A landscape for every month

0
Have your say

THE cold seems to seep from the page as the barren, frozen trees block the view to Stobo Kirk.

You can almost imagine the artist, Jinnie Kim, wrapped up against the elements, her fingertips freezing as she grasps her paintbrush, quickly trying to capture the January scene in front of her before heading back indoors to the warmth.

Fast forward a few months and you can picture Lamond Sutherland braving the April showers as he huddles under a grey sky, quickly sketching out his landscape of Inverary Castle.

By the summer Iga Kowalska is leisurely painting Cawdor Castle basking in the heat of an August sun. In autumn Caitlin McMillan is soaking up the colours of Haddington, and by the end of the year Claire Cowan is sitting in the twilight, a snowstorm in the air as she depicts an Edinburgh winter’s night.

Craigmount High School art students certainly get around. At least you’d think so from the vast array of Scottish scenes depicted in their school calendar. Yet each image was produced in the warmth and safety of Norrie Dingwall’s art class at the Craigs Road school.

What makes them special though is that they – and eight other landscapes – were selected from around 50 paintings entered by pupils for the silver anniversary of the celebrated school calendar.

It may have started 25 years ago as a favour for a printing company, but the Craigmount calendar has become as traditional at this time of year as ice skating in Princes Street Gardens and fireworks at Hogmanay. And it’s no sugar paper and glue affair, but a professionally printed work of art of seasonal landscapes, many of which could grace any gallery wall.

“The first calendar was produced in 1987, the year I joined the school,” says Norrie, who is now principal of the art department. “It was an instant hit back then, selling out within a week, and it has gone from strength to strength. It’s hard to believe, though, that we’ve just produced the 25th calendar.”

He adds: “We did the first one when a printing firm contacted the school as it had been let down by the person who did the artwork for its calendar. We agreed to supply images, and it took off from there.

“The great thing is that the process involves every art student as coursework demands they produce a Scottish landscape, and the standard gets better every year. They paint from photographs, though they choose which landscape they prefer, and most are done in watercolour, though some use other mediums too like pen and ink.

“It’s always very difficult to whittle it down to 12, but we try to get a mix of places – we couldn’t have three Edinburgh Castles, no matter how good they all might be. We also try to make the pictures appropriate to the month, and get a mix of ages of the artists.”

Compiling the calendar begins in the summer and students are given a few weeks to work on their landscape before the judging begins. Some, like 17-year-old Jinne Kim, now in her sixth year, have appeared in the calendar before, while others like 13-year-old Claire Cowan, had their work selected while still in their first year.

Jinnie says: “I chose to paint Stobo Kirk because I found it interesting, the distance between the trees and the church itself. It also meant I could try a different style, using a watercolour wash, then the trees in ink. I’m pleased with it and it is nice to be chosen for the calendar.”

For 14-year-old Lamond – the only male artist selected for the calendar – choosing Inverary Castle was a more personal affair. “I’ve been there with my gran and really liked it,” he says.

“But if I’m completely honest it looked like an easy landscape to produce. Once I started working on it, though, I realised it wasn’t. It seemed a sinister place so I wanted to get some of that into the weather, to give the rain a kind of aggression.”

Sixth year pupil Caitlin McMillan’s depiction of Old Nungate Bridge in Haddington – November’s scene – is a riot of oranges, reds and blues. The 16-year-old says: “I normally do a lot of portrait work so it was nice to do a landscape for a change. I really wanted to exaggerate the colours that were in the photo. It’s a style of painting I really like.”

The differences between the styles of the pictures selected are many. But Norrie says: “You can’t compare a final year student’s work with a first year’s as there will be much more detail and skill, but we always look for a mix of styles. Some are more expressive than others.”

The calendar normally features 13 different landscapes – one for each month, plus the cover – but this year the front is a showcase of the previous 24 calendar covers.

Seven hundred calendars are printed, and sold to parents, grandparents and former students – some even ending up in Australia and the United States. The Cancer Research charity shop in Corstorphine also sells the calendar and the profits of the £5 selling price are halved between it and the school.

Norrie adds: “Each year we worry that the calendar might not be as good as the previous year, but we’re always impressed in the end. Mind you, when I have them in boxes waiting to be sold it’s always worrying . . . though we’ve never made a loss,” he laughs.

“And while the pupils may appear not to care whether they’re chosen to be in it or not, I know that deep down they are delighted. It’s such a source of pride for the school. We had it thrust upon us all those years ago, but now it has a life of its own and I just hope it’s going in another 25 years.”

Craigmount High School’s 25th edition calendar is available by contacting the school on 0131-339 6823 or by e-mailing {mailto: tHE cold seems to seep from the page as the barren, frozen trees block the view to Stobo Kirk.

You can almost imagine the artist, Jinnie Kim, wrapped up against the elements, her fingertips freezing as she grasps her paintbrush, quickly trying to capture the January scene in front of her before heading back indoors to the warmth.

Fast forward a few months and you can picture Lamond Sutherland braving the April showers as he huddles under a grey sky, quickly sketching out his landscape of Inverary Castle.

By the summer Iga Kowalska is leisurely painting Cawdor Castle basking in the heat of an August sun. In autumn Caitlin McMillan is soaking up the colours of Haddington, and by the end of the year Claire Cowan is sitting in the twilight, a snowstorm in the air as she depicts an Edinburgh winter’s night.

Craigmount High School art students certainly get around. At least you’d think so from the vast array of Scottish scenes depicted in their school calendar. Yet each image was produced in the warmth and safety of Norrie Dingwall’s art class at the Craigs Road school.

What makes them special though is that they – and eight other landscapes – were selected from around 50 paintings entered by pupils for the silver anniversary of the celebrated school calendar.

It may have started 25 years ago as a favour for a printing company, but the Craigmount calendar has become as traditional at this time of year as ice skating in Princes Street Gardens and fireworks at Hogmanay. And it’s no sugar paper and glue affair, but a professionally printed work of art of seasonal landscapes, many of which could grace any gallery wall.

“The first calendar was produced in 1987, the year I joined the school,” says Norrie, who is now principal of the art department. “It was an instant hit back then, selling out within a week, and it has gone from strength to strength. It’s hard to believe, though, that we’ve just produced the 25th calendar.”

He adds: “We did the first one when a printing firm contacted the school as it had been let down by the person who did the artwork for its calendar. We agreed to supply images, and it took off from there.

“The great thing is that the process involves every art student as coursework demands they produce a Scottish landscape, and the standard gets better every year. They paint from photographs, though they choose which landscape they prefer, and most are done in watercolour, though some use other mediums too like pen and ink.

“It’s always very difficult to whittle it down to 12, but we try to get a mix of places – we couldn’t have three Edinburgh Castles, no matter how good they all might be. We also try to make the pictures appropriate to the month, and get a mix of ages of the artists.”

Compiling the calendar begins in the summer and students are given a few weeks to work on their landscape before the judging begins. Some, like 17-year-old Jinne Kim, now in her sixth year, have appeared in the calendar before, while others like 13-year-old Claire Cowan, had their work selected while still in their first year.

Jinnie says: “I chose to paint Stobo Kirk because I found it interesting, the distance between the trees and the church itself. It also meant I could try a different style, using a watercolour wash, then the trees in ink. I’m pleased with it and it is nice to be chosen for the calendar.”

For 14-year-old Lamond – the only male artist selected for the calendar – choosing Inverary Castle was a more personal affair. “I’ve been there with my gran and really liked it,” he says.

“But if I’m completely honest it looked like an easy landscape to produce. Once I started working on it, though, I realised it wasn’t. It seemed a sinister place so I wanted to get some of that into the weather, to give the rain a kind of aggression.”

Sixth year pupil Caitlin McMillan’s depiction of Old Nungate Bridge in Haddington – November’s scene – is a riot of oranges, reds and blues. The 16-year-old says: “I normally do a lot of portrait work so it was nice to do a landscape for a change. I really wanted to exaggerate the colours that were in the photo. It’s a style of painting I really like.”

The differences between the styles of the pictures selected are many. But Norrie says: “You can’t compare a final year student’s work with a first year’s as there will be much more detail and skill, but we always look for a mix of styles. Some are more expressive than others.”

The calendar normally features 13 different landscapes – one for each month, plus the cover – but this year the front is a showcase of the previous 24 calendar covers.

Seven hundred calendars are printed, and sold to parents, grandparents and former students – some even ending up in Australia and the United States. The Cancer Research charity shop in Corstorphine also sells the calendar and the profits of the £5 selling price are halved between it and the school.

Norrie adds: “Each year we worry that the calendar might not be as good as the previous year, but we’re always impressed in the end. Mind you, when I have them in boxes waiting to be sold it’s always worrying . . . though we’ve never made a loss,” he laughs.

“And while the pupils may appear not to care whether they’re chosen to be in it or not, I know that deep down they are delighted. It’s such a source of pride for the school. We had it thrust upon us all those years ago, but now it has a life of its own and I just hope it’s going in another 25 years.”

Craigmount High School’s 25th edition calendar is available by contacting the school on 0131-339 6823 or by e-mailing {mailto:enquiries@craigmount.edin.sch.uk|enquiries@craigmount.edin.sch.uk}.