JoLoMo Lloyds TSB Scotland Awards 2007
"One of my favourite painters, and probably one of Scotland's favourite painters of the moment is John Lowrie Morrison. I don't know how art society describes JoLoMo's paintings, but to me they appear as mental colourful landscapes almost ready to burst because there is so much energy and colour in them."
Adam Christie, artist and art lover
John Lowrie Morrison
John Lowrie Morrison is one of Scotland's most well known contemporary landscape artists. His very distinctive colourist scenes of the Highlands and Islands, depicting white washed cottages, sandy beaches, lighthouses and wild seascapes have a worldwide list of admirers. His collectors include Madonna, Sting, the Duke of Argyll and several Scottish politicians. JoLoMo (his artistic pseudonym from John Lowrie Morrison), is phenomenally prolific, working up to 80 hour week from his studio in Argyll producing around 1,000 paintings, to keep up with the demand of exhibitions and his buying public.
After studying at Glasgow College of Art, he received a travelling scholarship from the Royal Academy. He then spent 25 years working in education and only began to paint full time in 1997. Now earning around £2 million a year, (donating a large percentage to charity), Morrison's financial success as an artist came later in life. He knows from his own experience that young art school graduates can rarely earn a living from their work or even arrange gallery exhibitions to enter the market place.
The tradition of landscape painting has a rich cultural history in Scotland over the past 250 years. But with the emphasis in many art colleges today of conceptual and experimental work, JoLoMo is keen to encourage young and emerging artists who specialise in painting the Scottish landscape. He set up the JoLoMo Foundation, a charitable trust to assist and promote teaching of painting in Scotland. Through the Foundation he established a new biannual Art Award in May 2006 in association with Lloyds TSB. The main prize is £20,000, with a runner up receiving £4,000 and two further awards of £3,000. All the winners will receive a specially commissioned, handmade glass sculpture by Scottish artist, Scott Irvine.
Morrison's aim in creating these prestigious awards is to give something back to Scotland, to Scottish landscape painting and to inspire Scottish artistic talent.
As a criteria for entry, artists must live and work in Scotland, have studied at a Scottish College of Art or if self taught, be proposed by a qualified referee. By the closing date in December 2006, 85 international artists had submitted their application portfolio of ten paintings and sketches. JoLoMo and his team of judges were keen to find in the submissions some fresh, new ideas in landscape painting, a personal vision - in the same way that Jolomo excels in his own bold and atmospheric canvases. He describes his style of landscape as "expressionism influenced by Van Gogh."
Nine Scottish based artists - ranging in age from 22 to 61 - have now been shortlisted for these inaugural awards. Four paintings from each are on show in the Atrium of Henry Duncan House, 120 George Street, Edinburgh from the 1st -18th June with many of the works available to purchase. The awards will be announced on 21 June, 2007.
As JoLoMo commented on the announcement of the shortlist - "It has been a fascinating year since we launched this award. The interest in the project has been great and I believe we have uncovered some real talent in landscape painting for the future of Scottish art."
The shortlisted artists 2007
David Cook (49) is a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. For more than 20 years David has had solo exhibitions in Scotland and London as well as group shows at home and overseas.David lives and works near St. Cyrus in Kincardineshire, the same coastline made famous through the wild seascapes of Joan Eardley. As David describes his approach to painting and capturing the changing sea and sky every day. "It's like trying to catch a rainbow. I absorb and paint instinctively what is about me, nature, life."
Rebecca Firth (44) studied social science at Aberdeen University in the early eighties, later taking a BA (Hons) Painting degree and post graduate MFA at Edinburgh College of Art. "My work is inspired by the complex patterns found in dense woodland and undergrowth. This inspiration comes from the many wild places in Edinburgh itself and from woodlands in Fife and Perthshire".
Ingrid A Fraser (22) graduated from Gray's School of Art with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, specialising in Painting. "My work of slightly obscure landscapes represents the footprints of the people, both ancient and modern, who have lived in Scotland. I feel our struggles with identity and belonging are bound up in our relationship with the landscapes we inhabit."
Willie Fulton (61) is a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art and following a career in teaching took early retirement in 1998, to paint on a full time basis. He has lived and worked on the Island of Harris since 1976. "The compulsion to paint, to make marks, lures me to the studio each day. Every work, like a performance, seeks to add something gained from the last attempt. It may be inspired by a passage of light, the serenity of a Hebridean dawn, a full moon over the islands, or perhaps, gentle rain over the Minch. In an ever changing landscape, it never gets easier, but sometimes the right note is struck and that can give such joy and satisfaction that a return to the easel is inevitable."
Helen Glassford (30) gained a Masters of Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. "My paintings are in essence abstractions of the Scottish landscape in which I find myself immersed. I react freely to the immensity of nature, attempting both to capture the spirit of place, and humanity's transient experience of it."
Jamie Hageman (28) is a self taught artist. He has shown work at Fort William's Mountain Film Festival, the Lochaber Art Club's annual exhibitions and his images were used to advertise the 20th anniversary Dundee Mountain Film Festival. He is inspired by the landscape all around his studio in Glencoe. "I am often awestruck in the mountains, and would like the viewer to feel the same emotions when faced with my paintings. I have had countless adventures and experiences in the Scottish mountains, and I re-live those memories as I paint."
Anna King (23) graduated BA (Hons) Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee after a sell-out degree show. "I take an alternative view of the Scottish landscape and find myself drawn to lost, empty places, flashing by from a car window. I grew up and still live in the Scottish Borders and this is where the atmosphere of space and light in my work has come from. It is an aspect of our landscape that will never cease to inspire me."
Sian MacQueen (34) graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a First Class BA (Hons) in Fine Art. "The skies and coastal textures of Argyll are my source of inspiration. Nothing sits still in the ever shifting weather fronts and tides of the West Coast, so I paint with acrylic on gesso and using layers of paint I scrape, sand, rub and score until I find what I'm searching for."
Jamie Primrose (34) graduated with a BA Honours in Fine Art from Newcastle University in 1994 and lives and works in Edinburgh. He specialises in creating pure, luminous, shimmering landscapes depicting the atmosphere and light in the sky as it changes from the early morning to evening sunsets. "I am inspired by the colourist tradition of rich Scottish landscape painting, and in my work, I aim to capture the magical play of light and atmosphere from the sky onto the landscape and the dramatic moods of the Scottish weather at different times of day."
The 2009 JoLoMo Lloyds TSB Award will be launched in 2008. For more information on the award and entry requirements see www.jolomofoundation.org.
© Vivien Devlin, British Guild of Travel Writers
Arts and Travel writer
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
News & Views>
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Scottish Pictorial Calendar>
Places to Visit>