Lida of the pack - Duns artist is a leading exponent of digital art

Duns artist Lida Hatrick overlooking Longformacus and one of the views which she has captured on an iPad rather than painting with traditional oil.
Duns artist Lida Hatrick overlooking Longformacus and one of the views which she has captured on an iPad rather than painting with traditional oil.

ART by iPad - an innovative and brave new step by acclaimed local artist Lida Hatrick will be among her exhibits at her solo exhibition in Coldstream Gallery next month.

Always moving on, always experimenting, Lida has taken to the new technology art medium like a duck to water and her new iPad works are being exhibited alongside her more conventional semi-abstract landscapes.

A shopping trip to Lewis’s was the unlikely start of Lida’s fascination for this new artistic medium.

“I liked it and knew it was for me,” said Lida.

“I saw it being demonstrated to a group of youngsters and saw there was a drawing application with coloured pencils. It really got my attention.”

And when she realised that she could download a sketching programme - well that was it.

“It lends itself to layering and complexity. If you have time you can really make it very satisfying and complex.

“The pencil programme I have outgrown but the painting one is very satisfying and it’s like learning a new medium.”

Lida believes that some of the world’s most famous artists may well have been tempted to use this new medium had it been around then: “I think that if artists in the past had had an iPad they would have used it, particularly the impressionists!”

And she’s not alone in thinking that. One of the country’s best known artists, David Hockney is also experimenting with digital artwork created on an iPad.

He also said: ““Who wouldn’t want one? Picasso or Van Gogh would have snapped one up.”

A sentiment shared by Lida, although it may take others a little while to be convinced of the lasting legacy of digital artwork.

“I took it to a figure drawing class in the Leith School of Art and did some quick sketches with it because it’s wonderful for that but people didn’t quite know what to make of me.”

Barbara Goldie-Scott, who runs the Coldstream Gallery, was at the figure drawing class with Lida. Barbara is also very open to new art mediums and she has helped Lida, particularly with the more technical issue of how to get her works of art from the iPad to the wall.

And she is as excited as Lida to see what the public response to her new iPad pieces will be when the exhibition starts on August 5. The fact that iPad art has Hockney’s seal of approval is definitely a bonus.

“We have a young American staying with us who is studying art and what excites her is that the computer has been the domain for graphic design and now it’s being used for a pure art form. She’s very excited by that.

”It’s fantastic that people of all ages are embracing the cutting edge of new methods of art.

“We have three of Lida’s images in the exhibition and they can all be reproduced and become bespoke pieces. It’s making it affordable art.”

Hockney’s work is transferred into large pieces of art but the scale is something Lida hasn’t quite mastered yet, which is where Barbara’s help was invaluable but Lida’s print-out art pieces remain a more restrained A4 size - for now!

David Hockney and Paris exhibition curator Charlie Scheips both believe that they are at the beginning of an artistic revolution for professionals and amateurs alike.

And right alongside them is Duns artist Lida Hatrick, leading the way in new technology, even if it is from afar.

“Even though some of the tools may be too advanced for the novice or amateur, they are still extraordinary and well worth exploring,” says Hockney

And although the colours may not be as rich as that produced from oils with a paint brush and palette he is still astonished at what can be achieved.

“It’s a real privilege to make these works of art through digital tools which mean you don’t have the bother of water, paints, and the chore of clearing things away,” he says.

And that means it’s art that can be done anywhere at any time as Lida as discovered.

“I find the iPad extremely portable - I can take it anywhere,” said Lida.

“I can stop the car no matter when or where and I don’t have to have all the water colours with me. I went from Kelso one day and was struck by a piece of countryside near Smailholm that was so good I thought I would give it a go. I did a full painting in about an hour on the i-pad.

“Then again in Westruther - the same thing - driving through, seeing an inspiring landscape in just the right light.” Lida can capture it immediately.

“I use the sketch book programme but I’m still learning.

“It’s immediate sketching and emotionally satisfying. I found I could achieve quite a subtle type of drawing because you can layer it and it has a transparency capacity. You can manipulate the piece and if you have something on it that you don’t like, you can save the work and start again.

“It has clarity and quality.”

Lida, who came to this country from the Czech Republic as a language student has been painting all her life, and is now one of the region’s most established artists.

Working as a teacher here she continued painting, attending evening classes at Edinburgh College of Art, the Open College of Art, eventually completing two years full time study at the Leith School of Art.

Her work has been displayed at the Mall Galleries, London; Leith School of Art; exhibitions in Alnwick and Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh; the Royal Scottish Academy exhibition in Edinburgh; plus other exhibitions near to home, with next month’s exhibition at Coldstream Gallery her third there.

Always an experimental artist Lida is used to working in wax, oil and water colours, and is fascinated by all techniques whether it’s that of old masters or ultra-modern touch-screen iPad art.