Ken Palmer: An Appreciation

Ken Palmer: An appreciation

by James Spence Published on 5 February 2010 in The Herald

The death of Ken Palmer has robbed the Glasgow art scene of an original and vital artist.

Many organisations are indebted to the contribution he made. He was a founder member of Open Circle that brought together painters and poets. He organised numerous exhibitions abroad, and introduced many foreign artists to the Scottish art scene. He was a member of the Glasgow League of Artists.

He was a founder member of the Scottish Artists Union, an organisation set up to protect the rights of artists. He was elected member of the Glasgow Group in 1989, and became president in 2003. He developed and extended the Glasgow Group website. He and Gregor Smith were responsible for the continued survival of the Glasgow Group after Dawson Murray retired in 1996.

Meantime, the development of his own painting continued. His paintings were shown regularly in Germany and he also exhibited in France, Holland, Spain, Poland and Canada.

Ken lived in a top tenement flat and, using his digital camera, he was able to incorporate glowing skyscapes into his linear mechanical foregrounds. Ken's work was strongly influenced by the electronic and digital patterns of today. It is no surprise that he assimilated the language of the computer; indeed, much of his recent work was created digitally, being entirely electronic creations, dispensing with brush or paint. This work can be seen on his website

He was a lover of Haydn and jazz. He disliked the emotion of opera, as it was too emotional and untidy for his mind.

Ken was an inventive cook and, in response to the smoking ban in pubs, he held an open house Monday curry night for his smoking friends. It was an event he continued to hold, despite increasing frailty, to the end of his life. Ken had an unusual generosity of spirit, and willingly gave help on computers, organising exhibitions and painting techniques.

Many of us will miss the friend at the other end of the phone who was always prepared to sacrifice his own time to give us good counsel and advice.


Born January 8, 1944;

Died December 29, 2009.

The Herald, Obituaries

Ken Palmer - artist

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