The City Art Centre in Edinburgh

The others began the day with a hike up Arthur’s Seat. I declined in order to visit the City Arts Center. When they returned pink-cheeked and describing how it was so slippery and windy that people were descending by sliding down the steps on their bums, I knew I made the right call. (As if there was any doubt in the first place when choosing between hiking and an art museum…).

I got a bit lost trying to get there, in part thanks to my own natural navigational bumblings and in part because the map kept telling me to turn where there were no turns. I couldn’t figure out why Google was making up streets that didn’t exist until I realized they were closes. What appeared to be open doorways in between shops actually lead to stairs down like these:

Eventually I reached my destination:

…after I overshot it by two blocks. At least it let me get a shot of it.

The City Art Center focuses on the works of Scottish artists. They had four exhibitions on over four floors, which were really great.

The top floor had an exhibit called “A Fine Line” that explores the distinctions between art and craft and that focuses on art that highlights the use of lines.

One piece that stood out was this one:

It’s probably 5 feet in diameter and made from willow sticks. When you stand close, you can see that the leaves are made from knots:

Another artist works in ceramics:

and another in wood etchings and printing:

(This was about two inches tall, btw.)

The third floor has blueprints by William Henry Playfair, who designed many of the buildings in Edinburgh. Pretty much if it’s neoclassical, he designed it.

The second floor had a collection by a husband and wife. The husband, Charles Poulsen, had drawings, typically pencil over gouache, while the wife, Pauline Burbridge, created quilts.

The quilts were really stunning and hard to photograph.

She uses white thread stitching to give a sense of ghostly distance, black stitching for distinction, and painted directly on the fabric as well. These smaller pieces give a good sense of how she would do solar-printing on very delicate piece of silk, then layer them:

The lowest floor had “Hidden Gems” – pieces from their permanent collection that are not usually on display. There were any that were especially great to me aside from this piece:

Called “The Other Wise Man” by Ancell Stronach, the style reminds me quite a bit of an artist Mom and Dad have pieces by. I want to looking into more of his work, since he’s described as someone who draws on myths and stories quite a bit.

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