A top Scottish artist best known for his paintings of crofts and landscapes has unveiled his first exhibition of paintings dedicated to the subject of the sea. 

Most people think of John Lowrie Morrison, or “Jolomo”, as a painter of West Coast landscapes, lighthouses and crofts, but he has always been fascinated by the ocean. A ‘Mhuir – The Sea, at the Torrance Gallery in Edinburgh, is his first exhibition focusing exclusively on that subject. 

John, who is one of Scotland’s most successful and popular painters, said: “I have always loved the sea. It’s probably in my blood because my family are all from Harris, and my grandfather, uncles and cousins were all merchant seamen. 

“I live near the sea in Argyll, with the Sound of Jura and the Corrywreckan not far away. As I like to record what’s around me in my paintings, the sea is often present, but I’ve never created an exhibition which focuses on the sea as a subject. I have felt for quite some time that I would like to concentrate on the sea, hence this exhibition.” 

He said that painting the sea has allowed him to develop the more abstract aspects of his painting style. “I use a lot of abstraction in my work. Remove the croft house or the lighthouse from one of my paintings and what’s left is fairly abstract.” 

John trained at Glasgow School of Art and worked in education for 25 years before taking up painting full-time in 1997. His expressionist landscapes in high-key colour quickly made him one of Scotland’s best-selling artists, with celebrities such as Sting, Madonna and Rick Stein buying his work.

Photos by Colin Hattersley