Inside and Out: The Art of Christian Small

This summer, Tweeddale Museum and Gallery is hosting an exhibition called ‘Inside and Out: The Art of Christian Small’.

The exhibition is a thoughtful and inspiring collection of the work of the late Christian Small, West Linton based artist, whose work features a range of mixed media and is a quirky combination of still life and landscape paintings, largely in watercolour.

The story of how the exhibition came about, though, is almost as significant as this rediscovered local artist. Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour featured a piece this week discussing the story with Jenny Aldridge (Christian’s daughter) and Gerda Stevenson (award-winning Scottish actress, director and writer) which gave an insight into the creation of the exhibition. The two were childhood friends and always remembered Christian as having a driving compulsion to paint. They later discovered the technical skill underlying her work had been honed in Edinburgh College of Art once a week, something neither of them knew during her lifetime.

Following Christian’s passing in 2016, people of the village were encouraged to bring along pieces painted by her and given to friends and family. The response was overwhelming, and the two women decided to photograph them all for a book which Gerda has now published to run alongside the exhibition in Peebles. Over 150 people turned up for their pieces to be featured and the exhibition was born!

With a stunning energy yet control, Gerda comments that ‘you can almost smell the wildflowers’ in the paintings, which often depict spectacular views and snippets of the close Pentland Hills; vividly representing her hometown of West Linton. The exhibition runs from Saturday 4 August – Sunday 2 September 2018 in Tweeddale Museum and Gallery, with special opening hours as part of the Creative Peebles Festival.

Gerda Stevenson will also be reading from her book about the art of Christian Small, which features 12 of her own poems inspired by the exhibition on Saturday 1 September, 14:30 at Tweeddale Museum. Tickets are £10 and include a free glass of wine or soft drink.

To listen to the Radio 4 podcast which features Christian’s story, click HERE

For more information on this and other events going on in our museums and galleries across the Borders, please see our Museums and Galleries 2018/19 Programme HERE

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