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Stewart Bowman Johnson, Artist, RIP

Late on Saturday evening came the news that my Aunt's husband (so my uncle by marriage) had died.  Stewart was a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, gifted and talented, yet, like all of us, a fallible and flawed human, who never quite identified his niche or acheived his full potential, yet produced some really interesting work (I have previously shared his religious paintings on this blog).  This little pencil drawing belonged to my prandparents, was passed on to my Mum, and now is in my possession.  I can see hints of the MacKintosh influence (and Stewart certainly did a lot of stuff in that style) and even though the colours are dark and image quite sombre, I think it carries a sense of life and hope, being a flower (I think!)

Hunting for poems and quotes to pass on to my aunt, as we work on the funeral service I will conduct for him, I happeend upon this one, which I quite like...


When Earth's last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
'Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew

And those that were good shall be happy
They'll sit in a golden chair
They'll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet's hair
They'll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They'll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.

And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!

By Rudyard Kipling


  • Sorry for your family's loss. The image shown is striking but my first thought when I looked at it was of a closed hand. Whatever, it is thought provoking and beautiful.
    Love that you quoted Kipling, a writer much misrepresented in our ultra politically correct age. That poem is new to me and speaks to my heart. When you are any kind of artist you are often judged on your monetary or popular success. However most artists do what they do because they cannot deny the urge but the pressures from outside are very great and can cause self doubt. Perhaps that was part of your uncle's life.
    To me he is a success because he created an image I shall remember. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

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