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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, 13 January 2010

James D Robertson

"There is no art in what you see. It is what you do with what you see that makes art"
James D Robertson

I was on the train to London for the Aspect Prize announcement when the artist Liz Knox told me that James D Robertson (or Jimmy, as he was universally known) had died.

I interviewed Jimmy in the convivial surroundings of his purpose-built studio beside his Renfrewshire home a few years back.

I was green in the ways of Scottish art and had only just started reporting on the Scottish visual arts scene. News had been filtered back to me that a certain prominent artist had not been pleased at being left out of a '50 Scottish artists to invest in' supplement I'd had a big hand in writing for The Herald.

So, I went off to see him to make amends and pay him due respect. I spent a fascinating few hours with Jimmy, during which time he reminisced about his life in art, much of which was spent as a tutor at Glasgow School of Art. He had quite a turn of phrase and I'm sure the word irascible could have been invented for him but there's no doubt that he influenced generations of artists one way or another.

I once eeri-wigged in on a couple of his former pupils viewing one of his paintings a year or so ago and heard one say: 'Aye, he knows what he was doing alright.'

His paintings, mainly landscape, reveal a starling honesty and intensity in his use of colour and paint. They were never purely representational, but a response to the land which mixed memories and pure observation.

His funeral will be held on Friday morning, after which a memorial service will take place in the place which he made his own, The Glasgow Art Club


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