I was born in Glasgow and studied painting at Glasgow School of Art (GSA). I was awarded a post graduate and travelling scholarship which I used to visit Italy and the medieval Tuscan town of San Gimignano. This a place which had existing links with GSA. I used it as base to travel throughout Tuscany visiting Assisi, Arezzo, Volterra, Pienza and, of course, Florence. That experience has given me a lifelong passion for Italy and renaissance art.
After art school I taught in Renfrew High School for some 38 years and 23 as Principal Teacher. As well as teaching in a secondary school I taught life drawing in the evening school of GSA. I have now retired from secondary school teaching and currently teach life drawing part time in the day school of GSA.
The painting I chose to exhibit for June’s painting of the month is of the Italian 13th century Saint Santa Fina or Saint Serfina. She was a young, Christian, Italian female who is venerated in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. As is the case with many Italian saints she suffered throughout her short life and her in case with illness. However this did not prevent her from devoting herself to helping others particularly the poor in San Gimignano. It has been said that as she lay on her bed which was not more than a bare board St Gregory appeared to her and foretold her death on 12th March 1253. When she did die on that date it was said that white scented violet flowers sprouted from her bed. That board is now relic that is carried in procession in order to bless the town on the anniversary of her death each year. She is the patron saint of San Gimignano.