Martin Leighton


In conversation with Humph Hack - Curator


Martin produces joyously exciting artworks. His subject matter may be traditional but the way he applies the paint produces a totally contemporary richness.   

He is a self-taught artist with no art school training, although he has studied life drawing.  


Martin says, “I consider that all artists are self-taught to a certain degree as art schools can only teach technique whereas the individual uses their own vision to create a unique style”. 


As regards influences, he loves the works of Caravaggio.   

“His paintings captured the contrast of light & dark to perfection”. 

Other influences include modern artists such as Robert Lenkiewicz, Ken Howard and Jack Vettriano. 


Martin's favourite subject matter is the female form. This is partly because he finds this the most challenging.  

“But, I do like to combine figures with seascapes”.  

Living on the coast enables him to set up live models with genuine beach and seascape backgrounds.  He also paints landscapes & wildlife. 




Martin has undertaken many private portrait commissions over the years. 

“Recently I was commissioned to produce two paintings of T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) for a new hotel venture on the theme of this fascinating character. Painting historical characters, somehow brings them back to life”.  

With a live sitter, he can get to know a person’s personality and portray it in their portrait - but it’s more challenging to achieve when working from a photograph. 

One of Martin’s wildlife commissions hangs in the foyer of the World Wildlife Fund in Africa. 

When asked about future plans Martin says, “To continue selling my work to enable me to continue painting.  A day without creativity at my easel is a day wasted.  The fusion of art and life is very important to me”. 

He enjoyed drawing from a very early age and has been a full-time professional artist for 20 years.  He has no regrets about his career choice.  He seems to be in the enviable position of achieving the near perfect WORK - LIFE balance. 

February 2024   

Featured works


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