the first is that I drove in a city for the first time in years – and having upgraded my car I could reach Glasgow with no worries about the battery. living here in Fife, both Glasgow and Edinburgh are within easy reach, and there was an exhibition I wanted to see. the motorway takes you right into the middle of the city, with scary right-handed slip roads (I remember those from Newcastle) and the Annan Gallery is on a road very close to one of those slip roads, so actually it was quick and easy. it would have been quicker without the road works that shuts off lanes on the motorway and the side roads, but I was not in any hurry.

I wanted to see these luminous paintings by Alison McWhirter. she is a New Scottish Colourist, a native, although she went to Bath Spa Academy, which funnily enough is the more recent name and location of the art school I went to, all those years ago (late 60’s, early 70’s) it was in Corsham and was Bath Academy of Art.

the way she handles colour is superb and an inspiration.

then I went to the Glasgow Women’s Library for something completely different, but equally inspiring. it is the only Accredited Museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements, with a lending library, archive collections and innovative programmes of public events & learning opportunities. the exhibition, Life Support, distributed around the building, was about art and activism, with displays of posters and photos about socially deprived concerns like housing in New York and Glasgow.

I was surprised to find that it was only established in 1991, in a shop front. in 2015, it moved to more suitable premises in Landressy Street in Bridgeton, the former site of Bridgeton Library, which was a B listed Carnegie Library built in 1903, which makes it feel like a Victorian institution.

there were several photos of these full size figures, layered sculptures by Greer Lankton – a key figure in the 1980s New York art scene, Lankton used her dolls’ unique trials and tribulations to create an entire universe of fantasy and discord. there isn’t room to go into all of it here, but if you are interested here’s a link

another time I will visit the library and spend a lot more time there.

meanwhile this painting has just gone on and on, from this

which I liked bits of, but then I started

wanting something more subtle

this is a smaller painting

and this a postcard sized one on paper

and another, and they got me wanting the whole thing to be more like them

so this happened

close-ups

of beach plastics

picked up on West Sands

and a lot of postcards

so then I was really unhappy about the big painting and did a few things to it which added layers but didn’t make it work.

some bits worked

I couldn’t get this sort of thing working on that scale

I looked at Joan Mitchell

and Idris Murphy, and wished I was them …

yesterday I put a whole lot of white on the top half, and then worked into it

while more at the bottom was working nicely

with thin glazes into the yellow (the stubble field colour)

but today after two more glazes scumbled on and partly wiped off

which I had been looking at in an old painting of mine at my daughter’s. and here’s another bit of beach plastic …

I like what’s going on and am ready to call a halt

there’s a sort of glow in the pinky layers

which I am pleased with

Towering, 100 x 100 cm

a painting by Chuta Kimura which uses layering and equally well represents the late summer light and stubble fields.

anyway, the other high point was yesterday, a more literal one, when we walked up to the top of Normans Law, the most easterly of the Ochills, crowned with an iron age fort and marvellous views.

West Lomond lowering to the South East,

across to more Ochills, and the Cairngorms, you can see summits eleven hundred metres above sea level, and seventy kilometers distant, all listed on a plaque with the direction.

the Tay

and all the little hills round about.

some steep slopes to get up there

and down again

but not a long walk, and very near Cupar. in fact walking from Dairsie today, I caught a glimpse of its heather and lichen brown hump. a real treat, we had been planning this walk for about six months.