Winter Exhibition

Winter Exhibition

5 November – 22 January 2023

Opening Night with refreshments, Friday 4 November 6-8pm

George Birrell, Georgina Bown, Davy Brown, Alfons Bytautas, Sunshine Callender, Dominique Cameron, June Carey, Alan Connell, Ian Cook, Carol Dewart, Fee Dickson-Reid, Matthew Draper, Andy Heald, Simon Laurie, Kevin Low, Sam MacDonald, Linda MacKinnon, Rachel Marshall, Ian Neill, Sheena Phillips, Allan J Robertson, Naoko Shibuya, Jayne Stokes, Astrid Trügg, Jane Walker, Graeme Wilcox, Adrian Wiszniewski and more.

Please note, revised opening hours for duration of the Winter Exhibition; Wednesday – Saturday 11-4pm, 12-4pm Sunday, closed Mondays and open by appointment only on Tuesdays.

Inspired – Contemporary Artists Inspired by work in the Collection of the National Galleries of Scotland

With the blessing of the National Galleries of Scotland, Fidra Fine Art has invited leading Scottish contemporary artists to respond to their favourite works in the national collection.

10 September to 30 October

Lesley Banks, Georgina Bown, Chris Brook, Colin Brown, Dominique Cameron, June Carey, Sandra Collins, Alan Connell, Ann Cowan, Joseph Davie, Fee Dickson, Matthew Draper, Michael Durning, Ronnie Fulton, Neal Greig, Andy Heald, Henry Jabbour, John Johnstone, Phill Jupitus, Simon Laurie, Alan Macdonald, Carolynda Macdonald, Ailsa Magnus, Neil Macdonald, Alice McMurrough, Ann Oram, Arran Ross, David Schofield, Jayne Stokes, Peter Thomson, James Tweedie & Graeme Wilcox.

The spark for this exhibition came when I was listening to William Feaver’s biography of Lucian Freud while walking my dog on the beach during lockdown.

I was struck by the fact he had been invited to create a piece of work inspired by something from the collection of The National Gallery in London.

The exhibition, Encounters – New Art from Old, involved 25 artists and was held in 2000. Freud’s entry was an etching after Chardin’s The Young School Mistress.

It turned out Freud made two paintings in response – one larger, one smaller – before creating complementary pair of etchings.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to invite some of the leading Scottish contemporary artists who exhibit here at Fidra Fine Art to similarly choose a piece from the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland and reimagine or reinterpret it.

There is a historical precedence for this. Scottish artists have long travelled far and wide in search of inspiration from other artists for their work. Travel scholarships won from the art schools or organisations such as the Royal Scottish Academy  encouraged artists to expose themselves to foreign landscapes and new schools of artistic thought.

The Glasgow Boys threw off the often sentimental, romantic landscape tradition which was the fashion of the time – after exposure to the realism of Dutch and French art and artists such as Jules Bastien-Lepage – and returned with an entirely modern and exciting new school of painting.

I have been lucky to visit a number of galleries with artist friends and have always found it interesting to hear their comments and interpretations. Artists have been trained to study their subjects, analysing colour, line and composition in infinite detail. Invariably they see things that passed me by.

It’s been absolutely fascinating to be privy to their insight into the works on show in Inspiration. I am hoping that by studying the work and the accompanying words from the artists in this exhibition, it will encourage the viewer to seek out the artist’s sources of inspiration and take time to enjoy – with a different view – some of the wonderful artwork available in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland.

There will be 32 interpretations in this exhibition. Alongside each of the pieces is a few words from the artists and a unique QR Code (or web link on our website)  which links to the inspiration piece on the National Galleries of Scotland website.

With special thanks to the National Galleries of Scotland for their cooperation and support of this exhibition.

All Summer Long

All Summer Long

2 July to 4 September

Featuring: Jilly Ballantyne, George Birrell, John Boak, Georgina Bown, Chris Brook, Colin Brown, Alison Burt, Dominique Cameron, Alan Connell, Ann Cowan, Joseph Davie,  Amy Dennis, Matthew Draper, Ronnie Fulton, Neal Greig, Hetty Haxworth, Phill Jupitus, Suzanne Kirk, Simon Laurie, Sarah Lawson, Alejandro Lopez, Neil Macdonald, Robert Macmillan, Rachel Marshall, Alice McMurrough, Alison McWhirter, Ian Neill, Arran Ross, David Schofield, Astrid Trügg, Jane Walker, Patti Yuill and many more.



14 May to 26 June 2022

Featuring work by Dominique Cameron, Nicola Carberry, Sandra Collins, Alan Connell, Paul Reid, Angela Repping, Joseph Urie, Graeme Wilcox and around 20 drawings by Neil Dallas Brown (1938-2003).

A celebration of the art of drawing featuring work from 8 contemporary Scottish based artists alongside a collection of 20 drawings by Neil Dallas Brown dating from 1960 to 1981.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an introduction (repeated below) by Art Journalist, Jan Patience. If you would like a copy of the catalogue please contact the gallery.

Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see.

Edgar Degas

DRAWING is one of the most immediate forms of self-expression we human beings have at our disposal. Think about how a child, still unable to form words into sentences, picks up a crayon with glee and scribbles over the first surface they come across.

Soon these scribbles become decipherable; a face, a house, a garden pathand so it goes on.

In this new exhibition, simply titled, Drawing, Fidra Fine Art presents twenty five detailed study drawings by the late Neil Dallas Brown, influential artist and teacher, together with drawings by eight contemporary Scottish artists. Drawing lies at the very heart of all these artists’ work.

Dallas Brown was a remarkable artist who perhaps did not receive the acclaim he deserved during his lifetime and following his death in 2003 at the age of 65.

The drawings in this show were made between 1960, when Dallas Brown was studying at the Royal Academy Schools in London, and 1981, by which time he was teaching at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA).

In the late 1970s, Brown became caught up in his seminal Shroud paintings, made in response to The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Brown’s sketches (it almost feels wrong to call them sketches as they are fully formed artworks) reveal the inner workings of Dallas Brown’s mind as he planned out paintings. Nothing is left to chance as he evokes a now vanished era in pencil and graphite, making notes on colour on occasion to the side of the paper.

One in particular, Study for Target III (Fast Sway), 1979, depicts two dogs leaping towards the side of a gun-barrel target. Poignantly the painting which followed on was lost in the first GSA fire in 2014.

A few years ago, I spoke to Brown’s near contemporary, John Johnstone, about him. The two men both studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. “He really was something else,” Johnstone recalled.

“The first time I saw his work a painting of cliff faces was in 1960. It was like a Carvaggio. I remember thinking, ‘My God, what a skilful painter!

To paint like Caravaggio, artists have to be quick on the draw; grafting endlessly via graphite, charcoal, ink or pastel. They make it look so easy. But it’s not.

A solid grounding in the art of drawing is key to the development of every good artist.

At least three of the artists featured in this exhibition were taught by Dallas Brown; Nicola Carberry, Alan Connell and Joseph Urie.

Nicola Carberry works quickly, be it in pencil, pastel, ink or watercolour, letting her hand roam deftly over the page. Her figures bristle with energy and spontaneity.

The naked charcoal figures in Joseph Urie’s drawings from the late 1980s are densely drawn against a blackened background, laden with foreboding.

Alan Connell’s drawings of household objects are slow-burn affairs, detailed and delicate at the same time.

Dominique Cameron’s drawings of landscapes and figures have an antsy urgency about them; quicksilver movements on paper or board, using charcoal or oil bars, transferring the image she sees in her mind’s eye to hand in an instant.

More delicately, Sandra Collins maroons pencil-drawn figures against a static patterned background, throwing acrylic and thread into the mix to make it sing.

Graeme Wicox’s heads and figures, set against featureless backgrounds are caught up in a distant reverie. There’s a restlessness about them which draws you in.

With preternatural skill, Angela Repping captures stillness in her studies of women’s heads. As viewers, we are caught up in their world. Who are these women, where are they from, what are they thinking?

Paul Reid‘s studies for his large paintings of classical scenes are the first draft of his own history. The devil is in the detail. Pan, Greek god of fertility, has a surprisingly humanoid appearance, despite the goat face and horns. He stands in knee-length shorts against a dilapidated brick wall. Clutching a skull. Challenging onlookers to “come ahead”.

This is an exhibition which invites everyone to “come ahead”. To look and to take stock.

Jan Patience

Art Journalist

Arran Ross – Odyssey


An Artist’s Journey

16 April to 8 May

Introduction kindly provided by Dr Colin J. Bailey.

Arran Ross: the Cyprus paintings

Among the pictures, ceramics and bronzes in this impressive exhibition are many paintings (the majority) that were produced, mostly outdoors, during Arran Ross’s idyllic year-long residency at the Cyprus College of Art which started in October 2020. ‘Odyssey’, the inspired title of the exhibition, reflects not only the value of journeying in its own right but, more potently, the artist’s own voyage of inner discovery, in which the vivid Mediterranean light-effects and the strong saturated colours evident throughout the island, in nature and in its architecture, radically modified his vision. Arran has likened his reactions and experiences to those of his hero, Vincent van Gogh, whose own work was dramatically transformed when he moved from Paris to Arles in 1888.

The vibrant, iridescent watercolours deployed to stunning effect in the two depictions of ‘Turkish House, Cyprus’, where Arran’s kitchen was located, evoke, in spellbinding fashion, the sometimes intense heat and the unchanging luxuriance of the countryside that were for so long part of Arran’s daily existence. Produced ‘in situ’ and ‘en plein air’, following the practice of the early French Impressionists, they – and the oil paintings that were also executed outdoors – encapsulate the positive results of the striking new visual sensations to which Arran was exposed and which resound so spectacularly in his paintings.

Anyone already familiar with Arran’s work will immediately recognise his highly distinctive style and iconic leitmotifs such as the spaceman.

The spaceman features in front of the Greek Orthodox church in ‘Ayia Napia’; among the ruins in ‘Kourion’; and in the foreground of ‘Chlorakas’, which the artist has described as his “favourite painting” in the exhibition. Arran passed this place on weekly walks into nearby Paphos. Though not intended to be topographical or in any sense a literal transcription of the scene, it includes elements that were meaningful to him – the magnificent trees; the sea that was visible, a mile away, from his studio; the delightful little church; the ubiquitous cats; and the breathtaking cloud formations caught in the late afternoon sun.

Arran is particularly pleased with the pictures he made of solitary trees, as in ‘Clementine Tree’ and ‘Frangipani’, both of which are reminiscent of compositions by Caspar David Friedrich, another artist by whom Arran admits to being influenced.

Many of Arran’s paintings have close affinities with Surrealism (with René Magritte especially) but they are enriched not diminished by this association.

Most of the titles of Arran’s works are purely descriptive or self-explanatory. One of the most intriguing and elusive is probably ‘F.U.B.A.R III’, whose acronym refers to a vulgar military expression of the period. The army helicopters, which hover menacingly over the composite landscape, refer to recent periods of conflict between peoples of different religious persuasions. Another painting with an enigmatic title is ‘Tribe’, which recollects a visit to the Museum of Cyprus in Nicosia. Resembling an enormous funeral pyre, with giant flames licking at its summit (a reference to Cyprus’s frequent brush and woodland fires), it recalls the unconventional display of the museum’s archaeological finds. With its reminders of Ancient Egyptian art, ‘Tribe’ reveals another of the many influences that continue to inform and enrich Arran’s artistic vocabulary.

Colin J. Bailey




26 February to 10 April


Georgina Bown, Alfons Bytautas, June Carey, Hetty Haxworth, Henry Jabbour, Robert Powell & Jane Walker

Also including work by John Bulloch Souter (1890-1972), James McBey (1883-1959), John Bellany (1942-2013) and John Houston (1930-2008).

Also including new sculpture by Leonie MacMillan.

Our next exhibition, Printmaking, brings together 7 contemporary, as well as few widely recognised 20thCentury Scottish printmakers, whose work demonstrates a number of different printmaking processes. Original prints are distinct artworks. The end result, achieved through rigorous technical and creative processes, is as imagined and intended by the artist. They are not reproductions of other artworks, such as photographic copies of paintings.

Printmaking offers the art buyer, not only beautifully aesthetic artworks but a medium that can have such a nuanced variety they become irresistible to the collector.

Original prints are a great way to start a collection of original art. Beautiful pieces in their own right, they also offer affordable access to the work of artists who might otherwise be out of reach. An understanding of the technical process and the creative consideration applied to each artwork is key to appreciating this art form. I hope this exhibition will be as informative as it is visually stimulating.

Mixed Winter Exhibition

Mixed Winter Exhibition

27 November to 20 February


George Birrell, Georgina Bown, Dominique Cameron, Alan Connell, Michael Dawson, Fee Dickson, Matthew Draper, Michael Durning, Ronnie Fulton, Andy Heald, Alex Knubley, Simon Laurie, Sarah Lawson, Alejandro Lopez, Gerard Lerpiniere, Stephen Mangan, Rachel Marshall, John McClenaghen, Ian Neill, Pascale Rentsch, Paul Reid, Allan J Robertson, Arran Ross, Jayne Stokes, Karen Thompson, Damian Tremlett, Astrid Trügg, Elizabeth Vischer, Jane Walker, Graeme Wilcox, Christopher Wood, Darren Woodhead and more.


9 October to 21 November

Colin Brown, John Brown RSW, Alfons Bytautas RSA, Ann Cowan, Phill Jupitus, Simon Laurie RSW RGI and Alastair Strachan with ceramics from Karen Thompson.

An exhibition to demonstrate how artists can use collage in different ways – to assist and inform composition, adding texture as well as in its more recognised form of creating an artwork from a variety of objects such as magazine clippings, coloured paper, newspaper texts, found objects…anything really.

It is a fun, imaginative and thought provoking medium with a great history. The 8 artists we have pulled together have provided an exciting and interesting selection of very collectible pieces. I am sure you will enjoy contemplating the work but perhaps most of all I hope it inspires you to have a go yourself.

Bass Rock

Bass Rock

4 September to 3 October


Julia Albert-Recht, Claire Beattie, George Birrell, John Boak, Georgina Bown, Davy Brown, Dominique Cameron, Alan Connell, Ann Cowan, Fee Dickson, Matthew Draper, Michael Durning, Ronnie Fulton, Andy Heald, David E Johnston, John Johnstone, Suzanne Kirk, Simon Laurie, Neil Macdonald, Julia McNairn White, Rachel Marshall, Ann Oram, Clive Ramage, Gregory Rankine, Pen Reid, Pascale Rentsch, Arran Ross, Jayne Stokes, Astrid Trügg and Darren Woodhead.

It has cast its spell over artists and writers such as Turner and Robert Louis Stevenson. In the 17th century, it was dubbed Scotland’s Alcatraz following Cromwell’s invasion of Scotland. Now the Bass Rock, which sits a few miles off the coast of North Berwick in East Lothian, is to be the subject of our latest exhibition.

Around 30 artists have been invited to present their unique view of the famous volcanic plug, which is home to 350,000 seabirds, including over 150,000 gannets – the largest ‘single rock’ colony of northern gannets on earth.

It is an irresistible, imposing, brooding and beautiful muse for artists and it has inspired a fascinating and varied collection of work for this show.

The exhibition continues until Sunday 3 October, I hope you will be able to come and view the work “in the flesh”.

All Summer Long

All Summer Long
29 May to 29 August
Featuring new work by George Birrell, Chris Brook, Alison Burt, Damian Callan, Dominique Cameron, Alan Connell, Ian Cook RI RSW, Ann Cowan, Fee Dickson, Matthew Draper SSA VAS PS, Neal Greig ARUA, Andy Heald, Kate Henderson, Jennifer Irvine RSW RGI, Suzanne Kirk, Alex Knubley, Sarah Lawson, Alejandro Lopez, Leonie MacMillan, John McClenaghen, Ann Oram RSW, Jim Rae, Arran Ross, Michel Rulliere, Jayne Stokes SSA, Astrid Trügg and many more.

Our new opening hours will be 11-4pm from Tues-Sat, 12-4pm Sundays, closed on Mondays.

No appointment necessary but for everyones comfort and safety, we will restrict the numbers in the gallery to 4, alongside the now familiar social distancing, wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser in operation.