You know what makes me grumpy? All the Grumpy Old Men who appeared on the BBC TV series were younger than me, that's what makes me grumpy. Mutter, mutter....

The Grumpy Old Artist

The Grumpy Old Artist
Would YOU pose for this man???

Exhibition Poster

Exhibition Poster
Catterline Event, 2011

Oil Painting by Jim Tait

Oil Painting by Jim Tait
Helford River, Cornwall

Oil Painting by Jim Tait

Oil Painting by Jim Tait
Full-riggers "Georg Stage" and "Danmark"

Other Recent Works

Other Recent Works
Fordyce Castle and Village

Hay's Dock, Lerwick

Shetland-model Boats at Burravoe, Yell

Tall Ships Seascape

The Tour Boat "Dunter III", with Gannets, off Noss

The "Karen Ann II" entering Fraserburgh harbour

Summer Evening, Boyndie Bay

1930s Lerwick Harbour

Johnshaven Harbour

"Seabourn Legend"

Greeting Cards!

Greeting Cards!
Now Available in Packs of Five or in Assorted Sets of Four

Sunday, 22 February 2009


When my idyllic and carefree childhood was shattered by the inevitable onset of puberty, with its concomitant breakout of body-hair and boils, my voice descended precipitously into the baritone register. At this confusing stage of our formative years, my brother and I were dragooned, rather unsympathetically it seemed, into the choir of Sandwick U. F. Church. This happened in the 1960s, when our little church, and the others in the parish, were full for the evening services - less well-attended in the mornings. As I got the hang of reading staff music, and the social aspect of being a choir member became enjoyable, what had started out as something to be feared quickly became a source of great pleasure for me. I sang bass, my brother was a tenor, and my sister Mary was in the soprano section. My mother, who was a mezzo, could also have been with the sopranos, but usually helped out in the less-populated altos. Oh, and my sister Thelma played the organ. So quite a lot of hymns were sung by our family members on Sundays. My chief memory of the Schoolhouse in Sandwick was that the building seemed to ring constantly with music and laughter.

Over the ensuing years, we all left to pursue careers, get married and set up homes elsewhere. But whenever my brother comes up to visit those of us who have remained in, or returned to, Shetland, the two of us like to take a Sunday drive down to Sandwick to attend a service in the old church. It has been extensively refurbished since we were young, and is sadly, like most other churches, less well-attended than in the days of our youth. There was no choir there today, and some of the hymns were unfamiliar to me, but it was nice to be back there again.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


Last Wednesday, the 11th of February, as arranged, I took 27 of my paintings, 6 of which I had removed from their more permanent display in the Lounge pub and another of which I had just picked up from the framer, and headed for the Museum and Archives. I had intended to hang my first exhibition in the new building. The snow fell lightly as my nephew and I took the artworks into da Gadderie, and I was left to fix split rings in the backs of the pictures and lay them all out, with their appropriate labels in front of them, along the feet of the walls. And that was it - the walls weren't ready to have paintings hung on them.

There had also been a Freudian slip on my part - I had missed out painting number 13 when earlier presenting the Museum with my list. I can't, for the life of me, explain why I did this - certainly not consciously, as I'm not particularly superstitious. Anyway, this omission was duly corrected, and I was given a lift home by the exhibitions co-ordinator - very decent of the man. I left the museum staff to do the hanging when it was convenient for them to do so.

The opening date was St. Valentine's Day, on which I was at the opposite side of the island, taking advantage of the break in the snowy weather to visit my mother at Walls. I next saw the exhibition on Monday morning - I'd sold two paintings, which is a result in the prevailing financial conditions. Let's hope for a few more sales during the next 4 weeks.

Friday, 6 February 2009


Since I last posted, my computer has had to be cleared of a virus infection, and I've had a relapse of my cold. I've been coughing up lumps of dough for nearly a week now, although I do believe it's starting to clear up now. As a matter of fact, I would disinfect myself, and all around me, after reading this, if I were you - you don't want to catch something nasty, do you?

And I'm still struggling with a dial-up connection - my new broadband ISP has not been able to fix me up yet, as the old provider still has a presence on the line. The art commissions have completely dried up, and it looks as if the credit crunch is beginning to bite me in all sorts of painful places. I hang my exhibition in the Shetland Museum next Wednesday afternoon. My hopes for it are not high.

The news isn't all bad, however. As I sat at my stall at the Toll Clock Shopping Centre on Up-Helly-A' morning, a representative of Shetland Arts breezed by, asking if I was interested in grant funding from them as she passed. My answer was immediate and in the affirmative. The result is that I now have application forms to provide my evening entertainment. What bliss!


At about 8.30am on the beautiful clear morning of January 28th, I looked out my window at the town of Lerwick, just going to bed after its biggest all-night party of the year. Out on the bright calm sea, a large ship was moving slowly between the Bard Head and Mousa, and a coastal tanker was picking up the pilot off the Bressay Light. In the street below, one of Andrew Morrison's buses crawled past, coming to the end of its shift as an Up-Helly-A' squad transport. I smiled at its destination display, which was sporting a "Have a Nice Day" message. It was closely followed by a council gritter, indicating icy roads somewhere. A couple of young women, wearing their glad-rags, stopped on the pavement opposite to adjust their footwear before continuing their homeward walk, blissfully unaware that they had been watched from my second-floor window. They looked so lovely. I sighed, turned away, and got to work on a painting. Just another day at the Tait Gallery had begun.