by Paul McCartney
I don't think there is any great heroic act in going in slavishly every day and saying, "I must do this." So what I find is that I do it when I am inspired. And that's how I can combine it with music. Some days the inspiration is a musical one and other days it has just got to be painting.
--Paul McCartney, from the interview
For more than seventeen years Paul McCartney has been a committed painter, finding in his work on canvas both a respite from the world and another outlet for his drive to create. His painting, like much of his life, has been a very private endeavor. In April 1999 he exhibited the work for the first time in Siegen, Germany, where it met with critical acclaim, which led to his decision to share the work through the publication of this volume.
Full of life and intense color, these paintings reveal McCartney's tremendous positive spirit as well as a visual sophistication and bold handling influenced by his friendship with Willem de Kooning. He carves, scratches, and sculpts the paint, creating complex and layered works. Faces abound in the paintings, from the many lovely abstract portraits of Linda McCartney to irreverent, affectionate portraits of the Queen of England. Humor plays against more somber imagery -- masks and Celtic motifs -- while his landscapes radiate a sense of place.
Beautifully designed and produced, the portfolio of paintings is accompanied by candid photographs by Linda McCartney of her husband in the studio. A collection of texts by contemporary critics and curators place the paintings within context, while a long and insightful interview allows McCartney's own voice to be heard. Frequent points of crossover between his music and visual explorations will intrigue those interested in the artistic process. Rarely is one able to find an artist working with such confidence and skill in such diverse media. All followers of McCartney's will be delighted to see these exuberant works unveiled and to experience this unexpected and accomplished expression of his creativity.
Paul McCartney was born in 1942 in Liverpool, where he attended the Liverpool Institute. McCartney has drawn since his youth but made the decision to begin painting when he turned forty. As a musician he has created a monumental legacy through his involvement with the Beatles, with Wings, and in solo and collaborative rock releases, worldwide tours, and benefit concerts that continue today. In the mid-1990s he expanded his efforts into composing and performing classical music, including solo piano pieces and a symphony performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. He was knighted in 1996.