James Fairgrieve, RSA, RSW is one of the finest Scottish painters of still-lifes of his generation.
He was born in Prestonpans, East Lothian in 1944. He attended Edinburgh College of Art from 1962-67 and was awarded a travelling Scholarship to Italy. On his return, he took up a teaching post at ECA where he remained until his early retirement as a Senior Lecturer in Drawing and Painting in 2003.
In 1970 James Fairgrieve moved from East Lothian to the village of Gordon in Berwickshire. The move inspired a series of works reacting to the Borders landscape. These featured carefully observed studies of rural life - with fine paintings of hills, fields, farm buildings, country animals & birds. He recorded the change of the seasons, Scottish weather and intimate views of daily events around his cottage and studio in Gordon.
Always inspired by things he saw about him - these rural scenes were painted with meticulous care and attention to detail and often painted with a muted palette with an emphasis on grey and neutral shades. Here we have a more unusual medium for Fairgrieve - a little composition which I think is painted on paper with dry watercolour washes, thicker layers of gouache with some light touches of pencil underdrawing.
This is a delightful little study and it is signed and dated n pencil, lower right: J Fairgrieve 1983. It has a slightly comic feel to it - the little white cockerel has come out of his coop to be greeted by a new crisp layer of white snow. He has sunk into it, and his little red feet are lost from view under the snow top. I love the limited palette of whites and greys - with the flashes of bright red on the cockerel's comb and wattle. To the right - just seen beyond the edge of the building we can see a glimpse of a landscape enlivened with a little corner of winter sunshine.
Fairgrieve has exhibited regularly nationally and internationally since 1969. His work can be found in many major public and private collections in the UK and abroad.
Dimensions. Image Size 19.5 x 19.5. Frame Size is 37.5 x 37.5 cm. The work was originally shown at the Macaulay Gallery in East Lothian. It is sold in its frame dating to its period - it is a nice thick wood frame - and a cream-coloured window mount. The old mount could quite possibly be replaced with a new fresh one - but is in fine enough condition to hang on your wall, as it is.
There was a stunning retrospective show of Fairgrieve's work held at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh this early year (2022) which you can view online - it featured more of these small rural studies and larger paintings which date to the same time as this delightful little work.
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