Landscape painter

Lofoten project


Attending Dyfed College of Art situated in the heart of the Welsh countryside brought about an unexpected change to my intention of following a career in illustration. In 1987 I gained an HND in Design Crafts specialising in Wildlife Illustration, but several factors conspired to change my desired direction within the Visual Arts to that of Landscape Painter. Having grown up in the Lowlands of Scotland watching my artist father paint, I was intrigued by the process of creating pictures from observation of the landscape. It was this inherent need to try to create my own interpretation of the natural environment, together with the beauty of the Welsh scenery in which I found myself, which led to my decision to become eventually a full time painter of landscapes. Subsequent employment as Graphic Designer at Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery (UK) only intensified my desire to further my career in painting rather than design.

I have always harboured a deep love for wild, rugged scenery and a fascination for the extreme effects of light and shade which often play on it with great result. On returning to live in Wales in 1992 I delighted in being able to explore the beautiful and varied countryside around me, in all weathers.

  Snowdon, Wales

A significant point early in my painting career was my discovery of the towering mountains of Snowdonia in North Wales, with their alluring mystery and bleak splendour. As I began to draw and paint there I developed an intense desire to discover more about how such a jagged, mountainous landscape had been created - to look beneath the surface of the scenery I could see and really begin to understand the natural processes such as glaciation, which had been instrumental in its shaping tens of thousands of years ago. It is for this reason that I then spent over seven years exploring the Jostedal glacier and the mountains and glaciers of Jotunheimen National Park in Norway.

Sognefjell, Norway Chamonix Mont Blanc, French Alps Deception Island's volcanic caldera, Antarctica

With my passion for painting all things icy well and truly ignited, excursions to paint in the European Alps quickly followed.  Subsequent painting expeditions to west Greenland and Antarctica have provided a wealth of unforgettable experiences too, from encountering at first hand their spectacular icebound subject matter to undertaking the many challenges of painting on location in such hostile environments.

In spite of this fascination with our frozen world, my attentions do return frequently to the picturesque Welsh countryside and in particular to the Gower coastline now on my doorstep. It is a stunning area full of striking sea cliffs, rocks and sandy bays and is one which I regularly explore on foot with my paints. I relish playing with the vast array of beautiful greys which exist thanks to the fast-changing, often squally weather which prevails here. But the sun does occasionally shine and subjects do appear vastly different within a short period of time, providing much of interest to work with.

Cliff and Cloud study, Pobbles Bay

However, my love for snow, rock and ice has taken me far beyond where I ever expected to go and it will undoubtedly continue to do so. I am inspired by both the ordinary and the extraordinary, close to home or half way round the world and I enjoy immensely undertaking the many challenges that painting this extraordinary subject matter involves.  Working en plein-air in the Polar regions is something I never could have envisaged when I first took up my paintbrush some twenty something years ago!

At Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula