Blog (Archive)

Whipping Up A Stramash

1 October, 2010

Making the Jacobite Stramash

I think it a pity the Victorian historical painting has gone out of fashion. It was their equivalent of the grand movie experience and unveilings used to attract queues round the corner. It is also something one man can have a go at, you don’t need permission. Just a big wall. In 2009 I had a shot, as much to set myself a challenge as anything else.

The painting is three and a half meters tall and two and a half meters wide. It was originally conceived stretched onto batons on a wall at Leith School of Art, then I took it into my garage and draped it up the wall and onto the ceiling. At this time I managed to resolve the composition and get the colour balance right prior to it being hung in the Leith School of Art show. Personally I was unhappy with the finish of the individuals in the crowd. They looked like ghosts of people and cartoons rather than proper individuals, so in the time honoured fashion I went in the huff…

Until… just before the dawn of my first solo show. The Opening Hand. I decided that instead of twiddling my thumbs and watching the show unfold it would be better to finish the painting in a live event. Get the visitors to pose for the characters in the picture. So that’s what I did. Painting live models into the scene was a much better laugh for all parties concerned. Wigs, fake beards and all! The picture finally reached a logical conclusion. Better late than never.

Categories: Murals


Posing the Party

11 September, 2010

When I started painting the Jacobite Stramash again it didn’t even have a name! The faults in the image as far as I was concerned were many and varied. There were some hundred figures in the painting and they weren’t good enough. I decided that it was important to get models in to pose. Both to enliven the exhibition and provide a hook for the event but – more importantly to breath life into the crowd and turn it into the party I had imagined in the first place. I managed to get a shout out on STV and in the evening news requesting models.

Here are a selection of snaps of some of the loons I snared to thicken the plot. Some of the shots are from my studio as it didn’t quite get finished in the show.

Categories: Murals