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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)

Friday, 15 March 2013

Swathing the Saltire with Muriel Barclay

Return Ticket by Muriel Barclay 
Self Protection by Muriel Barclay

March 2013

Lemond Gallery
4 Thorn Road
Bearsden, Glasgow
G61 4PP
March 22-31, 2013

IN JUST over a decade, former history teacher turned sought-after Scottish contemporary artist, Muriel Barclay has developed a growing army of fans who can’t get enough of her paintings of beautiful figures.

The Glasgow-based artist has become a favourite with interiors designers and collectors alike and now, for a new solo show at The Lemond Gallery in Bearsden in March, she has turned her keen eye towards the vivid blue and white of the Saltire.

A new series of paintings created for this exhibition shows includes several nudes getting up close and personal with Scotland’s national flag. Fans of her work will be delighted that Barclay’s trademark cast of dancers and musicians dressed in tutus, leotards, stilettos, boots or ballet shoes are all making a welcome return to the frame.

According to Muriel, ‘all my pictures are fantasy’, but she says, there are certain subjects to which she finds herself drawn. “I’m fascinated by the whole Independence debate at the moment and the Saltire is just such an iconic graphic image.

One of Muriel’s paintings, called Self Protection, portrays three beautiful young naked women on a Highland beach. Two of the figures are draped in the flag, while the other stands holding a blue and white umbrella, looking out to sea.

One of the figures is 41-year-old student nurse Donna Higgins, who has only just started modelling for Muriel. She also appears in several smaller paintings face on to the Saltire, wearing nothing but a smile.

“I met Muriel through my boyfriend,” says Donna, from Glasgow. “She asked if I’d like to model for her and although I haven’t done anything like this before, I agreed because I love her paintings. 

“I regard it as a privilege to pose for her, but as I’m a student nurse I can’t actually afford to buy them. Being in them is the next best thing. I absolutely love the finished paintings and it’s made me start to think about the referendum. Before, I didn’t really bother about it.”

For this forthcoming solo show, Muriel has also been drawn to the new livery on Glasgow’s Subway, more familiarly known to Glaswegians as The Clockwork Orange. The models for the painting shown above all attend the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.
This exhibition features a series of paintings in which Glasgow’s Subway provides a graphic backdrop to her work.


Muriel Barclay’s first job after studying History and Philosophy at Edinburgh University was as a secretary in a Mayfair gallery in London.

Her paintings sell for between £700 and £9000

She then taught history in a Glasgow school while bringing up her three sons, who are now grown up.

She took art lessons in the evenings and weekends as her sons were growing up and gradually went part-time to allow herself time to paint.

She studied for two Open University degrees before deciding to become a full-time artist in 2001.

Her paintings hang in prominent public and private collections, including golfer, Ernie Ells, multi-millionaire car dealer Sir Arnold Clark, the Sultan of Brunei and former Scotland manager, Alex McLeish.

Muriel Barclay is available for interview

See more of her work at www.murielbarclay.co.uk

For further information or hi-res imagery contact janpatience@me.com

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