My Cat Knows What I’m Thinking


One of the plates at the exhibition “My Cat Knows What I’m Thinking” by Eric Great-Rex

Not being a cat person, I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly attracted by the title of the latest exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers.  But I’m really glad I overcame my cat prejudice because otherwise I would have missed a thoroughly absorbing and entertaining two-way talk with the artists Eric Great-Rex and Lesley Logue.  The waltz through the 40 years of Eric’s printmaking practice revealed how he came up with the title for his solo show – that he routinely talks to his cat about his ideas, hopes, fears and dreams. He says he’s always found it insightful and funny the way we process our inner thoughts through objects and animals: ” I’m interested in how we venerate our daily lives and how we talk to ourselves in order to make sense and give meaning to our experiences”.  The most inspiring aspect of the evening for me was Eric’s palpable enjoyment and dedication to his craft; even after four decades of printmaking and ceramics he still gets a kick out of revealing the print from the bed of the press and opening the kiln door to see the results of the firing.  Also affecting, was the way he spoke about the manual engagement with the materials, that working with one’s hands is the most human of activities.  The text on the plate that ‘spoke’ to me most strongly is the one shown here.  It reads “Courage to be Imperfect”.  It has connotations of Leonard’s “there’s a crack in everything  … “, and an evocation of his words is always welcome.

Concrete and Glass

Harry Morgan

Harry Morgan, Entropy, 2016, 60 x 30 x 30, Photo: Simon Bruntnell

The first time I came across Harry Morgan’s work was in London a couple of years ago during my ongoing research into the subject of impermanence in contemporary art materials.  I found an immediate affinity with his sculptures and his interest in the mutability of materials.  His sculptural pieces, which often combine concrete and glass, exploit the period of flux of the materials, i.e. the period when they are both moving from being liquid to solid, accepting the other’s presence and then solidifying to epitomise the qualities of strength and vulnerability.  Last week I had another opportunity to see the results of his processes, that “fluctuate”, as he puts it, “between accident and control”. This time the exhibition is in Edinburgh at The Scottish Gallery where he currently has his first solo show.  It was a real treat to see his latest endeavours; to my eye, they have an extraordinary, quiet presence that rewards spending time with them.

Dropping in to Life Drawing in Edinburgh

File0122 2 copyFile0120 2 copyIn all my moving around from one country to another, it was quite a while since I had done any life drawing but the abundance of drop-in sessions available in Edinburgh has ended the fallow period.  The first one I went along to was on a Wednesday night in the historic Summerhall building.  This was a couple of hours’ drawing to curated music, with the added attraction of being able to bring in a drink from the bar.  I’d come across this kind of event in London last Summer and I was an instant fan.  Until that time, I’d only ever been to silent, reverential classes/sessions so it was quite a revelation to experience the combination of professional life models in such an informal setting.  I think these kind of sessions are fun and a great way to get people drawing who might otherwise feel intimidated by the hushed, more traditional life room.  Another venue for this kind of life drawing, where they have music and up to three models, is on a Tuesday night at the Cabaret Voltaire organised by the wonderfully named All the Young Nudes.  I haven’t been to this one yet but I’m looking forward to it.  All that said about how great these alternative sessions are, I’ve also been really enjoying the more traditional sessions at the Saturday afternoon untutored groups offered by Leith School of Art.  I went along for several weeks in a row to take advantage of the long, continuous pose, i.e. the same pose each week. The bonus for me is that the School is only a ten minute walk along the Water of Leith.  Such a luxury.  Also on my doorstep, so to speak, is a drop-in group at Leith’s Custom House organised by Trina Bohan on a Thursday morning for a couple of hours.  The images above are from the School of Art short poses.

Edinburgh – New in Town

I’ve only been living in Edinburgh a couple of months – immersing myself in the process of finding what’s out there.  Having relocated quite a few times, I know from experience that this process is usually daunting and difficult.  But Edinburgh has what seems to be “an embarrassment of riches” for an artist newly arrived in town.

One of these “riches” is Creative Edinburgh which boasts the largest network of creatives in the city.  Their aim is to help “individuals and businesses create, collaborate and stay connected at every stage of their careers”.  Sounds good to me and the best part is that in doing so they organise really fun events.

On Tuesday night (21 March 2017) I had my first experience of one such an event, going along to a “Talking Heads” evening.  These are regular happenings, for which the Creative Edinburgh team brings together up to ten speakers from a wide range of creative industries to give lightening (definition = really fast and illuminating, no time to get bored) talks on their experiences of making things happen in their chosen field.

The networking part of the evening was way up the spectrum of informality – beer, wine and pizza providing the backdrop to all the chat.  Enjoyable and inspiring – what more could you want?  And thank you to Anna at Creative Edinburgh, who encouraged me to come along and who, on my arrival at the venue, greeted me with a  beautiful, welcoming smile and encouraging comments about my work.  Sometimes that’s all you need to keep believing in what you do.