Spring Fling


I went down to Dumfriesshire to check out this year’s Spring Fling a great annual arts festival where artist’s open up their studios over the bank holiday weekend. I only had the Saturday to visit along with fellow artist Moira Buchanan so had a fairly broad range of artists to see from Auldgirth down to New Abbey.

The first artist was Denise Zylgadlo near Auldgirth, an area I know really well as I was brought up just round the corner so it was fun seeing the area again. Denise has a beautiful studio converted from a barn (housemartins flying around making the most of such a good day) ideal to see her work based on photocopying close up of her body – part performance, part photography.


Then it was down to Auchencairn to see Trevor Leat’s beautiful willow sculptures. He also shared a studio with Jennie Ashmore who made very intricate pictures from pressed flowers and leaves, she also decorated part of the walls as well (see above) She really took the practice of flower pressing to levels I’ve never really seen I enjoyed her feeling for colour and pattern.


Over to Kelton, near Castle Douglas to see the ceramicists Fitch & McAndrew. While there popped into see Hazel Campbell’s paintings. She works mainly in watercolour but uses it in a very expressive way with gouache, crayons and inks that really making the colours zing with a real joy in the medium with the act of mark making as well as appreciation of the landscape she lives in. Felt it was really inspiring and has made me rethink how I work with watercolour especially with allowing supposedly contradictory materials to crossover.

Also fun to see Fitch & McAndrew’s ceramics again, I’ve visited them a few times at previous Spring Flings so it was great to hear they’re newly married. Such a fan of their slipware ceramics so was good to see their new work.


Then it was over to New Abbey to see Moira’s friend Laura Hudson Mackay a photographer who lives in a stunning border tower house (really a castle). Her work has a real feeling of journey with a careful balanced sense of composition that somehow lets her views of life and spirituality to come through. This was a view through her studio doors with her Scottish Terrier Knick Knack in the shadows.


And lastly a sign I saw in New Abbey “By Hammer and Hand All Arts do Stand” an old Blacksmith’s motto. A good ending for an inspiring day.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing

The second session of life painting, Joanna in oil paint.

All the Young Nudes

All the Young Nudes

From last Tuesday night All the Young Nudes life drawing group held at the Flying Duck, Glasgow

All The Young Nudes,
Every Tuesday night 8pm – 10pm (£5 entrance)
The Flying Duck, 142 Renfrew St,
Glasgow, G2 3AU

Café Continental, Gourock

Café Continental, Gourock

I don’t think I’ve ever managed to get a coveted window seat to get a great view of the river Clyde. Till then here’s a drawing from the inside.

Café Continental,
40 Kempock Street,
Gourock, PA19 1ND



Inspired by a project by Matthias Schaller who has been photographing artists palettes. I get the impression that palettes were much more disposable and maybe replaced after a few paintings. They don’t have that look of gradual build up of paint and an area thats been repeatably cleaned time after time.


Mine is part of an old 19th century pochade box I bought a few years ago. I kept the back of it on its original condition as I loved the messed up patina. On the front I cleaned it up, scrapping off all the old paint so I could use it again.

My colours are, from left to right:

A pre mixed pink flesh tone*
Cadmium yellow
Cadmium orange
Cadmium red
Alizarin Crimson
Yellow Ochre
Burnt Sienna
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
Cerulean Blue (in corner)

*I mix my own basic caucasian flesh tone that I use as a base and adapt by adding suitable colours to it. Its easy to use empty tubes that you can buy to fill up yourself.

Wilson St. Pantry

Wilson Street Pantry

I visited Wilson St Pantry for the first time, a bright subtly designed café in Glasgow’s merchant city, I really enjoyed the food which has a good imaginative take on classics and coffee (by Papercup) as well as really friendly helpful service. I was sitting on this table that been made from reclaimed doors with a sheet of glass on top of it. I’m not sure if its intentional it has this effect of reflecting the sky that almost makes it look like an infinity swimming pool, kinda magic.

While I was there, I was asked to contribute some artwork to an auction for the Earthquake Relief fund for Nepal. If you can contribute artwork it can be handed into Little Shop Of Interest or Wilson Street Pantry by 24th May. The auction will be at SWG3 on 26th May.

If you would like to submit artwork or be involved please email jayemercurybrown@gmail.com

Join the Facebook event for more details:

Wilson St Pantry, 6 Wilson Street,
Glasgow, G1 1SS

Life Drawing

Life Drawing

A drawing from my point of view at life drawing, I really like the verticals (slight angled) of all the easel struts and how they frame different areas. When people are at life drawing you create little space around you with your equipment, staking your territory, making your fort.

Ecco Vino

Ecco Vino, Edinburgh

Wine and antipasto in the cold spring sun outside Ecco Vino before getting the train back to Gourock. It was one of those afternoons with a bright cold light with long shadows and a bit too cold to stay outside for too long.

Ecco Vino
19 Cockburn Street
Edinburgh EH1 1BP

Cult Espresso

Cult Espresso

A nice day off in Edinburgh to do some drawing and catch the cherry blossoms while the weather holds. It was good to drop by Cult Espresso for lunch and coffee. it has an amazing window that lets in the sunlight in a stunning way (I haven’t quite caught it here)

Cult Espresso
104 Buccleuch Street,
Edinburgh, EH8 9NG

Clachan bus stop-Staffin

Clachan bus stop-Staffin

A small commission to do another version of one of the bus stops on the Isle of Skye from someone who used to take the bus from there.