Finnie’s passion for old buildings shows up

THE CURRENT art exhibition on at the Gilbert Bain Hospital is by Mike Finnie, a well-known local watercolourist.

Mike’s style and approach is very quintessential. It embodies the cliche of the traditional but ‘n’ ben, but rather than giving a sense of nostalgia what comes across is his appreciation of a form in the Shetland landscape, with strong indications of his architectural background.

These croft houses without the adulterations of modern building style are fast disappearing.

Of the 19 pictures, 17 are of these houses, one of a house and a boat and one of just a boat – it is no surprise where this artist’s passion lies.

The pictures are formulaic, but this does not detract from their ability to engage the viewer, as a certain type of building captures light and time in an ever-changing local land and skyscape.

Technically Mike is precise in his interpretations but at the same time he manages to blend this with a fluidity in the backgrounds, contrasting with the rigidity of walls and roofs.

There is literally a sweep of colour in Aywick, Yell and I like the fresh approach to The Drongs. The pictures of Norwick, Unst stand out as does Mooties, Burra.

The pictures are encapsulated in chunky, light wooden box frames and are raised away from the back of the frame, rather than mounted flat.

This works well and gives the effect of the images being suspended in the air and gives greater depth. Although for the smaller pictures the images can be swallowed by the physicality of the frames.

In conclusion, this is more of the same from the artist, well presented and executed.

The pictures are competitively priced at this time of year and would make great presents to the nearest and dearest. And if it’s one of their or your houses, all the better.

Stephen Gordon


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