It’s difficult to pigeon hole Stuart Herd’s artwork. According to him he is well known for his landscapes, with sweeping, brooding skies, and realistic seascapes, however, when you look at his portfolio of work, there is quite a range of subjects that he has turned his brush to over the years.

I meet Stuart at his studio in Tarbert, in Argyll. First off, Sketch, the West Highland terrier, makes an effort to get out his cosy bed to say hello. Not enthusiastically by any means, but he is in front of a heater, I doubt I would move either.

Stuart kicks off by talking me through his background, mostly self taught as an artist, he did attend art college for a brief time, but it wasn’t what he was looking for, and he wanted to start earning money. He toured Europe, had a stint as a cruise ship photographer, that was fun, he says. He spent some time in Edinburgh focusing on pen and ink drawings of the city, and interestingly he spent a few years in Jamaica as an art auctioneer. He didn’t last long in the job, but did stay on for a couple of years painting for a living. He’s been around.

Looking back at his work, you could probably chart his travels by his subject matter. Some ideas he left behind, and some were successful and he still incorporates them into his work today.

The studio is a fairly small, unassuming, space, filled with all the paraphanalia of an artist at work, as well as all his framing equipment, another string to his bow, but it also houses a very successful artist who is selling his work all over the UK. Just along the road is his gallery, a more organised shop front for his originals and prints. He also has a gallery in Ullapool, which is a larger version of the shop in Tarbert.

He is in Tarbert for the long term. He came back to Scotland in 2002, his gran and grandpa were still in Lochgilphead and he put in the work to build up his name as an artist. Along the way he met and married a local girl, and has a 13-year-old son, it seems he has planted his itchy feet firmly in Argyll.

Looking around the work that is scattered around the studio, there are huge canvases featuring both landscapes and seascapes. Living on the west coast of Scotland, there is no need to ask where he gets his inspiration from. He is surrounded by beautiful, wild, landscapes, and the harbour scene outside his window changes by the hour. Alongside the landscapes are incredibly details pen and ink drawings of football and rugby stadiums from inside, mid game. He adds to the collection annually, topping up the amount of stadiums he has covered, they has always been a good seller and continue to be. Each print is a limited edition and comes mounted in the club’s team colours.

He has drawn stadiums sited all over the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain and Holland with more drawings to be done from all over Europe, possibly world-wide, when he gets around to it.

Also taking up floorspace is quite a selection of paintings of Highland cows, there is rarely an artist that I’ve featured these days that haven’t try their hand at Highland cows. Their image seems to be a sure seller, and Stuart has his own style of featuring the cow’s head up close with a dark, forboding sky behind, making the mop top head pop from the background, the hair being blown by the wind.

He talks about where his work is shown, there is more than 20 links on his website to where his work is shown, and he is quietly confident that most of the work he produces will sell. “Not a lot comes back these days,” he says. He is quite happy to knock on the door of galleries and ask them to stock his work. He is heading to Corfu on holiday soon, and he has plans of seeking out a few galleries while he is there.

He is working flat out at the moment on a range of painting for an exhibition of his work in early November in Edinburgh. His average day starts with dropping his son at school, coming to the studio, doing a steady mornings work, then the usual lunchtime slump, and then works late into the night when he is on a roll. “It’s difficult to stop when you are focused and in the mood to work,” he says. He doesn’t work on one painting right through, he shows me the various stages of paintings around the studio. What starts as a black felt pen sketch is built up over several sittings, he likes to chop and change as he works through the day. Cast a fresh eye on each painting as they progress.

To add to his list of jobs above, he was also a professional photographer for many years, a skill that still comes in very handy today. The composition has to be right, and that is something that he learned as a photographer. He still takes lots of photographs, which he uses as a basis for much of his work. “I don’t go out specifically to take photographs, I just snap as I go along.”

Things were going well for Stuart, but in 2011 he had a major accident, he was building a wardrobe from a certain Swedish furniture supplier when the screwdriver he was using slipped, it punctured his eye and to cut a long story short, after numerous operations, he is now blind in one eye. After a year of various operations the decision was taken to remove the eye (he has a fake eye). However, he was straight back in the studio, producing the same, if not more (he is adamant he is more ’focused’ - pun intended) detailed work he was prior ’the accident’.

During his many hospital stays, he realised he needed a plan B (he wasn’t sure how many more operations he’d have in the future) as he was losing ’painting time’, that was when he set his mind to opening the Gallery in Tarbert - The Harbour Gallery opened in March 2012 - and has quickly developed a reputation for selling a wide range of local original art as well as original Scottish shipping timetables and West Coast memorabilia from the 1920s onwards, all professionally mounted or framed.

I ask about his customers, does he have a ‘type’? “No, I don’t think so, I genuinely have no idea who is going to buy my work. I just know it sells.” He shows me some of the stunningly accurate paintings of boats and ferries that he has produced. I particularly like the different shapes of canvas that he works on. Not just your usual square or rectangle, he has many images that are a very tall rectangle, particularly suited to homes with high ceilings.

“I’m very lucky,” Stuart says, “if I was only ever allowed to paint what I can see within a square mile of where I stay, I would still have inspiration for the rest of my life, there are so many variables here.”

Stuart has a comprehensive website giving a wide range of his work,, you can email him on, studio contact: 01880 820068.

Stuart is happy to accept commissions.

Prices start from £200 upwards

Prints from £25 upwards.