If you could paint a portrait of love, happiness and creativity then Fife artists Charles MacQueen and Christine Woodside would be the perfect sitters.
The delightful Auchtermuchty couple are as vibrant and vivacious as their paintings, which are now on show at Tatha Gallery in Newport until June 19.
Although Charles and Christine have very distinctive styles, both have been inspired by their travels to destinations like Morocco, Greece, Italy and France. The results portray the world in a rich riot of colour.
“When we got together, just to impress him, I painted a lot,” Christine laughs. Married in 2005, they began travelling in the early 2000s and are “joined at the hip”.
“Tunisia was the first time we saw the fantastic markets and the colours. On another trip, we went to Venice with a group of artists. We stayed on the lido, pretended we were working and just ate,” Charles chuckles.
Both Christine, 75, and Charles, 81, have been married previously and Charles says finding his beloved wife“Chrissie” was “third time very lucky”. They both work from a big studio at their converted farmhouse.
“I’m at one end and I’m not allowed to tiptoe into the other,” Christine jests. “I have control of the radio. I like the chat but Charlie likes the music. I’m a BBC Radio Scotland fan and he prefers Classic FM.”
‘It looks so good’
The couple have exhibited together in the past as well as having numerous solo shows. Textures Entwined is their first time at Tatha and Charles is delighted: “Everything has worked out so smoothly – and it looks so good.”
Cheerful and chatty, Christine has been reminiscing as well as finding inspiration closer to home: “I think it’s quite nice to revisit places you haven’t been for a while in your head. You see it with new eyes. It’s been a great exercise.
“My Fife paintings are the ones I have painted most recently. I go to Muckhart to see my grandchildren and collect them from school, so I am very familiar with the road from Auchtermuchty.
“The Lomonds are fantastic – they look different every day. I paint what I see rather than an imaginary place in my head, like Charlie.”
Eagle-eyed visitors may also notice the presence of animals in Christine’s work: “I love to put a dog in. My son has got a new whippet puppy and I can’t wait to paint him. We used to have Jinky who was a blonde whippet and now we’ve got Nina the labradoodle.”
And Charles can’t resist sharing a hilarious conversation with a gallery owner after a pooch was spotted against an Italian backdrop: “He asked, ‘did you have to get your dog chipped to take it to Venice?”
Charles is a jovial presence – almost as big as the Big Yin himself, Billy Connolly, for whom he’s been mistaken in the past. “Often people tap him on the shoulder and ask him,”Christine says.
He smiles: “I did go to parties he was at a long time ago. They were very good parties.”
Charles works in a completely different way from his wife: “I don’t paint things out there,” he says, gesturing round him, “I do it all in my head. I conjure up these images.
“Abstract, yes, but they always have some kind of connection with things. I live inside my head so I was quite happy to be locked down and stay in the studio.”
Article Jennifer McLaren DC Thomson