DURING his 70 years on this planet, he has created thousands of paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works. Douglas McKechnie’s home in East Kilbride is an art lover’s Aladdin’s Cave, packed from floor to ceiling with his creations.

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) graduate and artist in residence at the community arts group Roots2-TheFuture created the artwork for blues legend John Martyn’s album Cooltide, and has seen many of his pieces go into private collections. Others have regularly been on show at venues across Glasgow.

McKechnie counts Picasso, Miro, Kandinsky and Mondrian among his many influences and has travelled extensively to study their work in Catalonia, Italy and France.

Last year, he gave proceeds of more than £3000 from his painting Homage to Catalonia to humanitarian aid in the north-eastern Spanish state, which has been at the centre of a lengthy independence battle with Spain. The trials of pro-indy leaders who are accused of various charges, including sedition and rebellion, are due to start later this month. However, 18 months ago McKechnie suffered a stroke that left him paralysed down one side, putting a temporary halt to his work schedule.

He told The National: “I went through the Glasgow School of Art and I got a degree in sculpture. I then went into teaching for around eight years and gave it all up to do my art. Most days I try to make something. If I don’t I start to feel uneasy, but I usually get up quite early and just get on with doing things. I had a stroke around 18 months ago – I was

paralysed down the one side and I couldn’t speak for a week. My girlfriend said it’s the best time she’s ever had, but I came off quite lightly. I went to physio for a couple of months … but I was quite minor in comparison to some.”

McKechnie said his interest lies more in drawing than painting and only opted for sculpture to stay an extra year at GSA. “I wanted to be a student for as long as I could, but I never knew my gap year would last for as long as it has,” he quipped. “Spain produces some great artists so I’ve always had an interest in Spanish art. My first holiday was six weeks in Spain when Franco was still alive and you could feel the tension in the air at that time. Even now they’re still digging up bodies of the victims of Franco’s death squads.”

He said he was pleased his painting had raised £3000 for Catalonia and he praised Clara Ponsati – the former Catalan education minister – as “a lovely wee lady”. “I was telling her about the first time I was up in St Andrews,” he said.

“One of my maths teachers had asked me if I wanted to do some caddying – I was only 13 at the time, but carrying the clubs around made me a bit of pocket money.”