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Although Michael’s talent as a painter was recognised and encouraged during his school days he chose instead a more exciting career in the British Army; an occupation that also afforded him the opportunity to visit, paint and exhibit in many parts of the world.

In 1989 and following 27 years’ service he took early retirement as an officer to reside in Aberdeen, Scotland in the hope of fulfilling his new found ambition of becoming a full-time artist. Although he had become an accomplished amateur painter in the use of oils, watercolour and pastels it was with trepidation that he made his first approach to a gallery in the nearby town of Banchory. Two weeks later however, his first painting had been sold and, greatly encouraged, more sales followed and led to openings and fruitful relationships with several other galleries in North East Scotland.
Two years later, by which time his ability as both a landscape painter and portrait artist was being recognised, Michael received three commissions from the Corps of Royal Military Police to produce paintings for The Regimental Museum to commemorate the roles of the RMP in Theatres of Action since World War 2 (see - Limited Edition Prints). That honour was followed by two more prestigious commissions; to paint portraits of Field Marshall (now Lord) Sir Peter Inge and General (now Lord) Sir Richard Dannatt for the Royal Military Police Officers’ Mess.

In 1992 Michael was both surprised and privileged to receive an invitation to tutor at ‘The independent Painter’s Workshop’ in Aberdeen; a private art school where, in addition to his commitment to paint for galleries, he regularly taught watercolour painting as a guest tutor for three years. Teaching and encouraging others became so personally satisfying that in 1995 Michael and his wife Mary, fulfilling a vision, moved to Wood of Shaws; a country property idyllically situated beside the River Deveron from where they organised and ran residential painting holidays. Michael also had a custom-designed studio and gallery built to exhibit and sell his fine art for the next 15 years.

From 1996 to 2012 Michael also tutored painting holidays based at Balmoral Castle, at St Fillans in Perthshire, on the Isle of Skye, in Morocco, Crete, Tunisia, The Canary Islands, France and Tuscany.

On four occasions he was a demonstrator in portraiture at the annual Art Exhibition at Islington, London organised by the ‘Artists & Illustrator’s Magazine’, wrote articles for that publication and also for the ‘Leisure Painter’.

Commissions to paint river scenes, animals, wildlife and portraits have been steady throughout and in June 2007 Michael was especially honoured to receive a commission from the Rotary Club of Aberdeenshire Deeside to paint a portrait (in pastels) of Sir Alex Ferguson which was subsequently auctioned for £1000 to aid the work of the Mercy Ships.

Successful Bid - Auction of Sir Alex Ferguson's portrait in pastels

In 2011 Michael gave up running painting holidays and the family moved to a new home overlooking Banff Bay on the Moray Firth.

Painting is however his vocation and which he continues to enjoy full-time. He also accepts commissions, regularly demonstrates for Art Societies and offers individual tuition to people wishing to improve their skills.

Michael is passionate about his work as an artist and salmon fishing - whilst Mary’s ambition on leaving Army life was to breed Jack Russell Terriers. (The Company logo was therefore created by Michael to incorporate their combined strengths).

Mike salmon fishing at Middle Shaws on the Lower Mountblairy beat of the River Deveron. This is where the heaviest fly-caught salmon (61lbs) was taken by Mrs Clementina (Tiny) Morison in 1924.
Mike salmon fishing

Everyone needs encouragement and Michael was really blessed when, during a tour of military service in Cyprus between 1980 and 1982, he met Karsten and Ellen Topelmann; professional artists from Ephraim, Door County, USA. Over the years they spent several holidays together and Michael gratefully acknowledges that it was their enthusiastic encouragement that caused him to take the leap of faith in 1989.... that led him to his career as an artist!

In like vein and over the past twenty years Michael has taken great pleasure in passing on his experience and encouraging hundreds of others in their artistic endeavours. Particularly gratifying is knowing that Rusudana Glonti, Annette Bird and Esther Armstrong, all of whom studied with him during their formative years, have gone on to achieve professional status as artists in their own right.