Work by the Easter Ross-based artist Hugh Kirkwood will go on show at the Ruthven Gallery in Auchterarder next week. Hugh, who is also an inventor with his self-styled and patented creation the ‘paint-box’, is exhibiting a series of paintings capturing people in north east coastal surroundings.
Hugh paints directly from his subject matter and follows many great Scottish artists in the tradition of painting directly from life. Hugh said, “Painting from life is crucial in trying to capture a particular quality of light or movement. As a Christian, I know that God is the great creator; what I am trying to do is to show people a different way of looking at his creation that is exciting but not consciously obvious.”
The artist sees his own invention as a necessity for his work. “The paint-box has become like a camera from me now,” Hugh said. “My portable studio was developed for painting people in the street. How to store turps, oil, palette, paint, brushes, and to re-use the paint-box for the next painting all took some years to get right but at long last it is published.”
The artist, who was short-listed for the 2008 Wildlife Artist of the Year Award, is trying to reintroduce the traditional style of sight-size portraiture. Hugh said, “Nearly all the great portraits that we see hanging in our national galleries were painted by the sight-size method, and no other technique can adequately produce the incredible clarity of brush-work and colour – just look at any of Raeburn, Sargent or de Laszlo’s full-length portraits.”