Drawing and painting have always been a useful and meaningful form of communication with people around me and with myself - as the written and spoken word is for most people. I was encouraged to draw as a child and often reminded that my pencils must be sharp. Sat with heavy books on my lap, I would study and copy artworks that captured my mind and my heart.
From the age of fourteen I spent my summers in a traditional architect’s office working with the Draughtsman. Attending a local contemporary Art school in my late teens, I walked out after two weeks. The teachings there did not connect with me. Instead I chose to study the classical arts independently and sought guidance from experienced fine artists, learning the language of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Rembrandt. I went on to complete a Degree course in Medical Illustration where my job was to translate the surgeons’ words (as opposed to the engineer’s math), the medical theory and human anatomy, into a visual. I graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2004 and worked within the city’s hospitals before returning to the Highlands of Scotland to start a family.
Continuously seeking to develop my skills, coupled with my love of nature, science and anatomy, I decided to pursue a career in clinical dentistry, applying for a degree course in Clinical Dental Therapy at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). I qualified in 2013 with Distinction and was awarded a first for my clinical work. I worked as a dental therapist in the Highlands before becoming a tutor, teaching on the very course I qualified on. I used my drawing and artistic skills to successfully develop and improve teaching material within the School, whilst delivering postgraduate training courses in clinical photography for qualified dental professionals.
During this period, my passion for restorative dentistry was ignited. Deciding to become a Dental Surgeon, I was accepted into the Institute of Dentistry Aberdeen in 2017 where I began my BDS training. Despite the demands of a family and working life, I spent any free time that I could muster accessing the hospital environments to seek out subjects that I could study and then expose through various mediums, to produce artwork. During this time I could experiment with styles, test my ability to record my experiences and knowledge accurately. I was lucky enough to be encouraged by my dental tutors to explore my learning and new career as a dentist in a way that was meaningful to me. I produced a substantial amount of artwork during my time as a dental student. Aiming to explain, define and explore the many facets of medicine and dental science. The collection became my visual narrative; 'Diary of a Dental Student', a way to communicate the world of dentistry to the public and our patients.
Qualifying as a Dentist in 2021 I had attained a first for having the highest clinical proficiency across the duration of the four year programme. This left me as determined and as passionate as ever to peruse my dental career within Prosthodontics and dental education. Whilst amalgamating my past and present knowledge and skills, today I produce artwork on commission, deliver drawing workshops for the public, medical and dental profession through Surgeons Hall Edinburgh. I continue to complete research and develop teaching material for dental education that aims to the improve operative skills training.
“As a dentist I connect with science as a draughtsman, through classical art and illustration. To connect with knowledge in this way drives me to produce a visual representation of that and of my experiences. It is the way I learn - it is a form of education. I am inspired by many gifted clinicians, my patients and my family. Never becoming complacent, because that’s the moment you switch off and stop absorbing. I believe that the biggest failure you can make in this profession, is not taking every opportunity to grow and develop"
2001 - 2004
Glasgow Caledonian University
BSc Medical Illustration
2017 - 2021
Institute of Dentistry Aberdeen
Bachelor of Dental Surgery
2010 - 2013
University of the Highlands and Islands
BSc Dental Therapy
2014 - 2016
University of the Highlands and Islands
Clinical Teaching Internship
International Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry
Cover Image - 'Majestic Structures'
November 2019 Edition
Dental Update Cover Artwork
Dec 2020 Edition