Under artist's influence

9th May 2003 at 01:00
Inspired! J.D. Fergusson and St Columba's High

The Fergusson Gallery, Perth

until June 21

tel 01738 441944

Twelve-year-old Rebecca Comrie is one of more than 40 S1-S6 pupils from St Columba's High in Perth who took part in a six-month art project organised by the city's Fergusson Gallery, which is dedicated to the work of the reknowned Scottish Colourist.

"When my teacher told me that I was to do a piece of art inspired by J.D. Fergusson, I decided to do the view from my window," she says about her picture, The Houses of Crieff. "Now that my painting is finished, I am pleased with the result and think I have made a very good effort."

Some pupils attended workshops at the gallery but most produced their art at school, inspired by Fergusson works that they saw in books.

Now the outcome of the project, a variety of remarkably accomplished pictures done in oil pastels, chalk and poster paints, a few excellent little sculptures and even a delightful feather hat, is on show at the gallery. The pupils have not created copies of Fergusson's art, but work that features his techniques, colours and style.

The three art teachers involved in the project were also persuaded to produce their own take on his style.

Anyone visiting the exhibition is bound to agree that Rebecca has, indeed, made a very good effort with her picture. In fact, you might have assumed that her composition of simple house shapes painted in shades of peach and outlined in black, had been produced by an experienced adult, if the information label didn't tell you otherwise.

The gallery's fine art officer, Jenny Kinnear, says some of the pupils were quite overcome when they saw their work at the exhibition opening, after it had been professionally mounted and framed. They had not realised how good it would look.

Billy Stark, manager of Perth's St Johnstone Football Club, whom the artists invited along to open the show, also seemed to be very impressed.

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