Issue 214
August/September/October 2020

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Oct 22, 2020

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ArtWork Newspaper Issue 214
August/September/October 2020 (6.64MB)

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Tom Shanks, landscape artist

A MAN WHOSE TALENT was matched by his modesty, Tom Shanks was indisputably one of Scotland’s finest landscape artists. He was inspired by a trip to Skye at the age of seven which left a lasting impression that would colour his remarkably long and much admired career.

His captivation with the many places to which he travelled continued throughout his life. Taking joy from rugged stormy skies over hills and glens as much as from sun dappled light upon Hebridean beaches, his work presents his homeland of Scotland with an unparalleled sense of emotion and intuition.

He prolifically created vistas of the east and west coasts of Scotland but also let his brushes take him further afield at times, to Italy and Greece for example.

On leaving school, Tom took a position as an apprentice at Glasgow’s Templeton carpet factory. Working his way up to the design team, he developed a sense of pattern and shape that would manifest itself in his later paintings.

With art becoming increasingly important to him, Tom began attending evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. The director of the school, on seeing his work, encouraged him to enrol as a full time student. He graduated in 1950, having met fellow student June who would become his wife of 65 years, and was awarded a prestigious scholarship which gave him the opportunity to travel to France, Italy and Belgium.

His career which followed was as varied as it was creative. He worked as a scenic artist for the Rutherglen Rep Theatre and a mural painter and designer for the Dovecot Studio in Edinburgh. Seeking a more secure income, Tom became an art teacher who would teach the skill and appreciation of art to countless pupils, some of whom went on to become professionals.

All the while, he would paint the landscapes around him and he was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Watercolour Society in 1960, the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts in 1983 and the Paisley Art Institute in 1996.

Tom was championed by Cyril Gerber, who began to exhibit his work over 30 years ago in both mixed and solo shows up to the present as he continued to paint almost daily into his 99 years.

His paintings are held in numerous public and private collections, including those of the Duke of Edinburgh, the House of Lords, and most recently the Glasgow Hunterian Museum.

(Appreciation courtesy Cyril Gerber Fine Art)


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An extensive new preface by the Ross Herald of Arms, Charles Bunnett, Chamberlain of Duff House