City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Here's Looking At You Old Fish Eyes

By Edinburghs Festivals - Posted on 11 August 2007

The Scottish artist John Bellany, a former Edinburgh College of Art student, many years ago, was at an opening of his work at the Open Eye Gallery today. Bellany, now in his Sixties, is renowned for his brightly coloured, bold, figurative painting. It's not quite cartoonish in style, but definitely playful. His fish eyes, in particular, distinguish his work. Having seen quite a few of his portraits, it was actually a landscape work hanging over the mantlepiece, that drew my attention. The scene of a rural, Mexican landscape, characteristically, bursts with colour. He posed for me in front of it. I also liked a more emblematic, light-hearted work where the character seemed to be communing with a puffin with a lighthouse in the background. It was quickly snapped up.

There are fair number of commercial galleries on Dundas Street. Not far from the Open Eye, you can still find paintings by Geoff Uglow, a twentysomething graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, at the Edinburgh Gallery. 

When you walk into the gallery, there is such a strong smell of oil paint, you could be walking into an artist's studio. You quickly realise why. Uglow uses a huge amount of paint in his landscapes of Edinburgh. Tubes and tubes of the stuff are dolloped in layers on the canvas to create a thick-ribbed texture to his paintings.

Rounding off this tour of local (commercial) galleries we took in the Scottish Gallery exhibition of John Houston's work. Houston is a deceptively skillful painter who manages to make landscapes grow before your eyes. His paintings seem so casually streaked and slapped with colour when there's so much more going on.