Great Items at the Project Ability Shop!

There is quite frankly an abudance of fantastic items now avaiable in our gallery shop. From hand crafted glass works and ceramics to original works of art, you're bound to find something great that you certainly won't find in any other shop!

Our tea-towels, created by the young maestros of the Create workshops, are ever popular and would brighten up any kitchen!

Come in to the gallery, have a browse, and find something unique!

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Artwork of the Week - Untitled by Gary Sorbie

Gary Sorbie’s haunting untitled piece is our Artwork of the Week.

Beautiful and sombre, the colour and tones used in this piece create a truly foreboding cityscape, perhaps highlighting the urban decay of the modern city.  Saturated in atmosphere, this work is successful in creating a distinct sense of an unreal, metropolitan wasteland. Bravo!

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LATE at the Arches - October 2013


LATE at the Arches is back next month for another evening of music, dancing and fun!

Scotland's first inclusive nightclub, organised by Dates-n-Mates in partnership with C-Change and the Arches, will take place on Tuesday 15th October from 7.30pm till midnight.

Tickets are £6, and can be bought from Dates-n-Mates: 0141 427 2957 or

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Last Day of Aspire Workshops

Today was the last day of the current block of Aspire workshops, with the finishing touch dabbed on many a canvas.  But don't despair - we are now accepting forms for the next block, starting October the 21st, so to ensure your place please return a completed form as soon as possible. Remember, places are given on a first come first served basis on the receipt of a completed form, so don't delay!

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Artwork of the Week - Self Portrait by Jonathan Beatts

This week’s Artwork of the Week is a self-portrait, painted by Jonathan Beatts

Far from traditional, this portrait is portrayed on a plethora of electric colour and contrasts in order to capture the self of the artist; the vibrancy and energy of the piece clearly comes through – almost leaping from the canvas – to provide a truly memorable artwork, filled with vitality and character. You can see this piece and a number of other superb works by our talented young artists in the Art Matters exhibition, currently being held in our gallery. This exhibition will end on the 28th of September, so see it while you can!

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Fundraiser - Project Ability at the Comedy Lounge!

Are you ready for an evening of fun and laughs? Our big fundraising event his year will be a comedy night in partnership with Glasgow's Comedy Lounge, situated just a block away from our studios.

The night will be hosted by compere Patrick Rolink, a veteran of the Glasgow Comedy scene. There will also be a raffle, a bar, and plenty of Project Ability goodies from our shop on sale! 

If you want to have a laugh and help raise money for a great cause, join us on Thursday 14 November at 7.30pm! Tickets are only £5, and can be purchased from Project Ability or online via the Comedy Lounge Facebook Page (£0.50 fee). Tell your friends!

Comedy Lounge, Mansion House, 20 Glassford Street (opposite M&S) 

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Walking Group - First outing

The first outing of our new walking group took place last week with a walk to and through Glasgow Green. The weather had been foul all morning but this didn't deter some of us from venturing along for the afternoon outing and though we weren't exactly rewarded with sunshine, the rain did stay off so we didn't need to dive into the People's Palace for shelter.

We took a route along the riverside and found lots of interesting things to photograph and talk about along the way. There were some swans gathering what we thought was probably material for nest-building and a gaggle of geese who didn't seem to mind us taking snaps of them - at least they didn't snap back!

We used pedometers to gauge how far we had travelled but weren't entirely convinced of their accuracy. We think we walked about 5000 steps and according to Google-maps we travelled approximately 3km.

We plan to make walks of a similar distance in the coming months, exploring the areas around the Merchant City and beyond. If anyone has any suggestions of places to visit and things to look out for, do let us know.
-Celine McIlmunn

For more photos, please click here

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Young Talent on Screen - Week 5

This week, one of our young filmmakers Rory Macdonald is telling us more about last week's workshop.

"We drew pictures inspired by our favourite movies, and made our own movie posters. I chose ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’. I drew the Grinch and his dog.

My pal Owen designed a poster for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, that’s his favourite film.

I enjoy making new friends and working with everyone on the Friday evenings. I think the film festival is going to be awesome!"

As for our 'Guess the Movie Star', can you guess who this is? (drawing by TJ Matterson)

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‘I, myself Marie Christie’

Out of Sight Out of Mind from Jon Mann on Vimeo.

Marie Christie was one of the residents at Lennox Castle Hospital. She came to Project Ability for the Lennox Castle Stories project, and is now one of our Aspire artists. 

During the summer, she told her story to director and producer Jonathan Mann, who then produced the short documentary 'Out of Sight Out of Mind'. 

She also wrote down her memories into a wonderful book: 'I, Myself Marie Christie - Project Ability and the Lennox Castle Hospital Story', which she illustrated. We are lucky to have our very own signed copy by the artist! 

The beautiful and moving book can be purchased from our shop in Trongate 103.

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Artwork of the Week - Stan Laurel by Lesley Nimmo

Lesley Nimmo is no stranger to Artwork of the Week and we just couldn’t resist bringing you her amazing painting of Stan Laurel!

Obviously inspired by the iconic black & white imagery and lyrical modernity of the 1930s, and as always, Lesley’s work is as complex as it is simple.

Lesley continually explores the relationships between colour, form, composition and visual perception and it is always exciting to see her new work taking shape, often annotated with a smiley face.

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Pet Portraits - Work in progress

Though there is still plenty of time to submit a photo of your pet (closing date: 30th September), the Project Ability artists have started working on their pet portraits. Some are proving very popular! 

We will select the best portraits and will exhibit them in our gallery in December. 

See more photos here

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Interviews of artists who took part in Tanya Raabe-Webber’s Portrait Masterclass

A few weeks back, we invited artist Tanya Raabe-Webber to lead a master-class on portraiture.  Five artists took part and technician Jim Ewan asked them about the workshop.

JE. What have you been doing for the last couple of days?

D.  I’ve been doing a self portrait and it’s a completely different style to what I’ve ever tried before, it’s something really different.

In what way is it different?
D.  I’ve never really had any lessons in how to do portraits plus this was a different way of doing it anyway with putting the dark colours on first then gradually adding lighter colours, and the dark red and black show through at the end of it, or should be left to show through, it’s really different.

Was the demonstration that Tanya did helpful?
D.  That was really interesting, to see the slides of the different art work she has been doing, you definitely need to see it in pictures, it made it stick in my memory better than just reading about it.

You did some drawing at the start of the workshop. What was that about?
D.  That was to get the right proportions of the face, and then once you put them in you can adjust them to suit whoever you are painting - like your own face or if you were painting a model’s face you can adjust it according to the main design of it.

What will you take away from the workshop?
D.  I’d like to practise the same technique again and get some more practice. It’s really effective.

Do you think that this is a quick way of doing it?
D.  Definitely a lot quicker than I would usually do it, where I would never reach an end and not really be sure of what I’m doing.

JE.  So tell us what you were doing at the start of the workshop with Tanya?
J.  Tanya gave us an exercise to do to get the correct proportions, she’s got this system to take the measurement of the face, the nose to chin and all that jazz.  it makes it a bit easier, so we were doing that in the morning.

So then you were drawing on the mirrors?
J.  Yes, but before that we were drawing on paper to do the exercise and then once she felt that was fine, we used the acetate to draw.

Was that method helpful?
J.  Definitely the easiest laying out of a self portrait I’ve done.  Usually I have lots of lines and the rulers are out, so her system really broke it down and made it a lot easier.

Tanya put the cool colours down first, how did you feel about that?
J.  When she gave her demonstration she was drawing everything in Hunters Green but then she used another colour, blue?  But it was interesting to see her immediately starting off on the canvas with Hunters Green and her line was so delicate, it is really interesting and she hardly ever used any water, she was using acrylic at that point, straight from the tube, not something I’d seen before. Normally I would use charcoal to draw, so what she was doing immediately gave it life and it built it up really quickly, putting in the colours of the skin tones.  I thought it was a brilliant way of working and it inspired us all because I noticed we all started off with Hunters Green.  It was a good way of starting because it brought it to life quickly.

So how did you get on with your own one, putting down the cool colours first then the flesh tones?
J.  I haven’t painted a self portrait for such a long time and I don’t really like looking at myself so it was an emotionally traumatic journey, but I was very inspired by her approach, so my approach was different from what I would have done normally.

Do you think it was a quicker method?
J.  Considering it was just a two day workshop and we spent a lot of time on the demo, the talk, the slides and I don’t work constantly, my concentration is not good and I get tired and I tend to wander about, so just 2 days and I know it needs more work but there is a result there.  After a while it’s so intense you don’t know what you are looking at anymore but her system has been really effective, quite a revelation and her work is incredible, really expressive.

JE.  What have you been working with?
J Mc.  Acrylics, because that was quick.  Just as quick as I can do today, it’s not bad, it’s getting there.

Would you put oils on top?
J Mc.  I don’t know. I’ll maybe do it in oil, you can do that can’t you, that would be good.

What about the preparatory work, you did some drawings?
J Mc.  That was great as well, you did a frame and then used the acetates, got pens and drew your own face or your main features.

So you were practising the proportions of the face?
J Mc.  Aye, it was good

Do you think you will finish?
J Mc.  I don’t think I’ll finish but it won’t be far away.

JE.  Tell us about the workshop you have been doing?
N.  This is a portrait workshop, I was a wee bit apprehensive at first cause who likes to dae’ your own face, but it’s been quite enjoyable. I’ve found my oils again, first time I have painted with oils for 15 or 16 years.  I found all the things I’ve missed, can’t believe I haven’t done it in such a long time and I’ve enjoyed it, can’t believe it’s finished, two days is so quick, the workshop was brilliant.

What did you do at the beginning?
N.  We did drawings to start with, learn your structure, how your face comes into components, divide up your face, always start with the drawing part anyway before you get your colours.  The workshop was to show how to split up the face, the measurements, how many times your eye goes into your head.

So was the workshop a good reminder on portraiture for you, was the structure different?
N.  It’s the same process I do all the time, if you are drawing and painting you’ve got to get your composition first, always work it out and drawing saves wasting paint.  Always do your drawings first, work out your composition then do a watery sketch first, and then once I’m ready, get a canvas and go for it.  That applies to landscapes as well.  I tend to be drawing all the time and I’ve found I’m loving moving the paint around so maybe I’ll start doing more painting, it’s probably been good for me.

JE.  So what have you been doing over the past few days?
S.  Doing this self portrait.  First time I’ve actually painted for about a year, so I’ve just taken part in this workshop and it has been a real eye opener to learn some new techniques of painting.  Yeah, absolutely fantastic.

What parts were new to you?
S.  The way Tanya goes about creating an initial image, really quick brush strokes, very sparse but really, really fascinating getting something down and using a really light touch whereas I’m quite heavy with a brush and if I hadn’t seen the demonstration beforehand I would have probably have approached this portrait in a completely different way but as it is I’ve just had to persevere and work on it and work on it and work on it.  I’ve had to alter the size of the head and everything, so yeah it’s getting there.  I think there’s still a bit more work but I’ll probably leave it just now and maybe pick it up next week and do some more work on it.

So have you just been using acrylics today?
S.  No, it’s oils today, I used acrylics yesterday to lay down the foundation and earlier on it was just washes over the top of it and then getting a bit thicker with the paint again, yeah it’s getting there, it’s not perfect but it never will be.

JE.  So how do you think people got on?
Tanya.  I think they picked up the head and shoulders structure with a fair amount of ease and we adapted that to creating these on self portraits using acrylic paints to start off with and then some people have gone on to oils and I think it’s been really successful, everyone’s worked really hard and there’s some amazing portraits. I think it’s been really great.

Thank you all!

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Project Ability Walking Group

Do you want to be a bit more active but find it hard to get going? Project Ability now has its own Walking Group!

Starting on Wednesday 11th September at 1pm – then every second week - Celine McIlmunn will lead a group - walking, talking and taking photographs. 
Over the weeks we will keep a walking blog, recording walks and counting the number of steps taken and illustrate it with your photographs.
The walk will start and finish at Trongate 103 and will last approximately one hour.

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Opening of ‘Outside In’ Scotland in Perth

On Thursday 5th September, Lea, Simon and Celine had a trip to Perth to attend the opening of the first of two 'Outside In' Scotland exhibitions - the second will be in Project Ability gallery in October.

Seven Project Ability artists have work in the Perth show: Lea Cummings, David Bradley, Steven Reilly, Tommy Mason, Lesley Nimmo, John Beaton and Ralph Douglas.

05 September - 01 November
Open Monday-Saturday 10-5pm

Perth Museum and Art Gallery
78 George Street
Perth PH1 5LB

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Art Matters Opening

Thank you to all who came by to the opening of our Art Matters exhibition! We had a busy evening of guests coming and going, our resident sitar player Gerry providing another serene soundtrack and some of the artists were there to strike a pose next to their work.

The exhibition continues until 28 September, Tuesday-Saturday 10-5pm, don’t miss it!

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Young Talent on Screen - Week 4

The YToS workshops are now in their fourth week, and the young filmmakers have been hard at work!

Harris tells us more about last week's workshop: "Some of us are currently in the process of producing short 'how to make a film' tutorial video for anyone who wants to try and make a film for the festival but isn't sure how to start making one of their own.
On Friday night, as a whole group we did a set of movie quizzes and while team 'Martial Arts Masters' quizzed valiantly, team 'Fail' ultimately failed to live up to their name and scored more points."

And for our weekly 'Guess the Movie Star', can you guess who this beautiful American actress is?

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Artwork of the Week - Jonathan McKinstray, ‘Ducks’

Project Ability’s current exhibition at Platform has so many great works; we have decided to bring you another from that show as Artwork of the Week!

‘Ducks’ by Jonathan McKinstry is an expansive, intensely coloured drawing on paper that captures and sustains an overwhelming sense of mood evoking colour and features three very charming ducks in a row. Birds are a common subject for Jonathan as can be seen from his previous Eric Cantona as a seagull series. We love this work – it’s lively, full of impulse and gesture.

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Outside In: Scotland - first edition opens tonight!

Perth Museum and Art Gallery are presenting the first Scottish edition of the nationwide Outside In project featuring Project Ability artists John BeatonLea Cummings, David Bradley, Steven Reilly, Tommy Mason, Lesley Nimmo and Ralph Douglas among many more artists from Scotland.


The opening will also include speeches from Jennifer Gilbert, Outside In and Joyce Laing, Art Extraordinary as well as a solo exhibition by acclaimed Scottish artist and weaver, Angus McPhee.

Opening Thursday 5 September 6pm
Exhibition continues until 1 November
Open Monday-Saturday 10-5pm 

Perth Museum and Art Gallery
78 George Street
Perth PH1 5LB


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Tanya Raabe-Webber’s Portrait Masterclass Update

The participants of Tanya Raabe-Webber’s portraiture masterclass have been working hard on their portraits, and Tanya’s tuition has no doubt helped produce some truly excellent results! 

Some wonderful poirtraits in the making, soon to be complete!

Tanya’s workshop was a huge hit with our artists, and we hope to welcome Tanya to Project Ability again very soon. We just can't wait to see the finished works - coming soon!

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Art Matters Opens This Thursday

The portraits are finished and we are just adding some finishing touches to the exhibition, including some exciting new works by the Art Matters artists to be exhibited alongside their self-portraits. 

Looking forward to seeing you all this Thursday, 5 September 6-8pm, Project Ability Gallery...

Art Matters
Exhibition 6-28 September 
Opening 5 September 6-8pm


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Young Talent on Screen - Week 3

The YToS Film Festival preparations continue apace with the finishing touches being put to the filmmaking hints 'n' tips video series, new Guess the Movie Star portraits and welcoming new participants!

Perhaps the highlight was watching the original 1922 expressionist classic 'Nosferatu' provided by Michael Earl, one of our members, who is a connoisseur of silent cinema. Michael gave us an introduction and synopsis of the film before we settled back to watch The Symphony of Horror!

And last, but certainly not least, can you guess who this fine gentleman is? 


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