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, 3 January 2010


Happy new year! As the bugler phlegmatically and wheezily announced the departure of 2009, I found myself looking over the hastily-scrawled pages of last year's diary before I consigned it to join those of bygone years in my archive. Apparently, on January the 1st of last year, I had a stinking cold, and there were snow showers in the evening. I was working on the commissioned painting of the dive-boat "Laerling" (which sprouted arms, legs and reproductions later in the year), and the Duff House exhibition picture featuring the drifters "Golden West" and "Forethought" off the Bressay Light. This turned out to be one of the few works which sold at the summer event, but I recall having little of my usual satisfied smugness on its completion, so the sale was rather a pleasant surprise.

Preparing for, and hanging, this exhibition was definitely the main feature of the year for me. It was what I spent most of the first half of 2009 doing, and I enjoyed my first trip to the Moray Firth region since I was a child of ten, when my family spent a holiday here, with Buckie as our base. My father drove us around the area in his Wolseley, and, at that time, I had little interest in anything else except the harbours and the boats. On the more recent occasion, I visited all the picturesque coastal villages from Rosehearty to Buckie, and ventured as far inland as Huntly. The weather was kind in late June, and I made good use of my digital camera.

Other highlights included my trip "south" in late March, when my brother and I toured the Mearns, Glenesk and Angus region on the pretext of getting more photographic material for future artworks, but the weather, on this occasion, was lousy, and the artistic aspect of this trip was an abject failure.

Then Patricia Gray, of Synergy Publishing, produced the first biographical article on the subject of my art and me. I was now a legend in my own lunchtime!

I had another exhibition in February and March at the Shetland Museum, but this consisted mostly of works I had created and stored over the past five years - there was only one new work among the 27 on display. I was concentrating most of my efforts on the more important (from my point of view) Duff House event to come later. The two months allocated to me by Shetland Museum were what I came to call the graveyard shift - between the Up-Helly-Aa festival and the "tourist" season, so sale prospects were poor from the outset. Later in the year, six of my paintings featured in the Coast exhibition at the Musa Art Cafe in Aberdeen. There are no definite display dates on my calendar for 2010 yet, but I hope that these will materialise over the next two months or so.

The painting commissions kept trickling in too, and these, along with a few sales from my permanent "mini-display" at the Lounge Bar here in Lerwick, helped pay the bills. The result is that I am no further in debt at the end of the year than I was at the start of it - maybe even a little ahead!

Of course there were low moments too. Friends died and others became poorly, but my immediate family seemed to stay healthy throughout. One of the greatest achievements by a family member was my niece Elanor Gunn being appointed leader of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, the first child of a Shetland parent (as far as I know) and the first Gwynedd resident to hold this post. The disappointment connected to this was that the news was never featured in our local newsapaper, the Shetland Times, despite their being supplied with pictorial and textual information regarding the appointment. I recall, with sadness and no small measure of anger, the sight of my mother scanning the pages each week for the feature on her granddaughter's achievement, only to find that the publication she has supported for nearly a century had no space among the drugs busts, traffic offences, minor assaults, reports of other petty crime and council machinations for this item. The Shetland Times does not do good news, apparently - at least, not that good!

This year has started as the last one ended, with my beloved islands in the grip of a protracted freeze-up, the like of which has never happened before in my memory. True, I can remember heavy and long-lasting snowfalls, but there is something unique about this cold spell, where rain falls with little thawing effect, merely creating an extra layer of ice for the unwary and infirm to lose their footing on. It has been like this since the weekend before Christmas, and, according to the Met Office website, there is little immediate prospect of an improvement in conditions.

Welcome to 2010! I hope the new decade brings peace, happiness, prosperity and whatever else you desire. For me, that would be more work, and the health and strength to carry it out to the best of my ability.

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