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  • James MacDonald

“I used bigger canvases, carrying them in my arms to remote locations… and made the most of being in the moment; in the elements and the fading light…”


I have an intimate relationship with every picture I paint. I never paint from photographs. I immerse myself totally in my subject. In order to create my most recent body of work I lived for extended periods of time in complete isolation in the scottish wilderness.


I was surrounded on all sides by the elements and energies of Nature. Ordinary tasks necessary to survival like chopping firewood and hunting game did not only inspire but literally became subjects of my paintings.


My experience also pushed the development of my painting practice, becoming more primitive and immediate. I used bigger canvases, carrying them in my arms to remote locations where I painted with more purposeful, sweeping strokes, never painting the same part of canvas twice and making the most of being in the moment in the elements and the fading light.




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  • James MacDonald
"The last time I saw them we were boys, and now we are all men, with experiences and ambitions."

Every time I sculpt a portrait it is a unique experience for me. Each new subject brings new opportunities and challenges, and their personal experiences inspire me and influence the sculpture.


My portrait project is in full swing and I have had great enjoyment reconnecting with friends from my childhood and sculpting their portraits. The last time I saw them we were boys, and now we are all men, with experiences and ambitions.


Photos show portraits in progress with Morgan, Alexander, Jamie, and Gordon.


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  • James MacDonald


"The result is an accurate but beautifully unique style of portrait that my friends will have forever."


I have been reconnecting with friends from my childhood and sculpting their portraits in clay.

I think my friends are excellent and unique individuals and I enjoy the process of sculpting their portraits as it involves the challenge of paying attention and sculpting accurately, as well as simultaneously having really interesting conversations and learning about them and their experiences and ambitions. When I sculpt I am focussing on their physical characteristics but also their character, mood and conversation all come together to inform the final piece. In order to achieve this impression in clay I use my hands so I am in direct contact with my material, modelling quickly with vigour and passion.

The result is an accurate but beautifully unique style of portrait that my friends will have forever.  

Lewis Serpell with his clay portrait in progress.


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