'Boy with Armbands' depicts a scene with two adult figures in the background and a young boy wearing armbands who is walking towards the viewer. His seemingly cautious stance gives the impression that he is slightly unsteady on his feet as he walks through the shallow water - or perhaps he's spotted something below and he's navigating around it. This image was built up layering collage onto board, before applying oil paint with a printmaker's roller. 'I was trying to generate as much movement in the figures and in the water, to capture the atmosphere and dynamism of the pool environment.'
The painting 'Boy with Armbands' is one of a series based on the swimming pool at Leith Waterworld and was part of Damian's final year degree show. At that time he did not have children, but has since used his children as the subject of his paintings whilst on holiday in the waves in the Outer Hebrides. Rather than making recognisable portraits however, Damian's loose and impressionistic treatment of the paint give his subjects a universal appearance. His interests in portraying movement and everyday subjects in his paintings were cultivated through his admiration for two nineteenth century impressionistic painters Claude Monet and Walter Sickert who both dealt with movement and the everyday.
Damian Callan graduated in 1995 from Edinburgh College of Art and has since combined tutoring with his own studio practice. He runs independent classes and also works as a tutor at the Leith School of Art and the National Gallery of Scotland. He has achieved success gaining scholarships and residencies which have enabled him to travel to places including Prague, Toulouse and Tuscany. He has also had his work exhibited in many galleries including The Scottish Gallery, Red Rag Art Gallery, House of Bruar, Thompson's Art Gallery and Liquid Amber Gallery.
Art in Healthcare's blog entry about Damian Callan