Ian Mastin was born in Leicestershire, England in 1949, though he grew up in Queensland after his family emigrated to Australia.  

During his school days Ian had no involvement with art, and it was only in the mid 1980s when he began to sketch for recreation, that he unearthed a natural gift and eye for detail. This led him to be invited to first exhibit in a Brisbane gallery where he quickly experienced success.   

In 1991 he returned with his Scottish-born wife and their children to Britain, settling in East Lothian. It was here that, having been given a set of watercolour paints by his wife, 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 {add link to this section?} 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. Plainly influenced by Dutch and Flemish Masters of the 17th Century, Ian’s chosen medium is acrylic and his work has a timeless quality that is not bound by tradition or convention. He remains resolutely outwith popular trends and states, “If crafted well, the simplest forms of subject matter have the potential to arrest and delight." An old, much loved and worn book or bowl can bring as much joy for Ian to paint as a most complex composition.

 "I am fascinated by the relationship between inanimate objects and our origins. In still life painting I am expressing both a passion and an obsession. For me, a simple relic of some antiquity immediately stirs within a hunger to connect with its provenance. I wonder at the lives of those who created and used these humble utilitarian items, no doubt lives of hardship, struggle, love, frustration, anguish and joy, of precious relationships and powerful emotions. In attempting to render these wonderful, unpretentious artefacts of the past, I feel I am somehow connecting with and paying homage to the fortitude of those countless forgotten souls upon whose endeavours we stand and thrive today."

In 2001, Ian and his wife returned to Queensland where he has continued to paint. His work has built an enthusiastic following across the UK and Australia and has regularly featured in Art Fairs world wide including London, New York, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Singapore. His paintings can be found in many private collections all around the world.

Most remarkably, Ian has never undergone any training and is an entirely self-taught artist. His detailed, minutely observed paintings are the result of long hours honing skills and practising technique, applying discipline and dedication.

“I used to work regular 80+ hour weeks but now I’m down to a slightly more sane 40+ hours, though often more if I’m preparing for an exhibition. As a daily routine, I find myself in the studio before 4am, with the first of many coffees in hand. At that time in the morning there are few distractions and I particularly enjoy the period around first light — the cool, a deep calm and with only the awakening of nature outside. I love the early morning bird sounds, especially kookaburras and lorikeets.

 Music is an essential part of my work day and my collection is very eclectic, containing tens of thousands of pieces. I will often drop in a hint of a favourite piece of music or literature into a title or component of one of my paintings.   

My most welcome late afternoon G&T and cigar interlude generally concludes my working day.  

Living in our wonderful little backwater called Woodgate I find is the perfect environment for such a charmed existence. If I feel stressed over anything, I only have to go outside and commune with our little coterie of pet chooks (hens) which I find are a wonderfully amusing and entertaining distraction therapy.”

When not painting, Ian has many and varied interest ranging from birds, stamps, history, landscaping, railways and politics - his letters to the editor are regularly published in The Australian.