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Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK


Sir Paul gets arty

Beach Towel by Sir Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney is to show 70 of his paintings in Germany on Friday, at the first ever public exhibition of his artwork.

The oil paintings, featuring John Lennon, Andy Warhol, David Bowie and other friends of the ex-Beatle, will be on display at the Art Forum in the small town of Siegen, near Cologne.

The 56-year-old star has always kept very quiet about his artwork but has produced nearly 500 canvases since he began painting seriously in the 1980s.

[ image: John lennon features in John's Room (1990)]
John lennon features in John's Room (1990)
"Until then I had this big block in my head that only people who went to art school were allowed to paint," he said.

"But when I got to 40, I realized this block was madness. I wanted to paint and the only person not allowing me a canvas was me."

But McCartney remains coy about his artistic talents and chose the obscure venue for the show because he felt that local events organiser Wolfgang Suttner was genuinely interested in his art.

"It's embarrassing really. If there is something I've always wanted to be, it's a really good painter," he said in a rare interview last year with The Guardian newspaper.

"I do funny little faces, landscapes, seascapes and that. I'm not really qualified to comment on what they're like, but my friends like them," said McCartney.

[ image: Big Mountain Face by Sir Paul McCartney]
Big Mountain Face by Sir Paul McCartney
And the musician-turned-artist certainly has the support of friend and writer Barry Miles.

Miles writes in the official exhibition programme that: "McCartney brings to painting the same humour, enthusiasm and enjoyment that is present in his music."

A number of Sir Paul's friends are also featured in the colourful paintings, which are said to be of the abstract impressionist style.

John Lennon, who unlike Sir Paul had an art school education, can be seen in a 1990 work called John's Room and artist Warhol appears in Andy In The Garden.

Other paintings include a set of portraits including The Queen Getting A Joke and the Queen After Her First Cigarette, designed as a salute to the monarch who knighted him two years ago.

The exhibition also includes a piece called Mr Magritte's Ruler, after the Belgian surrealist who, along with Willem de Kooning is said to have influenced Sir Paul's work.

The exhibition, which also includes photographs by his late wife Linda, runs from 1 May to 25 July at the Art Forum in Siegen.

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Paul McCartney's paintings - Official Siegen site

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