Artist, craftsman, and framer Martin Smith has died aged 71. He was first and foremost an artist with a degree in fine art (painting) from Sheffield College of Art in 1973.
Martin, who went by the brush name Mick Livingstone, was a member of the North Fife Open Studios network of artists and opened his home and studio to visitors every year.
He once told how his lifelong delight in painting trees was neatly summed up by a visitor to his studio: “I’ve been obsessed with trees and light for a few years now, but it wasn’t until a studio visitor walked in and exclaimed, ‘Oh! you’re the tree man!’ that I fully realised my obsession”.
His paintings were inspired by the local environment; the Tay, the bridges, and ever-changing skies but he would also branch into other aspects of nature and wildlife.
Martin painted mainly in oils and was particularly drawn to capture the changing seasons and altering light at different times of day in Tentsmuir Forest. He was fascinated by the play of light and shadow through trees.
Describing his work, Martin wrote: “It is about capturing the light at the forest edge. In the low winter sunlight, the tall pines cast long shadows on the sandy floor. Walking out of the dark forest and into the sunlight inspires me again and again.”
Martin Livingstone Smith was born near Glasgow in 1950 and was adopted at six months by Bill and Isabel Smith.
From the age of eight until he was 15, Martin was educated at Morrison’s Academy, Crieff.
In 1965 the family settled in Kent where Martin’s interest in art became evident.
Martin undertook a post-graduate course in art therapy in 1975 before settling in Leeds where he began restoring furniture, working with wood and painting. In 1977 he met his future wife, Marianne, in the city. Their son Daniel was born in 1981 and the couple married in St Andrews in 2003.
From 1984 and for the next 13 years, he worked with Artlink West Yorkshire developing projects for people with learning difficulties as well as those with mental health problems.
His parents were settled in Newport where he returned to look after them in 2001, the third generation of the family to occupy the house. Martin continued to paint but only considered himself an artist by 2009 when he began to show his work.
His work was shown widely at galleries across Scotland. His work is still currently showing in Ron Lawson’s West End Gallery on Perth Road, Dundee.
He has exhibited in galleries around Scotland including Frames Gallery, Perth; Queen’s Gallery Dundee; Orchar Gallery, Dundee; Fishers Gallery, Pittenweem; MacGregors Gallery, Glasgow; Enid Hutt Gallery, Aberdeen; Marchmont Gallery, Edinburgh; Maisie and Mac’s Gallery, Cupar; Birchwood Gallery, Strathearn Gallery, Crieff; Alessandro’s Gallery, Broughty Ferry and West End Gallery, Dundee.
The family’s announcement can be read here.