I was born in the ancient fishing village of Rosehearty, on the Moray Firth coast in 1949. I am married with eight surviving children and (currently) 10 grandchildren. I live in an old house in Cambuslang.
In 1966 I went to sea as a deck apprentice with T&J Brocklebank and served for 12 years with that company engaged in worldwide trading. I left with the rank of Chief Officer having obtained my Masters Foreign Going Certificate of Competency.
In 1978 I joined the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland (later the Scottish Fishery Protection Agency), achieving command in 1987. I retired as the Senior Commander of the fleet in 2007.
I have written my autobiography Water Under The Keel which was published in 2012.
In 2013 I walked about 800 kilometers across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. The journal of that walk is recorded in may latest book Earth Under My Heel.
I play the Great Highland Bagpipe in St.Francis Pipe Band based in the Gorbals of Glasgow, and teach the bagpipe with some piping colleagues in my church in Cambuslang.
I cannot remember a time when I did not want to draw and paint, and throughout my life I must have attempted to depict every facet of life. My abiding interest however is the sea and landscape, particularly marine landscape, having sailed the oceans of the world for over forty years. My last twenty nine years were spent patrolling the hostile waters of the North Atlantic and the North Sea. When I depict the sea I want to feel the wind and salt water and a sense of deep respect bordering on fear.
My main influences have been the Impressionists, the Scottish Colourists and the Glasgow Boys. I usually paint in oils, watercolour, pastels and acrylics, but am by no means limited to those media. In recent years I have generally used pastels and acrylics, sometimes experimenting with collage and mixed media.
I have carried out several commissions, and whilst the duty to produce a finished work to please a client provides a certain frisson to the task, I prefer to conjecture a subject and allow the work to develop its own character. I think that for me, the mysterious way a piece takes on a life of its own is one of the most exciting aspects of my art, adding an element of uncertainty to the result.
My studio is a wooden summer house which I built at the bottom of my garden, heated by a wood burning stove!