Oils 14"x18" 1995
I have been a professional portrait painter for over twenty years, but with the benefit of hindsight can see its roots stretching back even further to childhood and school exercise books littered with Leonardo-like caricatures and sketches of friends, teachers or imaginary beings. Coming from generations of farmers however, portraiture was not a career even dreamt of. Only much later, when researching my family tree did I discover an artistic gene going back centuries and a close family link with Kirkcudbright, Scotland's Artists' Town, home to "The Glasgow Boys". My own chosen route took me to art school, teacher-training college and into the world of illustration in all its forms - whether it be educational, romantic fiction or fairy tale. It was a marvellous discipline, learning one's craft whilst at the same time having to fulfil the requirements of authors and meet publishing deadlines.
However the human face and what made people 'tick' fascinated me more and eventually lead me to the profession I am now in. As a portrait painter I find myself in a very privileged position. I am invited into people's lives however briefly, to witness their work, their aspirations, their successes and sometimes their failures, indeed their humanity.
People have their portraits painted for all manner of reasons. There are those who have reached the pinnacle of their career and wish it to be acknowledged, but there are many who simply wish to celebrate a relationship or capture a family moment in time.
In this increasingly transient age, portraiture with its variety of mediums, is accessible to all and an ideal vehicle for capturing such significant occasions or people for posterity. Whether it be the permanence and power of oils, the softness of a pastel, the delicacy of a pencil drawing or the luminosity of a watercolour, one often finds that the character or age of the sitter suggest the medium best suited to express it.
The few short weeks or months it may take from commissioning a portrait to completion is an investment of time that will last and give pleasure for generations.