CHRISTOPHER WOOD PPSSA RSW RGI
Christopher is a Past-President of the Society of Scottish Artists, an elected member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour and an elected member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.
He trained at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating with an Honours degree in Drawing & Painting in 1984.
He has been a full-time professional artist since his first one-man exhibition in Edinburgh 1987.
He is married with two children and two step-children and lives and works in the coastal town of Dunbar, near Edinburgh.
Photos: Amelie Wood, Angus Bremner
Elected Member of The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts (2023)
President of the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) (2009 – 2011)
Vice-President of the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) (2006-2009)
Board Member of the Exhibiting Societies of Scotland (ESSA) (2006-2011)
Elected member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) (2006)
Elected to serve on the Council of the SSA (2004 – 2011)
Professional Member of The Glasgow Art Club (2005)
Elected Member of The Paisley Art Institute (PAI) (2005)
Elected Professional Member of the SSA (2004)
Elected Professional Member of the Visual Arts Scotland (VAS) (1993)
Selection/Hanging & Arranging Committees SSA Annual Exhibitions at RSA 2006 to 2013.
Edinburgh College of Art, Drawing & Painting 1980-84
The Smithy Gallery Prize (PAI 2014)
Rowallan Castle Award (RSW 2012)
The Glasgow Art Club Fellowship (SSA 2011)
The Sir William Gillies Award (RSW 2009)
The Glasgow Art Club Fellowship (RSW 2005)
SSWA Special Award for Painting (SAAC 1997)
The Scottish Arts Club Award (SAAC 1995)
The Nancy Graham Memorial Award (SAAC 1994)
The Armour Award (RGI 1994)
The James Torrance Memorial Award (RGI 1993)
Standard Life Aberdeen (New York Collection); HRH King Charles; the Bank of Scotland; United Distillers; Edinburgh University; Lennox Lewis; The Demarco European Foundation; MacRoberts Solicitors; Premier Property Group; Phoenix Equity Partners and many other private and corporate collections around the world.
Christopher has had solo exhibitions at galleries throughout the UK including: Kilmorack Gallery, Beauly; The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh; Thompson’s Gallery, London and Harpendon; Cadogan Contemporary, London; An Talla Solais, Ullapool; The Meffan Museum and Art Gallery, Forfar; The Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh; The Glasgow Art Club, Glasgow; The Richmond Hill Gallery, Richmond, The Gatehouse Gallery, Glasgow; Corpus Christi College, Oxford; The Macaulay Gallery, East Lothian and The Vicarage Cottage Gallery, Newcastle.
His work has been selected for exhibition with The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA); The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW); The Royal Glasgow Institute of The Fine Arts (RGI); The Society of Scottish Artists (SSA); Visual Arts Scotland (VAS, Formerly The SAAC); The Paisley Art Institute (PAI); The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition; The Discerning Eye Competition; The Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI).
He has shown in mixed exhibitions the length and breadth of the country, including; Fidra Fine Art, Gullane; Kilmorack Gallery, Beauly; Thompson’s Gallery, London & Harpenden; Tatha Gallery, Newport on Tay; Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen; Lime Tree Gallery, Bristol; The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh; Hart Gallery, London; Richmond Hill Gallery, Richmond and the Manor House Gallery, Chipping Norton.
The art of Christopher Wood RSW is defined by immersion in the materiality of painting as a transformative process. This latest body of work reflects the evolution of Wood’s practice in a series of paintings and mixed media works which display the artist’s tenacity and skill; balancing instinctual, spontaneous marks with structural elements of composition. Inspired by the artist’s coastal environment near his home in Dunbar, Wood’s palette is infused with the reflection and absorption of light to be found in ever changing elements of Scottish land and seascape. The artist’s choice of colour echoes the relationship to subject in his work; defined not by naturalism but the visualisation of an interior world, both sensual and cerebral. The opaque qualities of acrylic often used in his mixed media works create subtly layered surfaces that heighten our sense of illumination through abstraction.
Throughout his career Christopher Wood’s movement towards abstraction reflects immersion in his chosen environment and dynamic experimentation, grappling with the plastic elements of image making to create potent and contemplative spaces for the imagination.
The word which most readily comes to mind, as I move among Wood’s new paintings is ‘visceral’. There is something deeply intuitive about these works: alternately insistent, lyrical, emphatic and searingly emotive. This is painting from the heart, in its purest form. Wood is the first to admit that his chief sources of inspiration are profoundly personal, ranging from the birth of his first child, three and a half years ago to recent bereavement. There is certainly a sense of catharsis here, of painting out the emotion, but it is also impossible to deny the exuberant optimism of exploration. The idea that while paint is a means of self expression, it is also an agent of self-discovery.
The popular Scottish landscape painter Christopher Wood’s work has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years. Working from his studio in Dunbar, the east coast shoreline, the ebb and flow of the tides and the Scottish elements have always played a part in his work, but it has been infused with a deep and vibrant colour that is imaginative as much as descriptive.
These days the work is taking a further turn with materials like cloth, paper and enamel to create distinctive hybrids between traditional oil painting and collage. The Scottish landscape is still there, but a furrowed field or a sea cliff might be captured in a ragged cloth edge instead of painterly line, a sunset rendered in a piece of fraying canvas.
Christopher Wood has taken the risk of freeing himself from the subject matter which has given him his reputation as a gifted landscapist. He is now a painter of what I must regard as ‘mindscapes’. However, these new paintings are possessed of the distinctive character associated with his work over the past ten years, particularly in the degree of sheer physical energy release which they make manifest.
Christopher Wood is an artist who could be regarded as a contemporary Scottish Colourist because colour is a dominant factor in the ways which he has found of depicting the ever-changing effects of light and weather typically Scottish, particularly those associated with Scotland’s shorelines where tidal forces create a dramatic encounter between land and sea.
Christopher Wood’s use of colour is given a special significance by the confident draftmanship inherent in every paint-laden brushstroke applied to the surface of his canvas.
Christopher Wood’s paintings, featuring in his second solo show at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh this month, tread a narrow path between representation and abstraction – and in this case that doesn’t constitute artbollocks. Inspired by the landscape around the artist’s studio in East Lothian, many of the oil paintings appear at first sight to be compositions of pure colour; but a prolonged glance will reveal scenes of hills, fields and coastlines of surprising depth and form. This reflects the way in which they are created: Wood claims to “start off with paint and work [his] way back to nature”. If you remain unconvinced, go to the gallery and see for yourself. The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 5th – 30th June 1999.