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  • Gavin Munro

Billy Connolly Portrait at the People's Palace, Glasgow

My Portrait of Billy Connolly made it to the People's Palace Art Gallery in his home city! There's never a time I've never known about Billy Connolly, whether it was on the Parkinson interviews in the 70s and 80s, or his TV specials or sneaking a listen to my Irish Aunt's live albums of his shows.

When I was younger I wanted his view of the world and in a way I learnt a little of it from him, not taking life too seriously and always trying to 'find the funny' in any situation have served me well.

He's much more than a genius comedian, he's a great actor and philanthropist as well as being down to earth. I met him once with my mates when we went to watch him at The Apollo theatre in Manchester. After the gig we went to the pub next door and snook outside into an alley for a crafty cigarette. A big Range Rover pulled out of the alley, the window rolled down and a guy with a red beard said in a Scottish accent'I hope that's not a funny fag guys!'... as he drove away we looked at each other and said 'Did that really happen?'

Anyway, here's my tribute to the Scottish King of Comedy, or Scot of the Anarchic...Mr Billy Connolly:

I started to think of painting my lifetime icons, the people who have influenced me for the better in life, Billy was right up there. I began the portrait in 2016 and it went nowhere, I couldn't get his skin right so I threw it in the spare room and contemplated painting over it...

So I started to practice skin tone. My favourite Scottish artist is a guy called Jack Vettriano....the way he paints skin is sultry and warm . Now the fact that I learnt the Vettriano technique is an irony that will soon become clear...

Here's one of my favourite's of Vettriano's...

So I kept picking at the Billy Connolly portrait and I started seeing some results.

Now I took a copy of the portrait to the UK last time I was over and I intended to take it to the People's Palace as I heard there was a celebration of Billy's 75th birthday for which they were asking for portraits of the big fella.

At the last minute I didn't take it, cos I didn't think it was good enough. So off I went touring Scotland and calling off at Glasgow where I took in the exhibition...

When I got back to Manchester I had a change of heart and decided to post the portrait up on the very slim off-chance that I'd get looked at.

Fast forward to today and I received an email from the BBC to let me know that the portrait had been chosen as one of the final 10 to be shown at the exhibition....alongside Jack Vettriano!

My mum with visits the portrait

My nephew trying to be cool!

And here's my fav vids of the king of comedy:

Here he talks about how ageing is affecting him....

In this one he explains how women and men react differently when frightened....

And here's a well earned tribute from some top names...

And here's some photo of the painting process:

Here's the other Funny Guys in the collection so far:

If you like what you see please take a look at my portfolio

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