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.