Scottish artist paints golf courses


Scottish artist paints golf courses
Sean Dudley

Scottish artist Stephen Shankland has launched a collection of paintings that showcase some of his country’s renowned golf courses.

The paintings focus on three of Scotland’s best-known courses, the Old Course at St Andrews, Royal Aberdeen, the sixth oldest club in the world and home to the 2011 Walker Cup, and Turnberry, which hosted this year’s Open.

Born in Irvine, Shankland won the 2004 BP Portrait Award, which led to an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, and is a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

It was after painting a commission of the 2006 US Amateur champion, Richie Ramsey, for Royal Aberdeen that Shankland’s interest in golf course landscapes was ignited. He realised that golf courses have infinite potential for abstraction using figures and landscapes together.

“I paint my golfers with great attention to detail in order to give the viewer a real sense of the game in action and their emotional experience that in turn plays off against the quite expressive or impressionistic style I use,” said the artist.

“Painting for me is not always about faithfully copying what is in front of you. In fact the real magic in a painting is found when the artist makes a variety of individual judgements and decisions, whether that choice be in texture, brush marks, colour harmonies or composition. This way I am able to transcend the basic game of golf into a work of fine art that appeals to golfers and non-golfers alike as it is both realist and expressionist simultaneously,” he explained.

“Stephen has captured something quite unique in his study of golf courses; he has managed to accurately portray golfers in action in the correct stances as well as to suggest different weather conditions, the subtlety of the light and the ruggedness and drama of golf course terrain,” said Ronnie MacAskill, director of golf at Royal Aberdeen and owner of the Auld Kirk gallery in the city. 

Shankland is currently looking to extend his golf portfolio by painting Carnoustie, Royal Troon and Muirfield and hopes to travel to the US to capture some of America’s most revered courses. 

To see more of Stephen Shankland’s golf art, visit the Auld Kirk gallery.