Archive for November, 2011

On the Easel – Wed 30th November 2011

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

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“Herring Lassie with Cran” – Work in Progress, Oil on Linen, 36 x 24 inches. This is the end of the 1st painting, blocked in with muted tones. Some more refinement to follow.

The main European markets for salted herring were Germany, the Baltic States and Russia and the First World War seriously damaged these markets. Germany suffered from serious inflation after the First World War and many curers were paid in worthless money. Also, these countries built up fishing fleets of their own. By the 1930s the herring catch in Scotland had fallen to a fraction of what it was in the early part of the 20th century.
Herring fishing was a failure during the 20-year period between the first and second world wars. The Second World War finally brought about the end of the herring curing industry and the herring girls, “Clanighean-a-sgadan” with their peculiar skills were redundant, no longer needed.

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On the Easel – Sat 26th November 2011

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

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“Herring Lassies mending nets” – Work in Progress, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches. This is the end of the 1st blocking in, muted tones.

Scottish Highland and Island women were used to hard work and they cheerfully gave a good account of themselves when they were at the fishing. For that reason they were popular with their employers and the other workers involved in the herring trade.
Thousands of herring girl gutters travelled every season, summer and winter, particularly from the 1840s onwards to most if not all the main Scottish and English herring fishing ports, such as Lerwick, Stronsay in the northern Isles, Wick, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, etc. as well as the Irish, Isle of Man and English fishing ports. In autumn there was the English East Anglia herring fishing based mainly on Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

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On the Easel- Tues 22nd November 2011

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

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“Herring Lassies carrying crans” – Work in Progress, Oil on Canvas, 34 x 24 inches. This is the end of the 2nd passage (about halfway to completion).

Other than domestic and craft work in their own communities, there was very little work available to women in the islands and other remote communities in the 19th century and even in the first half of the 20th century, and therefore,
although the work of herring gutting entailed long hours of very hard and dirty work for a low wage, the work was appreciated and, because of the companionship and the team work the cheerful girls looked forward to the opening of
each fishing season.

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On the Easel – Thurs 17th November 2011

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

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“Herring Lassie with Cran” – Work in Progress, Oil on Linen, 36 x 24 inches.

This is a frottee of raw sienna and blue black on a purplish imprimatura. Some solid painting next.

Just back from London where I saw the excellent John Martin exhibition at Tate Britain, well worth a visit. Disappointed to see the John Singer Sargent room given over to Francis Bacon though.

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On the Easel – Thurs 10th November 2011

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

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“Herring Lassies at the Harbour wall” – Work in Progress, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 36 inches.

This is the end of the 1st lay in of color in muted tones, about halfway to completion for this piece, will put aside to dry and work on some other compositions.

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On the Easel – Fri 4th November 2011

Friday, November 4th, 2011

[SinglePic not found]

“Herring Lassies mending nets” – Work in Progress, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches. This is a black and raw sienna Frottee on a blue/black Imprimatura.

Thousands of girls from the Scottish Highlands and islands worked in the Herring industry. They always worked in a tight knit crew of three. Herring gutting was a valuable seasonal source of employment for the girls and women.

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On the Easel – Tues 1st November 2011

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

[SinglePic not found]

“Herring Lassies carrying crans” – Work in Progress, Oil on Canvas, 34 x 24 inches. This is a black and raw sienna Frottee on a blue/black Imprimatura.

The backdrop for the Herring Lassies series of paintings is Newhaven harbour. I will initiate another couple of paintings and then work on them all concurrently.

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