Hamish MacDonald (1935–2008) was born in St Vincent Street, Glasgow, just a stone’s throw from the College. He studied at Glasgow School of Art, where his artistic output consisted of Pop-art style collages. Taking influence from the Scottish Colourists, and fellow colourist inheritor, Joan Eardley, his style would eventually evolve into the lively and expressive style, for which he is known. ‘Blue Bathed Berth’ is an excellent example of his work. Here we see his fondness for rich, vivid colours, in particular the titular blue – a dominant colour in many of his works. As well as paint, there are elements of collage and use of crayon providing yet more, strong colour as well as suggesting textural differences. This bright and exciting image secured MacDonald the College prize at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts Exhibition in1993.
After being diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in 2007, Macdonald began to explore the therapeutic role of art, and its relationship with medicine. During his treatment at the Beatson Oncology Centre, he began sketching staff and fellow patients. ‘I am a firm believer in the power that art has to inspire and help alleviate suffering’, he is quoted as saying, ‘it can play a key role in lessening the burden that illness brings’. The resulting works, the Beatson Drawings, were ultimately donated to the University of Glasgow Medical School, as a reminder to future medics of the palliative power of art.
Where to see this painting?
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
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