• Victoria Crowe: Orcadian Series: Above Stromness
    Dovecot Studios
    Orcadian Series: Above Stromness (detail)

In 2022, Scottish artist Victoria Crowe OBE, made two trips to Orkney as part of the RSA /Pier Arts centre Residency award, looking specifically at the contrasting light near the summer and winter solstice.

The second part of the residency was made in November 2022, when there was just six hours of daylight each day. The darkness was therefore what Crowe explored. The trip was taken in time for the full moon, so that the artist could work with night skies and the luminosity of moonrise.

From her studio in Birsay, the moon rose in the east-facing window, allowing Crowe to study and paint the brilliance, subtlety and colour of moonlight on fast-moving clouds when the land was enveloped in winter darkness. Occasionally, tiny lights from dwellings and car lights flared on distant fields, but everything was dominated by the moonlight above, within the vast distances of the sky. Crowe completed tiny studies of these changing, mesmeric night moonscapes, transformed into a series of oil paintings, named the Orcadian Series.

When painting, Crowe found she was using tiny, almost pointillist flecks of colour to build up the tonal contrast and to keep the colour pure. She wanted to enlarge the work in order to capture the vastness of the night sky, streaked with moonlight, but didn’t want to do big scaled up paintings, as she thought they could become mechanical, mannered and too illusionary. Crowe realised that the textual way of working in the small oils, would lend itself wonderfully to gun-tufting; something so dense and deeply toned by virtue of its very substance

Crowe has collaborated with Dovecot many times before, and has good understanding of how the weavers will interpret her starting points to reach an image of scale, richness and grandeur. A rug similar to and yet with a totally different quality to the original painted image.

Dovecot Master Weaver Louise Trotter tufted the rug over several months in early 2023, resulting in this unique, new interpretation, Above Stromness.

Above Stromness is currently on display on the Viewing Balcony, as part of the Wonder Women display, until 7 October 2023.

Wonder Women at Dovecot

Wonder Women at Dovecot

1 July 2023 to 7 October 2023

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