Weekend Life

There's more than a whiff of the artist's easel to many of this weekend's suggested activities, but the first proposition also crosses over with the musical world. It shouldn't be a surprise that people who are skilled in one branch of the arts can hold their own in a different artistic sphere, but the public tend to be a little suspicious of them.

It might be jealousy. It does seem unfair if, say, a great actor is also a gifted painter or writer. On the other hand, it could just be that disastrous crossovers, such as Bob Dylan's paintings or the rapper Ice T's thespian efforts in the best forgotten film Leprechaun in the Hood, tend to overshadow more valid genre hopping.

Another way of looking at it is that an artist's work in a different genre from the one they are best known for is simply an extension of their artistic expression. Richard E Grant is a fine comic actor but, for my money, his writing, what regrettably little there is of it, is even better.

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These ideas are explored in The Link, an art exhibition currently running in the Music Library on Edinburgh's George IV Bridge. Musicians such as King Creosote, James Yorkston and Duglas T Stewart have all contributed work. It runs until next Saturday when there will be a silent auction of the art and live performances. All proceeds will go to the Nordoff-Robbins music therapy charity.

If that fires your enthusiasm for putting pencil to paper yourself, head for the Clore Education Centre at the National Gallery of Scotland. This afternoon, starting at 2pm, there is a life drawing class at the gallery. Artists Damian Callan and Graham Flack will be on hand to help would-be Lucian Freuds get to grips with the human figure. More cautious wanna-be Warhols should trundle over to the Gallery of Modern Art for a guided tour of gallery highlights.

Alternatively, Historic Scotland's event programme gets under way this weekend with a host of time-travelling re-enactments at Stirling and Edin-burgh Castles. At Stirling, soldiers loyal to Bonnie Prince Charlie will be recalling, presumably mournfully, how they laid siege to the castle in 1746.

There's more political intrigue on offer at Edinburgh where Lady Reres, one of Mary Queen of Scots' ladies-in-waiting, will be dishing the hot gossip from the court. Try to imagine Heat magazine but with rather more ruffles and considerably less of a focus on celebrity cellulite.

Going back even further, there will also be an appearance from Euphemia, Countess of Ross and Buchan. Visitors are encouraged to ask her about life for a young girl in medieval society. Much like life for a young girl in Blairgowrie today, one imagines, only with fewer alcopops.

Visit www.myspace.com/thelinkexhibition; www.nationalgalleries.org; www.historic-scotland.gov.uk

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This article was first published in The Scotsman on Saturday 09 January, 2010.