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About Les

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 the well-respected printer Willie Rodger. However Les was encouraged to “get a proper job”, to put bread on the table. Something that has stuck with him to this day! 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.

In the next 30 years, Les fulfills many ambitions in the world of expressive arts, mainly in music, performing in varied locations from pubs and clubs to grand concert halls.

Following brain surgery in 2012, sheer chance avails him of a space in a painting and drawing class at East Kilbride Arts Centre to aid recuperation, and an old spark is rekindled.

Les spent the next couple of years re-learning old techniques, and starts  painting in oils, being especially keen on portraits, but also painting 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 saw Les’s work selling well, including a ‘bidding war’ for one of his pieces at the CHAS charity auction, and six works going into public ownership at Glasgow Life. Les’s portrait of midwife Beth is featured in the book “NHS Portraits for Heroes”, and on BBC TV.
2021 was a remarkable year for Les, with work selling well, including his portrait of Billy Connolly going into public ownership (making a total of seven pieces in public hands), portraits commissioned, and work shown in three major exhibitions; “Figurative Art Now”, the Royal Ulster Academy annual exhibition, and reaching the finals of the Scottish Portrait Awards with his self-portrait “I’m H-A-P-P-Y” winning the Scottish Arts Club Members award. (shown above).
In 2022, Les again reached the finals of the Scottish Portraits Awards, but the year was dominated by commissions. A four-month job was for 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, which involved painting 204 faces! Another two big pieces were commissioned by the late Ron Gordon, chairman of Hibernian FC.

Self portrait 2021