The McManus Museum and Art Gallery, Dundee. Impressed Exhibition

In March we visited several art galleries, mainly in Edinburgh but we also visited the McManus Art Gallery and Museum in Dundee. They have an exhibition on called Impressed. It features limited edition prints by fairly well known artists.

The print below is by William McTaggart and is called Roses Against a Night Sky.

Dundee , William MacTaggart Roses Against a Night Sky

The print below is called Houses Hampstead and it’s by Winifred McKenzie.

Dundee, McManus,  Winifred McKenzie Houses Hampstead

Below is Homage to Modern Art by Ian Hamilton Finlay. As you can see the glass is very reflective so I’m featuring in it too! I just like boats, especially if they have sails they always look elegant.

Dundee ,Ian Hamilton Finlay Homage to Modern Art

Not to everyone’s taste, below is one by Eduard Paolozzi, I suppose it comes under the   heading of Pop Art.

aDundee 5 Eduard Paolozzi B.A.S.H. 2

Below is just a view of part of the exhibition, there’s quite a lot to see.

Dundee ,McManus,Second general view

There’s even a Picasso print, but I just realised after we left that I hadn’t  bothered to take a photo of it, I wasn’t too impressed! But generally the exhibition is well worth going to see, especially as it’s free.

Dundee ,McManus, General view


The National Gallery of Scotland, Princes Street, Edinburgh/ The Royal Scottish Academy

When we visited The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh last week to see The Printmaker’s Art exhibition we also took the time to look at an exhibition there called Now and Then, sponsored by Visual Arts Scotland.

I wasn’t a big fan of the way it was organised because there is no information about the paintings. They’re all for sale, but you have to enquire at a desk for any info and prices, very off-putting I think. Just a couple of them had been sold, for that reason I think. So the photos below are just a few of the works that I liked, but won’t be buying!

I was attracted to the painting below because it reminds me of a children’s book illustration, especially those from Eastern Europe, for some reason, but also like a painted sampler.

Like a children's book cover

The three below seemed very atmospheric to me.

Three pictures

Below isn’t a painting at all, it has been machine stitched, and the effect is quite beautiful when viewed from close up, and at a distance.

Machine Stitch

And below is an atmospheric cityscape – I think.

Cityscape by Karen Laird

If you want to explore the galleries – art and artists –  virtually, from the comfort of your own sofa, you can do so here.


Tartan – the V&A Dundee

A few months ago we visited the Tartan exhibition at the V&A in Dundee. It runs until the 14th of January 2024. I wasn’t all that sure if I wanted to see it to be honest. In Scotland we have a history of leaving tartan to the tourists, but I enjoyed the exhibition which has the oldest piece of tartan on show, but it’s not all history. There are tartan outfits by designers such as Vivienne Westwood who was fond of using tartan as are some Japanese designers. Sadly I can’t remember who designed the modern outfits below.

modern tartan , Tartan, V&A DundeeSuit


Dress ,  suit V&A Tartan, Dundee

Some designs are quite wild!

Modern takes on tartan, V&A Dundee

Then we get back to a bit more traditional, allthough I’m not sure about the bikini top below.

Victorian tartans, V&A Dundee

Of course Victoria and Albert were very keen on tartan, so there was a lot of it about in their time, not bad considering it had been completely banned by the government after the Jacobite rebellions.

Tartan Dress, V&A Dundee

More modern again.

Radical Gaels, V&A Dundee

Below is an army recruitment poster.

Kilties, poster, V&A Dundee

Below is some tartanware Mauchline Victoriana, made from wood. There are shortbread tins and such in the exhibition too. Tartan seems to have ended up on a lot of merchandise over the years.

Tartan Mauchline ware, V&A Dundee

Below is a portrait of the actor Alan Cumming, with a kilt wrapped around his neck, and nothing else on for some reason.

Alan Cumming, Tartan Exhibition, V&A Dundee

The outfits below are apparently Manhattan tartan. The colours are supposed to be the skin colours of the ethnic groups found in Manhattan. Designed by J Morgan and Suzanne H Bocanegra of New York. Pink is supposed to be Caucasian flesh colour. See also Manhattan Financial.

Manhattan tartan, V&A Dundee

Just recently Billy Connolly donated a kilt to the exhibition. He explained that when he was a youngster you rarely saw a man in a kilt, and if you did see one then the kids all chanted Kiltie, kiltie cauld bum at them! It’s absolutely true, it’s only in recent years that kilts have become so popular to bridegrooms, and then of course there’s the Tartan army, Scotland’s football supporters but they didn’t get a mention in the exhibition at all.

Although I enjoyed the exhibition I felt that there were some glaring misses. If I had been setting it up I would have asked for donations of stage clothes from Rod Stewart, The Bay City Rollers (a fan donated her tartan trousers) tartan was popular among punk bands. The film below is about the making of Billy Connolly’s kilt, they got him into one at last! Honestly someone should have ironed or steamed it as it’s badly wrinkled now, it’s a real shame it wasn’t taken good care of.  You can see Jack’s post on the exhibition here.

Grayson Perry at The Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh

The last art gallery that I visited before this Grayson Perry exhibition in Edinburgh was The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, I haven’t blogged about that visit yet, I think it’s fair to say that I went from the sublime to the ‘Cor Blimey’. In fact I was sort of in two minds whether to go to this exhibition or not, especially after reading The Guardian review which only gave it 2 stars.  I didn’t find it that bad though, I’d give it at least 3 stars. However, this exhibition isn’t a free one, it costs £19 to get in, luckily we are ‘Friends of the Galleries’ so we didn’t have to pay.

This is a huge exhibition of Perry’s work, the largest one he has ever had and it was so busy, despite the fact that we had to book a time slot before going there, there didn’t seem to be any restrictions on the numbers.

I agree with The Guardian reviewer that there’s too much of Alan Measles in Perry’s work, but Alan M is obviously Perry’s comfort blanket and muse, he’s the teddy bear that he was given when he had measles as a small child, and the real toy bear is too precious to be exhibited, a replica was made.

The art comes in various media, pottery, tapestry, woodcuts, drawings, a model house, motorbike complete with pseudo Alan Measles, iron castings, figures … Alan even makes it onto this pottery plate titled Two Old Guys Wearing Checked Skirts which is apparently also some sort of homage to the late Queen Elizabeth.

Two Old Guys Wearing Checked Skirts, Grayson Perry

What annoyed me though is that the actual pieces seem to me to have been executed in the easiest or laziest of ways. The woodcuts have been drawn and then put through a machine which did the actual woodcutting. He writes that he has nothing to do with a potter’s wheel, his pots are all done using the coiled clay method and built up that way.

This one though is an example of kintsugi, a smashed object glued back together and the joins painted in gold.

Kintsugi Vase by Grayson Perry

The tapestries are done from his drawings and machine made in Spain – fair enough I suppose. I did like the ideas behind the tapestries as they depict the life and death of a Yuppie who was only interested in money and possessions. Some of the wall hangings feature the names of well-known people, it reminded me that in 1970 I wanted to do something similar on an embroidery I was doing at school, except my idea was to embroider the names of favourite characters from classic novels, I was really annoyed when my teacher refused to let me do it – I was obviously ahead of the times. Six years later that teacher became my mother-in-law!

I’m fairly sure that Perry said in an interview some years ago that his cross-dressing had been a bid to get attention – and it worked.

You can see Jack’s thoughts on the exhibition and some of the tapestries here.


Bernat Klein exhibition – National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Last week we went to Edinburgh to visit the Bernat Klein exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. It was welll worth the trip, and the long walk from Meadowbank where we had to park the car, well it helps to keep us fit I suppose. The exhibition isn’t huge, but it is interesting, I love his use of colour. It’s a free exhibition but if you can’t get there you can see some of it online here.

If you click on the photos of the other galleries you can see lots more of interest.

A Taste for Impressionism, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

One day last week we went over to Edinburgh to visit A Taste for Impressionism Modern French Art from Millet to Matisse which is on at the National Gallery of Scotland. The exhibition is on till 13th November.

It was really busy, much busier than I had expected given that it’s late on in September, so hardly high tourist season. It’s a big exhibition with five large galleries full of paintings and sculpture. I must say that a lot of the artworks aren’t really what I think of as Impressionist art, but all the same there were quite a few that I wouldn’t mind hanging on my walls!

I liked the painting by Camille Pissaro below, not just because it’s a pretty scene but because it shows a bit of social history that I hadn’t heard of before – a mobile wash tub.

Pissaro, Art

This is another Pissaro, Kitchen Garden at Hermitage Pontoise.

Pissaro, Art

This one by Henri le Sidaner appealed to me.

Henri le Sidaner, Art,

You can see more of his work here.

Jean Charles Cazin, A Village Street at Evening – below, is very atmospheric. You just want to get into that wee house in the distance which has a welcoming light on.

Jean Charles Cazin, A Village Street at Evening

If you click the link above you can see a couple of short films about the exhibition and some of the paintings.
You can have a look at Jack’s thoughts on the exhibition here.

Barbara Hepworth at Modern Two in Edinburgh

We try to do something different at least one day every weekand last week we visited the Modern Two Gallery in Edinburgh to see the Barbara Hepworth exhibition . It’s on until the 2nd of October, we enjoyed it so much we might even go to see it again!

It’s all so tactile and huggable, but obviously you aren’t allowed to touch anything.

Ovoid, Barbara Hepworth Sculpture

Dyad by Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture like one at Stromness

Orpheus by Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth Sculptures

She also did traditional watercolours in her earlier years as you can see below.

Barbara Hepworth Watercolours

As you can see from the photo below of her standing beside one of her works, some of it is absolutely enormous, monumental I suppose you might say.

Anyway, Jack was taking the photos on this visit and somehow missed some of my favourites, so I think we definitely will be making a return visit. I am just in awe of her as she managed to work at the same time as looking after her four small children. After she had one son, then she had triplets with her second husband, the artist Ben Nicholson, two girls and another boy!

Photo of Barbara Hepworth, Beside a Sculpture of Hers

Sadly she died in a fire at her studio in Cornwall. You can read about her life here.

Reflections – John Henry Lorimer Exhibition – City Art Centre Edinburgh

Last Wednesday I realised that there was an art exhibition on at the Edinburgh City Art Centre featuring the work of John Henry Lorimer. He had a wonderful way with light and shadow, but prior to this exhibition I had only really seen his Spring Moonlight before which is probably the most famous painting at Kirkcaldy Art Gallery.

spring moonlight

You can read more about him and the talented Lorimer family here. If you’re interested that link has lots of links to click for more information.

Jack took quite a few photos at the exhibition and you can see them at his blogpost here.

William Morris Exhibition, Dovecote Studios, Edinburgh

On Saturday we visited the Dovecote Studios in Edinburgh, which is “A landmark centre for contemporary art, craft and design built around a leading international tapestry studio”. At the moment they have a William Morris exhibition on. I really like his designs although I don’t think that I would want an entire room done out in one. Years ago I had a friend (now deceased) who had one of his very dark designs in her back living room which was dark at the best of times. It was like sitting in a coal hole! I do have ‘The Strawberry Thief’ curtains in our bedroom though, with a nice duck egg blue background.

William Morris pattern,

William Morris patterns

William Morris

I think this might be the third coming of William Morris in my adult lifetime, he was all the rage in the 1970s and every 20 or 25 years or so he seems to be taken out and dusted down. It’s quite a large exhibition which features mainly framed samples of his designs and designs by some other people around at the time.

William Morris patterns

Some of the woodblocks used in the printing process were on display.

printing block

They had little room ‘sets’ which featured some of the contemporary fabric which can be bought today. That Willow leaf design which is covering the long stool always makes me think of Mary in Gogglebox!

William Morris textiles

William Morris textiles

William Morris textiles

It’s definitely worth seeing, although unfortunately you have to pay to see the exhibition. it was my first visit to the Dovecote Studios and our 14 month old granddaughter Isobel enjoyed getting out of her buggy and stretching her legs. Her favourites were the more colourful designs. Sadly the cafe was full up – well it was a Saturday. It seemed quite weird being back in a busy city location again after avoiding such places. I think it will be a long time before I think of removing my mask in such locations – if ever.

The Scottish Galleries of Modern Art, Edinburgh

On Monday we went to Edinburgh to visit The Scottish National Galleries of Modern Art, there are two of them, across the road from each other, so we visited them both and had lunch in one of them. I must say that the word ‘modern’ also applies to artworks which nowadays we would see as being historic, but in their day they were modern.

If you click on the link above and scroll down you can see all of the artworks. I’ve been scrolling down their great collection of photographs, they’re so interesting from a social history point of view.

We inadvertently visited the Ray Harryhausen exhibition when we were there on Monday. He was a film animator and made a lot of SF/Fantasy films, they’re not really to my taste but he was so talented and developed special effects which were the precursor to the green screen that is used today.

It’s a large exhibition with lots of his preparatory drawings, I thought they were really good despite not being that keen on the subject matter, you can see some here.

There’s a Harryhausen film playing in one of the rooms and visitors can stand in front of it to appear in the film. Below you can see a photo of Jack and myself in front of it, I suppose we should have taken a video and run about a bit!

Ray Harryhausen, at Edinburgh Gallery

Elsewhere there’s all sorts of art, including a few by Dali and some Picassos. The ‘portrait’ below is of the famous photographer Lee Miller who was actually rather good looking. I wonder what she thought of it?! You can see her and some of her photographs here.

Edinburgh Modern Art Gallery 2

Gallery, Modern Art, Edinburgh

Due to Covid restrictions it was suggested on the website that you book up to visit. There was no problem with that as they had lots of time slots. I don’t know if restrictions have now eased at the Galleries but it’ll say on the website.