Headline photo

Headline photo
Rockcliffe and Kippford from South Glen Brae: Ed Iglehart [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Introductory text

Kippford and Rockcliffe are on the East Stewartry Coast, an unspoilt National Scenic Area with two other NSAs in close proximity. It is in Dumfries & Galloway, South West Scotland, a region known for it's wonderful scenery, biodiversity, turbulent history, smugglers and black and white 'belted' cattle known as Galloway Belties. This stretch of coastline has many names. Known locally as the Colvend Coast or the 'Secret Coast' (due to the peace and tranquility) it is often referred to as the 'Scottish Riviera' due to it being the holiday resort of choice for Victorian millionaires and having a Gulf Stream influenced microclimate: evidenced by palm trees in some gardens. Castle Douglas, the food town is a short drive away and Kirkcudbright, the Artists Town is over the next headland.

This a scenic and unique part of the world and we started the blog to share the experience of living in this wonderful place. We hope that it will be of interest to others who live here and give those planning to visit the area a taste of all it has to offer.

The blog has a correspondent in both Kippford and Rockcliffe village, you can also follow their Twitter feeds on the right of the page. If you would like to get involved we look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Solway artist Ailsa Black

Being huge fans of Ailsa Black's whimsical work we invited her to write a post for the blog. Her work is characterised by wonderful skills of observation, an amazing attention to detail and a unique perspective on the world around her.  In short... we love her quirky, contemporary na├»ve  style which really distills life on the Solway Coast and connects with those who love the area. This is one of my own particular favorites (but then again being a Collie owner I am biased!): 

Pep talk by Ailsa Black

Ailsa lives on the Solway Coast here in Dumfries and Galloway and it is from the countryside, coast and seascapes of the area that she takes her inspiration.  

Ailsa describes her work as an expression of Scottish contemporary rural life and she focuses on the interaction of landscape, animals, birds and people that surround her.  She is interested in the use of these core influences, which merge with her imagination, to convey a light-hearted, quirky and whimsical narrative on aspects of rural life. 

Hoppity poppity by Ailsa Black

 Her works, in acrylic paint on canvas board, utilise a limited, but bold, palette of signature colours and simplify form to bring a modern decorative clarity and simplicity to the image. 

 So, over to Ailsa

I'm very lucky to live in a tiny coastal hamlet in South West Scotland, it has a few houses, a ruined pier, a phone box and a pub.  My studio is in the converted attic and looks onto hills and fields at the back and the sea at the front.  Out the front I often can see porpoises, seals, boats and sometimes otters, but mostly I see people walking their dogs and wandering about quite unaware that they are being watched.  
Salty seadog by Ailsa Black

Out the back of the house I can watch cows and sheep.  Everywhere there are birds of all shapes and sizes.  I feature all these aspects in my work...what more inspiration would you need?

I have always loved drawing and painting and would do so at every opportunity throughout my life.  I was lucky to have a couple of great art teachers at both primary and secondary school.  When I left school I went to art school and had a great tutor there.  Also my mum is a keen painter and I remember having to sit for her while I was quite young so she could draw me, she has always been very encouraging.

I have a need to capture and express my experience of life and the things that surround me.  I try to add a touch of humour and sometimes a word or two of Scots to my painting titles.  Life is too precious not to try and have some fun!
Moonlit escapade by Ailsa Black


Ailsa sells cards and prints to trade at over 30 outlets across the UK.  She has exhibited paintings at the Royal Glasgow Institute and the Paisley Art Institute.  She has completed many private commissions and her work is increasingly being collected across the UK and internationally.

You can see Ailsa’s work at www.ailsablack.com  or follow her at

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