Leo du Feu Painter of landscape and nature
Updated: 2 hours 46 min ago

Scotland By Rail - Dundee - McManus Gallery & Museum - paintings from the Arctic and Antarctic

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 09:43
You haven't much time left to do it but if you're fascinated by the Arctic or the Antarctic or by really top landscape painting I recommend you get yourself up/down/across to Dundee to the McManus Art Gallery and Museum where the exhibition Among The Polar Ice ends on 8th March. It's a five-star-reviewed by Duncan Macmillan in The Scotsman and I'm with him all the way.

The featured artists are Frances Walker and James Morrison, two brilliant painters who very much inspire me and my work. I've seen Frances Walker's Antarctic Suite of six large oil paintings and associated prints before, in 2010 when they were exhibited at Aberdeen Art Gallery in Place Observed in Solitude. She's so good.

James Morrison's work I know from years of solo shows at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, most recently From Angus to the Antarctic, last month. His paintings are also in oil but used in a totally different way to Frances Walker - thinly thinly, almost as watercolour. I haven't seen anyone else paint like him.

The McManus is a great place.

Oh, and there's a cafe.

And a humpback whale skeleton.

Do go.

McManus Art Gallery & Museum

James Morrison

Frances Walker

Frances Walker

Frances Walker

James Morrison 

Frances Walker, triptych

Frances Walker, oils, sketchbook journals, original prints

Just look at those cliffs.
William G. Burn Murdoch - Dundee Antarctic Whaling Expedition (1892-93)

The polar regions are important, and we're losing them.

What can we do?


Reduce flights.
Reduce car use.
Walk, cycle, train.
Eat less meat and dairy.
Switch to 100% renewable energy suppliers.
Lobby councils and government and business.
Join environmental groups.
Go birdwatching :)

my exhibition notes in sketchbook.
a great way to remember what you've seen, what you thought, what you might wish to reference in the future.

River Tay
Tay Bridge

Previous Dundee blog posts
2020 - Gallery Q, DCA, V&A, cormorant trying to swallow a flatfish -
2017 - Balgay Hill & Cemetery and lots of Martin Hill (and a very interesting local comment at the end by Jim Crumley) -


How to get there:
Trains to Dundee leave:
- Edinburgh and Aberdeen frequently, journey time a bit over an hour.
- Glasgow frequently, journey time a bit under an hour and a half
- Perth every hour, journey time about half an hour

Timetables & Buy Tickets here.

Many thanks to ScotRail for their support of my Scotland By Rail work.

Scotland By Rail - Perth - riverside walk, sculpture trail, printmaking exhibition, mist and beavers

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 16:42

My firstPerth blog post was in 2012when I walked the river pathnorth to a little almost-islandand saw an osprey dive and catch a large fish - here.

My second was in 2016. Mostly about the train journey from Fife (it’s a lovely route) plus a couple of pics of the station (station mentioned below) - here.

This newpost is Feb 2020:

I like Perth very much though I confess I mainly know the station (big, grand, now quiet but with strong echoes of the Golden days of rail), the walk to the river, the walk up the river, a few shopping streets – in particular looking for bakeries andcafes – and Frames Gallery where I’ve sometimes exhibited.
This latest trip was for theopening of a Frames exhibition of work by the members of Fife Dunfermline Printmakers Workshop

We went early to have a couple of hourstoexplore. The plan was a short bit by the river en route to Perth Museum & Art Gallery

By Rhonda Bayley (2004).

Reaching the river and this Rhonda Bayley sculpture which I so love (what on earth is it all about? See *secret* answer at end of blog)we spotted a group of people walking what looked like a traffic free path through the trees on the opposite bank. I looked at the map and discovered Bellwood Riverside Park. How had I not noticed it before? Perhaps I’ve only ever been when the trees are in leaf and obscure the far bank. We decided no to the art gallery and yes to exploring a new patch. Discovering a new nature space is always a great day.
Bellwood Riverside Park combines with Norie Miller Park and Rodney Gardens to form a really nicely managed stretchof green running between three bridges on the eastbank of the Tay. There’s a footbridge (step access only) over the railway bridge and accessible pavement over the two road bridges Queen’s Bridge and Perth Bridge.
It was a beautifully misty late afternoon.

The parks are very nicely laid out and managed with shrubs, trees, bulbs, winding paths, a pond, a Heather Collection and areas of natural unmanaged land. There’s also a sculpturetrail with as many sculptures as there are letters of the alphabet. Keep your eyes open for the fox.

And on waterside trees for signs of beavers. They are there. Few things are as exciting as beavers being back in our landscape for the first time since we hunted them to extinction in the 16thCentury. If you’re interested in learning more, much more, about the life and habits and environment-enhancing ways of the beaver I can recommend few books as highly as Jim Crumley’s Nature’s Architect(other than perhaps his The Last Wolf). If friends or colleagues think beavers chopping down trees is bad for nature or increases flooding, buy Nature's Architect for them too.

corkscrew hazel

looking to Moncrieffe Island from Bellwood Riverside Park

Explore the full River Tay Public Art Trail (both sides of river) on this excellent website - here.

Atthe far south of the parks, where railway bridge crosses and you look across to Moncrieffe Island, there’s a smaller, earth (/mud) path continuing by the river bank. From the west bank - Shore Road, a ten minute walk from the station - it’s possible to get onto the island with its allotments and golf course. Access is on foot only. Up steps onto the railway bridge, down steps onto the island.

Courier article & pics - video. What a haven -

More exploring needed.


How to get there

Plan your journey at

Many thanks to ScotRail for supporting my Scotland by Rail work.

*Secret *Answer: Soutar's Menagerie by Rhonda Bayley (2004).
"William Soutar is Perth’s best-known poet... His morelight-hearted side is shown in this amusing piece, representing quirky animal forms featured in his poem ‘Bairn Rhymes’."

Some Discovered Worlds

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 21:36
Station Studio fundraiser, artworks £50 - £150. These are acrylic on card, on board, on canvas and on found ceramic. Miniatures and assorted sizes. Unframed except those in the first photo.

Get in touch to know more about any or to see close-up pics.

framed miniatures. smallest is 3.5x3.5cm, largest 9x9cm (image sizes)

smallest squares are 5x5cm, largest is 30x30cm

each 19x25cm

each 19x25cm


each 4.5x50cm

each 10.5x15cm..

Some Unframed Works

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 16:01

Station Studio fundraiser, artworks £50 - £150. A lot of my work is made out on location and over the years it really builds up. These are watercolour, pencil, ink, acrylic, oil, and one with a little bit of conte. Most are A5 or A5 ish. 

Get in touch to know more about any or to see close-up pics.





(actually, it's a prickly pear)













Scotland By Rail - Dundee, Gallery Q, DCA, V&A, cormorant trying to swallow something

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 21:02
Pilgrim's Haven, watercolour, 25x30cm, (spot the lighthouse).
In Gallery Q, Feb 2020 

A Scotland By Rail day delivering four island artworks to Gallery Q plus exploring a little bit of cultural Dundee.

Dundee - Gallery QThe exhibition at Gallery Q opens next Saturday 1st February at 12noon. Let me know if you're interested. Gallery opening hours are Tues - Sat 11am - 4.30pm (5.30pm on Thurs). 
When I visited the gallery birds and nature seemed to be prominent. I loved the terracotta bird jugs by Phil Arthur and, as always, Claire Harkess' watercolour wildlife. 
I'm really happy to be exhibiting in this bright friendly gallery full of original painting and printmaking, ceramics, glasswork and jewellery. I'm especially pleased to be exhibiting again alongside my friend since school days, Dundee artist Martin Hill.
See our work from the exhibition here -

Martin Hill, Sunset, oil on board, 14x20cm
Phil Arthur, Little Owl lidded jug, c.23cm high
Claire Harkess, Band-bellied Owl, watercolour, 15x21cm

Train to DundeeIt's such a good journey, worth doing just for the views. Soon after departing Burntisland: Kinghorn, church, bay, Inchkeith Island. Once I saw dolphins from the train at this very spot.

Markinch, reminding me of  an earlier Scotland By Rail trip looking for grey partridge with artist Kittie Jones. Finding unexpected adornments in a modern, not outwardly promising, station building -
trees and fields and other such nice
crossing the Tay, looking to Dundee
crossing the Tay, Fife on the left, two crows crossing the other direction

In Dundee - V&A and RRS Discovery
Dundee old and new, RRS Discovery and V&A. I love the contrast
porthole window in V&A, glimpses of Discovery, Tay, Tay Bridge, Fife hills beyond
Tay Bridge & lighthouse

Cormorant and something fishy
And here in the Tay, a cormorant, grappling with something, I couldn't work out what. Something wide and flat. I started to fear it was a big piece of plastic. 



Angles changed and suddenly backlit fins appeared


A flat fish! A flatfish. A Flounder or a Dab? I sadly know really nothing of fish. 

And swallowed. Or possibly dropped.

Dundee Contemporary Arts - Ursula Le Guin
I enjoyed Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) too, it's an interesting building in layout (especially the toilets, very unusual) with a small good arty design-y gift and book shop, original prints for sale, cafe, exhibition space, cinema. 

The exhibition on until 22nd March is Seized by the Left Hand, a very diverse, contemporary exhibition of fifteen international artists come together to look at thoughts and ideas in Ursula K. Le Guin's hugely popular sci-fi novel The Left Hand of Darkness (1969). I like sci-fi, I like environment, I like equality. This exhibition is about all that.

Quote from DCA website:
"Written 50 years ago, this masterpiece of feminist science fiction is set on an icy planet called 'Gethen' (which translates to 'Winter') whose inhabitants shift and change gender continuously throughout their lives. We as readers are told the story of Gethen from a human perspective through the eyes of protagonist Genly Ai, an envoy sent to the planet to attempt to convince Gethenian governments to join an interplanetary trade coalition.

The book had a profound impact on the sci-fi genre at the time of its publication and remains hugely relevant to the world around us today, posing serious and challenging questions about gender, sexuality, the environment, language, communication, power and empire."

My favourite work in the exhibition is Flora Moscovic's huge, atomic, volcanic, solar wall mural - two full walls painted from top to bottom, side to side in glowing white, yellow, orange, blue light. Title, Crossing the Kargav. 

Also two series of beautifully delicate and very touching painterly works-from-memory by Abel Rodríguez, an elder of the Nonuya ethnic group in the Colombian Amazon, "recalling the indigenous flora and fauna that precariously inhabit the region. Now in his 70s, Rodríguez has recently been forced to move and resettle ... after being displaced from his homeland by guerrilla militia forces and corrupt government structures ... facilitating the exploitation and destruction of the precious rainforest ecosystems in South America."

Complete exhibition notes are online here -

Previous Dundee blog post2017 - Balgay Hill & Cemetery and lots of Martin Hill (and a very interesting local comment at the end by Jim Crumley) -


Fluke Street & South Horn, Isle of May, watercolour, 18x37cm (spot the moon). In Gallery Q, Feb 2020


How to get there:
Trains to Dundee leave:
- Edinburgh and Aberdeen frequently, journey time a bit over an hour.
- Glasgow frequently, journey time a bit under an hour and a half
- Perth every hour, journey time about half an hour

Timetables & Buy Tickets here.

Many thanks to ScotRail for their support of my Scotland By Rail work.