My oils and the midnight oil


Sixty six people attended our pre-view the other evening. Pre-view? An exhibition of my paintings, each of them with attribution (how why where what etc) and accompanying verse, staged by the Gairloch Heritage Society at the Museum. A couple of originals were sold plus lots of Pictures and Poems cards amd calendars etc. Good few bottles of wine were sent on their way. Everyone happy by all accounts.

We had dug several of the 'not for sale' pics out of our attic. Stuff I painted years ago - one of them right back there in 1964, would you believe. Gave me a funny feeling writing its attribution sheet. Anyway that attribution reads:

In my middle twenties, by then a father of two and set on a career in industrial marketing I had this urge to paint. When everyone was in bed and all was quiet I would get out my basic set of oil paints and brushes and my Daler boards and my library art books to copy the paintings of masters old and not so old. From Picasso and Braque and Matisse back through literally all the impressionists and the Dutch masters to this, by an Italian master whose name is lost in my mists of time. But I seem to remember it being called ‘The Fall of Rome’ and is probably a couple of metres wide!
All my copy results were presented to friends and family, many of them now who knows where. This one came home after the death of my father and was hidden away in our attic until our recent move to Kirkhill House in Aultbea.
My copying / learning phase lasted perhaps a couple of years. It’s good sometimes to walk in the shadow of genius, isn’t it? And I can still lose myself in the great art galleries. But after this copying phase, whenever the time and opportunity presented itself, all my efforts, however prosaic, were and still are my own ‘originals’.


My oils and the midnight oil. Sounds like the basis for a song.

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