Jim Wylie: Scottish contemporary art, artist and paintings
Jim Wylie, a native of Glasgow, is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art where he studied Drawing and Painting under such prominent figures as Willie Armour, Geoff Squires, Sinclair Thomson, and Duncan Shanks. The grounding he received in composition and in colour in the true Glasgow tradition has remained a mainstay of his work.
Nowadays, Wylie lives and works in Stewarton, a thriving town in the heart of rural Ayrshire, where the surrounding farmland provides a continuing inspiration for his striking landscape paintings. The fields, hedgerows, trees and country roads form the basic vocabulary of his descriptions. It is an undulating landscape, where it seems that every hill is surmounted by a lonely farm steading, with each farm framed by its own little group of trees in stark outline against the ever-changing sky. Inspiration is taken too from the Ayrshire coast, from the bustling port of Troon, past the quiet fishing village of Dunure and the craggy grandeur of Culzean, across the verdant splendour of
Turnberry links, to the busy harbour and boatyards of Girvan. Jim and his wife, Emily, are keen hill walkers, and these travels allow him to collect ideas, often involving very dramatic scenery, from all around Scotland. Other favourite walking areas are in the Lake District, and in the Yorkshire Dales, where, although the scenery is not so wild, he is fascinated by the centuries-old land use where the imagination and ingenuity of succeeding generations of farmers has shaped the land and controlled it with walls, lanes and woodland, stamping an inimitable pattern on the landscape.
His landscape work is characterised by its use of strong, clean colour demonstrating a variety of techniques from skilfully controlled brushwork to bold palette knife application. Earlier developments in his work led away from a concentration on form and structure to a greater awareness of surface, and a tendency towards stronger and purer use of colour. Wylie says of his own work,
“My main understanding of painting has always been through line, form and structure. Things like colour and texture for a long time had been something of a mystery. My struggle to come to grips with colour has led to an increased use of strong local colour, and this in turn has led to greater experimentation with surface quality. Form and structure, however, are always present ghosts - things which I frequently try to deny, but can never completely escape from”.
He takes a particular pride in the craftsmanship of his paintings, and this is apparent in the exciting compositions, in the unusual colour combinations, and in the care with which the paint is applied to the canvas.
Wylie exhibits continually in a variety of private galleries across Scotland, with work also widely available in cards and in print. He is a member of Paisley Art Institute and contributes regularly to the annual exhibition, one of the largest of its kind outside Glasgow or Edinburgh, where he has been awarded prizes on two occasions. He is also a member of a co-operative of established painters in The Glasgow Group, which was established in 1957 and is the oldest artists cooperative group in Scotland.