The latest exhibition at The Meffan in Forfar features the work of renowned Scottish artist Jim Dunbar, who is returning to the Forfar gallery .
Jim’s paintings, executed in either oil or watercolour, are representational and often allegorical.
His subject matter is wide-ranging covering figures and portraits, still-life, landscapes and seascapes. This exhibition features over 50 paintings which are inspired by the local environment around his home in Carnoustie as it changes through the seasons.
Jim Dunbar was born on February 18, 1949 in Mission Mambasa, deep in the Ituri rain forest of Democratic Republic of Congo, where his parents were evangelical missionaries. He spent most of his childhood in DRC between mission stations Alambi and Mambasa, with occasional stays in the UK and the USA. He was educated in USA and Scotland.
Jim trained in Drawing and Painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, between 1967-1973; he took some time out of his studies to return to missionary work.
Between 1977 and 1999 he taught in various schools in Angus, as both assistant and Principal Teacher of Art and Design. He retired from teaching and now paints full time.
Jim has received many awards, travelling scholarships and prizes throughout his painting career.
He was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in 2007. He served as Vice President (East) from 2009 to 2012 and is still actively involved in support of the RSW. In 2013 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society and a member of the Royal Glasgow Institute. Jim is also President of the Scottish Riley Enthusiasts, a classic car club. Designing and building Riley “special” sports cars allows Jim to put his skill as a sculptor to good use in metalworking.
He has exhibited extensively and has work in private, corporate, local government and museum collections in the UK and abroad.
In both watercolour and oil painting, Jim always uses a reference either set-up in the studio as with a still-life or portrait or working on site in the landscape.
If he requires further references for a work, he will make studies both in colour and black and white from source and refer to these back in the studio. He very rarely uses photographs.
The watercolours by nature are more direct and hence take less time to produce. The oil paintings on the other hand can take up to eight weeks. Before embarking on a large oil painting, he will make many studies and compositional sketches before finally preparing a canvas. This method ensures the correct proportions and scale of the final work.
Jim has been framing his own work for many years. Currently he uses natural wood mouldings that he colours to suit each individual work.
Jim says of his work: “Throughout my painting career I have concentrated on places, objects and people that have a strong connection to me in some way; family or close friends, collected objects and places where I have lived. The insight gained by having known my subject matter over time is important to me because of the spiritual element it brings to my work.”
The exhibition opened to the public on Saturday and runs until Saturday, November 16. Admission free.
There will be a talk and gallery tour to coincide with the exhibition which will take place on Wednesday, October 30 at 2 p.m., where Jim will discuss his influences and working practices. The event is free; no need to book.