Gordon Wylie (1930-2005)

Gordon Wylie DA RSW ( 1930-2005). Born in Greenock Scotland, the youngest of three children to James, a railway clerk, and Sarah, a milliner. He was educated at the Highlanders' Academy then Greenock High School. Due to his eyesight he was unable to take an active role in national service. Instead he worked as a mental health officer for the Welfare Department in Greenock, looking after the homeless, mentally ill and underprivileged. These experiences lived with him and underpinned his view that life was short and precious. Wylie entered Glasgow School of Art in 1949 and was taught by Edward Odling and Mary and Willie Armour. He was awarded the Masters course, won the Scottish Academy Award and also the Newbery Medal, the school's most prestigious prize. At this time he was also caring for his ailing father who died two months before his degree show. With a scholarship award, Wylie studied at Hospitalfield College of Art in Arbroath, as a post-graduate under Ian Fleming. Fleming inspired Gordon and encouraged him in abstraction, with which he continued for the next few years. He also trained at Jordanhill College of Education in Glasgow to become an art teacher and like manly he continued to actively paint whilst teaching full time. Latterly he worked at Greenock Academy in 1974 and in 1980, he was appointed principal examiner in art and design for the Scottish Examination Board and held the post until 1994. Wylie married Helen Anderson in 1970, having two sons, Kenneth and Roderick. In 1967, he was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour, although he worked in many paint media. Wylie's love of the Scottish countryside is reflected in his paintings. Small houses typified his landscapes and still-lifes included abstracted landscapes; flowers, particularly poppies, fruit and fish feature in his later output. In 1996, he was awarded the Alexander Graham Munro prize at the RSW exhibition in Edinburgh. His work featured regularly in one-man and combined shows and at his last one-man show in London in 2003, demand for his paintings remained high. In his last year, because of his worsening health, Gordon moved his easels from the cramped, untidy and cold "dunny" in the house basement to the front living room, to continue work. he died in 2005.