Saturday, 29 December 2012

Art by Mary Maclean

When I was at Glasgow University (1982-1986) I had friends from a number of other institutions, including the Glasgow School of Art.  This was through a set of roundabout connections because I was a member of the Edinburgh Youth Orhcestra (EYO) (plus the National Windband of Scotland (NWoS), the Lothian Schools Orchestra (LSO), the Edinburgh Secondary Schools Orchestra (ESSO) and the Caritas Orchestra (I was busy in those days)) and therefore met a lot of people from other schools in Edinburgh who have turned up periodically thoughout my life since.

Of these, the pupils from the Rudolf Steiner school were often the most interesting and many of them ended up as music and art students in Glasgow when I was there. One of these was a 'cello player (Moria?) and her elder sister, Mary Maclean, who was studing fine arts (mainly painting I think) at the Glasgow School of Art, whom I first met at a party we held at our flat at 42 Bentinck Street.
I didn't drink much in those days (I think it was 1984) and was a sensible sort of chap (overall) and I remember being invited round to the flat they shared in Oban Drive in the West End for innocent past-times such as drinking tea, baking cakes, playing charades and generally having silly conversations.

I suppose I had lived in a relatively narrow, circumscribed and studious world until then (and for quite a while thereafter) and it was interesting to be introduced to things that I didn't really know anything about such as art, old Edith Piaf LPs, tinned lychees and the revelation that the Macleans' mother had allegedly been in the Hitler Youth before emigrating to Scotland.

Oban Drive is just round the corner from Fergus Drive where my good friend Kenny lived for a while thereafter (hello Kenny!) and I remember that they used to get letters from a friend in Morningside addressed to "Oh-ban-the-bomb Drive".

Anyway, I liked Mary's art and as she was a final year student by then she was selling some of her pictures and I gladly paid £40 for one of them.  It doesn't have a title, that I am aware of, but it is a large canvas (130 x 170cm) depicting two people sitting in a cafe in Amsterdam and is based on the pastel sketch above, which she let me have as a bonus.
It hangs proudly on the wall of my sitting room and although it is not the most beautiful painting in Scotland (or possibly even the most finished) it sits well against the warm yellow walls and brown furniture (chosen in a way to compliment the painting, not the other way around, as is often the case, these days) and looks interesting, often stimulates conversation, and is in fact the only painting I own - at the time I had thought to buy other pictures from Mary but I was worried what my mother would say about the reclining nude I was considering.

It's funny, I was writing this blog piece and found myself wondering where Mary had got to since I last saw her c.1984.  And, just this very minute, by the power of the internet, I have found her here.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Little More Harmony

Here are a couple more Harmony images I produced just by doodling about.  Not sure where the ideas cames from... I think I might have been watching some Looney Tunes with James.
They're easy and fun to do and has helped generate a few ideas that can be further developed in MyPaint or GIMP.  Here's another one.
See these architects?  They think they're the only ones that can do this!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

I was looking through some old photos and thought I should digitise them (well, try photographing them using a digital camera).  Purely for self-indugent reasons I've posted some of them mainly to remind the world (well the internet) what I looked like with hair (compare and contrast with my profile photo); so here are a few choice images (apologies for the quality, I may re-do them).
This is me in the lab in the Zoology Department at Glasgow University c1986.  You can see my excellent dress sense shining through.  That's Andy Harvey, my flatmate at the time, in the background.
Here I am on a beach in Norfolk probably in 1987 at the end of the first year of my PhD in Cambridge (Pembroke College).  I think I had been paddling.
I think this one was taken in about 1989 late in my third year.  I'm standing in Downing College trying to look intellectual.  You can see the stress of writing up written all over my face.