Like another artist whom I featured before in this blog, Sir Robin Philipson, Duncan MacGregor has painted a lot of the art on my walls at home, I like his almost abstract seascapes where with a few apparently simple lines he can express the scurrying movement of a yacht in full sail. In 2013 he wrote this book which along with examples of lots of his work includes a fascinating biographical sketch as to how a boy from the English midlands ended up as a seascape painter and nowadays living for the most part in Scotland away from his native Birmingham. The book is published by DeMontfort Fine Art and is 34cm x 28½cm and came in three editions:-
- Standard edition, unlimited book at £65
- Limited edition, book in a box with a signed limited edition print and certificate numbered between 151 and 595 at £165
- Deluxe edition, book in a box with a signed limited edition print along with an original sketch and certificate numbered between 1 and 150 at £495.
The box for the special editions, both limited and deluxe which is the version I have, has a frame built into the lid which held the print and if appropriate the original painting. The print that came with all 595 limited or deluxe editions is shown below.
I have left this with the book in the box however I have framed the original sketch as I wanted that on my walls.
Although there is quite a lot of text, this is primarily an art book so it is the lovely photographs that draw the reader in and despite the relatively large size of the book there are some fold out pages as well so you can really appreciate the paintings featured
Paintings also extend over the central page boundary at times so that they use the full height of the page and spread if needed to show the full image whilst included photographs are much smaller. Below are a couple of double page spreads showing Duncan with a couple of his boats. Note the doodled fish in the margins of the lower image, there are little bits of humour like this throughout the volume.
I particularly like the use of multiple fonts throughout the book which complement the artworks beautifully and there are also some double page images with doodles and handwriting in white on a black background just to play with the print format further
At the time the book came out MacGregor was experimenting with painting direct onto glass and one of the illustrations shows him at work seen through the panel he was painting. This is obviously complex as effectively the artwork is done backwards, with the foreground and highlights painted first and then gradually covered with the subsequent layers of paint until he reaches what would normally be the first layer of paint on a canvas which is applied last. It does produce an amazing glossy effect though in the finished piece.
As a final view here are three of his original paintings that are hanging here. Click on an image to see it larger.