I offer you a 1934 watercolour of Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, by my father, Jack Logan. He was 19 years old at the time and he died a very untimely death in 1952. I was ten years old. This painting means so much to me.
My father was a native of Portrush and a self-taught artist. In this work he captures the character of a seaside town and working port of the 1930s and 1940s, when my own memories of Portrush began to develop. In this work I can see the town’s characters, Johnny Logan (my grandfather), Davy Wilson, Spud Fleming, and Bobby McMullan standing at the “harbour head.” They’d have been discussing such matters as the decline in the skate (a type of ray) population, the fact that the County Down fishing boats were spending more time in County Antrim waters, and so on…
My father’s painting developed over the years in terms of range of themes where the city of Derry/Londonderry and County Donegal became as popular as Portrush. My father’s painting style became much more bold and adventurous. He captured a typical Irish sky with apparent simplicity, but with remarkable accuracy.
Portrush remains a place apart, a place to which I resort when my spirits need raising. My father, Jack Logan, was, to quote a recently deceased Portrush friend, “a remarkably skilled and popular person,” and one whom I wish I had known better.
– John Logan