The Strathearn Gallery
Beth Robertson Fiddes opens her new solo exhibition, Margins at Crieff’s The Strathearn Gallery
One of Scotland’s most gifted, striking and unique landscape artists, Beth Robertson Fiddes opens her new Solo Exhibition Margins at the Strathearn Gallery in Crieff on Saturday 17 September.
The field of Scottish landscape painting has always been strong, with many noted painters over the years having worldwide reputations.
Few who have seen the work of Beth Robertson Fiddes would argue that Beth deserves to also be regarded as one of the best, her paintings capturing the Scottish wilderness with a skill and talent few possess.
Bridging the gap between realism and abstract painting, Beth eschews the more traditional bright and colourful vistas and while some compositions will depict broader landscapes and mountains, Beth’s preference is to instead focus on specific elements and details within the environment. This narrowing in allows her to fully accentuate details within her subject matter.
‘Many of the places where I find inspiration are on the edge of something,’ Beth says. ‘A coastline, a rocky outcrop, or the peaty banks of a hill loch, the margins. Within my paintings I often try to capture that sense of stepping
from one world to another, taking that last step into the unknown, away from reality and into an otherworldly space. This exhibition draws together pieces I feel reflect this idea best,
crashing waves on the northwest coast, deep inviting rock pools and views of the peaks and high ground of Assynt. Much of this work is based on my immediate surroundings here in
Sutherland, with a focus on places where land meets water in peace and tranquillity or in wind and storm.’
Using oil paint, inks, sometimes adding paper for texture, washing away paint and continually sanding back layers of work to
rework and add to them, Beth’s paintings
continuously evolve. Each a work of controlled
experiment and accident in order to move technique forward - some works are never
finished but the process is still valuable to Beth. To any artist, painting water is notoriously difficult, yet Beth’s exceptional talent and over 20 years of honing her craft means she has the ability to translate its movement, transparency and reflection flawlessly.
‘I start with an idea of the direction I would
like to go in but it’s the mistakes and surprises that drive on the painting process - choosing what to keep, what to discard and when to
move on,’ says Beth. ‘I would never be able to sustain interest in a piece of work if I knew exactly what it would look like in the end. The painting is finished when I’m happy that I’ve captured the feeling and memory of the initial point of inspiration or place. With tides, splashes, breaking waves and angry waters, I’m trying to catch a moment. To imagine that moment is all the time I have, a life in a millisecond, and to find, save and preserve forms and structures in the movement.’
Often choosing to paint on a larger scale,
the finished paintings are powerful, breathtaking works that should be enjoyed in person to properly understand the formidable scale and depth achieved. And as more and more
art-collectors are switched on to Beth’s work, although the locations she chooses to paint are often on the margins, her reputation certainly is not.
Margins by Beth Robertson Fiddes opens at 10am on 17 September and runs until 16 October.