Our new exhibition is now on the walls and it is an exceptional show. Pascale Rentsch RSW and Madeleine Hand are very different artists but both convey the pleasure of living in the moment, finding beauty in our surroundings, and joy in everyday life.
We first came across Pascale's work online, during lockdown, when we were unable to visit exhibitions, and we were smitten. Since then, it has been a pleasure to be able to exhibit her paintings in the gallery. This is her first solo show at Tolquhon.
In Pascale’s exhibition you can immerse yourself in landscape, watch the weather change, smell the seaspray and absorb the beauty of wildflowers. So much does she draw you into the landscape that you can almost hear the birds sing.
Pascale grew up in Switzerland, surrounded by mountains. She moved to Scotland, to study at Edinburgh College of Art, and she has never left. She now lives with her family in East Lothian surrounded by countryside, hills and coast. She draws and paints outdoors in all weather conditions, her materials gathered together in a large paint spattered shopping trolley, which she wheels out to wherever she is working. She works instinctively, following her feelings, capturing nature and the elements in a spontaneous manner.
There are a number of seascapes in the exhibition. Pascale says she can now live without the mountains but not without the sea. “The light on the coast is something really special and it makes me instantly take a deep breath when I arrive to paint.”
“My language is paint and I enjoy working outside with my materials, exploring mark-making and connecting with my surroundings, reacting to what I see, feel and hear. I love the fact that whenever I am in nature, I know I will always find something beautiful, something that touches me however small and insignificant it might appear.”
Even in deepest winter when the water in her container freezes, her brushes turn brittle and her fingers begin to go numb, Pascale cannot resist the call to paint. “I love working with the weather! The freezing temperatures have an influence on me, my materials and work. Despite the cold, I feel light, connected and free.”
Pascale's paintings have a lightness of touch, they are never overdone. She uses heavyweight watercolour paper and passages of white paper are allowed to breathe so the paint has more effect. There are subtleties of texture — gold leaf where just a sparkle hints of sun gleams, spatterings of colour, sprayed across the paper, watercolour washes … Pascale has a mastery of technique but wears it lightly. When she paints, all her senses are involved. It is an intense experience, both physically and mentally, and she can be exhausted after a day’s painting. But what beauty she creates.
This is an exhibition not to be missed. It runs from 13 May to 3 June.