Continuing my live painting adventures in collaboration with the fearsome Clanranald Trust for Scotland, in July I painted at their pirate themed weekend.
The 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.
This 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.
The 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.
Clanranald’s engaging and educational all-action living history re-enactments were scattered throughout the historic rooms, gardens and courtyards of the Palace.
Dressed 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.
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.
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.