Now we start a New Year with an exhibition of work by Graham Patterson and Priscilla Eckhart opening on Saturday 18 January and continuing until Friday 14 February.
During his exhibition Graham Patterson did a great workshop with these results And added more and more pieces to his show as the weeks went past and the tide on Spittal Beach kept up its eternal whisperings.
Priscilla Eckhard’s charming image came into its own on invitations to Priscilla’s birthday tea party to close the show as she so sadly missed the Preview and at which cake and wine with good friends celebrated Priscilla’s return.
It’s OK, the cigarette is of the E variety
How we miss that exquisitely painted bucket!
Roddy, Karin and their perfect granddaughter brought a Christmas present for Pip –
. . . which he loved so much that he ate almost all of it including the ball. . .
Pip suffers from delusions of smallness and thinks that he still fits on this cushion
But he doesn’t . . .
Artist David Baird and pianist Mark Dickinson brought some surprising images for the next show which included Bob Dylan, the current Kate, the young Ian Stephenson and Mark’s son
Rina Richardson whose stunning photographs are currently hanging in Watchtower foyer and Eric Richardson whose paintings will impress us all in early 2014
Rina’s beautiful snow scene reflecting the Watchtower staircase!
On the day David’s and Rina’s shows opened Bob Dylan was spotlighted by a passing rainbow
Master Dickinson and very like: the artist is his grandfather
After all of this excitement my laptop went into freefall and tried to turn into one of Ian’s paintings
The concert in aid of the Mayor’s charities was even better than we had dared hope for. Local talents Summerland and Kirsty Jamieson of She accompanied by Mark Dickinson played and sang together in heart stopping style and nobody went home before midnight.
Mayor Isabel Hunter and Mace Bearer Joyce Benton were as efficient at the Bar and selling raffle tickets as they are when carrying out their Civic Duties
Mark Reid, always welcome at the Watchtower, played solo guitar and sang both old and new songs from his repertoire
And Mark Dickinson, beneath his portrait, played brilliantly in his usual extraordinary virtuoso style
The first of March, which I like to claim as the First Day of Spring, brought the first daffodils . . .
. . . and also the last week in which the team which has for the last few years recorded the choicest parts of the Berwick Advertiser for the visually impaired, first at The Old School Duddo and latterly at the Watchtower, has “gone digital” and moved on to a smaller space! No more green packets in my mailbox cheerfully delivered by my postman and laboriously sorted by Jim Turner over coffee and dialogues about rugby and the state of the world. All sadly missed but I do have my turret office back to make up for their disappearance.
Sound experts Ian Ballantyne and Mark Inglis continue to labour in the Recording Studio with results building up all the time. A satisfactorily developing scene at the Watchtower and always a pleasure to have them coming and going.
Deborah Chandler, looking beautiful and playing beautifully as always, treated us to Bach, Walton and Tavener.
A fascinated crowd filled the Gallery for this special treat.
Pip the Bedlington terrier had his first haircut and came in looking less lamblike and more sheepish . . .
Artist Andy Watchorn, who showed his elegant abstract paintings at the Watchtower in June last year, played together with his wife Margaret at the Sheriff’s Dinner in the Town Hall.
In April Sakina Jones and Amy Jones presented a beautiful exhibition of paintings and historical costumes. Sakina’s radiant work delighted as always. Amy’s desirable outfits populated the Gallery for a month and I was never certain that they had not moved about during the night
At the same time the Watchtower had the privilege of showing downstairs the superb embroidered images by the late Katriina Merrin.
The seal came back to the Tweed just below the Old Bridge together with a friend.
In May Seven Photographers filled the Gallery with an impressive range of images.
During the Photographers show, MT organised an amazing concert which brought T J Johnson and his Band back to Berwick with favourite Adrian Cox playing with them again for this gig.
Two of Berwick’s handsomest musicians opened this excellent evening and the delighted audience audience enjoyed every moment while the Watchtower glowed late into the summer night.
The musicians went back to London, Ian Ballantyne disappeared upstairs and a small brown dog came in the front door!
Meanwhile, the Ian Stephenson Screen together with his painting Still Life Abstraction D1 went off to Vienna and on to Zurich and Berlin to feature in a major exhibition about the work of Michelangelo Antonioni and his film Blow Up in which these works feature.
During the Seven Photographers exhibition a group of children from Holy Trinity First School added their delightful work to the Gallery for three days. Once again they impressed with their thoughtful paintings and writing which owes so much to the intelligent and dedicated work of their teachers.
Nigel Chandler presented another of the popular lunchtime concerts in June and supervised the arrival of a piano via The Yardheads.
Carole Clarke sang arias and songs by Gabrielli, Brahms and Schumann together with two traditional Scottish songs arranged by Beethoven: now there is a surprise! (Well, it is to me. . .)
And more songs by the Berwick Community Choir, though rather later than Beethoven, allowed us all to join in numbers from World War 1 to the present day as a large crowd came to support the local Fundraising Group for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, a charity after my own heart.
The summer early morning skies are back and I have become engaged by the sight of young seagulls on a nearby chimney pot.Of course they drive us mad with their noise and mess but I must saythat their parenting skills are exemplary!
BUT I MUST END ANOTHER THREE MONTHS AT THE WATCHTOWER ON, FOR US ALL, A VERY SAD NOTE.
IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR ARTHUR WOOD ESCAPED THE WORLD AND FLEW INTO THE LIGHT.
A MAN OF ALL TALENTS, IT WAS A PRIVILEGE TO KNOW HIM AND TO HAVE HAD THE PLEASURE OF HANGING HIS WORK AT THE WATCHTOWER. FROM HIS WONDERFUL BANNER WHICH HE MADE FOR THE LINDISFARNE EXHIBITION LAST SUMMER TO THE PRIZEWINNING CALLIGRAPHY FROM THE BRITISH LIBRARY, THE GREAT SERIES OF ILLUSTRATIONS FOR THE DENHAM TRACTS TO THE INNOVATIVE MOBILE OF QUOTES, HIS WORK NEVER FAILS TO AMUSE AND INTRIGUE.
ARTHUR, FRIENDLY, FEISTY AND FULL OF HUMOUR. AS ARE HIS BEAUTIFUL PIECES OF CALLIGRAPHY. BUT ALWAYS, JUST BELOW THE SURFACE, ARE THE DARK TRUTHS THEY EXPOSE. ANCIENT BATTLES, CONTEMPORARY STRUGGLES, LIKE WARNING CRIES BEHIND THE IMAGES OF CELEBRATION. WIND SLOWLY ALONG HIS IMAGES AND PONDER ON THE MESSAGES. EXAMINE THEM WELL. THEY MIGHT POLARISE THE REAL NEEDS OF BERWICK UPON TWEED IN THIS TIME OF DECISION MAKING. THANK YOU ARTHUR.
In August Cameron Robertson had a highly entertaining exhibition in August with photographs and artefacts relating to the world famous Berwick Cockles.
The handcart arrived by hand and was duly assembled and we were honoured to have William Cowe at the Opening of the show.
A lot of elegant typography was included as well as a whole stack of the very collectable tins.
Cameron produced a beautiful book of his photographs printed in their impeccable way by Martins the Printers of Berwick.
In September we had the privilege of showing the work of the late Heather Fisher. I knew her work from last year’s Open Exhibition but sadly never met her before her untimely death a year ago. Her disturbing images of dark streets and pale children, familiar roads but with a string of rats slinking along in the gutter or a single small shoe abandoned, all with a sense of foreboding but beautifully painted, gave much food for thought.
In late September Martin Eccles and three more students from the Department of Fine Art at Newcastle University and Pip had two King Charles’ Spaniels to play with for the day. They displayed their work in the foyer and hopefully will return when they are further on in their artistic careers.
This year’s Open Exhibition, the third, was big and splendid. The best yet, fewer paintings but all of a much higher standard than previously.
The Photography Group from the North Star Centre displayed their beautiful images in the foyer, making an impressive introduction to the upstairs exhibition.
It was a privilege to hang in centre position the handsome portrait by Tessa Bennett of William Cowe who sadly died not long after Cameron’s show about the Cockle Cowes buildings.
On the first morning of the show a rainbow appeared on Mark Irving’s beautiful seascape.
Later the Lambton Worm was purchased for display at Lambton Castle as a tourist attraction: a sort of homecoming for it!
Students from Longridge Towers School came to visit accompanied by Lizzie McCorquodale who was herself exhibiting in the show. An excellent event.