Renowned Scottish artist raises a dram to whisky craftsmen

A series of oil paintings showing Scotland’s whisky industry in all its glory will take pride of place in an auction of Scottish contemporary art at McTear’s this weekend. 

The eight works by internationally renowned Scottish artist, Graham McKean, pay tribute to the water of life, with each painting featuring a different aspect of the whisky making process. 

Packed full of humour and showcasing the Ayrshire artist’s clever use of colour and composition, the works mix still life and figurative painting to portray a range of skills from distillation through sampling, cooperage and cask filling to striking images of the finished product, complete with glass and decanter.




Commenting on the works Graham McKean said: “I visited the Glenfiddich distillery for a commission about twenty years ago and I have been fascinated by the processes and characters within the whisky business ever since.  

“The coopers would go for a dram after work and I loved chatting and hearing their stories.  It reminded me of my uncles who worked in the shipyards and would follow a similar routine after work with a few drams in the local pub.  All skilled men, who were proud of their trade and had great stories to tell.

“In each painting I have tried to portray these incredible characters doing what they do best, and I hope that the paintings will bring a smile to those who see them.”


Brian Clements, managing director at McTear’s added: “We have sold some stunning single malt whiskies and some outstanding works of Scottish contemporary art over the years but it’s not often we get to combine the two.   

“McTear’s has had a long association with Graham McKean and for good reason.  Graham is one of the country’s most celebrated artists with his work featuring in private collections and galleries across the globe.  These latest pieces show the artist at the height of his powers with each image packed with his trademark humour and eye for detail.  They are stunning works and I have no doubt they will attract huge interest on Sunday.”


Graham McKean’s whisky series will feature in The Scottish Contemporary Art Auction on Sunday 28th February. The 226 lot auction will also showcase works by many other renowned Scottish artists including, Peter Howson, John Bellany, Jolomo, John Cunningham and Avril Paton amongst others. 

Although the current restrictions do not allow in-person auctions, McTear’s has the technology to ensure that buyers and sellers can enjoy the thrill of a live auction in their own homes.   Streamed live from the saleroom floor, each sale features an auctioneer at the rostrum to control the bidding.  It’s easy to get involved, just log on to for more info. 


View the auction catalogue here >>



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