September 03, 2008

David Stratton Watt

David Watt, the most famous contemporary painter of curling scenes, has died. Many will know of his paintings, such as The Curlers Dream (above). Framed prints of David's work have been given as prizes in major competitions.

I am indebted to Gary Cummings of Caledonian Arts and Crafts who has provided the following.

"David Stratton Watt died peacefully at his home in Muthill, Crieff on Wednesday 27th of August, 2008. David was in his 96th year.

David was one of the most prominent and highly regarded artists in Scotland, he was the Royal Caledonian Curling Club's unofficial artist. His curling scenes such as Winter's Glory, A Season's Gathering, Curling on the Tay, The Curlers Dream and his last as yet unpublished work, The Grand Match Lake of Menteith 1979, in particular have received worldwide critical acclaim and recognition.

David has a wide following at home here in Scotland as well as Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. David was born in Perth in 1912 the son of a water bailiff. He was only interested in art at school and did not feel in any way academically inclined. After leaving school at the age of fourteen he worked in Dundee in advertising agencies doing commercial art layouts and copywriting. He attended evening classes at Art School for lettering, design, anatomy and life drawing.

At eighteen David became an apprentice in the Renaissance manner to a very good but underestimated mural artist Tom Peddie whom David greatly admired both as a man and as a painter. David was Tom's assistant for ten years.

In 1940 David joined the Royal Army Pay Corps but hated the clerical work. However when Scottish Command held a competition propaganda poster competition David won 1st and 2nd prizes for his two entries. These posters are now housed in the Imperial War Museum in London. After that David was transferred to the Royal Engineers attached to the Royal Ordinance Survey as a draughtsman.

After the war David became freelance, doing anything artistic that would earn him a living, from designing soft drink labels to cinema posters. He also carried out restoration work and designed and executed Rolls of Honour for churches in and around Perth. He was also employed as a staff artist in a departmental store in Stirling, winning a prize for his display units.

David was then appointed art master at Dall Boy's Public School at Rannoch in Perthshire in 1959 where he stayed for a number of very pleasant years making many lifelong friends along the way. He then returned to freelancing and being an itinerary art teacher for numerous Fife Primary Schools. He also conducted evening classes for older students which he found very rewarding and made many friends.

Later he moved to an old cottage in Glenisla in the Angus Glens and it was here he found inspiration in rather idyllic surroundings. It was here in the mid 1970s that he painted his first of what became his now world famous curling scenes. He started painting them as part of the natural scenes found at various lochs and ponds in and around Angus and Perthshire, and along with curling his winter sheep scenes are very highly regarded."

David's funeral service, to which all friends are invited, will be at Perth Crematorium, tomorrow (Thursday, September 4), at 12.30 pm.

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