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, 30 October 2011


The title of this post might sound a bit C S Lewis-ish, but it stems from a rough English translation of the names of the three ships featured in this week's featured painting.  This is the last of the new works I've managed to complete for this year's Catterline exhibition (I hope it's completed!).  I still have a bit to do on tarting up one of my old tall ship paintings, and I hope to get this done tomorrow.  If I don't manage it, this one will probably not be making the journey south, as I would like to get a new frame on it for the occasion, and it'll have to dry before going to the framer.

My able assistant-cum-driver and I will be hitting the high seas next Saturday evening, and I hope the seas are not high enough to cause similar problems to those encountered by the ferries earlier this past week.

The ships featured in the painting above are, on the left, the Dutch topsail schooner "Wylde Swan", the 3-masted Dutch topsail schooner "Gulden Leeuw" (Golden Lion) on the right, and, in between, the Polish full-rigger "Dar Mlodziezy" (Gift of Youth") receding into the gloom which attended the departure of these ships from Lerwick in late July.

Dutch ships dominated the 'A' class of vessels in this year's Tall Ships Race, and the "Wylde Swan" was  one of the most interesting of these.  She is owned by the same organisation which brought the brigantine "Swan van Makkum" to these islands for the 1999 event, and subsequently sold that vessel to Italian owners.  The "new" boat was actually built as a steamship in Germany in 1920, and she has also operated under the Norwegian flag, before being acquired by her present owners, who have converted her into the impressive two-masted topsail schooner which graced Lerwick harbour in July.

Equally interesting, and also originally a steamship, is the "Gulden Leeuw", which was built as the Danish oceanographic research ship "Dana" in 1937.  I remember admiring the sleek lines of this grey-painted ship when she called at Lerwick in this capacity during the 1960s.  However, I would never then have dreamt of seeing her return in 2011, rigged as a three-masted topsail schooner, with a fully-square-rigged foremast.

This will probably be my last post before my trip to the mainland.  My thanks must go to Cecil Hughson, who has been framing all the paintings, and to my sister Mary, who has the onerous duty of transporting them and me safely to the Creel Inn, Catterline, for next Monday's hanging.  Thanks to these old friends who have volunteered to help with the hanging of paintings and distribution of posters.  Finally, thanks to all those who have emailed me their good wishes - it is very much appreciated, I assure you.

Have a great fortnight!

Sunday, 16 October 2011


The last two paintings for the Catterline exhibition are of sailing vessels, and this is the first of these.  It features three of the windjammers which took part in this year's Tall Ships Race.  From left to right, these are the Dutch brig "Morgenster", the barque "Europa" (also Netherlands-registered) and the Norwegian gaff-rigged ketch "Liv".  The painting, on canvas, measures 30" x 20" (as you see, I've never been decimalised!).

Now ALL I have to do is finish the final painting (a 24" x 24" canvas), get these two framed, do the packing of paintings, hanging materials and personal effects, and we're off!  According to the Met Office website, the long-term weather forecast is for unsettled conditions, with gales at times and near-normal temperatures, for early November.  The near-normal temperatures should mean reasonable road conditions for driving on the mainland, but the gales I'm not so keen on, as they can disrupt ferry journeys.  Let's hope that Guy Fawkes night falls on a "day atween wadders", as that's when we're booked to catch the blue canoe for the mainland!

People say I worry too much - maybe they're right!  Have a good week - whatever the weather.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


I finished work on this painting last week.  It is of the Arbroath-registered seiner/trawler "Random Harvest II" rolling along in a freshening south-easterly as she approaches the lee of Lerwick harbour.  She was built by Gerrard Bros. of Arbroath in 1958, was 68 feet long and 50 tons gross and net.  She was owned by a partnership headed by skipper David Teviotdale of Arbroath.

I hope to complete two more paintings, both of tall ships, for the Catterline exhibition, which opens on 8th November at the Creel Inn.  I hope you like the poster at the top of this column.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


I know I promised to display this painting here three weeks ago, and this only serves to demonstrate the fragile nature of such undertakings.  My excuses seem feeble in the extreme now, as I reflect on what has happened over the period - family matters, a "chest cold" which has been doing the rounds of my native islands and made my life a misery for a fortnight, and, at the same time, trying to keep some kind of painting workrate going, as the Catterline exhibition is being hung five weeks tomorrow.  I still have so much to do in connection with this that it's scaring me practically witless.

I have seen the sample of the exhibition poster which Tay-CAD are producing for me, and it is excellent.  These will be going up in shops, hotels, pubs and eateries around the north-east of Scotland prior to the event.  My framer is busy with my paintings at the moment, fares and accommodation have been booked, and my first grant claim form has been submitted to the SIC's economic development unit for payment.  All extraneous factors seem to be going well, and only the artwork remains to be completed!

While I am struggling to get the last three new artworks finished (and alterations done to some older ones) in time for the Catterline display, the orders are building up too.  I have been promising these potential clients that I'll start work on their artworks before the end of October, and I hope that they keep faith with me meantime.  As someone pointed out to me recently, it's better than having an empty order book, and I suppose there are many artists who would dearly love to have my "problem"!

The painting which illustrates this post is of the Aberdeen trawler "Leswood" heading south-east from Lerwick in choppy weather conditions, with the Bressay lighthouse bearing silent witness to her departure.  I hope to have my portrayal of the Arbroath-registered seiner/trawler "Random Harvest II" ready to illustrate another blog posting this time next week, but, given the broken promises of my last post, I am reluctant to make such a rash definite undertaking!  The last two new works for the Catterline exhibition are of tall ship compositions, and I just hope to have them both ready for the event.  This is dependent on metaphorical fair winds between now and then.  May only gentle zephyrs fill your sails this week!