Bute-born artist’s Gigha show is a big hit

Jim Middleton, Sandra Ratcliffe, Martha Neilson and Steven Neilson pictured at the opening of Sandra's exhibition on Gigha on Saturday.
Jim Middleton, Sandra Ratcliffe, Martha Neilson and Steven Neilson pictured at the opening of Sandra's exhibition on Gigha on Saturday.

Bute-born Sandra Ratcliffe’s solo art exhibition on the island of Gigha has been a fantatic success!

At the opening preview on Saturday, 12 paintings sold within two hours - a record for the Gigha Gallery. Even West Coast artist Jolomo – John Lowrie Morrison – has not equalled that in his last two exhibitions there.

And Sandra still has another two months to sell the remaining 30 paintings of Gigha and West Coast seascapes and landscapes.

Supporting her in her second solo exhibition on Gigha were a few Brandanes, who travelled there for the opening party and evening ceilidh to celebrate Sandra’s new works.

Rothesay Harbour Master Steven Neilson and his wife Martha, and former Buteman reporter Jim Middleton (who now lives in Edinburgh) – and all school friends of Sandra’s from Rothesay Academy days – enjoyed the day with the artis along with many other friends from around Scotland.

A friend currently working in Lithuania made the trip to Gigha specially for the event, and there was a large contingent from her home town of Ayr.

Sandra started her lengthy career in Scottish tabloid journalism as a junior reporter on The Buteman, before moving to the Evening Citizen and then the Daily Record, where she was a senior features writer for many years. She left journalism at the end of the 1990s and has since concentrated on art.

She said: “I am absolutely stunned at the success of my second exhibition here. It is wonderful that so many people enjoy my paintings.

“It is just amazing that the weather has been so wonderful this weekend after the Arctic conditions of just two weeks ago, when the Kintyre peninsula was cut off by blizzards and there was no power on this island for several days.

“The local community are very strong in spirit and when you look around, it is great to see how they have recovered to welcome many visitors to the island.

“They pulled out all the stops to have everything up and running for the start of my exhibition. A big thank you to Henri Macauley who runs the Gigha gallery for all her hard work in organising the event.’

Henri Macauley of the Gigha Gallery said: “We are absolutely delighted by the opening day success of Sandra’s exhibition. Nobody has equalled the first day sales we have had for her paintings today.

“But we are not surprised...her work is exciting, powerful and evocative - so distinctive compared to many other current Scottish artists.”