Marion Oag and the Birth of the Northern Venus

1977

Gray, Alasdair
I met Marion Oag in 1968. She became a life-long friend and, before leaving for London in the 1970s, a favourite model. This was drawn with a Rotring Rapidograph pen, in a room where I lodged in Turnbury Road between 1971 and 75. The easel behind her (which I still use) supports a partly visible oil painting which is still unfinished. I gave the drawing to Marion, who gave it to her sister. In 2006 I told Marion of my forthcoming book 'A Life in Pictures'. She suggested I used it and got her sister to post it to me, telling me also that I could keep it as the sister did not want it back. I greatly liked the drawing, which I could not remember, and decided to improve it by tinting the background a little. Marion Oag died in 2008. I forgot the name of the married sister who owned it. It may never have been publicly exhibited. Though begun as a drawing on paper, 'Juliet in Red Trousers' was completed at the first sitting. I cut the figure out and pasted it onto a wooden board, and set out to make this an oil painting built up meticulously, in the manner of Cézanne. This required each brush stroke to render a different tone and colour from the one beside it, each stroke corresponding to a different glance at the sitter before me. Alasdair Gray
  • Artwork Details: 60.5 x 34.5cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: Indian ink on paper
  • Credit line: © the artist (and Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow)
  • Theme:
  • Medium: Painting
  • Accession number: ACC35/2009

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