Artists pool their resources for US show

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FIVE Scots artists are shipping paintings valued at a total of £50,000 to California, in an attempt to break into the lucrative United States market.

They are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Scotland's most famous painter, Jack Vettriano, who has enjoyed huge success on the other side of the Atlantic.

It is thought to be the first time a group of artists have combined their resources to stage an exhibition on foreign soil and reach out to new buyers.

Yesterday, a total of 50 paintings were placed in a giant 200kg wooden container, which will be flown to the US and showcased at the prestigious Chase Mitchell Gallery in California. The transport costs alone are likely to top 5,000, and the biggest fear for the artists, from the Wasps studio in Selkirk, is having to ship their unsold paintings back to Scotland.

Rob Hain, a landscape artist from Lilliesleaf, near Melrose, said: "The artists are all very talented and it is a great opportunity to show Scottish art abroad and, in particular, in America, where the interest is huge. We are very confident."

The others taking part are Peter Hallam, who won this year's Craven Art Prize for his oil painting Don't Feed the Animals,

John Berry, Moy Mackay and Lesley McLaren.

Their agent, Mary Mackay, said: "We are really excited that this gallery is taking on exclusively these Scottish artists."