Page last updated at 00:30 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 01:30 UK

The Scots artist and the Python

By Alan Grant
BBC Scotland

Remi the greengrocer
The painted greengrocer's shop

A visit by Monty Python star Eric Idle to a village shop near his French home sparked the comedy star's interest in the work of Frank Docherty.

The 67-year-old Glasgow-born artist had painted part of the shop for his greengrocer friend and that inspired Idle to find out more.

He contacted Frank and became a patron, buying some of his work.

That has now led to an exhibition at the Palm Beach Casino, in Cannes, which starts on 11 September.

Writing a foreword in the exhibition brochure, Eric Idle explained how his visit to the greengrocer's shop made him aware of Frank Docherty's work.

 Catch of the Day by Frank Docherty
Catch of the Day

"I was immediately impressed by a very fine painting of John Lennon hanging among the vegetables," he said.

"Hard by this image was another print, clearly by the same artist, of all four Beatles.

"While admiring these, and a suitable aubergine, I struck up an acquaintance with the inestimable greengrocer Remi, who told me all about his Scottish neighbour and artist pal Frank Docherty."

From there the comedian made contact with Frank Docherty, striking up a friendship and buying some of his work.

It has led to an exhibition at the Hall des Colosses at the Palm Beach Casino in Cannes.

A former principal teacher of art, Frank Docherty was appointed a Member of the Royal Society of Watercolours (R.S.W.) in 1978.

Still Life and Puffin' by Frank Docherty
Still Life and Puffin'

Among his most recent exhibitions was one at the Queen's Gallery, in Dundee, and he has turned to them to help organise the Cannes event.

"We've had a great relationship with Frank over the years so we were delighted when he asked us to do this," said Joyce McGlone, from the Queen's Gallery.

"He's a collector's painter who draws his inspiration from everyday events and an eclectic mix of exotic imagery."

Eric Idle agrees.

"Penguins and nudes and fish and puffins, and ark-loads of striped animals and ships and ladders and walls and beaches, Frank's paintings make me happy," he said

"They make me smile. They make me contented."

The exhibition continues until 28 September.

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