Top artist Jolomo finds inspiration on his doorstep

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Some artists travel to far flung lands to paint, but one of Scotland’s top artists keeps on finding inspiration a stone’s throw away from his beloved Argyll home.

The latest exhibition by John Lowrie Morrison, which opens on Saturday (August 10) at the Archway Gallery in Lochgilphead, concentrates on paintings of Crinan and Knapdale, landscapes found within a few miles of his Tayvallich home.

Although John’s work is now sought out by collectors all over the world, he continues to exhibit every August at his ‘local’ gallery – this will be his 25th solo exhibition at the Archway. A percentage of the artist’s profits will go to Mid Argyll Cancer Support.

The new show, Toward the Light: Crinan and Knapdale, which runs until September 7, includes new paintings of Loch Caolisport, the Crinan Canal, Bellanoch, Loch Scotnish and Tayvallich itself.

However, John explains that there is more to his work than simply painting what is in front of him.

John says: ‘Each of us lives in two different worlds, an exterior world which is physical and visible and an interior world which is intangible and invisible – the world of our spirit.

‘As an expressionist painter, I work from the interior realm. It is an intimate world, personal and subjective, the world of our thoughts and feelings. Children live in it quite naturally, but as adults we tend to withdraw from it.

‘I use high-key expressionist colour to express how I feel about the landscape.

‘I’ve been painting the area around me now for over 50 years, and the more I paint Knapdale, the more intensely I use light and colour to express my emotions for the landscape.’

John worked for 25 years as an art teacher at Lochgilphead High School, then in art education with Strathclyde Region before leaving work to paint full-time in 1997.

His distinctive colourful landscapes quickly made him one of the Scotland’s most successful painters, with celebrities such as Sting, Madonna, Simon Le Bon and Gregor Fisher collecting his work.

Wilma Meikle, who owns the Archway Gallery with her husband Iain, said: ‘We’re delighted that John has supported the gallery for all these years. His exhibition is always the highlight of our year and the new paintings are amazing.

‘It’s also really nice to have a show which is relevant to this area. It’s obvious that John loves painting the area around Lochgilphead and the Crinan Canal.’