Alexander Millar’s Working Man

Alexander Millar’s work class figures capture a warm sense of nostalgia. Millar was brought up in a small mining community a few miles outside the town of Kilmarnock on the west coast of Scotland, and it is this close nit community spirit that he bases his work on.

“Life within the small Scottish village was very traditional and although I grew up in the 60’s era it felt more like the 40’s. My formative years were spent in the company of old men dressed in dark suits smoking woodbines partnered with large missile-shaped women decked out in headscarves and pinnies. My father worked for British Rail and I got great pleasure from simply sitting in the atmospheric steam filled stations which even today I find are the most romantic, nostalgic places to be. Many of my most romantic paintings are set within that very atmosphere – I guess I’m just a big old fashioned nostalgic romantic at heart! It therefore comes as no surprise to many that my favourite film is ‘The Quiet Man’.”

Win, Lose or Draw by Alexander Millar

Win, Lose or Draw by Alexander Millar

“I escaped school in 1976 and eventually fled Springside to set myself up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This jump from sleepy peacefulness to hustle and bustle was like going from the frying pan straight into the fire. I found Newcastle had, and still has, its fair share of characters locally known as ‘Gadgies’ which fed me much inspiration later on in life when I finally discovered my destiny as an artist. After a number of different jobs I finally settled down in 1988 to become a professional artist. I am completely self-taught and after many years of developing my own style in art I turned to images remembered from my childhood and used the local Tyneside ‘Gadgies’ as models in my paintings.”

“I’m continually surprised to see the effects my paintings have on people, on many occasions I’ve had women moved to tears absorbed by a painting that evokes memories of their father or grandfather.”

Come On You Blues! by Alexander Millar

Come On You Blues! by Alexander Millar

“After I’ve chosen a figure from my many sketches and photographs it is transferred to my canvas and blocked as a dark silhouette. Each layer of paint is then added gradually to separate tones; the figure is almost complete before the background colour is added.”

“Having lived in the northern half of Britain all my life I try to capture the subtle light that is particular to that part of the country. The under painting is predominantly blue and then each subsequent layer added is a touch warmer than the last and lifts the painting giving the misty almost ghostlike quality to the background. When this is complete the dark figure leaps out of the canvas. To finish off and give the figure movement I leave the painting for approximately a week and then I take away some of the background colour and feather the legs and soften any harsh edges. I’ll leave the painting in view for a few days in order to see if any adjustments are needed – they usually become apparent to me by then.”

Seasons In The Sun by Alexander Millar

Seasons In The Sun by Alexander Millar

For more information on Alexander Millar and his work please visit:

Alexander Millar at Artworx Gallery

Alternatively please ring 01543 502971 or email

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