Matthew Draper – Magical Moods

This highly talented artist, Matthew Draper, is currently exhibiting his works ‘Amongst the Clouds’ at the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh. The title of the show describes both with accuracy and mystery the evocative nature of his pictures.

Until now I had not come across Matthew’s work but viewing the exhibition, which continues until 26 November, I was immediately enchanted. In this review I have concentrated on the Lothian aspects of the paintings of East Lothian and ‘Auld Reekie’. His other images of the Highlands also follow the dreaminess of his style. Matthew has a great admiration for the consummate 18th Century artist Alexander Naysmith and a section in this exhibition is titled ‘Homage to Alexander Naysmith’.

nocturneThe medium used in every picture is pastel on paper which produces a surprisingly ‘in depth’ result. Draper explains: “The paper is not only my end object, it’s my palette.” He works much of time outdoors which means there is little separation between atmosphere and finished work.

I was curious about the paramount importance of the paper itself. He explains: ‘The paper used, which took years to develop consists of heavy layers of printmakers paper that I work and work with pastels from Germany and France, or hand-rolled in Britain, producing heavy images in earthy browns and greens.

When painting in the early mornings, he says of Edinburgh: “It’s wild, I’ve not lived anywhere where the weather and light is so dramatic. It’s a beautiful city. I’ve always made work about the places I’ve I’ve lived. It’s an inspiring place to bean artist, especially if you make work about landscape … In the mornings I reach for the magical hour when the light changes … you go to see it, then it disappears.”

rockMy own particular favourites are ‘Crystal Clear, a Morning at Seacliff, Nocturne with Polluted Light and ‘Winter Haar’ (all pictured, thought the reprint does not do them justice!) andthe entire collection really is beautiful.

Matthew trained at Falmouth College of Art which, no surprisingly led him to create many paintings around Land’s End. However, since the late 1990s he has worked and displayed in Scotland, and Edinburgh is now his base. His work is in a number of Scottish Collections: Bank of Scotland Edinburgh, Edinburgh City Arts Centre, Art in Healthcare, Turcan Connell, Morton Fraser, among others.

Awards over the past 16 years include The Alexander Graham Munro Travel Award, awards from the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour (2000), the Charles Pears Award, Royal Society of Marine Artists, Mail Galleries, London.

The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HZ,

Telephone 0131 558 1200 draper


About Christine Richard OBE FRSA Christine has over 25 years' experience in public life in Scotland in the fields of politics, education, public relations and charity work. For 12 years she served on the City of Edinburgh District Council and was her Group's leader for 4 years. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1992 she was made an OBE. Christine is a member of the Board of The Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy. She has just completed six years on the Board of The Edinburgh International Festival. Christine's business experience has covered the fields of theatre, economic development, science, coal mining, education and training. She has held a number of non-executive directorships in these disciplines. She is a trained and experienced personal relationships counsellor and a business and personal mentor. In 2005 Christine established Christine Richard Associates who undertake Event Management and Public Relations as well as company and individual profiling. She coordinated the 'Yes to Edinburgh' campaign on congestion charging in Edinburgh. ten years ago Christine co-founded West Lothian Women in Business, which is a network for women who are self-employed and also for women managers. Christine has now stepped down from the Chair of this thriving organisation. For 5 years Christine was a magistrate in the District Court. She was also a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the appointment of Justices of the Peace. She has been an adviser to Government in various areas of policy, including health, local government and education. Christine is a trained and experienced radio and television broadcaster and writer as well as an entertaining and accomplished speaker. She has a wealth of topics on which she is invited to speak. These range from witty after lunch and after dinner speaking to the more serious topics of the economy, health, education, enterprise, the Powers of the Mind and Life/work balance. She writes reviews and articles for lifestyle magazine, Lothian Life. She took part as a contestant in an ITV gourmet TV show, Chef V Britain, challenging TV chef Gino D'Acampo to cook her signature dish, Posh Cottage Pie. Currently Christine is a member of the Goodison Group in Scotland and Scotland's Futures. Also she is involved in the group Changing the Chemistry of Scottish Boards. Her first novel, Whitewalls, a modern Scottish family saga has been published by New Generation Publishing and is available on all internet books siets and from libraries. She is writing a sequel Autumn at Whitewalls. Her leisure interests include her family, literature, music, theatre, food, wine and horse racing. She is a member of a racing syndicate, which has two horses in training.
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