Many of you know the beautiful paintings from Ian Gray and it was back in 2007 when I last wrote about Ian, April to be precise. For those of you who don't know him: "Ian Gray was born in Hamilton/Scotland in 1966. He grew up near Edinburgh but later moved to Germany in 1988, where he now lives with his wife and two children near Dusseldorf. Ian started his creative carrier in 1995 and participated in a lot of exhibitions all over the world and several times on Islay during the Islay festival." Ian has a special technique to make his beautiful paintings: "he takes a succession of photographs, merges them digitally, and paints over the prints to heighten colour and atmosphere, with louring Scottish skies." The result is breathtaking as you can see from the image in this article. His talent doesn't go unnoticed and the Scotsman published an article today about Ian Gray. As usual a quote with the highlights:
Ian is now working on a project for the National Trust for Scotland to paint St Kilda, while a new Scottish tourism website, Bagging Scotland, has also hired him. If there's one lesson in his career worth picking up on, it might be to find your niche and conquer it. In the past 20 years, his business has thrived on the back of Scotland's most famous export industry, as well as the world market for whisky. In addition to his distillery images, and pictures of the interiors of whisky barrels or pot stills, Gray also produces Scottish landscapes. "I do this full-time, nothing else, just creating artwork," he says. Continue reading....
About 20 years ago, Gray was on a camping trip on Islay. He started doing sketches and paintings of the Ardbeg distillery and its surroundings. "When they went on show, people from other distilleries caught on, and it just took off from there," he say. "All I've been doing for the past few years has been hanging around the distilleries, getting invited into the next one." He describes his work as "hyperrealism", in the style of photorealism, but using photographs directly, rather than reproducing them on canvas. He starts with a series of photographs, merges and manipulates them digitally together, prints them on paper and canvas, and then reworks them with inks and pastels. "It adds atmosphere to the pictures, giving it depth," he says. In one of his his Ardbeg paintings, called Storm is Coming, he has emphasised the louring skies "to sum up the weather on Islay, and the whisky, how robust it is, trying to put that into the painting".
"Islay is a very, very special place, the people on Islay, I've had some fantastic experiences there. Every distillery is spectacular, each one has a special romantic location, a special atmosphere. Storm is Coming sums up the roughness of the island, but also the beauty. It was actually a series of ten photographs I took, getting completely soaked in the process. It was Sunday, the place was closed, it was quiet and peaceful until the storm came up." To capture Bowmore Sunset, he got a view of the setting sun reflecting on to the distillery off Loch Indaal. "I was eaten alive by midges, but I managed to have a wee dram with me, which also distracted me from all the bites."