The Golden Age of Detective Fiction

I have been working on a composition which will hopefully reflect my liking and understanding of the detective fiction published in the 1920’s and 30’s. I intend it to be itself a solvable puzzle. The viewer will be asked to solve the crime (after determining what exactly that crime is). There will be false leads and intricate clues to decipher. A reasonable level of general knowledge will be useful and the ability to make connections will be crucial.

I want to incorporate the elegance and style of this fictional age and use the capability of painting to break free from the restrictions of the real world. Walls can disappear, perspectives can be altered, and things can have more than one meaning…

The detail below, for example, is called “Red Herring”. Can you see why? (Say it slowly and pronounce each syllable separately.)

The Bonnie Banks of the Clyde.

Nature has always fascinated me and I am looking at the interface between natural life and man-made constructions, eg. parks, houses etc.


I am also interested in the anachronistic mixing of characters and backgrounds in paintings.

Born out of the disenfranchised during the Great Depression Bonnie and Clyde were a product of the hopeless poor. For ten years after 1929 only the very wealthy lived comfortably.
This is “The Bonnie Banks of the Clyde”, 16″ x 12″, oil on canvas. The painting is for sale and prints are available.


New Work

I have been working on a number of different pictures, including the cover for Ken Matthews new book, an image based on a tenement close interior in Garnethill, in Glasgow, and a canvas based on the wonderful stories and visuals from the golden age of detective fiction (just after WW1 and featuring writers such as Freeman Wills Crofts, Agatha Christie, Edmund Crispin, and John Bude.


Tenements and Poetry

Welcome to the site! Recently I have been painting further pictures in the tenement close series. You can see “The Letter” in the gallery page. I will post further images as they become available.

I have also been continuing my working from poetry and the written word with the painting “Summoning the Selkies”. This was partly inspired by the beautiful poem At Roane Head, by contemporary poet Robin Robertson. (You can see and hear the poet recite in this clip:

Welcome to my new site!

This month I have introduced a new range of prints of my work. Please go to the print page to view these.

This painting, “The Leopard of the Moon”, recently displayed at The Scottish Royal Academy, is based on the Yeats poem below:

“When have I last looked on
The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies
Of the dark leopards of the moon?
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,
For all their broom-sticks and their tears,
Their angry tears, are gone.

The holy centaurs of the hills are vanished;
I have nothing but the embittered sun;
Banished heroic mother moon and vanished,
And now that I have come to fifty years
I must endure the timid sun.”