Foreword to Exhibition Catalog, 2002

George J.D. Bruce was trained at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting. This apprenticeship, sadly now longer available, laid the foundations of his highly successful portrait painting career. He has been a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters since 1959 and was president for several years.

The most striking aspect of the works in this collection is the richness of their colours enhanced by powerful tonal patterns. The gloriously varied texture of paint applied to give a sumptuous, often succulent, quality is seldom seen today. The bravura of his brushwork and continuous practice of drawing stems directly from his early instruction. However he is not confined to painting within the studio walls, as can be seen in the sublime painting No. 25, “An Old Homestead in Tiree”, with grass growing like turf from the remains of the roof of a cottage in the Outer Hebrides.

The artist knows that this diversification strengthens his hand and eye for portraiture. To occasionally step back from a face-painting routine is of benefit in sustaining a fresh outlook in a painter’s continuous development and puts to the test his powers of scrutiny and observation.

Many painters who work in a figurative style tend to overwork their pictures, thereby losing much spontaneity of execution. It is to David Messum’s credit that he has encouraged George to stage a second exhibition without portraits, produced with even greater freedom and verve than those in the first show three years ago.

George feels that pursuits such as skiing on snow or water, which involve smooth strong sweeping actions, are akin to smooth sweeping brushwork on a happy, lively canvas. Enjoyment of the countryside and the intensity of painting make a wholesome combination in a fully balanced life, which George seems to enjoy to the hilt. A sense of humour, well known amongst his many friends, frequently shines through in his very personal language of paint.

Madame Saint-Loubert-Bie
Paris, April 2002

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