Raymond Murray works from his studio on the Isle of Bute. Here he is still close to his roots having been born in the shipbuilding town of Greenock, memories of which still inspire some of his work. It was there that he was taught the spectrum of painting by the renowned marine artist James Watt. He had a natural talent as a youngster and used to draw portraits of his fellow pupils in his “jotter”. He says, “As a kid at school I wondered what all the fuss was about drawing portraits; couldn’t everyone do that? I was surprised that the teacher knew so much and taught the class but couldn’t draw.”
As a young man Raymond Murray studied for a time at the Neo Classical Portrait School in London but eventually decided that, “there was nothing very interesting about portraits” and left. He was inspired, however, by the impressionists, particularly Vlaminck, “I loved his deep blue skies and use of pure colour: this was for me”. In 1969 he started using a broad brush, pure colour and “artistic licence”. This very distinctive style, bold, vibrant and dynamic remains today.
“I think ‘abstract’ when I’m painting, but I don’t paint abstract. I always paint from memory too. It means you miss out things and add things, but that’s the benefit, it’s your interpretation, it’s better for composition.”