Research : My Top 10 Scottish Landscape Painters

Although I’m born and bred in England, I’ve got a Scottish surname and so I think it’s only right that I investigate the art of Scotland.

Serenity-Iona
By Frank Colclough

MY TOP TEN SCOTTISH LANDSCAPE ARTISTS

Charles ANDERSON DA, RSW, Hon FRIAS, Rosanne BARR, Shona BARR, John BELL, George BIRRELL, Hope BLAMIRE, Davy BROWN, Stuart BUCHANAN, Pam CARTER and Frank COLCLOUGH.

 Charles Anderson was born in 1936. He studied Drawing and Painting at Glasgow School of Art under David Donaldson and Mary Armour, graduating with Diploma in 1959. Following his graduation Charles entered the Royal Scottish Academy painting competition for Post Graduate students and won the Chalmers Bursary. Joan Eardley who was one of the adjudicators took an interest in his Anderson’s art work and encouraged him to exhibit at the RSA the same year.

For a period of about five years Charles Anderson taught art. Then in the mid 1960’s Charles started working full time as a professional mural painter and sculptor. Since then he has worked on major Art and Design projects throughout the United Kingdom, carrying out commissions for a wide variety of clients including local authorities, property developers, banks and major insurance companies. One of his most prestigious commission was the result of winning a national sculpture competition to provide a bronze figurative group entitled The community for Livingston New Town in 1996.This was his last project before he retired as a sculptor.

In 1997 Charles Anderson returned to the painting of easel pictures. Since then he has exhibited at many major art galleries including: the Royal Glasgow Institute, the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours and The Royal Scottish Academy. Today Charles Anderson art works are in various private and public art collections throughout the U.K. and abroad.

In 2004 Charles Anderson was elected to the RSW. He has also served as President of the Glasgow Art Club for three years until February 2009.

 

Rosanne Barr was born in 1981 in the Scottish village of Gartocharn which is at the south end of Loch Lomond. She studied Art and Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design graduating in 2003 with a First Class Honours Degree.

Rosanne Barr experienced the natural beauty of the countryside from an early age, finding inspiration in the far north of Scotland at Balnakiel in Sutherland, Arisaig and Altbea, Ross and Cromarty.This fascination with the Scottish landscape has remained with her since childhood.She paints instinctively, inspired by shifting skies or a distant light or colour on the horizon. Using large brushes she swiftly creates a sense of movement in each painting. Paint is applied directly onto the canvas, creating a fresh appearance often with vivid colours. Roseanne builds up layers producing interesting textures and depth.

Talking about her paintings Roseanne Barr says: “With Scotland as my inspiration I can never grow tired of the desire to paint. I aim to capture mood, emotion, movement and atmosphere in my work. Traveling the remote northern coastlines of Scotland influences my painting and more recently the panoramic, rugged lands of Orkney.”

In the short number of years since graduating Rosanne Barr has established herself as one of the most highly successful landscape artists currently painting in Scotland. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the Jolomo Landscape awards, one of the most prestigious awards for artists in Scotland. She was also awarded Silver and Gold medals in successive years in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Galleries Drawing Competition.

 

The first thing that strikes one about the paintings of Shona Barr is the sheer unbounded use of colour. Based in Scotland, her paintings explore aspects of nature ranging from the wild beauty of coastal landscapes to the exuberant abundance of garden flowers. Shona’s process starts with watercolours painted outside. The aim is to absorb atmosphere as well as record details, watch how changing light alters colours and mood, and to capture all this essential information on paper. In the studio there is a significant stage of selection and editing; sometimes, only a small section of a watercolour becomes the basis for an oil painting. Oil studies on card help her to decide what is vital before moving on to canvas.

Shona works in a bold and direct way to retain freshness and energy, investigating the interplay between abstraction and representation, playing with the boundaries where completely abstract marks come together as a recognisable image. Yet, nothing is invented. The luscious textures and colours are already inherent in the actual landscape or flora. Hence, the painting that emerges articulates a hidden presence rather than that which stands out as most obvious. It is a distillation of the original view. The floral paintings have an intense, magnified quality which envelopes the viewer. Recently, they have the added intimacy of being sourced from flowers the artist herself has grown on her allotment. In contrast, the landscapes have become increasingly panoramic.

Over the years, Shona has found herself drawn back again and again to working by the sea. There is constant change with the shifting tides, and the colours of the sea are transformed from one moment to the next as clouds move past. Perhaps it is the challenge of capturing something so ephemeral that fascinates her.

Shona Barr’s studied painting at the Glasgow School of Art. From there she made frequent visits to their outpost at Culzean in Ayrshire and discovered a great delight in working outdoors. She won the GSA Landscape Prise in 1987 and the Armour Prize for Still Life the following year. Upon graduation, a scholarship took her to the Statens Kunstakademi, Oslo where she spent a year immersing herself in the forested landscape surrounding the city. A year spent in Barcelona acquiring an MA from Winchester School of Art completed her studies.

In 1998, Shona Barr was awarded a Superior Prize at the “Small Paintings, Great Harmony” Winter Olympic Games Exhibition, Nakano, Japan. She has paintings in the permanent collections of Lillie Art Gallery, Prior’s Court School and Strathclyde University, and corporate and private collections. She has been included in the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Glasgow Institute (David Cargill Award, 1989), Paisley Art Institute and exhibits frequently in galleries across the United Kingdom.

 

John Bell was born in Ayr, Scotland in 1968 . His early days were spent growing up in Fife where he painted from a young age but chose to pursue a career in Architecture. John graduated from The Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow in 1993. Since then he has worked as an architect but has continued to paint and exhibit art work having undergone further study at Glasgow School of Art.

John Bell paints mainly landscapes and seascapes of Scotland, particularly along the Ayrshire coast. He is fascinated in the influence of the sky, using bold brushwork to express its changing mood and atmosphere. His paintings capture the extremes of light and colour in the Scottish landscape, from intimate woodland scenes to expansive shorelines. Whether John Bell is painting an intimate woodland scene or an expansive shoreline, his carefully composed oil paintings are always carefully crafted and communicate a strong atmospheric feel to each subject.

John Bell has developed a very distinctive, light style with an appealing colour palette successfully reflecting the coolness of the Scottish light. He is interested in the influence of the constantly changing weather, which can transform the mood in a moment. The sky often dominates his paintings and he uses bold brushwork to express the form and movement of cloud.

John Bell paintings are exhibited at a growing number of Scottish art galleries including Paisley Art Institute. His art work has also featured at a number of Art Fairs. John Bell has been represented by Red Rag Gallery since 2011.

 

George Birrell was born in 1950. He trained at the Glasgow School of Art (1967 – 1971) and was involved with the Hospitalfield Summer School in 1970. He had an impressive line up of high pedigree tutors including Leon Morrocco, Goudie, Robertson, Donaldson, Fergusson and William Crosbie.After leaving art school George taught art and design in Scottish schools for the next decade, starting painting full time in 1990’s.

Birrell lectured in art, design and photography from 1985 – 1998. Since then George has taken part in regular joint and group art exhibitions at many Scottish galleries particularly: Edinburgh Art Galleries, Glasgow Art Galleries, and Fife Art Galleries . He has also exhibited his art abroad.

George Birrell produces Architectural paintings and Landscape paintings of his native Scotland. The East Coast Scottish towns and fishing villages of Fife hold a special fascination. One is immediately struck by the bold use of strong colour and stylised compositions. He describes this as an emotional response to memories and atmosphere of these special places on the Scottish east coast . Vigorous handling of colour, a bold palette and strong design are all hallmarks of his painting.

Speaking about his paintings Birrell says: ‘I paint neither on the spot nor from photographs, but improvise the remembered essentials of a place, in the comfort of my art studio. Harbours and their bric-a-brac attract me, as do mills and castles. Texture, colour and pattern are what I use to evoke feel-good locations.’

An example of George Birrell’s art work is the oil painting ‘Church Tower, Fife’. This is a typical of Birrell painting, with a clear and well constructed composition clearly illustrating George’s bold and effective use of colour to create an emotional impact. The contrasting colours, which create areas of light and shade, draw us into the small Scottish village. There is a great sense of peace and serenity in the work. A moment of stillness and clarity before the evening light fades.

 

Hope Blamire was born in Ayrshire in 1975. She studied Illustration and Printmaking at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (Dundee) graduating in 1998. She has since lived in France, Canada, Egypt and Malawi where she taught Art for four years before returning to the UK to teach at a school in Bath.However her “home” will always be on the West Coast of Scotland

Hope Blamire’s paintings are very much in the Scottish colourist tradition. She produces bright, vibrant pieces which successfully captures the atmosphere and feeling of the Scottish landscape. Her preferred medium to paint with are oils but she also uses collage and occasionally acrylics.

Hope is invariably drawn and inspired by the Scottish landscape. The west coast of Scotland where black volcanic rocks are to be found on the beaches are a particularly favourite subject.

 

Davy Brown was born in Kilmarnock in 1950. As a young Scottish artist Davy studied contemporary art at the Glasgow School of Art under David Donaldson and Duncan Shanks. He then went onto complete teacher training at Moray House Edinburgh.

In 1975 Davy Brown won a modern art scholarship from the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Chicago. This enabled Davy to travel extensively in the USA and Canada. He was also able to further develop his skills as a talented contemporary Scottish artist.

When Davy Brown returned from his travels he successfully taught contemporary art in Scottish schools. Throughout this time Davy Brown continued to paint and exhibit his paintings along with other leading Scottish artists in both Scottish art galleries and modern British art galleries further afield.

Davy Brown eventually left teaching in 2002 to concentrate full time as a professional Scottish contemporary artist. Over the years Davy Brown paintings, with their very distinctive style of modern Scottish art, have consistently grown in popularity. For much of this time Davy Brown paintings have been inspired by his love of the Scottish Landscapes but recently this much acclaimed Scottish artist has started to produce equally compelling paintings of France and Spain.

Other influences on Davy Brown paintings have been the artist James Robertson, travels to Iceland, as well as issues closer to home such as acid rain and forestry encroachment. Frequent trips to Cornwall Art Galleries have also nurtured an interest in the paintings of the modern British St. Ives abstractionists such as Terry Frost, John Wells and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. To Davy Brown, Cornwall and Galloway have much in common – the scenic landscape and ever changing light.

 

Stuart Buchanan was born in Glasgow in 1970. He studied Fine Art Drawing and Painting at the Glasgow School of Art and graduated in 1992. He has been working as a professional artist after setting up his art studio in 1993. Since then Stuart Buchanan has firmly established himself as a leading name within the Contemporary Scottish field.

Stuart Buchanan generally works in the traditional medium of oils. His paintings are representational, with figures set in richly textured, colourful ambiguous landscapes. His work depicts images of figures, usually imagined and anonymous, in painterly landscapes. He seeks to invoke a positive response in the viewer, be it a smile or the triggering of a personal memory, via strangely familiar scenes, reminiscent almost of snapshots or memories in a personal history.

Stuart Buchanan’s paintings are easily identifiable. His art work display a recurring theme of solitude. This is not to suggest his paintings are lonely but rather a celebration of peace and serenity. Buchanan creates a world of peace and refuge away from the day to day of the outside world. His paintings depict mostly single figures and pairs and all share an enviable meditative state. The figures are often involved in an activity beyond the canvas and the viewer – such as gazing out to sea or at the stars, or daydreaming. He draws inspiration from his own childhood memories and experiences, as well as more current day to day life and the environment and landscapes that surround him.

 

Pam Carter was born in Tanganyika, East Africa in 1952. Her mother was Austrian and her father Scottish. At the age of thirteen Pam came Scotland where she studied at Bearsden Academy.She graduated from Glasgow School of Art in the 1970’s and then began a career in teaching.

After teaching in Braidfield High School for four years Pam Carter took a year out to study at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Following that Pam spent a further two years teaching art in the Seychelles whilst on voluntary service with African Inland Mission. From the mid 1980’s she has taught in various colleges, including Falkirk College. Whilst at Falkirk she was instrumental in developing the HND Public Art and helped write BA Design. In 2004 Pam decided to give up lecturing to concentrate on painting full time.

Today Pam Carter Pam has an international reputation for her strong, expressive paintings of the Scottish landscapes. She has had numerous solo art exhibitions throughout the UK and also in the USA. Her highly sought after oil paintings have been exhibited at several group art shows including the Royal Scottish Society (RSA), the Royal Glasgow Institute (RGI), Visual Arts Scotland (VAS), and the Paisley Art Institute (PAI). She is the recipient of many art awards including:the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Award at the Royal Glasgow Institute and a First Prize at the Paisley Institute. Pam’s paintings have also been selected for the Laing Calendar.

Pam Carter spends the summer in Skye and the Outer Isles from where she draws the inspiration for many of her colourful, atmospheric oils, which capture the remoteness and peacefulness of that unspoilt region of Scotland. This rugged West Scottish Coast provides the ideal subject matter with its isolated cottages and wild colours of the machair and brachen. Pam is also drawn to the East Scottish Coastal area with its majestic cliffs, fishing villages and farm land.

In creating her art work Pam Carter loves to stand on a high viewpoint in the landscape. From there she observes and is inspired by the magnitude of the Scottish Landscape. She finds the sometimes challenging trips to the Western Scottish Isles brings great reward. Here she captures the magic of the landscape with its sweeping golden sands and turquoise tranquil waters which convey an almost tropical paradise.

Scottish locations such as Skye, Lewis, Harris and the Uists have long been favourite places for Carter to visit. Pam has also undertaken many paintings of Tiree and Coll. Tiree in particular offers idyllic settings with its Island architecture reflecting like a museum of Scotland’s past with wonderful cottages sitting perched on the most beautiful of beaches.

In Pam Carter paintings a sense of the place is important. However Pam does not seek to capture a scene with complete accuracy. Sometimes it is the elements and the untamed force of nature that she finds inspiring, but importantly it is the essential quality of light which is present in the Scottish land and seascapes. In her painting Pam often interprets the scene with abstract elements. She also translates the light capturing contrast and colour. Colours are often bold but there is always a sense of subtlety and balance in the works. Pam’s aim is to ultimately create a visual sensation and pleasing image in her oil paintings.

 

Frank Colclough was born in Wick, Caithness and lived in London before settling in Scotland in 1975. He originally worked as a design draughtsman while studying art at Camberwell Art School and has worked as a professional artist since 1981.

All Frank Colclough early contemporary paintings were in watercolour, but over the past few years he has worked in acrylic and oils. The inspiration for Frank Colclough paintings stems from his admiration of the Scottish colourist movement. This is reflected in his paintings which now consist mainly of Marine views of the Scottish West Coast and colourful still life studies.

Today Frank Colclough contemporary paintings appear in many private and public art collections. The RSW, RGI and RSA have also exhibited his contemporary paintings1 2 3 4 5 6

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