A MUSSELBURGH artist had his own studio built in his back garden after he was unable to exhibit his work at a local theatre.

Alistair Samuel McIntyre, known as Specky Al in his artwork, had to have a rethink for his degree show this November following the temporary closure of parts of The Brunton on Ladywell Way after a survey detected “structural issues” in the theatre’s roof.

He needed to hold an exhibition for his graduation with The Open College of the Arts so decided to have his own studio/gallery built in the garden of his Mayfield Crescent home.

East Lothian Courier: The new studio/art gallery

This has led to the formation of a group of artists who are planning to hold an open studio weekend this summer, giving art lovers the chance to see their work up close in their own studios.

Alistair, 58, said: “I decided to try and organise an open studio event for a few reasons.

“Other areas around Scotland have such events and it’s a great way to meet other artists from the area.

“I was building my studio for displaying my artwork and didn’t know how to get people I don’t know to view.”

He added: “Due to work needing done at The Brunton and an unexpected delay in my studies, I decided to build a gallery and then start an open studio weekend so it could happen in the area that inspired me so much.”

He posted his idea of an open studio event on social media, saying it attracted lots of interest from artists.

He said: “I knew most people would not want to be involved with the planning because of other commitments and things going on in their lives.

“Most people who wanted to join in would want to exhibit, which is great because that’s what it’s really about.”

Alistair has been joined by artists Victoria Gazeley, Jacqueline Thow and Nancy Bryce, all from Musselburgh, to organise the event, which is planned for August 19 and 20.

East Lothian Courier: Jacqueline Thow, open studio weekend organiser, with her artwork

Jacqueline Thow, open studio weekend organiser, with her artwork

They have put out an open call for other artists to join them for the forthcoming event.

Alistair said: “My studio will be used for displaying my work initially but I hope someone can share some of the space for the open studio weekend once my degree show is completed.”

His art career started when he moved to Musselburgh just over five years ago, and he now mostly paints in oils but sometimes uses acrylic or watercolour.

“I really felt I had to capture the beauty that now surrounded me,” he said.

“I did a short watercolour course and then tried other mediums.

“After about six months of drawing and painting in every spare moment I had, I signed up with The Open College of the Arts for a degree course in painting.

East Lothian Courier: Open studio weekend organiser Nancy Bryce with some of her paintings

Open studio weekend organiser Nancy Bryce with some of her paintings

“I have shown my work in cafes in Edinburgh, one bar/restaurant, joined the Society of Scottish Artists and had some small pieces in their 30x30 part of the annual exhibition.

“I had work shown in Summerhall and a piece in the Scottish Arts Club.”

To express an interest in the open studio weekend, email Musselburghartistopen@outlook.com or find them on Facebook and Twitter.