Sunday, 26 January 2020

Scotland By Rail - Dundee, Gallery Q, DCA, V&A, cormorant trying to swallow something

Pilgrim's Haven, watercolour, 25x30cm, (spot the lighthouse).
In Gallery Q, Feb 2020 

A Scotland By Rail day delivering four island artworks to Gallery Q plus exploring a little bit of cultural Dundee.

Dundee - Gallery Q
The exhibition at Gallery Q opens next Saturday 1st February at 12noon. Let me know if you're interested. Gallery opening hours are Tues - Sat 11am - 4.30pm (5.30pm on Thurs). 

When I visited the gallery birds and nature seemed to be prominent. I loved the terracotta bird jugs by Phil Arthur and, as always, Claire Harkess' watercolour wildlife. 

I'm really happy to be exhibiting in this bright friendly gallery full of original painting and printmaking, ceramics, glasswork and jewellery. I'm especially pleased to be exhibiting again alongside my friend since school days, Dundee artist Martin Hill.

See our work from the exhibition here -

Martin Hill, Sunset, oil on board, 14x20cm

Phil Arthur, Little Owl lidded jug, c.23cm high

Claire Harkess, Band-bellied Owl, watercolour, 15x21cm

Train to Dundee
It's such a good journey, worth doing just for the views. Soon after departing Burntisland: Kinghorn, church, bay, Inchkeith Island. Once I saw dolphins from the train at this very spot.

Markinch, reminding me of  an earlier Scotland By Rail trip looking for grey partridge with artist Kittie Jones. Finding unexpected adornments in a modern, not outwardly promising, station building -

trees and fields and other such nice

crossing the Tay, looking to Dundee

crossing the Tay, Fife on the left, two crows crossing the other direction

In Dundee - V&A and RRS Discovery
Dundee old and new, RRS Discovery and V&A. I love the contrast

porthole window in V&A, glimpses of Discovery, Tay, Tay Bridge, Fife hills beyond

Tay Bridge & lighthouse

Cormorant and something fishy
And here in the Tay, a cormorant, grappling with something, I couldn't work out what. Something wide and flat. I started to fear it was a big piece of plastic. 



Angles changed and suddenly backlit fins appeared


A flat fish! A flatfish. A Flounder or a Dab? I sadly know really nothing of fish. 

And swallowed. Or possibly dropped.

Dundee Contemporary Arts - Ursula Le Guin
I enjoyed Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) too, it's an interesting building in layout (especially the toilets, very unusual) with a small good arty design-y gift and book shop, original prints for sale, cafe, exhibition space, cinema. 

The exhibition on until 22nd March is Seized by the Left Hand, a very diverse, contemporary exhibition of fifteen international artists come together to look at thoughts and ideas in Ursula K. Le Guin's hugely popular sci-fi novel The Left Hand of Darkness (1969). I like sci-fi, I like environment, I like equality. This exhibition is about all that.

Quote from DCA website:
"Written 50 years ago, this masterpiece of feminist science fiction is set on an icy planet called 'Gethen' (which translates to 'Winter') whose inhabitants shift and change gender continuously throughout their lives. We as readers are told the story of Gethen from a human perspective through the eyes of protagonist Genly Ai, an envoy sent to the planet to attempt to convince Gethenian governments to join an interplanetary trade coalition.

The book had a profound impact on the sci-fi genre at the time of its publication and remains hugely relevant to the world around us today, posing serious and challenging questions about gender, sexuality, the environment, language, communication, power and empire."

My favourite work in the exhibition is Flora Moscovic's huge, atomic, volcanic, solar wall mural - two full walls painted from top to bottom, side to side in glowing white, yellow, orange, blue light. Title, Crossing the Kargav. 

Also two series of beautifully delicate and very touching painterly works-from-memory by Abel Rodríguez, an elder of the Nonuya ethnic group in the Colombian Amazon, "recalling the indigenous flora and fauna that precariously inhabit the region. Now in his 70s, Rodríguez has recently been forced to move and resettle ... after being displaced from his homeland by guerrilla militia forces and corrupt government structures ... facilitating the exploitation and destruction of the precious rainforest ecosystems in South America."

Complete exhibition notes are online here -


Previous Dundee blog post
2017 - Balgay Hill & Cemetery and lots of Martin Hill (and a very interesting local comment at the end by Jim Crumley) -


Fluke Street & South Horn, Isle of May, watercolour, 18x37cm (spot the moon). In Gallery Q, Feb 2020


How to get there:

Trains to Dundee leave:

- Edinburgh and Aberdeen frequently, journey time a bit over an hour.
- Glasgow frequently, journey time a bit under an hour and a half
- Perth every hour, journey time about half an hour

Timetables & Buy Tickets here.

Many thanks to ScotRail for their support of my Scotland By Rail work.


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