James Lumsden

I aim to make paintings which are luminous, seductive, sensual and atmospheric. I am fascinated in how the raw materials innate to the medium can be turned into something poetic – an object filled with light, feeling, atmosphere and emotion. – James Lumsden

Each painting by Scottish artist James Lumsden reveals its own rhythms and movement, which are evoked by the light, colour and atmosphere of the piece, created through Lumsden’s process of making. During a residency at Ballinglen Arts Foundation, County Mayo, Ireland during summer 2007, and continued through 2008 in a period of exploration and development, supported by a Scottish Arts Council Creative Development Award, Lumsden began to explore the use of acrylic paint and gloss medium. In place of the subtle tonal blending of the recent oil paintings he began to build contrasting layers of translucent paint. This process involves the application of multiple layers of paint on a finely sanded gesso ground. Each layer is dragged, pulled or squeegeed with various implements – the process being repeated, layer upon layer until the final painting begins to emerge. Arrived at by both chance and deliberation, this final painting reveals the varying and contrasting colours and under-layers, which can be seen through the translucence, pentimenti and depth of the work. In this way the viewer can trace the history of making through veiled nuances.


James Lumsden has exhibited in group shows in New York, London, Edinburgh, Inverness, Truro, Calgary, Irvine, County Mayo, Dumfries, Derry, Aalborg and he also appeared in the Society of Scottish Artists Annual Exhibition in Edinburgh. Lumsden’s career has been recognised with various awards, including the Hope Scott Trust Award in 2003, 1993 and 1992, the EDAC award in 1992, the EVAAC award in 2000 and 2002 and the Arts Trust of Scotland Award in 2000; he received the Scottish International Education Trust Award in 1996 and awards from the Scottish Arts Council in 2000, 2002 and 2006. He has also received grants from the British Council and had a residency at the Aalborg Trienalle in Denmark, and most recently a Royal Scottish Academy Residency. His work features in many collections around the world including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh; Mastercard International, London; Aalborg Kommune, Denmark; Paintings in Hospitals Scotland; and the Gulbenkian Foundation, London. His new series of paintings has recently been included in the Society of Scottish Artists 117th Annual Open Exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.

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