Les was born in industrial Clydebank in the West of Scotland.
Early memories are of walking to the swimming baths and passing what had remained of the tenements destroyed in the Blitz.
He was educated at Clydebank High School, where his journey in art started under the direction of Gordon Mackie and the well-respected printer Willie Rodger. However although Glasgow School of Art was on his doorstep, Les was encouraged to “get a proper job” to put bread on the table. Something that has stuck with him to this day, and a phrase his kids are fed-up hearing! He eventually attended GSofA in the 1980s, but the pressure to have regular income meant that at this point he could not make a career from art.
Roll on another 30 years…
…in the interim Les has fulfilled many ambitions in the world of expressive arts, mainly in music, performing in varied locations from pubs and clubs to grand concert halls. He eventually becomes the first teacher of mandolin to be appointed in the UK by local Government, and at one stage has over 250 students each week…
Sheer chance avails him of a space in a painting and drawing class at East Kilbride Arts Centre, and an old spark is rekindled.
Les spent two years re-learning old techniques, and specialising in portraits in oils and landscapes, culminating in a hugely successful first solo exhibition in May of 2016.
The Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery invited Les to show his collection of six Scottish crime writers during the ‘Bloody Scotland’ festival in September 2016. This was followed by Les’s home town of Clydebank inviting him to put on their first ever exhibition of solely portraits in 2017.
In October 2018, Les returned to East Kilbride Arts Centre, having moved on in technique, confidence and style. This exhibition was one of the most succesful in the history of the Arts Centre, selling 15 pieces in total!
Les’s 2019 Calendar had a short, limited edition run of 50, and quickly sold out.
March 2019 saw Les becoming the first person ever to win both prizes at the 39th Annual Clarkston art exhibition, with all his submissions also selling.
Despite ‘lockdown’, 2020 has seen Les’s work selling well, including a ‘bidding war’ for one of his pieces at the CHAS charity auction. Les has since made the decision to become a full-time artist, and to focus his efforts more.