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Turpentine and Serpentine in past as artist focuses on his ideal home

ARTIST Jack Vettriano has taken a break from painting to complete his new home in Edinburgh.

The 62-year-old moved back to the capital earlier this year after becoming "fed up" living in London, where he lived and painted in one room.

He said visitors had to "suffer the indignity of smelling turpentine" in his London abode, but his house in the Scottish capital is more spacious.

Vettriano said that once he has perfected it he will paint again.

He said: "I moved back to Edinburgh five months ago. I just got fed up with London, and being one of ten million people.

"Edinburgh is a gorgeous city to live in.

"I haven't looked around the scenery with a point of view of painting it. But what Edinburgh does give me, and what I didn't have in London, was in London I used to paint and live in one room. That was all I could afford because I lived in a very expensive part of London.

"Now I've got a huge studio and I love it because I've got space.

"It allows me to have people come to my home and not have to suffer the indignity of smelling turpentine. It kills their perfume."

Vettriano, who was brought up in Methil, Fife, rose from working in the coalfields to become one of Britain's best-known contemporary artists. In 2004 his most famous painting, The Singing Butler, fetched £744,800 at auction. A recent retrospective exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow was the attraction's most successful ever special exhibition, attracting more than 123,000 visitors in its 23-week run.

He added: "I was astonished by it. It took almost three years in the organisation and I always promised myself I would have some kind of break afterwards.

"But moving to Edinburgh has not been without its difficulties because when it comes to a new house I can't leave things unfinished. I've got to get it finished.

"I'm trying to find things that will finish it. When it's finished I'll paint."

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