Fife provost in the shop window

Celie Byrne and the painting she produced in the store window to celebrate Fife Provost Jim Leishman
Celie Byrne and the painting she produced in the store window to celebrate Fife Provost Jim Leishman

A Glenrothes convenience store employee has stunned Provost of Fife Jim Leishman by producing a six-foot portrait of the Scottish football legend.

Celie Byrne, daughter of celebrated Scottish playwright and artist John Byrne, works in the new Nisa/David’s Kitchen store in Caskieberran Road in the new town to help meet the cost of painting materials.

On hearing that Mr Leishman would be opening the new store and conducting the cutting-of-the-ribbon ceremony, she approached company bosses to see if she could paint the Provost’s portrait in the shop window.

Having been given the go-ahead Celie then spent a few days producing the stunning black and white image to help promote the opening ceremony, proving artistic flare runs through the family.

The first Provost Leishman knew of the artwork was when he turned up to open the store and after his initial shock he was bristling with excitement at being able to meet the artist.

He was quick to praise Celie for her creation.

“I didn’t realise I was so handsome,” joked the Provost.

“At first I thought it was a print or some type of advertising banner, but to see that I’ve actually been painted onto the window is terrific.

“Celie has done a great job. She’s certainly a talented artist.”

The award-winning artist, who in 2011 was one of the final 55 selected artists in the celebrated BP Portait Awards and also last year worked on her father’s project to repaint the King’s Theatre ceiling mural in Edinburgh, is certainly a busy lady, dividing her time between stacking shelves, her artistic projects and performing with the band The Grand Gestures, which just happens to include ‘Still Game’ TV star Sanjeev Kohli.

Celie was pleased her subject had approved of her efforts to recreate him.

“It’s a relief but as a portrait artist you always want the person you are painting to at least see a likeness, and I really enjoyed doing it,” Celie told the Gazette.

And she admitted the preparation was more fraught with difficulty than the actual painting itself.

“I wanted to trace the basic image out but didn’t have paper big enough so I used some discarded advertising posters and stuck them together,” she explained.

“It’s a big window and a bigger image than I’m used to so had to prepare it in two halves, but I think it’s a good likeness, so I’m happy.”