Anticipation for Gordon Mitchell’s solo exhibition in Edinburgh is growing

The exhibition will open to the public at Morningside Gallery on April 1st and will run until April 16th with 39 of Mitchell’s works on display.


Mitchell, now 70, has had a long and distinguished career as an artist, having previously exhibited with the likes of Elizabeth Blackadder and John Houston.

He is an elected member of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolor (1997), the Royal Glasgow Institute (1998) and the Royal Scottish Academy (2005) and is known for both his virtuoso hyper-realism and rich iconography.

“People call me a surrealist, but I’m not really,” Mitchell said. “My paintings are a bit odd, but because I’m quite a realistic painter, I make things that are incredibly believable. They’re quite narrative – there’s often a story about them.”


His ideas often come from a story he read in a newspaper and are sometimes quite political, but often he just has a picture in his head and wants to paint it.

“I start painting and see what happens,” he said.

Mitchell was born in 1952 and grew up in a residential area in south Edinburgh, the son of a policeman.

Even as a child he seemed to need little sleep and when his mother sent him to his bedroom in the early evening he only drew and painted.


“I’ve always been good at drawing,” he says. “My dad would draw things that he was about to design, like fireplaces, so he was quite technical, and my granddad was a sign painter, so I guess I had this innate tendency to draw neatly and neatly.

“I also have a kind of photographic memory so I can look at something and recreate it later. That’s why my paintings are quite figurative and pretty neat. I would like to be an expressionist painter, hurling paint at canvases, but I shattered two vertebrae at a young age, so I sit down to paint all the time.”

Top of the school’s art class, Mitchell continued to win prizes at Edinburgh College of Art and received a postgraduate scholarship upon graduation. After that he did an apprenticeship, but continued to paint and finally went full-time as an artist in 1989.

This proved to be a good decision as he was quickly offered a solo exhibition during Glasgow May Day at Roger Billcliffe’s gallery in the city. This won an award for Best Exhibition at Mayfest, with most of Mitchell’s paintings selling quickly.


Mitchell continues to put on a biennial exhibition with Billcliffe and jokes that everyone in Glasgow owns two or three of his paintings.

He has exhibited at the Portland Gallery in London for the past 12 years and is a self-confessed workaholic, usually in his studio before 7am.

However, he has still found time to get involved in many artists’ organizations and holds the post of President of Visual Arts Scotland, SAAV (VAS) and the Scottish Arts Club.

He was also Chairman of the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts for six years and his affiliations and standing in the city have led many people to think of him as a Glasgow native despite being born in Edinburgh.

Mitchell is currently President of the Scottish Artists Benevolent Association, which provides bursaries to Scottish artists or their loved ones suffering from illness.

His work is held in major institutional collections such as the Scottish Arts Council, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh.

Mitchell said he was looking forward to the Morningside Gallery exhibition.

“I’m really proud to have a one-man show in Edinburgh again,” he said. I am delighted to be exhibiting at Morningside Gallery as it is a beautiful gallery and I hope the exhibition will attract a new audience.”

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