but also many examples of stuffed animals etc that may nowadays be frowned upon.

Here’s a view I took of North Stromness from the hills above:-

North Stromness

In this one most of the town is hidden under the brow of the hill but part of the harbour can be seen with Scapa Flow in the background beyond:-

Stromness from North-east

Both in the previous photo and the one below of Stromness from the south the Northlink Ferries ship ferry Hamnavoe can be seen docked at the terminal. (The picture on the link is no longer accurate. The ferry company has a newer livery now.) Quite often when we walked down into the town along by the harbour the Hamnavoe would be there. Hamnavoe is an old name for Stromness, meaning peaceful harbour.

Stromness from South

Looking south from Stromness, Scapa Flow in left distance:-

Looking South from Stromness

The High Street and those leading off it are very narrow. High Street:-

High Street, Stromness

This one is quite cheekily named Khyber Pass:-

Khyber Pass, Stromness

Painting With Light Again

At Kirkcaldy Galleries at the moment there is an exhibition of paintings by the group known as the Glasgow Boys. Subtitled “A Spirit of Rebellion” the exhibition is on until November.

The gallery is an excellent one with a fine permanent display including colourist works by Samuel Peploe and others and more than a few of William McTaggart‘s paintings.

This exhibition gave the gallery the opportunity to showcase more of its collection.

I was particularly struck, however, by a work by one of the “boys”, Thomas Corsan Morton, which was not in the exhibition but was in the gallery where the Peploes hang and which I do not recall seeing before in this more or less permanent display.

It is called “Sunny Woodlands” and unfortunately the reproduction below (taken from the ART UK site, formerly BBC Your Paintings) does not do it justice as it doesn’t convey the quality of the light emanating from the painting.

Sunny Woodlands by Thomas Corsan Morton

Arrábida Bridge, Porto

Porto’s beautifully elegant Arrábida Bridge (Ponte de Arrábida) carries motorway traffic over the River Douro on the western portion of the ring road around central Porto.

From the River Douro:-

Arrábida Bridge, Porto from River Douro

Photo from Wikipedia (taken from the Vila Nova de Gaia bank of the river Douro):-

Arrábida Bridge

Statue on top of bridge pillar:-

Arrábida Bridge, Porto, Statue

Support pillars and statue:-

Arrábida Bridge, Pillar and Statue

Close up on one of the bronze statues (from Wikipedia):-

Bronze Statue on Arrábida Bridge, Porto

Arrábida Bridge looking back towards Porto:-

Arrábida Bridge Looking Back to Porto

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