Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Garden - Bridge-of-Allan

(top) - twisted hazel branch,( bottom) spider


“Start with something organic!” said my tutor in Glasgow School of Art’s portfolio class.

I thought of that this morning when I photographed this spider, made during my second year at college, part of my first Public Art project (disastrous one as it turned out!).

My spider got short shift at Glasgow School of Art (“We are not having that here!” ) so my half-finished spider got relegated to my garden where it now lurks in the undergrowth.

Instead for my Public Art project I used electronic text and installed it in Borders Bookshop in Glasgow

Well, ten years later Borders no longer exists, my electronic text board has broken but my spider still lives in the garden.

Today I photographed it with a branch of a twisted hazel in the garden.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Garden - Bridge of Allan

This is an experiment - a slideshow of my garden in winter.

Whoops! We have a technical glitch ! Uploaded QuickTime movie yet it doesn't shown up now .Where has it gone?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My garden in winter

The recent heavy fall of snow has transformed my garden into something out of Narnia.

There's a story behind the Black Panther .

I had it stolen and I put a notice up in the local Post office in Bridge of Allan offering a reward.
Some days later I received a phone call.

It had been spotted in a field full of sheep...

Well it was Freshers Week at Stirling University and I reckon some students just lifted it - since then I have moved it to another part of the garden where it is no longer visible from the road.

"Black Panther" Ann Shaw, (fibre-glass)

"Furrowed Brow" ( lower image) by Dominic Clare is carved from oak. Now it lives beneath an oak tree in my garden.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Apple store Glasgow and exhibitions

Image created on Ipad.

I need to upgrade my computer ( Macbook or Imac? can't decide) so I visit the Apple store in Glasgow .

The place is heaving with young people , along with a sprinkling of oldies like myself.

I need sharp elbows to get to the machines. But a lifetime in newspaper journalism has equipped me with that and I am soon lost in the latest Apple dream machines.

Buoyed up with this vision of our digital world I stroll along to visit an exhibition which had good reviews.

But the gallery is empty despite it being a very busy Friday in the city . Not a good sign. I soon realise why.

After the moving images and inter-activity of the Apple store the work hanging on the walls looks, not to mince words, dead.

I am overcome with a tremendous sense of deja-vu.

The paintings just hangs there. They tell me nothing about the world I live in. In fact they could have been done 20, 50 or even 100 years ago.

It's said the average time spent in an exhibition is 45 minutes. I am in and out in less than ten.

Stunned I decide to visit my favourite bookshop, only to find it has been replaced by a mobile phone shop.

Welcome to the 21st century and the turbulent age we live in.

PS. Still I need a laptop when I've got an ipad? but that's another story.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Red Tree- Open Studio weekend

Josefina de Unamuno
, a retired Spanish doctor based in Stirling and now a practising artist, was among the artists participating in The Red Tree Open Studio weekend.

Organised by artist Catherine Froy the event is a spin-off from
Forth Valley Open Studios
. Others taking part were May Chipulina, Diana Hand and Libby Yule.

The consensus is that it was a great success in terms of visitors - between 60-70, sales, networking and in raising the profile of artists in the Forth Valley.

As one visitor remarked:"I think its great the way all these studios are finally opening their doors. This year I have been to ones in Perthshire, Forth Valley, Trossachs and now this. "

Take a look at her blog to view the exhibition:

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Trossachs Open Studios

(caption) Dave Hunt of Westerlix Studios, Killin with Rob Mulholland's mirrored sculpture of a human figure along with Kiera, Wenwen and Ann.

Well, the first Trossachs Open Studios weekend got off to a very wet start. We had some visitors that weekend from China so we took the opportunity to show them a side of British life they had never seen before.

They liked the friendliness and informality of the Open Studios where we just wandered into peoples houses...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Perthshire Open Studios

Perthshire Open Studios

Perthshire Open Studios, or POS as they are known as, are set in some of the most fantastic scenic locations in Scotland.
It is worth visiting them just for the drive there! Everything from a castle and stately home to a portakabin and converted garage.
And the scenery is breathtaking.

Three of us from Forth Valley Open Studios - Avril Nicol, Jacqueline Marr and myself- visited a number.

(caption) Jacqueline Marr outside the Tempest studio/gallery in Aberfeldy holding up a screenprint by Ryan Hannigan.

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Perthshire Open Studios

Ipad drawing

Visited David Murton, chair of Perthshire Open Studios in Crook of Devon. He has a mini business going at home with his garage converted into a studio , garden shed into a framing workshop and his house into a gallery!
Tomorrow we do a tour of more studios.

Roy Petrie, former colleagues on The Herald, ( graphic artist) had his exhibition opening at Scion House, Stirling University on Saturday- big turn out of journalists and ex journalists from The Herald. It was more like our annual reunion.

Am busy going through major de-clutterirng of studio. Still experimenting with Ipad finding out exactly the limits of the software.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ann Shaw Blog: Jupiter Artland

Ann Shaw Blog: Jupiter Artland

Jupiter Artland

Cornelia Parker, '"Landscape with Gun and Tree"', cast iron and corten steel, 14 August 2010. This piece by Cornelia Parker is based on Gainsborough's "Mr and Mrs Andrews" of a couple posed under a tree with Mr Andrews carrying the gun. Here the gun has been left leaning against a tree, possibly loaded. Photo: Ann Shaw.

It's not often I rave about work I see these days but I was gobsmacked at the quality and quantity of sculpture in Jupiter Artland the private sculpture park near Edinburgh opened last year.

These are some of the sculptors: Anish Kapoor, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Antony Gormley, Andy Goldsworthy, Mac Quinn, Cornelia Parker and Charles Jencks.

Well worth a visit. Or Google Jupiter Artland.
Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

Monday, August 09, 2010

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n

Diary of an artist writer online | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n
This is the first time I have used the sharing link from AN - and it seems to work! just a short par about Francis Alys - an artist new to me whose exhibition at Tate Modern I have just seen - first time I have seen work that was truly "different".

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Kirkcudbright riding of the marches

Just spent a few days in Kirkcudbright and stumbled across this ancient tradition of Riding of the Marches where 93 riders and horses and ponies ride the boundaries of the Royal Burgh of Kirkcudbright, a practise started in July 1485, and carried out every year since.

They make frequent stops at several pubs and hotels and they are given free drinks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kirkcudbright- Jessie King's former studio

This weekend is the Kirkcudbright Art and Crafts Trail .

I have just stayed in Greengate, former home of Jessie King, one of the most famous of the "Glasgow Girls" artists.

The new owners Pauline and Colin Saul are also artists and founder members of the Art and Crafts trail and they let me film inside their studio.

Melodala software

Just downloaded Melodala software to my Ipad. It makes a very quick easy to use interactive drawing tool- designed by guys in the Tate Modern and used in their current inter-active exhibition.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Gurkhars in Scotland

The Gurkhars were performing at the Alva Highland Games despite the rain, noise from the fairground and an audience that were largely unattentive.

In the circumstances they did very well.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios - June

Well, I guess it's finally over and we are all chilling out and enjoying some well earned down-time.

But its been a fantastic success! One of the features of the first ever Forth Valley Open Studios were the unusual locations that some artists chose to show-case their work- portakabin, church, marquee, pub- partly because their own studios couldn't cope with an influx of visitors.

David Tapner hired the upstairs room in the Westerton pub, Bridge of Allan and had between 280-300 visitors ! Oh yes and he sold overe 20 paintings too.

Diana Hands from Stirling had a marquee in her garden and this proved popular too.

I had a stready stream of visitors - 82 in all and to be honest I couldn't have coped with hundreds coming through the house especially as I had a sound installation of wolves.

Neighbours complained so I only switched it on when visitors arrived.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Cathy Peattie at Delta Studios

Cathy Peattie, MSP, with Craig McKechnie, director of Delta Studios, Ann Shaw , secretary Forth Valley Open Studios and Lys Hansen, chair of Forth Valley Open Studios at exhibition launch.

(Photograph - Dave Hunt)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Cathy Peattie, the "singing politician" opens our exhibition

Cathy Peattie , MSP, ( bold pattern) with members of the Forth Valley Open Studios committee.

Lys Hansen, chair of Forth Valley Open Studios, with Avril Nicol, Project Co-ordinator
Well it's done!
We have just had the official opening of the first ever Forth Valley Open Studios "taster exhibition" with over 100 participating artists less than six months since we had the idea....and all without any official grant.

This is a totally artist-led initiative, something that the "singing MSP" Cathy Peattie made mention of in her introduction .
Then she sang "Bread and Roses" - to great acclaim.

But we couldn't have done it without a lot of support especially from Craig McKechnie at Delta Studios and Avril Nicol, who acted as our Volunteer Coordinator on the project and, of course, endless support from Gill and Dave Hunt of Perthshire Open Studios on whom we modelled the whole project even using their designer, Rosy Naylor from Edinburgh.

Cathy Peattie singing

(Video -Ann Shaw, photographs - Karen Howard)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios - June

Countdown to launch on Friday. Everything going to plan. Cathy Peattie, MSP, will sing for us to officially launch Forth Valley Open Studios- apaprently she has an amazing voice.

It is appropriate that Cathy will do the opening because her background is in the voluntary sector where she has played a major role in the community.
Check her out at:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cathy Peattie, MSP- gallery opening

Life has been so hectic recently that have not had time to update my blog.
Cathy Peattie, MSP for Grangemouth, has agreed to open the launch exhibition for Forth Valley Open Studios on June 4th in Delta Studios.

We regard this as something of a coup - especially as she has agreed to sing at the event too!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Screenprinting- Glasgow Print Studio

Screenprint right. Original image (left) created on iPhone and printed out as a photograph.

Where is the delete button? I have just completed a weekend screen printing course at Glasgow Print Studio and on more than one occasion I found myself automatically looking for the delete button - I work digitally - so it was something of a novel experience to be dabbling in this ancient technology invented thousands of years ago by the Chinese.

Yes I love screen prints but I found myself asking: why can't this be done digitally? and of course to a certain extent it can. The hand made print is superior to the machine made one but ... I remain unconvinced that it is for me.

What finally convinced me was that towards the end of the two day course I was about to print my fourth colour and accidentally picked up a squeegee left by previous student who
asked to take my place in the queue ("I will be very quick" he promised but of course he wasn't -).
The result? You've guessed - he had red paint on his squeegee, which turned my yellow into a burnt orange..
And there was no going back.
If only there had been a delete button…

Friday, April 30, 2010

Short list - medical book award

Carole Reeves and Ann Shaw taken in Carole's office at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of medicine, UCL

Well, we didn't win an award for the "Children of Craig-y-nos" but, along with four other runners-up, we received a certificate
commending us "for excellence in communicating medical and health information in a book for the lay reader".

The prize was awarded to "Medic: saving lives - from Dunkirk to Afghanistan by John Nichol and tony Rennell - a very worthy winner.

The Open Book Awards are given every year by the Medical Journalists Association.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Children of Craig-y-nos on shortlist - book award

“ A powerful story told in words and pictures assembled from first-hand accounts…reveals shocking details of children’s lives in a Welsh TB hospital.”

That’s what the judges say about “Children of Craig-y-nos”.

Well, I guess I never thought of it in that light. To me who spent four years in Craig-y-nos as a child it seemed normal. I didn’t know anything else.

It is only now with a distance of more than 50 years I realise in writing this book, along with Carole Reeves, that it was far from normal.

There are five books short-listed for the Open Book Award and the winner will be announced on Tuesday evening at a special presentation to be held at the Wellcome Foundation.

The others on the shortlist ( General readership, category) include “Manufacturing Depression, the secret history of a modern disease” by Gary Greenberg, “An Infinity of things: how Sir Henry Wellcome collected the world” by Frances Larson and “Medic: saving lives – from Dunkirk to Afghanistan” by John Nichol and Tony Rennell.

So you see the field is very strong…the miracle is that we have even got as far as the short-list!

I will be travelling by train from Scotland to London tomorrow…

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios - June

iPhone drawing

Great spread in local paper - Wee Country News of our Forth Valley Open Studios.

This is a weekly freesheet and it updates its site tomorrow so will put a link in then.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Music pets - way of the future?

Are music pets that you train to go and fetch you favourite music the way forward? check out this new app.reviewed in Wired magazine.

It says:
"The goal of Music Pets is to entertain a virtual pet by training it to like the music you like, then using points to send the pet out to find more music to add to your collection. It sounds silly, but this cartoon-ish virtual world includes every element of the real-world music experience: getting recommendations, deciding whether you like songs, collecting music, and going over to your friends’ “houses” to play songs from your collection, which, as with just about everything else, requires that you expend points."

Read More

Monday, April 12, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios - June

Phew!...our brochure is almost ready for the printers. It has been a steep leaning curve! What started as an idea between a group of friends at Christmas time has snowballed into a major arts event for the Forth Valley - by the way some folk don't know where that it . We are between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Now we are going to start on the publicity and promotion for this space.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book award- short list

I have just heard that our book "TheChildren of Craig-y-nos" which I co-authored with Dr Carole Reeves, has been shortlisted for the annual medical journalists book awards.

Winner to be announced at a special reception in London on April 27th.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stirling arts festival

How about this for a piece fo serendipity- our first Forth Valley Open Studios project coincides with the first joint Stirling /Galway Arts Festival in June.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

World TB Day -"The Children of Craig-y-nos"

My co-author Dr Carole Reeves ( Outreach Historian with the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine UCL), will be talking this afternoon on the search for the lost children of Craig-y-nos as part of UCL seminar to commemorate World TB Day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios - June

We visited our designer in Edinburgh on Monday and handed over all our information for the Forth Valley Open Studios brochure- on two digital sticks! Once upon a time...well a year or maybe two years ago this would have involved huge folders and required a bulky briefcase , even a suitcase, to transport all the information.
Today the stick slips into my handbag next to my iPhone...such is the changing work environment.

We have all been astonished at the response - nearly a 100 entries, thats well over 100 artists.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Scion House exhibition

"Joy" iPhone art

It is always a bit sad to take an exhibition down though this one has been up for over five weeks. Feedback has been good though little sold. Part of the problem is that people are reluctant to pay money for something they see that has been through a computer even though you are using the same thinking process as if you were doing it physically.

The question is: what to do with the work? it is currently stored in the spare bedroom....maybe ought to sell it on E-bay? only joking.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Scion House exhibition

Just heard my Iphoto pix are selling at the exhibition but have not got the time to promote my work there because of all my work with Forth Valley Open Studios.

Fortunately I have had good coverage in the local newspapers because of the novelty of work drawn on an Iphone!

These are some photos taken at the private viewing by Karen Howard
Karen Howard with some of my iPhotos

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Exhibition opening- Scion House

"Strength" created on iPhone

Delighted to see over 40 people turn up last Sunday afternoon to my exhibition opening at Scion House, Stirling University Innovation Park.

Many were intrigued with the iPhone pix but sales were nil.

The following conversation was overheard:
"I like the work and I would buy it if it was the original."
"But the original is in the computer."

So were does this leave digital artists?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Art Goes mobile- Scion House

Frank Sullivan, PR for Stirling University's Innovation Park, has just issued the following press release about my upcoming exhibition.

" The first art exhibition in the UK to feature works created on a mobile phone will staged at Stirling University Innovation Park.

The 21st century medium has been used by digital artist and writer Ann Shaw as a means of expressing her artistic vision.

A former journalist and graduate of the Glasgow School of Art Ann downloaded software to her iPhone that allowed her to develop her innovative style of art.

( Caption: "Dancer" created on IPhone "Brushes" app on train to Edinburgh)

A self confessed computer buff she has embraced the technology of the cyber world in the pursuit of art.

Ann, who spent more than 20 years as a staff writer for The Herald in Glasgow, has more that 60 short films on Youtube and can be found on Face Book and Twitter.

She is also a ‘blogger’ with her online Diary of Artist only a click away at

Her first solo exhibition entitled The Journey will run at Scion House on Stirling University Innovation Park from February 8 till March 14.

It will include 30 of her colourful iPhone creations one of which ‘The Dancer’ was produced in four minutes as she travelled on the train to Edinburgh!

Ann has firm views on the perception and accessibility of art: “Art is so elitist and it shouldn’t be. What I like about this technology is that it frees it up and breaks down the barriers because it’s accessible, it’s cheap and it’s fun. You don’t have to be in a studio. It’s art on the go.”

“I’m delighted to be staging my first solo exhibition in such an innovative setting and being part of a project that supports local artists.”

The Journey Exhibition is part of an initiative called Art on the Park introduced to encourage local artists, giving them an opportunity to showcase their work.

The highly successful project was established four years ago as part of the Innovation Park’s outreach to the local community.

Lynn Blaikie the Innovation Park’s Operations and Business Development Manager, said:”Art and Innovation have gone hand in hand from time immemorial. It’s very fitting therefore that Ann’s innovative creative style using the most modern mobile communication technology should be staged here on the Innovation Park. I hope it will attract great interest, not only because it’s the first exhibition of its kind, but because it showcases a new art form that is accessible to everyone.”

Monday, February 01, 2010

Iphone and Ipad

Walking in the Scottish Highlands yesterday I decided to find out how Andy Murray had got on in the Australian Open.
So I googled it on my Iphone .

Next week I have an exhibition opening in Scion House, part of Stirling University's Innovation Park and a big chunk of the exhibition has been created on my ...Iphone.

It goes without saying I can't wait to get my hands on the Ipad.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios - June

A date has been set for the Forth Valley Open Studios - 12- 20th June.

This follows Saturday's meeting in Stirling where we formally constituted ourselves and formed a committee.

Tremendous enthusiasm from everyone concerned with the project.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Changing world of work- Twitter

Had yet another example this morning of how fast the world of work is changing.
I rang a printer in Oxford for a quote ( I am in Scotland) and I was asked for the web-site for Forth Valley Open Studios. Explained it was under constuction because we had only just registered the domain name and there was a silence the other end.
Then she said:
"Oh thats OK I have found you on Twitter."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Photos from public meeting - Forth Valley Open Studios

Angela Beardsley chairs the public meeting in Alloa for the Forth Valley Open Studios

Chair of Perthshsire Open Studios, David Murton ( with beard) with members of the audience.

(Photos courtesy of Karen Howerd)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios-Alloa public meeting

We held a public meeting in Alloa to "test the water" to see if there was any public interest in holding a Forth Valley Open Studios 2010- and we were delighted to find over 50 turned up!

Not bad for a mid-week January night in central Scotland. A lot of this was due to the publicity we had in the local papers, support of Kathleen ONeill the Cultural Planner for Alloa who arranged for us through Clacks Council to have a fantastic poster designed, refreshments and a room for the event - the temporary "Make Room" former shop premises acting as a very lively arts venue in the centre of Alloa.

The whole event was chaired by Angela Beardsley who did a fantastic job too. Oh yes and there was an army of unsung volunteers who worked their socks off to get everything ready for the night.

One thing is certain: artists are want to see a project like Open Studios in this area.

Watch this space.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios - poster

Richard Feehan of Clacks Council design team has produced a poster for us at lighting speed, very glossy A3 also one for the web which I have circulated to all 41 artists who have wish to participate in forthcoming event.

Whole project gathering momentum.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Forth Valley Open Studios

My garden today covered under a blanket of snow

Did you know that most people have never an artist and certainly never visited one in her/his studio?

this was pointed out to me last night when I attended networking event with several friends involved in setting up Forth Valley Open Studios in the Dunbalne Hydro.

It was organised by to promote tourism in the area.

Everyone we mentioned our project to was really enthusiastic because it ticked all the right boxes i.e. it offered people a new experience, it involved visiting beautiful parts of the Scottish countryside , it had something there for children too and it was free!

I guess we are on to a winner...

So far 34 artists in the Forth Valley have expressed an interest in participating in the project and we have anaother public meeting planned for January 21st in Alloa- weather permitting.