Major recognition for Tangleha artist

A St Cyrus artist has sold her renowned prints almost 20 years after she made them.

Sheila MacFarlane has found a buyer for her two large wood and linocuts of Finella, a 10th century warrior queen who was married to the Maermar of the Mearns.

They now stand in the main central court at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

She is the only female printmaker from the Mearns to have her artwork on main display in Aberdeen.

In 1996, after researching 10th century history Sheila was inspired to make the prints of Lady Finella of Kincardine, who reputedly killed Kenneth II of Scotland with a cross bow after he killed her son.

Sheila has sold both her prints of Finnella - one depicting her in the woods and the other in a waterfall - which stand at almost 2590cm high and 760cm wide.

The purchase of the prints was supported by the National Fund For Acquisitions.

Sheila, who is based in Tangleha, said: “I am delighted that I have sold the Finella prints.

“My printing friends are really pleased that I have sold them to a major gallery.”

Sheila makes original lino cuts and etchings, which are a form of printing.

She said: “Printing is the Cinderella of the art world, below painting and sculptures.

“People often get original printing mixed up with reproductions, such as giclee prints. I think these should be called reproductions to avoid confusion.”

Lady Finella clearly had an impact on the area as many places still bear her name, including The Den of Finella, a gully one mile north of St Cyrus, and Strathfinella Hill in Laurencekirk.

The prints of the warrior queen were made by first printing the texture of sawn planks from huge slices of tree on to thick Japanese paper. Linoleum was cut to match the wooden shapes and Sheila carved the designs on to the lino before printing them on to thin Japanese tissue, which was than collaged on top of the other

“No printing press was used. I printed them by donning a pair of clean white socks and dancing! Fine details were hand-burnished,” said Sheila.

A similar version of the prints that have been sold to Aberdeen will be on display at The Old Rope and Sail, Bents Road, Montrose, for two days on Saturday, 20 and Sunday, 21 September.

They will be laid out unframed on print drying racks.

On the Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. Sheila will be hosting an artist’s talk called ‘Dancing The Finellas’, which includes a demonstration of how she printed them by dancing.

The lino blocks the artist printed them from will also be on display.

On Wednesday, December 10 Sheila is repeating the talk at Aberdeen Art Gallery at a lunchtime event.