Thanks to the Artists 2023
Katie Forbes - Artist
Katie Forbes is an illustrator, painter and mural artist from Tain. Inspired by the autonomy of everyday life, Katie draws out both the humour and beauty in the simplest things, creating relatable artwork touching upon the more personal and intimate aspects of her life, like anxiety and depression. By breaking taboos around mental health and bringing the humour out of darkness, this artist can have you laughing out loud while making you face your own demons. She has always believed that our pain is a shared experience, and by creating art she is able to bring us a little closer together and help us feel a little less lonely.
In 2023 the Festival held a new three-day art exhibition.
Taking the Festival out along the peninsula to Portmahomack, the exhibition shone a light on another one of our dynamic and picturesque communities.
Our satellite headquarters was in the Carnegie Hall where an exhibition - sponsored by MacLeod Roofing - for artists based in and around the Easter Ross Peninsula, as well as bringing in artists from further afield was held.
With artists from all genres, working in all mediums, and with a children’s corner, this was a diverse and vital new platform.
Sammy Robertson - Art Exhibition
Originally from Berwick-upon-Tweed, Sammy and his wife Alison have lived in Tain for more than 30 years.
His love of painting began as a young boy, with three influential adults who encouraged his creativity: a grandfather who embroidered, an aunt who was a successful painter and a teacher, Miss Spellman, who nominated him to represent North Northumberland in a school competition.
His love of travel has become a central focus for his colourful and confident painting style which, like the Fauves, has a fearless approach to colour. Imbued with memories and with rich understanding of the cultural history - visiting first hand the cave paintings in Dordoigne, the Joni Mitchel Murals in Crete and actively seeking out the art of the area they visit from Spain, Greece, Corfu, Cyprus and many more – his paintings are a pictorial travel log of the many memories and marvels they have enjoyed.
All the work is in Acrylic, using a combination of paint and pen. The edges of the painting are left unfinished, which helps add to the ‘joie de vie’ of the mark making and unapologetic use of colour.
Finn Robinson - Art Exhibition
Finn Robinson (b.2000, Inverness, Scotland). Finn is a former pupil of Tain Royal Academy and graduate from the Glasgow School of Art in 2022 with a First-Class Honours Degree in Painting and Printmaking. Following a successful degree show, he was selected for the RSA New Contemporaries 2024 exhibition and awarded the SaltSpace Graduate Residency Award. Since graduating he has completed a funded residency with SaltSpace, been shortlisted for Bloomberg’s New Contemporaries, and exhibited across the UK. He was commissioned by the Society of Scottish Artists to create a piece of work for their 130 Year anniversary exhibition which was shown at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, enjoyed a successful solo show in Glasgow, and, most recently, Finn exhibited in 'Cheek by Jowl’, an exhibition curated by Juliet Wilson as part of BWG Gallery’s "Fine Wine, Fine Art and Fine Conversation” event series held in London.
Jennifer Houliston - Art Exhibition
Award winning artist Jennifer Houliston graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1992 with a BA Hons in Fine Art. She specialised in Drawing and Painting and won the Mary Armour Award for Still Life.
As well as having work in private collections around the world, Jennifer has exhibited in Galleries including Browns Gallery, Inverness and Tain, Gallery Heinzel Aberdeen, The Royal Scottish Academy, McAuley Fine Art Edinburgh, Flying Colours Gallery London and many others.
In 1992, a Self-Portrait competition for Scottish Artists to showcase work in the Age of Van Gogh Exhibition at The Burrell Collection Glasgow, her self-portrait was accepted to show alongside four others students.
Jennifer’s work is inspired by still life, small town life and memories of growing up in the Highlands.
Tania Mackie - Art Exhibition
Featuring Tania Mackie who is an artist living in the Highlands, inspired by the sea, mountains and landscapes. The wide open skies here are sources of endless sketches and paintings, with a light that changes constantly, along with the weather.
Skyscapes are a focus of much of Tania's art, along with the coast and the landscape of the Highlands of Scotland. As a sea kayaker and adventurous spirit, Tania's artwork captures moments in time and back in her home studio, impressions are translated onto canvas. Her main love is the medium of oil, but is often found painting with water colours plein air.
Tania trained as an archaeological illustrator and this influences her work with many lines, layers and detail. Her art brings her a sense of mindfulness and stillness, and is a joy to create and share.
Pro-Loco Art Event
Pro-loco means ‘of the place’ and in 2023 we invited any artist, art department or art student, aged 16+, to come along, to join us and create work in and around the picturesque village of Portmahomack..
Artists were inspired by their surroundings to create a piece of art while learning from and encouraging each other.
The anonymised pieces of art were displayed and voted on by the general public with local artist Sheelagh Petrie (pictured below) receiving the most votes and a cash prize of £150. Sheelagh said "I did five pencil sketches from different viewpoints. I decided that the Rockfield viewpoint looking down to the slipway and salmon bothy was the best. I painted it in oils on a board with a short ground and used a quick drying oil paint medium. I was blessed with lovely weather on all three days. I enjoyed it so much that I intend to try and paint outside as much as possible even through the winter.”
We will be returning in 2024 in a different location on the Easter Ross Peninsula.
Catherine Jones - Fibre Art Workshop
Wet felting is the magical process by which delicate unspun wool is converted into strong, practical felt. We will be making a small bowl to teach you the basic techniques of wet felting. No previous experience is needed. Please bring two hand towels, a waterproof apron and carrier bag to take home your wet things.
For me the process usually starts with a landscape photograph which inspires me to explore texture and colour through the media of needle felting, wet felting and weaving. At its simplest, 2D needle felting is the process of using a barbed needle to apply unspun wool (wool roving) to a felt background to create pictures, which can be used in art work and to decorate textiles. I love its speed and versatility and enjoy stretching the process, using embellishments and different types of wool and background fabric. Wet felting is the magic by which fluffy wool roving is transformed into textile art or robust, functional items like bowls, bags and hats. I am still working at controlling what goes on during the process, but the unpredictability is part of the fun. Having started with a photograph I might do a painting, a needle felted greetings card, a wet felted bowl and even a piece of weaving, each item becoming more abstract and less and less like the original photograph, which has served its purpose to inspire me.
Johanne Kemp - Clay Workshop
Jo Kemp (on the right) who is based at the Clay Studio in Merkinch, Inverness saved the day when the publicised potter had to withdraw from the festival suddenly.
With only a couple of days to plan Jo used the book theme in the workshop to use slab building to create a piece inspired by the attendees favourite books.
Jo runs workshops from her base in the Clay Studio. Read more here.
Bill Shannon worked as a journalist in Dumfries and London before coming North to Ross-shire where he served as Community and Public Relations Officer at the Highlands Fabricators Nigg Fabrication Yard for nineteen years. In his retirement he has been dealing in Scottish art and enjoys producing his own artworks, mainly in oils but also in other media. “My father worked under David Donaldson at the Glasgow School of Art, so I have been brought up with pictures and have always painted. I love working on the ever-changing landscapes of the Highlands and enjoy the challenges of painting boats in our east coast harbours. It’s great fun.”
Art has always been my passion, so much so I pursued Art & Design and Photography in college straight out of school, followed with studying Fashion makeup which leveraged my knowledge to expand into the makeup industry which is an art in itself. My expansive experience allowed me the opportunity to see the world as an Art dealer/Gallery Manager on a major cruise line. In that role, I've sold fine art, conducted seminars and in doing so I've learned even more about varying artists, their styles and techniques.
As a busy mum of 2 beautiful girls, aged 5 and 1, and working in a care home- which I enjoy every much, it can be a challenge to find the time to dedicate to my craft. Art has a transformative effect on your mood and your environment, and I sincerely hope that you find joy in my collection.
A photographer, social entrepreneur and university associate lecturer focusing on entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability, motivated by the importance of creativity in modern society.
Through my photography I like to explore colour, shape, together with the sense of place and space.
Pictora ' Art with Conviction'
Established in 2009, Pictora is unique and innovative, not-for-profit social enterprise and in the St. Duthac Book and Arts Festival, we are proud to ‘Make Visible’ the creative talent of prisoners, ex-offenders and those who are vulnerable in society.
Our ‘Made Visible’ display of art, removes the label of offender and allows the individual, through their creativity, to fulfil their potential.
Local artist Charlie's intricate pencil drawings focus on various places of interest in and around Tain, Ross-shire in Scotland.
His talent comes naturally as Charlie remembers enjoying drawing and making models from a very young age.
Charlie's drawings are fantastic, and no details are missed in the subjects he draws.
Charlie takes commissions. Check out examples of his work on his facebook page 'Charlies Art'.
Alan lives in Tain and produces vibrant colourful pieces of art.
Art Trail - Studio Smith
Why not browse the gallery and meet artist Ingebjorg Smith. She's always happy to talk about her work, an unusual blend of painting, print & collage.
Her speciality is wildlife from the Scottish Highlands in all its rich variety.
Ingebjorg is Graduate of the Glasgow School Art who set up Studio Smith not long after moving to Tain.
Also on show are more traditional landscapes by Inger Smith, (Oslo School of Art).
If its gifts you are looking for, many of the paintings are reproduced as cards, calendars, coasters, tea towels & more.
Art Trail - Stitches Exhibition & Fibre Art Installation.
In 2022 Carol Janes held a hugely popular open garden event which showcased her knitted lace and crochet works. Fast forward a few months and, thanks to popular demand, Carol has set up an active craft group in Tain meeting at Piper's Coffee House on the first and third Monday of each month, 7-9pm.
As part of the Arts Trail why not pop along to Pipers Coffee House and take in an exhibition of all the fibre and stitching work created by the Tain Stitches group. Then head over to the 'Outdoor Fibre Art Installation' which is a mural of knitted lace and crochet that will be on display at Croft Roy Cottage, Tain. The installation will be visible from the street and is located next to North Coast Glass Studio, Chapel Street.
Art Trail - North Coast Glass
Address: 2 Chapel St, Tain, Ross-shire, IV19 1EL www.northcoastglass.com
Glass Artist/Designers Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns work out of their acclaimed North Coast Glass studio in Tain. Here they create beautiful contemporary glassware and artworks.
Art Trail - Abstract Landscapes
Local textile artist Catherine Jones and photographer Mark Janes held a joint exhibition of work, to show how textiles and photography can work together when inspired by the right subject.
Mark Janes is an outdoor photographer and educator based in Tain. He has a keen interest in the night-sky and seeks to incorporate this into his work, creating ethereal “nightscapes” that showcase the spectacular Scottish landscape in a new light.
Sheelagh's Art Club @ the Seaboard Centre - Art Trail
As part of the arts trail the Seaboard Centre was home to work from a range of talented local artists.
Sheelagh's Art Club includes artists of all abilities, working in all media. Check out the link below to find out when they meet.
Sheelagh Petrie (pictured below) was the winner of the first Pro-Loco event of the St Duthac Book and Arts Festival.
Visit local artists and galleries around Tain and Easter Ross Peninsula and explore their creative work.