A brewer who missed the pub in lockdown created oil paintings of his favourite Edinburgh boozers

A brewer who missed the pub in lockdown spent his furlough doing a series of oil paintings of his favourite haunts in the capital.

By Calum Loudon
Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 4:45 pm

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Theo Barnes, 30, created a series of 15 paintings depicting pubs in Edinburgh, where he lives, as well as London and Manchester, based on photographs he found online.

He was furloughed from his job at Born brewery, Jedburgh, in January for four months and decided to pick up a paintbrush and try his hand at oil on canvas.

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Here's to you: Brewer and budding artist Theo Barnes

Having learnt the basics aged 15 from his dad, Theo spent between two weeks and a month depicting scenes including a terrier keeping a watchful eye on two pints of Guiness, and detailed woodgrain found in traditional pubs.

He illustrated packets of Scampi Fries on a bar, and even beer gardens - as he found painting helped him with 'remembering the good times'. Each painting took up to two weeks to a month, and Theo painted the pubs that were important to him including Cask and Barrel Southside, and Monty's in Haymarket.

Theo, who moved to Edinburgh 12 years ago, said: "I was furloughed at the start of 2021 and needed a hobby to give myself as much routine as possible.

Do you recognise this Edinburgh pub?

"My dad taught me the basics of some painting when I was little so made sense to try and get back into it while I had free time. "Reason for choosing pubs and beer as the subjects were because I really missed the pubs while they were closed.

"Painting them was a bit like remembering the good times, remembering the little details that make the pub the best place to be.

"I also kind of wanted to celebrate the small independent businesses like the brewers and pubs, some of which are still having a really rough time.

"I'm up to 15 paintings. It is oil paint on canvas.

You can almost taste the lager in Theo's work

"My influences are from beer photography originals which my painting are imitations of.

"I am pretty inexperienced and slow so each one usually takes a couple of weeks to a month with drying times.

"My first attempt was the Cask and Barrel Southside, my local which I missed the most.

"Then I was copying images from celebrated beer writers and photographers, with permission, because I couldn't get into the pubs to take my own photos.

Make mine a cold one

"I was mainly trying to do pubs and celebrated beers that I personally love.

"I was also furloughed in 2020 but just built a pub in Minecraft during that one."

He said lockdown gave him the time he needed to commit to getting better - and now plans on continuing to paint.

Theo added: "I definitely picked up tips while growing up from my dad who loves painting.

"I couldn't point to a single painting I did when I was young but I did pottery at school which needed a lot of sketching.

A pooch, a pint and a pub - what more could anyone want?

"As I grew up I did the odd bit of painting here and there but this was the first time I had the time to fully commit to getting better.”

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