Friend of Peter: Andrew Cranston

The Hawick painter Andrew Cranston, 50, was for twenty years a lecturer at Gray’s art college in Aberdeen, until 2017.    Three or four years ago dealer Richard Ingleby visited his Glasgow studio and was stunned by what he found.     A book on him has got glowing words from Peter Doig, the Scots born painter whose work has sold for close to $30 million, who was a friend and also taught him.

Ingleby, Edinburgh’s leading contemporary art gallery, recently took Cranston’s work to the Armory, New York’s big art fair, and sold out about 40 pieces. At time of writing the sold 11 on the first day at Frieze, including a big canvas for £30,000 to an unnamed UK institution.

If I have any idea he’ll be selling for bigger money soon.   I dropped in on the Ingleby Gallery’s stand while on other business at Frieze and three small works by Cranston spoke to me from afar.   They looked like ceramic or enamel with a hard shiny surface but are in fact varnished oils over hard-back book covers.

This poor snap of one small piece, Her Indoors, 29x23cm,   doesn’t capture the gloss but it gives an impression.

Andrew Cranston painter

Andrew Cranston, Her Indoors

Cranston had won awards and done gallery shows but kept a relatively  low profile as an artist  but gave up his day job to work full time after Ingleby staged its first show three years ago.    The big piece below, Camp (Ailsa Craig), 210x180x2.5cm, includes collaged book pages but whatever the techniques behind the over all impression is uplifting and hugely pleasing,  especially the elusive  figure in the red tent.  One can see the influence of Doig.   Cranston’s current sales may also underline the appeal of mid-market figurative work

Robert Cranston painter Frieze

Andrew Cranston’s Camp (Ailsa Craig)