Thursday, 27 June, 2024 in Art, Into the Art Vault

Brain Power and Alison McWhirter

Out of a potentially tragic situation, comes an amazing fundraiser centred around works of art.

Alison McWhirter, arguably the most gifted artist among the younger generation of New Scottish Colourists, approached Into Creative to ask if we could help to raise awareness of an incredible fundraiser that will culminate in a Bonham’s Auction (Bonhams, Edinburgh 2-12 August 2024) featuring the work of some of our most talented contemporary artists. Our answer was, of course, immediately in the positive!

Alison McWhirter

The auction is in aid of Brain Tumour Research and will feature work from Alison Watt, Jack Vettriano, Victoria Crowe, Sandy Moffat, Henry Kondraki, Joyce Cairns, Paul Furneaux, Jennifer McRae, Gerard M Burns, George Birrell, Graham McKean, John Lowrie Morrison and, of course, Alison McWhirter. Quite an incredible list, without a doubt!

Alison has donated her painting called ‘The Bathers’. Alison explains here, the thought process that guided her to towards the finished piece:

I have always been enchanted by the painting, ‘The Bathers’, by Paul Cézanne which my Dad took me to see when I was a little girl. It has always stuck in my head.

The Bathers by Paul Cézanne

At the end of last year I got the opportunity to go to an intimate concert in Kirkcaldy to see the Scottish band, The Bathers. I was equally enchanted by their beautiful song lyrics which often mention artists and paintings. I wondered if the band, ‘The Bathers’ had called themselves after the Cézanne painting.

Throughout history there are many paintings entitled, ‘The Bathers’, one by Pablo Picasso, Georges Seurat, and Henri Fantin-Latour. More recently, Alison Watt  (who is also donating a painting to the Bonham’s auction, although not ‘The Bathers’ painting!)

With all this inspiration swimming around in my head, the morning after the gig I decided to paint a response, or a nod to, The Bather’s by Paul Cézanne.

This is what I painted and I am delighted that it is going to be auctioned for such an important cause.

The Bathers by Alison McWhirter

This is a charity which has personal meaning to Alison, having lost her dear brother Alan, to a brain hemorrhage in 2021.


The charitable project has been initiated by Political Journalist, Glenn Campbell who was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer just six weeks after a traumatic cycling accident near Gifford in East Lothian.

The fundraising project, Brain Power which was set up by Glenn has already raised a substantial amount for Brain Tumour Research but the hope is that this auction will push that total infinitely higher.

Glenn’s appreciation of the art is very evident. As he stated in his request to Alison for support…

There are few more compelling illustrations of the power of the human brain than the visual arts.


Some background on Alison if you don’t already know her impactful work…

Alison McWhirter

Alison enjoys significant and well-deserved renown at home and abroad for her highly original still life paintings; her range of diverse landscape motifs; her bold, compelling abstracts; and, most recently, her ground-breaking series of reclining nudes. Paintings in all these categories are exuberant in their colouring, technically innovative, and compositionally daring.

Alison’s paintings are underpinned by her unquestionable sincerity and characterised by such freshness and enthusiasm that they appear to have been painted spontaneously. In fact, although there are occasional acts of last-minute spontaneity, they are fundamentally the product of long periods of reflection and introspection. The dominant colours are often transferred directly from the tube to the canvas, then smeared or swirled at will across the surface, culminating in a sensuous, thick, buttery impasto.

Over the years, Alison has attracted a large and devoted following of private collectors and gained the respect and admiration of fellow artists and art critics alike.

Alison was born in Dumfries in 1975. In 1994 she embarked on a one-year foundation course at the Cumbria College of Art and Design in Carlisle. Immediately afterwards, she continued her training as a painter at the prestigious Bath Spa Academy (formerly the Bath Academy of Art), from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in Fine Art in 1998. She remained in Bath to continue her studies, and in 2000 was awarded an MFA in Visual Culture by Bath Spa University.

Since that time, Alison has exhibited to wide acclaim nationally and internationally. Her works were included between 2013 and 2017 in the annual shows of the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts; from 2014 to 2018 at the New York Art Fair; in 2015 at the Hong Kong Art Fair; and in 2019 at the Singapore Art Fair. In 2021 ‘Pink Nude’ was shown at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. She had her first solo exhibition entitled ‘True Colours’ in 2016 in London, where she continues to show every two years. In 2018 and 2020 memorable exhibitions entitled ‘Wild Love’ and ‘Painted Love’ respectively were held in Glasgow.

Alison McWhirter
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Brain Power


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