Name: Francis Boag
I enrolled at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, just 3 days after my 17th birthday in 1965. This made me one of their youngest ever graduates, when I completed the course in June 1969, still only 20 years old.
I taught Art in schools across Scotland before arriving at Aberdeen Grammar School as Head of Art in 1989 – a role I loved for more than 10 years. As I had done at all my previous schools, I tried to create a small studio space in the art room, where the pupils could see me working. It was part of my teaching philosophy that the pupils should see that as well as their teacher, I was also a practicing artist.
I had always drawn and painted since leaving Art school, and had exhibited sporadically over the decades, but I had never truly tried my hand at being a professional artist although it was something I had always aspired to.
In 1993, for the Christmas show at the Riverside gallery in Stonehaven I first exhibited a few small postcard size landscapes and was shocked and delighted when they all sold.
The next year after being encouraged by friends and on the back of the sales in Stonehaven, I set out to approach galleries in Aberdeen. After one abortive attempt, and a quick pep talk to myself, I finally plucked up the courage to enter Gallery Heinzel and speak with Chris, the owner. She asked to see my paintings and seemed to like them, so said she’d give them a try. To my delight, the following Saturday afternoon I received a phone call to say that one of my paintings had been sold.
When demand for my pieces started to gain some momentum in 2001, I found myself at a fork in the road in terms of my career. It was at that point, at the age of 53, that I took the decision to leave my post at Aberdeen Grammar School and focus on becoming a full-time professional artist.
It was a decision I have never regretted.
Most inspired by:
For a while now, I have been inspired by Claude Monet and the garden at Giverny, which he created and painted exclusively over the latter part of his life.
At this stage in my life, I find am attracted more and more to painting my immediate surroundings both the beautiful garden my wife Teresa has created at our house at Ury, or the landscape I see all around me on my thrice daily walks around the Estate with Mac, our Labrador.
(Francis Boag – ‘Ury House and Pond’, Acrylic collage, 40cm x 40cm)
If I’m sketching or painting just for fun, which I still do sometimes, then I like to use water-colour, but for my ‘day job’ it has to be acrylic paint.
Advice to others looking to become a professional artist:
Take up Sumo wrestling instead, there’s enough competition out there!
Francis Boag’s Spring Solo Exhibition will open at Gallery Heinzel on Aberdeen’s Thistle Street on Saturday 10th March. Click here for more details.