Talented NEOS artists find unusual location grist to the mill

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A TRIO of talented north-east artists have an unusual location for their ‘NEOS’ open studios exhibition this year - the historic Mill of Benholm near Johnshaven.

Two of the artists are originally from overseas, painter Ian Logan and photographer Janine Illian, whilst pastel specialist Pam Pringle is from St Andrews but now lives in Stonehaven.

The mill itself is a fully restored and working water-powered meal mill in beautiful woodlands.

Although the layout of the mill itself poses plenty of challenges for the hanging of art work, this is far outweighed by the atmosphere and character of the original buildings and the grounds surrounding. This is a reflection of the immense dedication of the mainly volunteer workers at the mill.

The historic nature of the setting dates back to the period when the forbears of one of the artists, Ian Logan, left Scotland for New Zealand. Now resident in Stonehaven, Ian Logan finds in the coastal and mountain scenery of Scotland an echo of his native land. Previously living in London and Paris, he exhibited extensively in those cities until a yearning for being closer to nature drew him to the northeast five years ago. An exceptionally diverse artist, he is equally at home in oils, watercolours and acrylics. He prefers to work on the spot to develop a deeper feeling for his subject matter.

“My paintings at this exhibition will draw from my travels in Europe as well as the amazing natural scenery of Scotland. There will also be some cityscapes of places that have caught my eye along the way,” he says.

Also exhibiting in the mill building itself is photographer Janine Illian. She also is originally from overseas, moving to Scotland in 2000 from Germany.  She had been involved in photography for a long time but  was immediately inspired by the colours, the landscape and the culture in Scotland. A visit to Australia in 2002 as well as an increased involvement with ecology and the natural world through her work as a scientist have further inspired her artistic work over the years.

Janine works in a very intuitive way finding her raw material all around her. She enjoys discovering geometry in nature, playing with reflections and colours, using both close-ups and large scale landscape photography. She ranges widely in subject matter finding beauty in landscapes, objects, nature and people.

Like Ian Logan she travels widely and this year’s exhibition features new work  taken in Scotland, Portugal, Istanbul and France.

The third artist, Pam Pringle, has ranged less far afield for her pastels, concentrating mostly on landscapes of the Mearns countryside. She is having her work in the tearoom and shop and has been a regular exhibitor at the Mill of late. She finds the pastel medium ideal to capture the fleeting moments of light and colour for which this region is famous. Her affection for the area shines through in her work.

To visit the Mill of Benholm during Neos then is not only to take in some beautiful art but also to experience a unique and evocative place recreated faithfully as it would have been in the nineteenth century. The exhibition itself is on from the 10th to the 18th of September and the hours are 10am to 3pm daily. The week will also feature photography by clients of the mill and there is the well-known tearoom providing delicious homebakes and snacks to sustain art lovers on their “NEOS crawl”. It can be found on the A92, just north of Johnshaven and is well signposted.

For further information about the exhibition please see the NEOS catalogue or email Ian Logan at: barrlogan@yahoo.com, phone: 0798-5730948