A Picture of Success

A trained mechanic, Duncan Irvine swapped spanners for paint brushes two decades ago and has never looked back. At the age of 48 he left his job and followed his passion for painting, and today he is one of Northern Ireland’s leading artists. His story is one of self-belief, strength and determination and deserves to be told.

“Even when I was a young lad at school I always wanted to be an artist,” Duncan explains. “But back then it just wasn’t the done thing, so I trained as a mechanic and for 30 odd years I worked away at cars, all the time longing to be a painter.”

Eventually the inner desire to become an artist became all consuming and Duncan took the brave step to leave his job and follow his heart; “My wife nearly fainted when I told her that I had quit my job to paint, “ he recalls. “You have to remember that I had no formal training, no qualifications and no business plan. All I had to follow was a dream and I was determined to make it come true.”

Duncan realised his ambition in 1991 when he hired a small premises in the seaside town of Bangor, County Down and devoted himself full-time time to putting paint to canvas.

Never one to be stereotyped, Duncan’s work ranges from traditional landscapes and Irish famine scenes to wildlife, portraits and private commissions, and he is equally at ease working with charcoal and pastels as he is with oils, watercolours and acrylics.

Outgrowing the Bangor premises, today Duncan has found a new home for his craft in a quaint, purpose built studio set amidst inspirational countryside just outside Donaghadee. From here Duncan also holds a series of sell-out art classes for adults and children.

Explaining the motive behind the art classes Duncan says, “I believe that I have been given a gift and that I should share that gift with others. I can teach anyone the skills to paint a sellable picture and it gives me real sense of fulfilment and pleasure to think that I can be helpful to others and help them realise their dreams of becoming painters.”

Duncan’s own work can be found in galleries across Ireland and he his tutoring skills are in huge demand taking him regularly to Sligo and Dublin where he hosts art classes.

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