Tribute to the late artist Joan Powell at the upcoming Society of Caithness Artists show this month-chair is excited to host a ‘real physical exhibition’ again in Thurso

The Society of Caithness Artists (SCA) is busy preparing for its “first truly physical exhibition” since 2019 that will include a tribute to Thurso artist Joan Powell who passed away this year.

SCA chairman Ian Pearson said: “The last two years have been very difficult for everyone, and this includes artists where the only outlet to market their work is through online. Now we have the opportunity. to showcase all the artistic talent in the county. ”

Members of the Society of Caithness Artists at their last show at Thurso High School in 2019. Photo: Angus Mackay
Members of the Society of Caithness Artists at their last show at Thurso High School in 2019. Photo: Angus Mackay

The exhibition takes place in the ETEC building, part of the UHI North Campus, which may be known by many as Thurso College. Ian further explained: “The choice of venue was forced on the Highland Council Society which raised the rental charges at Thurso High School beyond the inflation rate that any voluntary organization like SCA could never afford.

“It’s a huge pity because the exhibition has enjoyed a very happy 15 years of existence there. We don’t even have to look for an alternative venue even though the UHI Campus is next to the school.”

Ian Pearson, chairman of the Society of Caithness Artists, introduced a show at the Thurso Art Gallery in March 2019. Photo: DGS
Ian Pearson, chairman of the Society of Caithness Artists, introduced a show at the Thurso Art Gallery in March 2019. Photo: DGS

The exhibition will open on Monday night July 25 at 6:30 pm and then open every day except Sunday, from 3pm to 8pm. The exhibition closes on Friday, August 5. The day for artists is Saturday July 23 between 10am and 2pm at the ETEC building.

The Society was very pleased that the HRH Duke of Rothesay had agreed to lend two watercolors he had painted of the local area. The duke, an enthusiastic actor himself has always supported the SCA and in the past has visited the exhibition. His two works are titled “Kilphedir Pool on The River Helmsdale, Sutherland” and “Abandoned Crofts on Stroma”.

Ian added: “This year the SCA will recognize the work of Joan Powell who passed away earlier this year and became a very active member of the Society. There will be a special tribute to Joan by showing an example of her artwork. “

The late Joan Powell at the Pentland View care home where she exhibited some of her work in a mixed exhibition in November 2019. Photo: DGS
The late Joan Powell at the Pentland View care home where she exhibited some of her work in a mixed exhibition in November 2019. Photo: DGS

Joan Powell (1931 – 2022) was an actress living in Caithness who produced a large volume of works spanning five decades. Born in Yorkshire, he moved to Caithness with his wife and young family in 1959, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Through friends, he was involved with a small informal group of artists who first focused on watercolor landscapes, as well as local scenes on Thurso and Wick Street. Without any formal training in art, he began to produce innovative works in batik and silk painting and other media.

Some of Joan Powell’s townscape photos of Thurso dating back to the early 1960s were displayed in an exhibition at the Pentland View care home.  Photo: DGS
Some of Joan Powell’s townscape photos of Thurso dating back to the early 1960s were displayed in an exhibition at the Pentland View care home. Photo: DGS

He is a regular contributor to SCA’s annual exhibition and has also been involved on its committee for many years as well as at the Lyth Arts Center.

A small selection of his work will include items borrowed by his family, Highland Council, Lyth Arts Center, and several private individuals.

For more details about the SCA exhibition, contact Ian Pearson by email at: ian.pearson1@tiscali.co.uk or by phone at: 01847 895637 or 07816762601.


Would you like to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they can be published in print.