'Okay, so where do we start?'
Where it all started a year ago today... Stuart and I surveying the empty space that has become so familiar over the last twelve months.
But what is the question?... It certainly took a few coats and many hours to obliterate the strange patchy walls!
I have to confess that I am very glad to be a year on from this stage - exciting but very, very daunting.
'Okay, so where do we start?'
The last days of the month can be a little slow, as the paychecks wait to hit bank accounts... and this week has also been blessed with a mystery mini-summer!
We are actually sneaking up to our first birthday - so celebrations on 1st April (very apt) when we will have had the keys to 15 Howe Street for a whole year!
The unusual temperatures have seen alfresco dining in March - not too many years we could have managed that!
With much debate in the industry about the viability of art galleries in this economic climate, we are pleased to have reached as far as we have, shown the work of some pretty amazing artists and hopefully done so to the benefit of all.
Glad that my wee birds and people are selling happily still - a constant progression... I have managed far more painting that I had dared to hope, and much of it going to new homes.
And speaking of progression, how can I fail to mention Stuart's amazing (nay, legendary!) cakes? Although a lifetime chef, baking was a challenge, but he has risen to is with his usual dogged determination.
For the plum cake, I am truly grateful.
Here's to the last weekend of the year - still showing Lynne Harkes' beautiful flowers for those who haven't made it to see them yet!
Official or unofficial, this must be the first day of spring!
The whole city moved into smiley, slow-moving mode (or what we could see of it) as the sun shone, the bees buzzzed and the flowers stretched their heads.
We had a very peaceful and pleasant day - just enough visitors to keep us occupied, and the odd stroll onto the patio (pavement) for a touch of sun.
Never being one to rest on ones laurels, also managed a couple more bird paintings to add to the empty shelves - a couple more wee commissions went away today leaving gaps.
Stuart knocked up some lovely warm weather-type lunch things - roast veg and mozzarella pastries with salad.
A sunny sleepy day was had by all.
Here's hoping it stays all week...
On such a beautiful afternoon it was a pleasure indeed to take up the invitation of Joyce Gunn Cairns and visit the exhibition taking place at the Wasps studio gallery in Stockbridge -
The Annual Art Exhibition of Craigroyston Primary School.
(Titled as above, and there were leapers and creepers aplenty!)
Plenty of small and large people in attendance to marvel at the creations - and what a wonderful space to display them.
I would be quite happy to have some of these on my living room - or gallery - wall!
.. and the gorillas are certainly worth a mention - love them.
As the daughter of a primary teacher who is also an artist, I think that I have a keen eye for such things - a great show and beautifully presented!!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had a play with some new ideas for my bird pictures... with my new inks and some very wet board.
Re-arranging our dresser, it dawned on me that at last I have a hat trick of work from three college flatmates - one being me! Paintings by Ingrid Nilsson, mugs from potter Kate Glanville and vintage necklaces from Angela Moffat (Tipi and Grace).
The work of ten other artists also feature on this dresser alone!
Meanwhile in the studio, a huge framing commission nears completion...
This has been a fascinating one to carry out, involving an amazing collection of photos and postcard prints from Europe and the UK from around the 1930s.
Yesterday's taping marathon was an experience!
An interesting challenge - asked to carry out a drawing 'off the cuff' in 154 seconds, for a project by fellow artists in Barnsley.
Enjoyed it so much I feel that I might have to do some more work with my trusty black chinagraph pencil!
Also planning a new large painting as I near the end of a run of commissions..
Long have I waited for these amazing mugs! They are the work of a college flatmate and friend, Kate Glanville, who now works in Bethlehem, South Wales in a stunning converted farmhouse.
Last year Kate was too busy with work and family to start supplying us, but the wait was worth it..
All of Kate's mugs are handpainted - no printing or transfers here; all are unique and original!
The butterfly design is unique to Bon Papillon, others are favourites of mine - bathing ladies and mermaids.
Besides feeding the cafe customers and ploughing through framing jobs today (Stu is still working away at these!) I have also managed to finish some commissions...
This one is one of my 'northern forest angels'. I did a few drawings last summer, all of which sold, and inspired another customer to ask for a repeat of one. I prefer her to the original.
Some of my birds have landed on a cherry tree for this one! Can't seem to paint enough birds at the moment - thinking of kingfishers today... and maybe queenfishers to go with them?
Yesterday saw the opening of Lynne Harkes solo show, which fits the gallery perfectly because all the pieces were created for the occasion!
Lynne has been working away for the last few months, to the degree that friends were wondering if she had vanished..
We think it was worth it.
Lynne answers questions and chats to some of our regular customers..
The posed version - just a few of our regular visitors, who also stopped by for lunch.
Lynne's show runs for the next four weeks, hopefully they will all be as busy as this one!
Did I mention the owls? I have now sold the original, before it even reached the framing stage, but the greetings card version is available and very suitable for Mothers' Day!
A bright but luckily not too breezy morning on Howe Street...
We couldn't help but worry that one big gust of wind would carry Lynne Harkes off over the rooftops.
Up until now I have managed to turn around between shows in a day, but this one proves a little more complex to organise.
Stuart has been working through a framing mountain to clear the decks for the weekend - today we have the work of three artists and a neat collection of framing jobs occupying the gallery floor...
Managed to sneak in a reasonable amount of painting time 'after hours' as well. This one is a commission !
The first of Lynne's paintings start to colonize the gallery...
Lynne's work also features in this month's Edinburgh Life magazine.
One last thing.... my owls are arriving in greetings card form today in the nick of time for Mother's Day next weekend!
We have quite a few new and lovely things appearing in the gallery to bring in the spring - here we have some of the new year's collection from Avoir le Sac.
Pauline makes all the bags by hand from her own patterns so they are totally unique and the new colours are so eye catching I don't think they will be hanging around for long...
One of our earliest customers from our start-up last year was Berry the trainee guide dog, and with her patient trainer Anne she has become a familiar site in the cafe.
Besides having the longest 'supermodel' legs, she also has the sweetest nature, and we are sure that she will excell and make a huge difference to someone's life after her training ends.
We look forward to welcoming the new recruit 'Lola' who will the arriving soon...
Good luck Berry!
Ever productive on our day off, we managed to make it to the ECA end of year show to see the work of the students today, including another regular customer, Rachel McKean.
Her fantastic piece is in oil on board and the lack of scale here (the work is about 3 x 4 ') fails to convey the amount of work and detail that are present.
Rachel has taken over three months to this point, and is still to finish the lower segment of the piece.
I have sneaked in another piece that caught my eye - by Marissa Stoffer.
Apologies to both artists if the reproductions fail to do justice to the art - both are large scale and digital reproduction is not the best way of viewing them!
(Both pieces copyright of the artists).
Easy like Sunday morning..
our knitters present a tranquil scene as they work away last weekend.
A mad hail storm interrupted the calm just as a photo shoot of finished work was about to commence outside, but failed to dampen the mood.
Just as a forewarning, we are now hosting a knitting group on the first Sunday of each month between 11am and around 2pm.
This means that space will be limited for other folk in need of sustenance, for which we apologise! Sunday mornings have been historically very quiet over the year, so we hope not too many people will miss out.
Anyone wishing to browse the art is more than welcome to do so, and may pick up some handy knitting tips in the process..
Evidence that even the smallest person can enjoy Stuart's beetroot and chocolate cake (and a great way to eat yucky vegetables)!
Georgia has become a regular devotee and will accept no substitute!
This is me back in my springtime 'Ahhh, what a glorious city we live in' mode..
It is certainly a stunning view on the way to work, and the blanket of cloud over the Forth the other morning was also so beautiful.
Ingrid, and Stu sometimes