We worked with Sylvie in Creelers 15 years ago...amazing to see her when she popped over from Canada this week:)
Learn some new tricks; here's myself playing with food in Dunkeld. Results later...
Make art with food; results below...
Sit in the sun and count the positive things in life. There have been sunny days - we saw them!
Come and see the birds! There are still some amazing pieces left to see or take home with you to cheer that awkward corner where nothing else fits:)
Pop in at the weekend, which has become the Scone Special zone; this weekend we have date, walnut and apricot. Sometimes they are savoury... and yes, we take scone reservations via Twitter!
Eat brunch dressed as a Superhero! Spiderman is waiting for a scone experience to fuel further hero-ing work...
Catch up with old friends!
We worked with Sylvie in Creelers 15 years ago...amazing to see her when she popped over from Canada this week:)
Result! Raw chocolate-orange fruit torte - yum...
...and that's what the potato was for!
Something else to look forward to - Babs Pease's beautiful lino prints, coming soon...
Janet Melrose, 'Rookery'
A great review below from the Spurtle:Kittie Jones, 'Wagtail on shadows'
(I have included the paintings that Alan mentions in his piece, but there are so many more to see; you are bound to have another favourite...!)
CROWS, ROOKS, AND THE OVERLOOKED
Friday, 10 May 2013
The brief to artists for this month's exhibition 'Neighbourhood Birds' at Bon Papillon was to depict 'birds of garden and field that are often overlooked and victimized'.
The result is an aviary of at least 20 put-upon species, including a peacock. Clearly, some artists have bigger gardens or are more flexible about briefs than others.
What appear here are a very few favourites, chosen from a list which could easily have included 10 more using an interesting variety of techniques and media.
First among beakfuls is Stanley Bird's 'Pied Pigeon not Pigeon Pie' (above right) – an exquisite study in accurate detail strangely de-contextualised or re-contextualised by the addition of a patterned background.
The effect is rather odd. I find feral pigeons – their proximity, omniverous cheek, and nauseating deformities – rather unsettling at the best of times. To find one, as here, apparently roosting on a wardrobe rail – capable of flight in an interior space, defiantly out of place and inedible – is doubly so. The work made me smile and flinch simultaneously.
Less unnerving, but also playing on birds' sudden jerks from stillness into motion, is Kittie Jones's 'Wagtail in Shadows' (below). I liked this creature's capacity to flit between the bars, to exist at once in the real world of hard edges and smudgier light. This is a very simple but satisfying work in watercolour and gouache.
Simplicity also characterises Leo du Feu's apparently straightforward field observation in 'Kingfisher Study II' (below). The stripping-down of form into blocks of colour is wonderfully effective here, although there is more going on than meets the eye. Du Feu's bird is slightly squatter, its bill more assegai-like than one would find in nature. This is a human reaction to, and interpretation of, the bird in its surrounds. Strict visual taxonomy it's not.
There are in this exhibition a great many corvids – rooks, crows and magpies dominate the show. What this says about artists in general, Scottish artists in particular, art-buying Scots or the tastes of the gallery owners I don't know. However, corvids – with their uncompromising stares and disquieting intelligence – are certainly a rich source of inspiration.
Below is Susan Smith's uno print 'The Rook'. Who could resist this bird's glittering eye, its violent malice, the delicious spray of blood and tissue splattering a wooden altar? Well, certainly not this reviewer. Perhaps because I was hungry.
Finally, we come to Janet Melrose's 'Rookery'. I grew up in the shadow of just such a stand of elms, and well recall the raucous garrulity of its inhabitants swaying unperturbed in even the fiercest gales. Melrose depicts the flock perhaps returning at dusk. Who, one wonders, has left the trails which link the foreground to the trees? Do these paths lead from safety into danger? Or is the person in the woods himself a source of threat, lurking in the shadows, a shotgun at his shoulder, loaded, deadly and waiting to fire? AM
Neighbourhood Birds continues at Bon Papillon (15 Howe Street) until 1 June.
Have you got a different favourite in this exhibition? If so, write to us and say why via email: email@example.com Twitter: @theSpurtle Facebook: Broughton Spurtle
I confess that I have been looking forward to this show all year - I am a lover of birds myself and had great faith in the ability of the artists we had invited to produce some amazing work.
Glad to report that my expectations were exceeded and the gallery is positively brimming with stunning images.
'Never More' - Stanley Bird
My original 'brief' involved working from the birds of garden and field that are often overlooked and victimized. Excellent to see so many Corvus images result, including crows, rooks and magpies.
The delivery of work is always great, but daunting! Having the cafe often means that the hanging happens overnight 'after hours'. Lucky we employ gallery elves to complete the task as we sleep.
Pictured: Leo du Feu and Kitty Jones (not elves).
Senja Bownes sensibly stays for soup in the middle of a busy day of work and deliveries, returning later to see one of her pieces snapped up at the opening.
The beautiful flower piece watching over her is by Lynne Harkes, who will be showing with us in June.
I spent about an hour before the show kicked off pondering all the artworks - so many real gems among them, including this bold wagtail by Kittie.
The evening was a most enjoyable one, and as usual I managed to take only one photo despite having two cameras at my disposal. Chat and photography don't mix with me...
Thanks so much to artists, guests, purchasers and admirers for making it another great (beautiful spring) evening at Bon P!
The birds will be in residence for five weeks and there are many to see! This is the first time that the cafe and the back gallery have been united by a theme.
Still with a tenuous bird connection (there are some in the image) - I was pleased to finish another commission amid the chaos of the week; 'Milly and the Roses' was painted to fit a beautiful antique gold frame, so William Morris was called upon for inspiration to fit the period.
Just a few days left to catch Carol Hopley's show before the birds take over Bon Papillon!
The submissions are coming in thick and fast from artists across Scotland and I imagine that Wednesday night will be a long hanging session...
As has become the norm, we will be showing plenty of artists who have become regular contributors over the last two years, with a few new ones thrown into the mix!
Stanley Bird (yes, his real name) will be showing with us for the first time - making the trip over from the west to bring us his excellent and meticulous studies, with a pattern obsession to rival my own!!
I have managed to sneak a few birds in between commissions over the last couple of months; some recognisable, some not to be found in the field guide...
Leo du Feu
What I am really liking about this show, besides the amazing amount of work from some great artists on one of my favourite subjects (birds), is the variety of technique, treatment and media. From Leo du Feu's field studies to Mary Archibald's textile collages, there really is a 'something for everyone' feel about this collection.
I have been dying to post a couple of paintings that I have recently finished as commissions, but both are awaiting revelation to their intended owners, so I must be patient...
Insert quote about messy working environments here; at least I only have a small space
Coming up to the middle weekend of Carol Hopley's sojourn - we are only showing these wonderful pieces for a couple of weeks, so make sure you get in! Hopefully the warmer temperatures will continue and allow everyone to leave the house without arctic layers on..
Carol with Senja Bownes, whose work will be familiar to most of our customers now! Hopefully we will keep seeing more of Carol's flowers as well. Building up a network of contributors has been one of most enjoyable aspects of the business; I was delighted when someone described us yesterday as 'a little hub of artists'.
One of Carol's paintings has attracted a lot of attention in our window - it was originally conceived to appear in the Scottish Parliament calendar for last year. Myself and Senja also took part in the project!
I am enjoying watching the passers- by leaning over our railing to take a closer look...
Looking briefly ahead... the next show is kicking off on May 2nd, and I am probably going to have the award for 'most tenuous connection to subject' sewn up.
The title 'Neighbourhood Birds' was intended to encompass the birds who live close to us in the fields and gardens; mine are not looking that familiar however, so I hope no-one has their field guide handy at the opening... There will be some amazing art on show and, with birds proving to be a perennially popular subject, we would advise early attendance if purchasing is on your mind!
I keep somewhat falsely announcing the arrival of long-awaited spring, but it still proves ellusive..
We are doing our best to get in the mood, however, and this Saturday sees an explosion of botanical colour with the arrival of Carol Hopley's two week show.
Carol works from nature, immortalizing prize blooms and wayside weeds with a skillful hand. A strong Scottish influence pervades, with thistle studies also making an appearance.
We have bumped into each other at show openings for a few years, so it is great to finally have the chance to get some of her work on the walls of Bon P!
Not resting on my laurels, I have been branching out (stretching my wings?) with some commissions away from moustaches and big hair.
Painting 'The Acrobats' of a group of long-tailed tits was a delight, as I have a particularly great memory of poking my head out of a tent to find a flock congregated in the willow tree above me. Magic...
Just to prove that we are making the most of our newly aquired day off... having spent Monday in meetings and warehouses (with some yoga thrown in the middle, admittedly) we escaped to the coast and shook off the city on Longniddry Bents.
Many birds entertained us en route, including some crows who had designs on our lunch. Obviously they had heard about the 'Neighbourhood Birds' show in May.
Great day for a picnic - and we even took our gloves off! Not bad for April..
Big hair, but no moustaches.
'The Promise' is still awaiting a frame, but I've had interest in this one already, so it might not make it to the wall! I do like it when that happens.
My list now stretches to a couple of commissions, a few birds for May and some blank canvases piled up in my wee studio area waiting to be brought to life. Never a dull moment:)
Here we go, sidling up to year three on a cold, sunny day full of knitters!!
At the start, one piece of knowledge I was offered told me that the first two years are the hardest when setting up a new business.
Luckily I also listened to others who told me to expect the unexpected...
(See, look, Stuart is outside - it must be Spring)
As someone wandered in yesterday and commented 'Oh, you're quiet today - I thought you'd be busy'....
Stuart and I exchanged 'that look' which we have perfected now.
It is a recognition that who walks through the door, what sells and why is a science with so many variables that it is virtually impossible to second guess.
Luckily I think the basic rule of 'Do what you do as well as you can' often suffices. Oh, and do it lots.
Running a business means that I am always alert to business wisdom in the nooks and crannies of the world; often it is amazing where inspiration can strike.
Stuart often puts up with 'Eureka' moments in the middle of a film, and I find that the morning shower is always a great place for insight.
Strange but true...
Then there is the other important thing; customers.
I know I've done it before, but we thank each and every one of you for the contribution that you have made thus far to our little enterprise.
Keep coming to see us, tell us stories, ask questions.
Let's see what we can get up to in the next couple of years.
As we skip lightly up to our second anniversary, I must pause to commend the amazing people who have helped shape the Bon we know today...
Many things in the business have been shaped not by my initial business plan, but by talking to the people who walk in the door.
What a lovely bunch of people you are!
Not for one second forgetting the artists, who fill our walls and keep me constantly inspired and challenged (in a good way!!), there are a few communities who have become a big part of our operation.Step forward, the Edinburgh Bakers (formerly the Edinburgh Cake Ladies) edinburghcakeladies.wordpress.com/
Last Wednesday Bon P proudly hosted our second baking event - essentially an evening of sugar overload and chat. The baking is non-competitive, the only criteria for entry being a love of all things cakey! Check the website for details of further events, many of which raise money for the very excellent charity 'Its good 2 give'.
Where art and cake collide... I love this vintage record cakestand - and the lemon drizzle slices weren't bad either!!
We weren't responsible for any of the cakes on show here, but
many of Bon P's cakes, as indeed much of the menu, has been dictated by the wants of our diners; I guess that's why we so rarely waste a scone!!
Another Bon P institution is the knitting group, who meet every second Sunday. As far as I am aware, they do not have an official title (please correct me if I'm wrong!), but they have become very much part of the family.
Last weeks meeting came the day after Yarnfest at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith....excited knitters! (www.edinyarnfest.com)
Mica, one of the Fest organisers, arrived with a film crew in tow, interview taking place on the Bon P sofa!
This community of knitters is organised on the Ravelry website, a must-visit site for anyone interested in knitting and needing a support network. www.ravelry.com/account/login to join up!
I could quite seriously blog for hours on the people we have met over the last two years and the unexpected but amazing sense of community we have found in Howe Street.
Neighbours, artists, knitters, cake-eaters, coffee drinkers, crafters, photographers, bloggers, writers, visitors, fellow creatures.. we salute you!
Keep warm out there:)
Our business is heading for its second birthday on April 1st - reminding me what a work in progress it is; how much has changed, developed and progressed since we sat in an empty room with some tools and notebooks of ideas...
My own work is also and ongoing narrative; each piece informs the next and teaches me more.
As I managed to photograph most stages of my current painting, here is the progression...
The original sketch; out of my head in biro last summer.
Which became a pencil drawing, currently residing in my living room (all enquiries welcome!)
This year I decided to 'revisit' this as a painting - so a new sketch version was born...(with the original title forgotten and inverted!)
...drawn onto the canvas (stretcher from my very own framer)..
Starting the process of painting, which in this case took longer than usual, with more alterations than usual!
Most of the painting is carried out in acrylic and household emulsion; I am seriously thinking of approaching Farrow and Ball for sponsorship!
(Not happy with many elements at this stage!)
Coming together more; the prints are woodblocks that have been kindly given to me as presents, plus potato 'blocks' cut by myself.
Nearly there; the cat has lost it's stripes and I have almost finished fighting with the mouth, which changed repeatedly....
The finished article, bar some minor fiddles that will no doubt occur over the next week.
A final photo in good, flat light (needs a cloudy day, no trouble there...) and we are done.
Back to the sketchbook....
Our new show kicked off on Thursday night with a most enjoyable opening event; many of the 22 artists exhibiting braved the chilly Howe St wind tunnel...
Wine and scones were the order of the evening in an unusually tidy gallery!
The first three sales of the exhibition went to three of the ladies - Senja Bownes (here making me lose my posing skills) saw two of her paintings head off for new homes. The other two red dots went to Moira Russell's delicate mixed media landscape and Emma Sutherland's expressive cloudscape.
Emma is a new exhibitor at Bon P, so we were chuffed to see her piece snapped up so early (directly above the right hand corner of the fireplace).
The show is in place until April 12th, so we hope to see plenty more visitors in the coming weeks.
And so we come to Mother's day... hope to repeat yesterday's almost unparalleled scone exodus this afternoon!
One lucky mother we know is getting a surprise gift for her wall - we framed these this week for a great mothers' day gift.
I know it's too late for this year, but it's a fantastic way of preserving keepsakes for any birthday or occasion.... just talk to Stuart!
Meanwhile, back at the easel, I am making slow progress on my new piece. This one is hopefully heading for a show in Aberdeen later this month. I am, however, also working on four commissions....
Strangely, I enjoy working like this; the busier I am, the more I seem to be able to do!
'Light - Colour - Land' is showing until 12th April
From 1st April we are closed Monday and Tuesday.