Duncan MacGregor

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The Creative Day... At present my life is divided into two geographical areas - Scotland in the summer and Staffordshire for the rest of the year. I love working in my Scottish studio which is located on the beautiful Isle of Mull. When I’m there, I start each day with a dip in the (excruciatingly cold) sea, or in the pond next to my house. I then prepare for the serious business of the day by putting on some music before picking up where I left off the day before. If I don’t have a work in progress, I may sit for a while and think about all the great places I’ve seen in my life, waiting for an idea to hit me. Amazingly it always does - I guess I have so many “unborn” pictures inside me just waiting for expression! Alternatively I might just get the brushes out and start to experiment, which is sometimes useful, but always enjoyable. I also spend one day a week getting some serious exercise; I love cycling, canoeing, climbing and wind surfing, and as well as offering me an opportunity to get out there and encounter nature face to face, I find that the excitement and exhilaration of pursuing these sports has a positive effect on my work. The Creative Impulse... I have never felt the need to seek out material for my paintings - I simply wake up every day wanting to paint! I am definitely inspired by nature, and love to experience the countryside at first hand whenever I can. I have also been lucky enough to travel to a great many interesting places in my life, as well as having spent 18 months at sea, and these experiences have all had a profound effect on my work. These are the memories I refer to when I am in the studio considering where to go next, so they are what informs and guides my own creative impulse. A lot of people have inspired me in my life, but I would say more personally than on an artistic level. If it hadn’t been for the tremendous support I received from family and friends I wonder if I would have had the confidence to turn professional in 2002. I now believe that they constitute part of the reason why I find I can paint with such ease and pleasure. The Creative Process... Once I have an idea for a painting in my head I am unstoppable. I simply work at it until it is finished and I am satisfied with what I’ve done. Although I am painting actual scenes, I see what I do as interpretative rather than literal, and I have heard many people describe my work as abstract. I paint around a subject rather than transcribing it directly onto the canvas, and I hope that the energy and vibrancy of each image is far more alive to the viewer than the rather more prosaic reality! My preferred medium is definitely acrylics, as they suit my colourful and spontaneous style; they allow me to achieve a high level of intensity even when the colours I have selected are pale, and their quick drying quality means I am able to paint without interruption. Background... Born in Oxford in 1961, Duncan grew up in the Midlands where he still spends a substantial part of the year. Despite living so far inland, he managed to develop a passion for the sea, and spent a highly significant eighteen months sailing across the Atlantic and then around the coast of Britain. He now spends part of the year back home in the Midlands, and the rest of the time in Scotland. Taking his inspiration from the surrounding landscape and of course the sea, Duncan is particularly fascinated by the effects of natural light on colour. His distinctive palette conveys the cool yet vibrant shades of sea and sky as they appear to his artist’s eye. Verging on the abstract, his work is characterised by the dense application of richly textured acrylics, which create a sense of spontaneity and unstoppable energy. Since turning professional, Duncan has enjoyed immense success, displaying his work in both galleries and private collections.