Blog (Archive)

Pirates of Clanranald at Culross Palace

26 September, 2016


Continuing my live painting adventures in collaboration with the fearsome Clanranald Trust for Scotland, in July I painted at their pirate themed weekend. 

clr2016-09-23-17-00-07The setting was the glorious Culross Palace, a beautiful 16th century merchant’s house in Fife which has featured prominently as a location in the television programme Outlander.

23-07-2016_img_7805webThis is the second time that I’ve painted at a pirate event with the Clan, so I brought last year’s Boarding Party mural as an additional backdrop, which really helped set the scene and brought an added feel of the sea to the occasion.

clr2016-09-23-16-57-47The Clan put on a fantastic and professional show as usual. Culross Palace was filled with a motley crew of pirates and red coats, and the public revelled in the theatrical antics of the professional rogues.

clr2016-09-23-16-59-23Clanranald’s engaging and educational all-action living history re-enactments were scattered throughout the historic rooms, gardens and courtyards of the Palace.

clr2016-09-23-16-57-51Dressed as a pirate throughout the event, I spent the weekend attempting to capture the atmosphere of the event and tell the tale of what I saw.

Special thanks to Clanranald and Lorna McLean for the use of some of their photos.

Categories: Murals, Scotland


Live painting at ScotCon 2016

23 September, 2016

The 2016 ScotCon convention took place at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange on 6th September and it drew fans of all things Scottish from all over the world. We met visitors from as far afield as France, Denmark and North America.


The event was Outlander themed (with a number of the cast members present) so the organisers asked me to take along a selection of Jacobite themed murals for the space. My cut-out figure of Jamie from Outlander was a popular item and we encouraged visitors to take selfies with him.


I dressed the space for ScotCon with numerous historic Scottish murals from my archive. Sandwiched between my Maggie Dickson/Grassmarket mural and our live painting space/table of lovely prints and posters, was the very talented Micaela Walker, who was also live painting a group portrait of Outlander characters. 


We installed the bar scene of my Tam o’Shanter mural which provided an excellent backdrop for the ladies of Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh who sang traditional songs at their waulking board. 


I also brought them my Jacobite Rogues mural featuring a motley crew of Jacobite ruffians, which sat at the back of the stage, and also my pirates mural which ended up providing a backdrop for a Muay Thai martial arts demonstration.


Providing an added layer of atmosphere and authenticity to the Corn Exchange, a Scottish Country Dancing competition was in full flow and we made friends with the delightful Amy, pictured here with her little sister – both of whom won awards. Congrats!

I was of course painting live at the event, and made a fabulous new lion rampant royal flag. This was set on a splendid yellow tartan background, which was painted before the event by the awesome team of Fiona Rutterford and studio manager Sheila Masson.


Categories: Murals


Sprucing up The Oz Bar

16 September, 2016


The Oz Bar has been serving Edinburgh for more than twenty years and it has a strong legacy of artwork, including a boxing kangaroo and a few mini murals dotted around the premises. I was asked me to come in and give the place a brand new street art edge, smartening up the main space and toilets whilst retaining the pub’s character.


The ceiling of main bar had already been painted a dark green so I used this as a background for a huge image of a shark and a crocodile in combat. This is so big that you can only read it as you walk through the space.


 To complement this and to add clarity, I painted an acrylic picture of ‘pool sharks’ hustling for above their table.


To emphasise the Australian theme we smartened up their signs by giving them an Aboriginal design throughout and also painted a massive new Australian flag as a frame for one of their existing pictures. 


The male toilets have the familiar piquant aroma that many pubs can have, so I thought it would be funny to booby trap them with dangerous animals, as though the smell was venom. There is now a large funnel web spider trying to bite customers while they are on the throne and a tiger snake striking at their willies when they are having a wee.



The ladies loos has a gentler feel but perhaps no less dangerous, as it’s been decorated to feel as if you have stepped into a star-clad jellyfish. Both rooms are designed to be an entirely immersive experience.

The end result uses some of the Oz Bar’s well-established artwork to its best advantage, and the new additions blend seamlessly with the old, making it feel like it’s always been that way. Since the project was completed there has been an exponential increase in business – alongside the Edinburgh natives, students and tourists have come in droves and the pub is always lively, but not at the expense of their regulars’ happiness.

The Oz Bar is set for a new and exciting phase of trade and it’s great to know the artwork has made a difference.


The Flying Scotsman and the Galashiels Gateway mural

4 August, 2016

The original Galashiels Gateway mural design sketch.

Galashiels is a Scottish Borders town with a strong history and a heritage of Victorian artwork. However, like many modern towns, it’s been swamped by a uninspiring mix of generic national chainstore shop fronts which dominate the urban landscape but offer no site-specific Gala-related imagery.

An illustration of “before and after”; how the Galashiels Gateway mural might look after completion.

A local group of citizens called ‘Energise Gala’ approached me asking if I had any ideas on how to improve the area. I have a real interest in the idea of space changing, whether it be transforming interior rooms or exterior areas of towns. This seemed fantastic opportunity to start changing the visual narrative of the town for the better. 

The Flying Scotsman visiting Galashiels on May 15, 2016.

Galashiels recently gained a new rail link which is a major bonus to the town, but its physical gateway is not massively welcoming at the moment, and it has been looking a bit bedraggled. The iconic Flying Scotsman train visited the town in May 2016, which proved to be a major event in the area, and so we decided to use this theme in creating a brand new gateway mural. It seemed like a positive and dynamic metaphor at the centre of the picture, and as luck would have it, we found an available wall in an ideal location just over Douglas Bridge on the entry to the town.

Chris getting some help from a couple of local Gala lads.

Including the community in the very fabric of the painting was vital to project, so I decided to build one of my crowd murals alongside the image of the Flying Scotsman and cast the locals in the crowd scene. After preparing a basic train painting in Edinburgh, we threw a launch event in Gala where I gathered lots of locals’ photo reference for the portrait painting. Some young people from the community also helped paint in the event and a small team from Energise Gala made the photo references.

The Galashiels Gateway mural underway in the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

If you want to see the mural in progress, it is currently housed in the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. I’ve almost completed using all of the photo reference that I gathered during the launch weekend and am now opening it up so the general public can sign up if they want to be included in the crowd scene. It will be my main project throughout Edinburgh festival 2016. The plan is to have the picture finished and hung in Galashiels at the October 2016 ‘Creative Coathanger’ event – a festival of all things design and the creative arts.

Chris Rutterford at work on the Galashiels Gateway mural in the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
Categories: Murals


Magical Muralistery Tour Toppers

28 April, 2013

Many of the visitors to my 2013 art exhibition turned up wearing Top Hats. Fabhatrix in the grassmarket must have been totally cleared out!
I got them to pose in front of my paintings to give a sense of the scale of the work….and because it was fun.

There are a lot of effortlessly stylish folk in my town!

Categories: Exhibitions


BBC Reporting Scotland Article

17 November, 2012

On the 15th of November I featured on the Scottish news. The article was about the Tam O Shanter mural at the Burns museum. If you missed it- here it is.

Categories: Press


Scottish Storytelling Centre

11 November, 2011

I hung the jacobite Stramash in the Netherbow Museum as part of their Jacobite season alongside the Prestonpans Tapestry. Perfect location as the tower in the background of the painting is the Netherbow Gate. It was really nice to bring it home. Coincidentally they had reenactors playing out the story of the storming of the Netherbow, the scene thats depicted in the painting, 17th September 1745. All very exciting and a bit surreal. I decided that if there were reenactors there I wasn’t going to wear my kilt and come of second best so I wore tweeds. But thought I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun so I wore one of the wigs from the paintings production all day…. maybe its time for a perm? Ross the master piper who featured in the picture and wore a mad professor baldy heid came in full regalia and played for the gallery, he even got a shot as a reenactor. I knew I should have brought my claymore.

Categories: Exhibitions


Drouthy Cronies

7 October, 2011

2011’s Art Complex Show focused on a spectacular Tam O Shanter painting. As usual in the arts complex shows I was working on it live in the show. I got a body of work completed and entertained the crowds, also made the local news. The funniest thing is that we hung the mural inconspicuously in the far side iof the gallery. Some people would wander in oblivious to its existance and physically shriek when they rounded the corner. Its a shock to the system when you’re mugged by a fourteen meter painting, the elephant in the room. As usual I was filming the picture being painted and we had a video of its production projected onto the wall, proper art galleries feature tellies.

I also fired off an email to Lorraine Kelly and being a gallous lass she’s agreed to be the bar maid in the pub scene – celebrity involvement! Here are some of the highlights.

Categories: Exhibitions, Murals


The Opening Hand

15 October, 2010

On 16th July 2010 I had my first solo show at The Arts Complex in Edinburgh. It featured a broad range of work from seven years of metamorphosis from illustrator to artist much of which is featured on this website. Kind of like a premiere retrospective.

The title of the show had a double meaning, from one of my favourite proverbs. ‘It is the open hand that clutches the tightest.’ I believe applying marks quickly, leaving the bones exposed allows for maximum emotional impact. Also it more obviously refers to the opening hand in a game of cards.

Here are some piccies.

Categories: Exhibitions


Och Aye The Moo!

5 October, 2010

When the cowparade came to Edinburgh in 2006 I was commissioned to decorate one of the cows. I really wanted to paint a green cow festooned in massive flies, lying down and call it ‘Pat’ . (A cow -‘Pat’ I still think that’s funny)

The commissioners preferred this idea of a Highland bull in a kilt. I poured around 100 man hours into painting the kilt alone but I think it was worth it, he truly was totally bad assed. He was the only boy on show. I turned the cows udder into a sporran and gave her a sex change. In future though, I’ll buy kilts not paint them.
When the cows were auctioned at the end of the parade he was the fifth highest grossing cow out of some hundred that were put up for sale.

Subsequent to that I was commissioned to repaint another two of the cows as highland warriors. (no kilts) It’s an odd feeling walking into that garden and feeling them eyeballing you. Even though I know they’re fake on a gut level it makes me nervous.

Categories: Coos