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Open Studio Weekend: April 8th & 9th 2017

If your memory is better than mine you may recall receiving a similar invitation to this just over a year ago.

The event in 2016 seemed by all accounts to be very well received so I have decided to repeat the same format for a ‘Meet the Artist’ event on the weekend of April 8th and 9th 2017.

I have been working my socks off over this exceedingly mild winter and this will be a first chance to see the fruits of my labours.

I hope everyone who joined me last year enjoyed it enough to want come along again and we look forward to welcoming many new faces.

As well as a large body of brand new original paintings, BoagArt Publishing will also be launching two very different print ranges, and once again there will be a selection of books, cards and small framed prints.

We will be open Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm.

Full details of the event will also be on the Boagart Publishing website and Facebook page.

My address is:

Old Mill Steading
Home Farm
Ury Estate
Stonehaven
AB39 3ST
Tel. 01569 762764

For directions to the Ury Estate see below.

The only way into the Ury Estate at the moment is via the Slug road.

Follow signs to Banchory B957.

As you leave  Stonehaven, after about a mile, on your right, you will see a blue sign saying ‘FM Ury Estate; Blue Lodge’. That is the entrance to the estate.

You should pass over two-speed bumps spaced a few yards apart and 50 yards further on, at a granite roadside sign saying  'Ury Home Farm’ take a left turn.

Follow the road round and we are the last house on the right.

Find me on -

TWITTER: @FrancisBoag
INSTAGRAM: @francisboag
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/boagartpublishing
TUMBLR: www.francisboagart.tumblr.com

Look forward to seeing you all. 

Francis 

 

Pop Art

I first wrote this blog exactly ten years ago and I wanted to share it with you all after deciding to release a limited number of pop art prints on my website...

The weather over the past couple of weeks has been appalling and while it’s nice to be inside my warm, cosy studio while it’s pelting down outside the light has been so poor that it has made painting very difficult.

Trying to find just the right temperature of colour for a particular passage in a painting is hard enough at the best of times but in this prevailing gloom, it has become almost impossible. As well as the poor light I’ve been suffering a touch of ‘artist’s block’. Not entirely surprising as I have been working continually on back to back shows since May of last year.

I spent a couple of idle days reading Len Dighton…again.  Does anyone know why he isn’t writing any new books?

Maybe it was the setting of the book ‘Horse under Water’, which I first read while at Dundee Art College in the sixties, but I began to wonder what I would be painting if I was 19 again?

So indulging myself, I knocked off the three images you see here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first one was, ‘Marilyn’ which obviously owes more than a little credit to Andy Warhol but hopefully has enough of ‘Boag’ in it, followed by ‘Paul’ and then ‘John’. I had a great time painting them. It was better than a rest and gave me a lot of new ideas for future work.

It also took me full circle as I started my ‘commercial’ art career in 1963 when I would take requests from girls in my class at school to draw pictures of the Beatles.  If my memory holds I think sixpence was the going rate for a pencil drawing with a watercolour retailing at the princely sum of one shilling. Plus ca change.

You can find all my pop art prints available for sale here.

Francis 

NEOS Q&A

As many of you may know, last month, I was involved in the North East Open Studios.

During the week, I was asked to take part in a Q&A with the Press and Journal and discuss my ongoing involvement with NEOS. I've put together a blog for anyone who may have missed last month's article and is interested in finding out more about my journey as an artist, feel free to have a read. 

Where are you from?

I was born and grew up in Dundee. I didn't move up to the North East until 1989.

What medium do you work in?

I mostly work with acrylics and also some collage.

Do you exhibit often?

Yes, my work is always on show somewhere.

Where do you exhibit?

These days I tend to exhibit with a small group of galleries, mostly people who have become friends over the years.

When I was building my career I was showing in up to 30 to 40 galleries, all over the UK including several London galleries and also in Paris, New York, Seattle, Munich, Dublin and I even had prints for sale in Baghdad!

Where is your studio/where do you work?

My studio is now at my home on the Ury Estate in Stonehaven.

How long have you been an artist?

Hopefully I have always been an artist, but it has been my full-time exclusive career since 2001.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Yes, I had a poem published in the school magazine when I was in my first year at secondary school and the first line read 'I wish I was a painter, a Raphael or Holbein...' and finished 'I would sign myself, Francesco de Boagi'

Have you done any training?

I attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, during the sixties...my main claim to fame being I booked Pink Floyd for our Christmas Revels.

In 1999 I managed to obtain a sabbatical from teaching and studied at Grays for an M A.

Have you done any other jobs?

Yes, mostly teaching - I was Head of Art and Design at Aberdeen Grammar School from 1989 until 2001. It was then that I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life to give up teaching and pursue a career as an artist.

What inspires you?

I have often considered that question and have reached the conclusion that because the world is such a beautiful place, especially as you get older, as long as I walk around with my eyes open I will never be short of inspiration.

Why did you decide to take part in NEOS?

I decided early on in the year that I was going to make NEOS my big exhibition of 2016.

How many years have you been doing NEOS?

I think I did my first NEOS in 2008.

What do you want to achieve from NEOS?

What I've always wanted to achieve from my paintings, I want lots of people to visit and everyone to enjoy my work. I may be wrong but I would imagine almost all the artists taking part in NEOS are looking for the same thing.

What do you want people who look at your work to come away thinking?

I want them to go away thinking 'I really enjoyed that and I'm glad I took the time to visit'.

Francis 

The Castle Collection

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position on the Castle Rock. By its very nature it imposes itself upon the surrounding landscape, and looking up it seems to fill the very sky.

My early attempts  to capture this feeling featured the most common viewpoint from Princes Street but, I was soon looking for alternative viewpoints such as, the view from the approach to the Grassmarket.

Other vantage points which stand out are looking across from the terrace at Harvey Nichols or the Tower restaurant in the Chambers Street Museum.

Edinburgh Castle, Evening

In the paintings of this and other Scottish Castles, I enjoy exaggerating the contrast between a very free, fluid interpretation of the area below the Castle, while using a ruler and mapping pen to create almost an Architect's drawing of the Castle structure.

I also strive not to be too influenced by the 'local colour' but to experiment with colour as an emotional response to what is one of Scotland's great landmarks and a scene whose impact is never less than highly dramatic.

Edinburgh Castle, Witchery

Winter Hills Dunoon

 

My normal method of beginning a painting is to create as much excitement as I can with liquid paint applied in bold strokes and splashes. Most of the time, this is then refined and painted over as the painting progresses, but I always try to retain some of the original marks as they are usually the most freely painted and full of energy.

However, in this painting I was so pleased and excited with the qualities of the early stages of the work, I determined to leave as much as I could in the finished piece. I anticipated some difficulty in resolving the completed work with a recognisable landscape element, but knew instinctively that the transition between the two areas would be a river bank.

My first thoughts were to integrate the coast at Cowie in Stonehaven, as seen from the harbour area, but then another image began to insinuate itself into my thoughts and I decided to go with that.

Several years ago, I was given the use of a cottage on the Cowal peninsula by a gallery in Glasgow, who were hoping it would inspire me to paint some west coast landscapes. We had a lovely family holiday and I did manage a few paintings from my travels round the local area.

The view in this painting is my memory of the ferry journey across to Dunoon, which we took a couple of times towards the end of the day. It is now quite a few years since I made that journey, and I am not sure why it popped into my head, when I was contemplating this canvas.

However, I have learned over the years to trust that 'wee inner voice' and so 'Winter Hills, Dunoon' was the result.

Francis

What Makes a Painting?

It is always so encouraging when people take the time out to write to me and share with me their enthusiasm for my work. It fills me with great joy when someone can find some inspiration for their own work in my paintings and I am always happy to provide any advice I can to help.

The essays I wrote for 'Work Small, Learn Big' and 'International Artist' are now almost 10 years old but I put a lot of thought into the articles and think they still stand up today. My work has moved on in many respects but essentially my approach to painting remains the same.

A few years ago, for the first time, I gave some painting workshops and this has caused me to deconstruct my working methods in an attempt to pass on to others not only 'how'  I make my work but also my thought process as a painting progresses.

When you are looking to make a painting, the subject matter, in my case, fields, farm buildings etc are only important in that they have stimulated you to want to create. Once you have begun your painting, once the first mark is made, the subject ceases to have any importance, all your attention should now be on the surface of the painting. Only make marks, add colour, draw lines, splatter paint which you think make the painted surface look better. The world of your painting is your world, you are the supreme being and only you get to decide what looks 'right' and only you can decide if something is 'wrong'. You have the power to make grass red and the sky black, or even the other way around but you must also apply your  own internal logic to your creation.

You probably know what you want your painting to look like, don't let your knowledge of the natural world inhibit you as you create your new personal world. It will be difficult at first to make complete paintings which satisfy you but parts of your work will be everything you hoped so treasure these parts and try to develop and grow them until you are making paintings which are expressing your inner vision.

I hope that doesn't sound too 'spiritual' and helps you a little. Happy painting!

 Francis

 

From One Artist to Another...

One of the main reasons for starting a blog was to encourage feedback from anyone who enjoyed my work. Like most artists I know insecurity and doubt are always round the corner and it's a real pick-me-up to be reminded that someone, somewhere is responding to what you're trying to do.

It is even more rewarding when other artists take the time to pass on their compliments and regards. I’m old enough, not to take the web for granted and to still be amazed when an email arrives from New Zealand or California or Malta.

These are all exotic, far-away places to me and it comes as a surprise to realise that my representations of the east-coast, Scottish landscape can resonate in such far-flung corners of the globe.

I recently received a mail that truly astonished me from an artist in Sudan and I’d like to share it with you here:

name : Faisal Tajalsir

enquiry : I just wanted to express my deep admiration with your works..and as an artist I was greatly inspired by them..god bless you..if you are interested in seeing som Sudanese art please visit my blog at fandos.maktoobblog.com.


Sadly, Sudan and Darfur are regularly in the news with the situation in Darfur being called by the United Nations ’the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time’. The constant barrage of ‘bad news stories' from the region can blind you to the fact that ‘normal’ life is still going on. But the environmental, cultural, religious and economic background of someone from Sudan could hardly be more removed from my own experience and it was truly humbling to realise that an artist from this background could find something in my work which spoke directly to him.

I made contact with Faisal and asked him to send me some images of his paintings. This he did and again I was astonished and amazed. I felt a real kinship with his work and felt we were on parallel tracks both seeking, in our different ways, similar solutions to the questions we ask ourselves.

As my work is now easily available in prints and cards quite a few artists use it as a starting point for their own work and I have no problem with that, but I felt that Faisal’s work was more like a sibling than an offspring. You can use this link to see more of his work and I will be contacting him for biographical details to include with the paintings so he can have a ‘mini website’ to promote his work.

I’m sure you’ll agree that it is great to have a ‘good news’ story from a troubled region and I would love to hear what you think of Faisal's work. I will also be happy to pass on any mail or indeed requests for paintings.

Francis

Photo credit: Faisal Tajalsir

Why Sketch

Sketching isn't just about drawing, it's all about 'being there'. The experience is more than merely visual. Sounds, smells, the weather, are among lots of factors which make up your  experience of  a place or  a moment.  How you feel inside yourself; happy, sad, stressed, relaxed will all effect your memory of the experience when you try to recall it in the studio.

 

Taking the time to sit and sketch will not only give you a visual record but the time spent in one place even if it’s only a ten minute sketch allows the other factors an opportunity to have an impact. Taking time to sketch means staying in the same place, looking at the same thing for an extended period. 

With the hectic pace of life today, taking time for passive absorption is almost unknown. When was the last time you stood still and observed any of anything around you for more than a few seconds before shifting your gaze or moving on?

 

In a car or a train the experience becomes similar to the sort of subliminal advertising that was banned a few years ago. The images flash into your mind almost without you being aware of them but they are implanted in your memory and are a resource to be used.

It would be great to hear you thoughts on sketching, get in touch at boagart@btinternet.com.

Francis

Inspiration

I first wrote this nearly 20 years ago as part of my application for the M.A. Course at Grays and reading it again I'm struck by how much it still informs my work today.

In my work, I am trying to evoke in the viewer, a childhood memory of a day or a long forgotten moment, and to reawaken the sense of pleasure and lost innocence this memory brings.

I hope to achieve this response through a combination of visual references, intellectual elements and emotional triggers.

In the paintings, the visual references are the trees, cottages, dykes ( stone walls ) birds, sheep, cows and so on, which I interpret in a naïve simplified style.

The intellectual element is the sense of it being a visual record of an actual place i.e. Cookney or Glen Isla and the emotional triggers are chiefly the expressive, vibrant colour I use, but the texture, shapes and rhythmic 'marks' I make as the painting develops are also important.

In my current work, I am slowly working toward diminishing the intellectual elements, refining and simplifying the visual references and trying to rely more on the emotional triggers, to elicit a response.

My aim is to make work, which will impact on the person seeing it in a sense similar to that felt on listening to a familiar or favourite piece of music.

Francis