TWO award-winning Argyll-based artists are set to exhibit together for the first time in the village of Tighnabruaich, which is fast becoming the holiday destination of choice for Britain’s Staycationers.
Both Jacqueline Orr and Sian MacQueen have been inspired by the dramatic surroundings of Argyll to create a whole new body of work which reflects their love of the area. The joint exhibition of their work will take place at The Tighnabruaich Gallery from May 12 – June 1.
Both artists are fairly recent elected members of the prestigious Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours, a peer-led honour they share with famous artists such as Dame Elizabeth Blackadder and Barbara Rae.
“Our approach to painting seems to be completely different, yet entirely complimentary,” says Jacqueline, who trained at Glasgow School of Art under Scottish painting greats such as James D. Roberston, Barbara Rae and John Cunningham.
She adds: “My work is all recent and based on the landscape around Loch Fyne and the Kyles of Bute, near where I live. I've been painting and drawing in this area on and off for about five years, especially at Tighnabruaich.
“This is the first time since moving to Argyll nearly seven years ago that I've spent the whole winter here and despite the poor weather, I've been stunned by the light on the few good days that we've had over the winter.
“My normal palette tends to be either bright or veering towards dark, but I've been drawn to the beautiful, pale, winter colours you find here when it hasn't been raining. Even when it has been raining, the colours have still been fabulous.
“The challenge has been to capture the essence of the landscape through the incredible colours and shapes that are only visible during the winter and spring months.”
Sian MacQueen is one of the youngest members of Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) and in February this year, won the Winsor and Newton award at its annual exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.
Having trained as a sculptor at Glasgow School of Art, Sian returned to painting while running her own framing business at Kilmartin in Argyll and uses her knowledge of materials to create her uniquely textured works.
She explains: “My research into my genealogy, which has included finding a tailor and shoemaker from the Small Isles, has given me a fantastic source of narrative for my most recent work. I’m also inspired by texture and enjoy simple abstract compositions that I use to try and create a visual excitement in my paintings.
“I paint with acrylic on gesso which I scrape, sand, rub and score until I find what I’m looking for.”