Fragment of Gangway
Pastel on paper, 150x180cm
© Lachlan Goudie

Artist Spotlight: Lachlan Goudie
October 9, 2017
In the latest instalment of our 'Artist Spotlight' series ACS artist Lachlan Goudie discusses the inspiration behind his latest exhibition, 'Shipyard' at the Scottish Maritime Museum, which chronicles the construction of world leading British naval ships over the course of seven years.

Q. How would you define your work in three words?


Figurative, expressive and colourful.



Q. What medium do you mainly work with and why?


I work in a range of materials. In my current exhibition there are drawings in pencil, chalk, pastel and carbon along with paintings in gouache, watercolour, acrylic and oil, woodcuts and clay sculptures. I work with the material that seems best suited to the visual problem and the conditions I’m faced with.



Q. Where do you find most inspiration for your work?


My inspiration comes from direct observation of the world around me. I’m instinctively driven to find colour in even the dullest and grimiest environment. The shipyards of Govan and Rosyth, where I have been working intermittently for seven years, are a treasure trove of complex engineering subjects which are invariably full of unexpected contrasts and an electrifying colour palette. The people who work there constantly provide me with inspiration, whether it’s in their own appearance and personalities or the extraordinary objects they spend their days constructing.



Q. Take us through your working process.


Whether I’m painting a Scottish landscape, a seascape on the Cote d’azur, the portrait of a welder or the engineering processes undertaken in a shipyard my starting point is always my sketchbook or the small painted panels which I undertake on site in the open air, come rain or shine.


These works take up to three hours to complete and I see them as finished pieces in themselves. I then use them, in the studio, to help me develop larger works on paper or on canvas. Having the sketches is vital, the spontaneity and the details of close observation that they contain are far more influential than any number of photographs. They allow me to immerse myself in the location even when I’m working in a different environment entirely: my studio.


I can work on a larger painting or drawing for many months, usually keeping several pieces on the go simultaneously. Although I’m more comfortable working at speed, the large and intricate pen drawings that I created for my exhibition ‘Shipyard’ balance a huge amount of detail with a style that could best be described as gestural and chaotic!





Fragment of Shipyard, ink on paper, 300x200cm © Lachlan Goudie


Q. Can you remember the first work of art that you created? What was it and why was it so memorable?


My father was a painter and his studio was in our home, in Glasgow. He used to give me large sheets of paper to draw on and I remember, one morning at breakfast, creating a large drawing in colourful felt tips, of my mother eating her toast. She was wearing a red cardigan and in the drawing her face was round and yellow like a sunrise.


On such a huge piece of paper the drawing had a real impact and even as a 5 year-old I realised that this was an activity I would enjoy doing all day long. 40 years later and I still feel like that child, happily drawing under the kitchen table and somehow managing to escape the dull demands of the grown-up world…




‘Shipyard’ opens at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine on 13 October and will run until 12 February 2018. The exhibition will travel to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth, in 2018.