From a very early age I always thought of being an Artist of some sort. From Perth High School, I went to Edinburgh College of Art intending to become a commercial artist. But! When I realized the kind of competitive “Rat Race” that was, where everything was required yesterday, I did a fifth year at Art College to cover extra crafts such as pottery, life modeling and sculpture, photography, lithography, silkscreen printing, etching, typography and calligraphy and went on to Moray House to become a teacher which I thought would be less stressful.
My teaching experience ranges from pre-school and primary children, to an elderly gentleman of eighty seven who attended my evening classes then talked me into giving him private tuition. I have taught absolute beginners and Art College students; students with all their senses; and pottery and clay modeling to blind students. Most of my students eagerly attend my classes but I have also taught Sculpture to a captive class of students at Polmont Borstal till I eventually tired of having to wait back most nights till the missing chisels and files were found.
I have taught Art in schools from Larbert to Wick, but changed to part time in April 1976 to give me more time to do my own painting. In 1978 I left teaching to make a go of being a freelance Artist. For ten years I made and sold my own pictures; worked in a Commercial Art studio in Kinross and for a short time, made furniture and did woodcarving on handmade furniture for one of Margaret (Bloody) Thatcher’s parasites in order to draw some dole money. I’m not a fan of the Thatcher era.
I started work (three days a week) as Permanent Part-time Teacher of Art at Balnacraig School in December 1988 where I ran the Art department for thirteen years till December 2001. At this time I also was fill in teacher for the head of the Art department at Perth College while he was off ill from January till March 1989 and taught pottery and clay modeling to the blind at Perth and Kinross Blind Society 1990 -1994.
Leaving Balnacraig in December 2001 I became Resident Artist, Teacher and General Manager at “Sessions Music and Art Venue” at Daviot, Inverness. I retired on my birthday in 2002 and moved to London for two years. (More than long enough) then returned to my favourite county (Perthshire) where I now live at West Grange near Errol.
Although I have not totally given up using paint, pastels etc.. At the moment I use photography as another paint brush, to create compositions and give vent to my imagination. It is another “Art” form I’m enjoying studying and experiencing, for the present. I enjoyed the darkroom and black and white photography back in the 60s. (For weeks then I rarely saw the sun) and now digital photography and the computer allows me to do the same and even more with full colour and no chemical smells. Now I often work right through the quiet nights till the dawn chorus reminds me to get some sleep. I find life today magical and wonderful and full of surprises and love to try to express it any way I can.
Though my art work is often considered “Surrealist“ and sometimes I admit has a surreal look to it, (After all my first hero and influence was Salvador Dali) I consider myself more of a symbolist, as I use symbols like the Flying Forget-me-not to express True Love which has to be free to fly anywhere it wishes and colours and textures are used symbolically to express feelings.
I personally feel that an Artist must have a creative mind and be able to express all kinds of emotions and mental conditions, be it in paint and colours, photographically, sculpting solid materials, composing sound, using movement and actions (I love ballet and modern dance), or any other creative media he can imagine using. He should shock or repulse if that is what he intends but he should have craftsmanship and ability beyond the normal.
Piles of bricks or half rotting cows in formaldehyde impress me not. No matter what price some idiot puts on it.
All my heroes (Dali, Picasso, Chagall etc.) are real craftsmen.