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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Graham Murray (1907-1987) @ Hughson Gallery, Glasgow

Clockwise from top left, Rockpool and Pontoon, Deer Island. Both by Charles Jamieson and two
views of Lansdowne Cresecent in ink, pastel on grey paper mounted on card, by Graham Murray

Artist and Aspect prize supremo Charles Jamieson and I dropped in to Joan Hughson's gallery in the west end of Glasgow yesterday.

I've been in email contact with Joan on and off but had never been to her gallery, which is in her front room and hall - a fantastic space at that.

She has had an exhibition of new work on show for the last couple of weeks by veteran printmaker, Philip Reeves, who has been a huge influence on generations of artists through his role as head of printmaking at Glasgow School of Art and his work with the various print studios in Scotland, particularly Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Joan is a great champion of Scottish artists and also has a few pieces on display by the sadly-neglected Glasgow artist, Graham Murray (1907-1987).

When Joan emailed to tell me about the exhibition a few weeks back, she sketched in a brief pen portrait of Murray, which included the fact he'd lived in Lansdowne Cresecent in Kelvinside and had been a good friend of the renowned second world war artist Stanley Spencer, who famously portrayed Clydeside during the war.

It started to ring a few bells, as Charlie has told me about his 'uncle' Graham and how he'd been a talented artist who had led a somewhat Bohemian life (in the eyes of an innocent lad from Beith, that is!) in the west end of Glasgow.

It was the part about his friendship with Stanley Spencer which made me call Charlie to ask him if this could be the same man.

It was indeed, and Charlie and I finally made it in to see the work (one small oil painting and three drawings in various mediums, including felt pen) yesterday.

It turns out that Joan knew Graham in his latter years, and helped his second wife, Bet, to sort out work when they left Glasgow for the Home Counties where he spent the last few years of his life.

She and Charlie had a great reminisce, filling in various blanks about his richly creative artistic and personal life, particularly with his first wife, Charlotte.

Joan fished out a portfolio of sketches and assorted bits and pieces which Bet had sent her following his death, and the work showed a hugely talented artist who had a sure-fire sense of space and compostion.

It was like dipping into his diary. What fascinated me was the fact that he must have drawn, sketched and doodled obsessively. There were tiny little flower 'sketches' on scraperboard and densely doodled line drawings, as well as studies for what became bigger oil paintings.

Charlie said he remembered these obsessive line drawings vividly, as Graham would sit with a pen in his hand at any given visitation, drawing and doodling.

It's clear that 'uncle' Grahan (he was actually his father's cousin), had a big influence on Charlie and it struck me that when we were leafing through the portfolio, that some of his sketches - have the same bold sense of space and use of colour that Charlie employs to great effect in his work.

Charlie, who studied at Glasgow School of Art during the 1970s, says he would spend long house chatting with Graham about art at the Lansdowne Crescent flat during his art school days.

Joan and Charlie talked about mounting an exhibition of work by Graham Murray which would bring his work to the public attention it deserves. A great idea... even better if complemented by Charlie's work ...

www.charlesjamieson.co.uk and http://artistcharlesjamieson.blogspot.com/


  1. Delighted to report that I bought a painting by Graham Murray at Burford Garden Centre today. I'm a pensioner on a budget but had to have it as it just makes my heart lurch everytime I look at it.
    Checked him out on the web when I came home and found your delightful and informative blog. Thanks so much.

  2. Thanks Broadsreading! This comment has made my Sunday! I've brought it to the attention of Joan and Charlie. Hope the painting continues to make your heart lurch - that'd what it's all about


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