SINCE recovering from a brain haemorrhage five years ago, colour has become even more important for artist Lex McFadyen, who returns to Glasgow’s Bath Street for his major Solo Exhibition of the year opening on Saturday 7th October at The Glasgow Gallery.

Having been given a second chance at life, he uses colour in new ways to try to convey joy and vitality.

This fresh take on colour partly results from a loss of memory following the haemorrhage which meant he could not remember how to mix the paints he often used before he took ill.

“It definitely made me re-evaluate the point of colour,” said Lex. “It made me think that colour is there to be played with and, if you want to cheer someone up, give it a wee bit vibrancy and make the colour shout out a bit more. I don’t think I see the colours differently from before but psychologically my view has changed. I think colour should make everyone happy. Look for joy and colour as much as you can in life and look on the brighter side.”

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Prior to the haemorrhage, which landed Lex in intensive care for almost a month, he was more known for his realistic portrait work.

“I was very taken in finding a likeness in what I was painting and now I take a broader look at it,” he said. “I am concentrating on the colour and composition. I will change the image I am looking at in real life and put a slant on it so it is an impression of what I am looking at. It’s not abstract but I don’t paint the details of the flowers I am using.”

A graduate of Glasgow School of Art, Lex first ran a successful fashion design business creating top end couture ranges and acting as consultant to large scale manufacturers in the UK and abroad. He showed collections in New York, Paris, and Amsterdam and dressed stars like Alan Cumming and Karen Mulder.

He decided to return to painting in 2002 and is a winner of the PF Charitable Trust Award, the major prize at the Visual Arts Scotland Exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy. One of his paintings is in the private collection of HRH, the Princess Royal, and he produced the life size angel statue for Angel with Bagpipes on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

He now divides his time between his home on the Crinan Canal and a small cottage and studio in Burgundy. His forthcoming exhibition at The Glasgow Gallery features many floral still lifes painted in France.

“Some are in vases on the windowsill with the blue sky behind so you are getting a real feeling of the heat and light and the colour and sky working together,” he said. “It’s the first time I have done a whole show with flowers being the main feature so I am excited about that.”

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Also new is a series of paintings of ceramics.

“I was lucky enough to travel to Cambodia a few years ago, bought two vases and managed to find a courier that could transport them back to Scotland,” said Lex.  “I have used them and others that can be seen in chateaus in France. I did one for my last solo show to see what people thought – it sold and a lot of people said they would love to see more.”

His memory is still not quite what it was before the haemorrhage but Lex is happy he is still painting.

“I had to first face the devil in the studio as I had the haemorrhage there but I did managed that and got back to work quite quickly,” said Lex.

His workload is impressive with 47 paintings completed in the space of 10 months for the upcoming exhibition.

“I’m very pleased with the work but it was a lot of flowers to paint and now I might give them a rest for a while,” he laughed.

Lex last exhibited with The Glasgow Gallery in 2020 with restrictions at the time resulting in the private view being cancelled and the exhibition being online. 

Owner of The Glasgow Gallery, Simon Morrison said, “We are so happy to have our doors open again for this exhibition with Lex. While the last exhibition didn’t go to plan during the pandemic, we’re excited for people to be able to come and enjoy his work in person again”.

Lex and his husband Brendan will be returning to Scotland for the opening.

After this exhibition, he will be looking at other people’s paintings as part of a project to raise money for the Headway Charity.

“I have been asked to be on the panel for a fund raising calendar, selecting 12 paintings by people who have had brain injuries,” said Lex. 

“It’s made me look at art in a different way. It is not necessarily what is technically the best - it is what is coming out of people’s view of things that is really more important.”

Click Here to visit EXHIBITIONS - Upcoming Exhibitions - Lex McFadyen - The Glasgow Gallery