John Lowrie Morrison OBE, known as Jolomo, is a man with a passion, a passion for landscape and a passion for people. Many of us have deep rooted connections to the West and North Highlands through parents, grandparents and wider family. Jolomo touches a feeling, a way of life. I have seen people reduced to tears by the profound emotional impact of his work. These are my responses to just a few of his paintings in our current exhibition.
“Big Storm, The Todhead Light Aberdeenshire” — the one painting in the exhibition from the east rather than the west coast. High winds and lashing rain swept across the UK at the weekend. This striking image depicts a storm lashing the Aberdeenshire coast in a wild frenzy — a frequent sight this winter. The bravura brush strokes are as energetic as the storm, the sky is an arena of pure pigmented energy against which the lighthouse beam sends a slender hopeful flicker.
“Morning Mist Arivruach, Isle of Lewis” shows John’s supreme paint handling and strength of colour skills. What an immersive few weeks on Jolomo’s art journey amongst the fabled West Highland Lochs and Islands.
“The Paps of Jura From Isle of Gigha”, a sensory painting, beyond the lovely smell of richly applied oil paint, one can sense the honeyed clover scent of the machair grasslands, the salt laden breeze of the blue Atlantic and a winding path to a lone cottage where perhaps tales of old are told.
There were few better story tellers than George Orwell who lived on Jura for a time, all the better to let wonderful words flow from his pen. ‘Animal Farm’, ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ and ‘Homage to Catalonia’ were a few of the mighty books which shaped our view of ourselves and the world.
There are many elements I love in this painting, “Blossoms and Beehives the Hebrides”. A blossom tree, beehives in a garden, a croft house, a glimpse of beach, a distant mountain on a far off isle... all rendered in the most sumptuous, thickest oil paint imaginable, from a palette that is rich in its generosity. I can hear the bees humming, joyously.
“Balnahard Beach Isle of Colonsay, Summerlight” is a sumptuous, buttery, painterly feast of an oil on canvas from Jolomo’s inimitable hand.
The day lingers long into the summer evening, the herbs and small flowers of the machair or coastal pasture sweep down to golden shell sand beaches. Deep ultramarine and azure seas sweep between the isles, beguiling mountains arise to greet the evening peace.
All is still.