My earliest introduction to art was through the record sleeve illustrations on albums I bought as a teenager in the early 1970s. When I arrived at Edinburgh College of Art in 1977, my intention was to study illustration with particular emphasis on record sleeve design. I considered my fascination for painstaking detail and precision appropriate to the study of illustration. However, after attending a lecture on Raphael in my first year, it became clear to me that I was more suited to the discipline of painting. No single event encouraged me to become an artist – I just never really considered alternatives.
The hard-edged geometric arrangements in my canvases are informed primarily by architectural motifs. My early paintings at college were hyper-realist depictions of the utilitarian, box-like nature of the council housing scheme where I lived. However, the shifting rhythms and patterns visible in the painted surface have their origin in my life-long love of music, particularly minimalist and ambient composers. The study of this music informs the overriding theme of my work – the relationship between the surface of sound and the painted surface.
I work primarily with oil on canvas. Attention to detail, precision, and accuracy in the application of pigment is my main concern when constructing the surface of my paintings. A small brush is used to apply thick oil paint in tiny, interlocking arrangements. Variations in the placement of these brush strokes allow a sense of changing accent in the constructed surface. The use of colour in these paintings is largely intuitive and has no foundation in colour theory. It is the one element informed, to some degree, by chance.
Born in Scotland in 1959, Colin lectured in the school of Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art from 1990 to 2017 and now lives and works in East Lothian, Scotland. Colin's paintings primarily investigate the relationship between the painted surface and music. Collaborating regularly with musicians and sound artists, Colin has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Pavarotti Music Centre in Bosnia, with Mr. McFalls Chamber at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh and with Marconi Union in Manchester.
Since 2010, Colin has also worked with sound artists and musicians to create Painting-Sound-Animations. This ongoing series of work directly connects his paintings to the sound worlds that inform them. The animations employ hundreds of images of painted surfaces animated to evolve visually with their aural counterpart.