Colm O’Brien is an established Scottish contemporary artist whose work is in privateownership around the world. He is delighted to be invited to exhibit five paintings in this Dancing Light Gallery summer exhibition.
Edinburgh born, now Midlothian based, Colm’s creative talents emerged at schoolwhere he was torn between his love of both music and art. Music won and for many years he toured as a singer and musician as one half of professional cabaret duo, The O’Brien Brothers.
When Colm picked up a paintbrush again just over a decade ago, it became clear that his astute use of colour would be his signature. Embracing the artist’s palette in every sense, Colm captures something special in the subjects he paints. His work is at its most uplifting when he paints somewhere you thought you knew but shows it in a different light.
Talking about the similarities between art and his earlier music career, in a radio interview Colm said: “When you pick up an instrument and start to write a song, some days the words come easily and the melody lends itself naturally to the lyrics. Other days, you go round and round in circles and walk away frustrated at not having produced what you want. You return to the piece the next day and for no reason at all it comes together.
“It’s the same with art. I have canvases that I have started and set aside with that same frustration. Weeks or months later I have returned to them and been inspired again. With a change here and a rework there, a new painting emerges that I am happy with.
That was the case with West End Pink, one of the paintings selected for inclusion in The Edinburgh Art Book*, along with Red Hub on the Royal Mile, both in this exhibition. Colm has the accolade of being one of only two artists with five works featured in the book. In addition to exhibiting his work, Colm regularly accepts private commissions. The most notable to date being Newbattle Abbey College, near Dalkeith, and after an unveiling ceremony his painting now hangs in its boardroom. It is the College’s first commissioned painting in decades.
Colm favours acrylic paints on canvas for their vibrancy. His fans evidently agree as his work is currently hanging on walls in the UK, Europe, Australia, Canada, the USA, South Korea, Dubai and Japan, among others.