Jan Morrison, director of The Leith Gallery, which exhibits Deborah Phillips' original paintings and Waterside Art, which sells her limited edition prints, has a conversation with Deborah Phillips, the artist.
JM "I know you have a website, Debbie. With your work on gallery websites why do you feel the need to have one?"
DP "Although gallery websites are a fantastic way to promote work, images do tend to come and go as and when exhibitions change.
My website is a constant and a useful tool in promoting both my work and the galleries I show in. It provides a means for potential purchasers to see what is new and where the latest images are being exhibited. I also quite enjoy maintaining it too! "
"There seems so much more to putting on an exhibition than merely hanging paintings on walls. Apart from making sales, what are the highs (and lows) of staging an exhibition?"
JM The big high is that it feels like Christmas every time. You unwrap the work and although I'll have seen jpgs of some of the work beforehand most of it will be new to me and it is so exciting to see.
When it is a solo show then the hanging is usually easy as there is a conformity of style, frames etc. However mixed exhibitions are always a challenge. I invariably hang by colour trying to find work which can hang beside other work and sit happily.
The lows are when you can't achieve a coherent look on first attempt and paintings get moved around the gallery till I'm happy with the hang. Meantime Muir is usually doubting my sanity!
Another high is seeing the reaction of the artists to the finished hanging. They too get a buzz on seeing the work on the wall as it can be the first time they've seen their work as a body. To free up space for working they may have put earlier work in store
Do you collect art?
DP The answer is yes, but not always the kind of thing you might imagine! Although I paint colourful landscapes, that's not normally what I buy myself - maybe because the subject matter and the palette is familiar to me. I have bought several still life subjects, a couple of stunning Italian paintings but most of all I can't resist etchings! The house is full of them. I also have a collection of Tom Ross lithographs and have commissioned several lino cut pieces from Barbara Robertson who is a tremendously skilled printmaker.
I'd like to buy more but I am rapidly running out of wall space."
I am a great fan of William Nicholson, the
Boys and the Scottish Colourists in particular Arthur Melville and FBC Cadell. Glasgow
It maybe isn't politic to ask who your favourite living painter is, but is there anyone from days gone by that particularly appeals to you?
JM Like you I'm fond of the Glasgow Boys and the Colourists and of those I'm most drawn to J D Fergusson.
But I have to go further back to my all time favourite Caravaggio - the real bad boy of the art world but oh, how he could paint!
What would you have been if not an artist?
DP Most probably something to do with history. I'm not sure I would have ended up being one but, as a child, I loved the idea of being an archaeologist. The thought of getting dirty, digging in trenches then discovering artefacts and touching the past was and still is quite a thrilling idea for me...however, I probably would have been a bit of a fair-weather excavator as the idea of frost, wind and rain doesn't appeal!
I love to listen to music while painting and have pretty eclectic taste which ranges from Parisian Accordion Cafe Music and Big Bands from the 1920s to the Pixies, Frank Black, Kasabian etc...what does a gallery owner listen to to inspire while hanging an exhibition or to unwind after a busy opening?
JM I love music but am more likely to be listening to Radio 4 in the hope of a good play. My music tastes run from the songs of my youth, the 60’s to classical music. This year we have booked loads of tickets for concerts by the RSNO and
SCO. Enjoyed everyone so far and I’m really looking forward to the rest.