Thursday, 16 January 2014



Graeme Wilcox is a leading Scottish figurative painter: some of his most powerful  paintings show the tension between animation and stillness. He is able to portray the transient, blurred image of a moving figure while painting another with precise photographic definition.

Strange Weather is a topical and apt title considering the vicissitudes of current weather worldwide. Just what is going on? Two hale and hearty men have lost their balance and are tossed in the air. There they hang, poised  as if in a still photograph of sequence dancers.Or is this a duo in a ballet? One hand is stretched out strongly towards us, nearly breaking through the canvas. Is it an appeal for help? Or are we being pushed away by someone  who doesn't want us to see the humiliation of the next few seconds.?


OIL on canvas 76 x 64cm
Strange Weather  reminds me of a very different portrait of man and the elements by another Scottish artist, Sir Henry Raeburn. The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch, was painted in the 1790s and can be seen at the Scottish National Gallery. This serene skater is affectionately known as The Scottish Minister (or Parson). He was minister of the Cannongate Kirk and a member of the Edinburgh Skating Society, the oldest in Britain.
 The weather is extreme again but this time the subject whizzes across the loch and out of sight secure in his skating skills, said to be learnt on Dutch canals. Like the two men above, his eyes are not on us but on the present predicament - how to stay upright.. It looks effortless but fellow skaters would have recognised a difficult and sophisticated manoeuvre. His arms are sensibly folded to his body, suggesting  confidence if not complacency. He wears sombre clothing, as befits a religious leader, making a sharp silhouette against a muddy. lowering sky and the noisy, crisp ice underfoot.

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