Ian Mastin

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Classical Still Life

Ian Mastin was born in Leicestershire, England, and as a child moved with his family to Queensland, Australia.

He had no involvement with art during his school days and it was only in the mid 1980s that he began to sketch for recreation. It was at this time that Ian was invited to exhibit his work in a Brisbane gallery where he first experienced success. In 1991 he returned with his Scottish-born wife and their children to Britain, settling in East Lothian. It was here that he picked up a paintbrush for the first time and after a year of experimentation in fundamental techniques, he committed himself to painting full-time.

As a novice,  his early works were mainly watercolour and the subject matter varied, but it was his discovery of still life in the traditional style that gave him the direction he had been seeking and the passion to pursue his artistic goal of excellence in this genre. His chosen medium is acrylic.


He gains inspiration from many sources without being beholden to any particular style or perceived past ‘Golden Age’. Plainly influenced by Dutch and Flemish Masters of the 17th Century his work nevertheless instils a timeless quality that is not bound by tradition or convention.

He is instinctively drawn to the effects of chiaroscuro upon the eye and mind and is fascinated how the juxtaposition of seemingly random shapes, texture, colour and tone have the capacity to arrest and delight the viewer in ways which are difficult to define.

He particularly enjoys working with items of simple utilitarian use - the detritus of life from earlier generations. An old, much loved and worn book or bowl can bring as much joy for him to paint as a most complex composition. Indeed, his predilection is to beget a sense of appreciation in reflecting upon old, used everyday objects which have no intrinsic value except for the richness of their history and the hands they have passed through. In this there is a thread running back to the life of the person who crafted and used the object, though most likely now long forgotten, as well as that same thread beckoning future generations to pause a moment and consider those who have passed this way before, and of the fleeting nature of life.

Ian exhibits regularly throughout Scotland and England. His paintings may be found in collections around the world.