Published on 12/04/2017
JOHN LOWRIE MORRISON OBE has a compulsion to paint, he is driven to paint, it is his reason for getting up in the morning. Gigha is a favourite island where he returns time after time. There are 15 Gigha paintings in his current exhibition but one subject in particular keeps drawing him in — a Gigha croft at moonrise.
There are four paintings in the exhibition of the same croft, each a different size and each subtly different in composition, colour and mood.
We have given the largest painting its own wall in the gallery — ‘A Gigha Croftscape' — it is quite simply stunning. The colour seems to explode from the canvas. The foreground shows a field full of wild flowers of every description. An old gate hangs loose; the field is likely to have been uncultivated for many years so the flowers have grown in profusion. There are pinks, reds, purples, oranges, yellows, greens, white…the richness of the foreground might threaten to overwhelm the painting but it is beautifully balanced. The sky is clear blue with a simple moon rising and the field across the road is grass, in shades of green and yellow, while there is a soft purple hill behind. The quiet background sets off the busy foreground.
The croft house itself, in the centre of the painting, is a typical west coast house, with white-washed walls and a red-roofed lean-to. The red of the flowers and gate in the foreground follows through to the red roof and the red chimneys. And the house is sheltered by trees.
"There are some motifs that I keep returning to. I just love them, and I return to them in a different way. In a different season, or in a different light." He adds, "You just have to keep doing it and keep doing it. You are striving to get something which is the best painting you have ever done. I think that is what it is. And I have always painted like that, even when I wasn’t exhibiting. I have drawers-full of stuff.”
Many artists have created multiple versions of the same image. Van Gogh is known for his sunflower paintings, Picasso frequently returned to the same subjects and Turner was known to work on a number of versions of a scene at the same time.
Studying the four Gigha croft paintings, you see something different and something new each time.