Loss of a Legend: Hamish MacEwan

6 Apr

Yesterday I learned of the passing of one of the great leaders of the art community in Jacksonville, Hamish MacEwan.  Hamish was born in Scotland, eventually coming to the US and earning a Masters of Art degree from Harvard University.  His career brought him to Jacksonville and though he gained notoriety as the head of the arts department at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville and producer of cultural programs for Jacksonville’s local PBS Station.  It is in his paintings and personal relationships that Hamish’s real legacy is found.

Vertical Interior Exterior I by Hamish MacEwan

 I can still vividly remember my first encounter with Hamish.  I had only been working at Fogle Fine Art for a short time, when Hamish came into the gallery on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville.  I had, of course, already been familiar with his work from living in Jacksonville and working for SuperStock, who handled the licensing of much of his artwork. 

Vertical Horizontal Break I by Hamish MacEwan

He came into the gallery looking like a character from a Rosamunde Pilcher novel, dressed in cordoruoys, tweed jacket ( complete with elbow patches! ) and hat.   His voice had that beautiful Scottish lilt and he was the epitome of a Scottish gentleman.  I always remember his hankerchiefs, because they reminded me of my own grandfather, also an old-school hankerchief user.

Vertical Interior I by Hamish MacEwan

Hamish was a prolific artist, painting every day even into his 90’s.  In 2009, Fogle joined forces with MOCA Jax to do a retrospective of his work the year Hamish turned 90 years old, “90 in “09” showcased the artistic journey of this remarkable artist.  I was fortunate to give Hamish a ride home after the opening at the gallery.  He was blown away by all the attention and so appreciative and humbled by this celebration of his life of work.

Vertical Interior II by Hamish MacEwan

After I dropped Hamish off that night, I watched him amble along the sidewalk to his apartment, leaning on his cane.  I pictured him the next day, same as always, painting in his studio.  I like to think that he is still painting. 

Goodbye, Hamish.  Thank you for the creative legacy you have left us all.

All images via Fogle Fine Art.

4 Responses to “Loss of a Legend: Hamish MacEwan”

  1. CHRISTINE SHUTTLEWORTH July 14, 2011 at 2:24 am #

    It was a joy for me to read your fond memories of Hamish. Not only was he a fine artist, he was a funny, loving uncle to me. Thank you for your kind words about a truly fine gentleman.

    Christine Shuttleworth
    San Diego California

    • Lesley July 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

      It was my pleasure, Christine. Your uncle was a kind and thoughtful gentleman, in addition to being an incredibly talented artist. It was a privilege to have known him.

  2. Sarah Bove' July 14, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    Hamish had a great influence on me as an art student at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville and later in my adult life, as a dear friend. It was so nice to be able to befriend him as an adult after my years at Episcopal. He was such a gentle person in all ways, and had many words of wisdom as we became friends later in our lives.
    I miss his gentle spirit and kind words of encouragement.

    • Lesley July 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

      I love hearing how much he influenced his students, Sarah. I only came to know him in the 5 years I worked for Fogle ( the gallery representing his work in Jacksonville ), but will always remember his humility, humor, talent and kindness.
      Thanks for visiting and sharing your memories of such a special gentleman.

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