It's all about Mick
Mick Livingstone (1950 – 2021) was an artist who painted mainly in oils. In later years he also used watercolours, sometimes acrylics or now and then charcoal, pencil and pastels.
He was drawn to the natural beauty of the local landscapes around the Kingdom of Fife and to strong images in wild life. A fascination with the River Tay and the Tay Rail Bridge crept into much of his work. Mick was known for his paintings of Swans in which he mixed realism with abstract pattern. However it was trees that became his passion, in particular the play of light and shadow through the woods and trees of Tentsmuir Forest and around Newport on Tay was irresistible to him and much of his work reflects this. A series of Mick’s paintings capture the changing light over time and seasons in Tentsmuir’s wonderful nature reserve. He also painted scenes from the various nature trails of Newport, including old railway tracks and the Tayfield estate, known locally as Berry’s Den.
Mick also painted figurative work. He used strong colours resulting in striking imagery beneath which lurks a hidden narrative.
In addition he liked to play with wood and constructed garden furniture and follies in his garden. Mick was a bit of a ‘shed man’ and these are scattered like wee islands throughout his garden in Newport, along with a log installation bedecked with climbing plants, the snake pit and fairy house, the latter two being favoured by visiting children.
Mick Livingstone graduated from Sheffield College of Art in 1973 with a degree in fine art (painting). In 1975 he did a postgraduate course in Art Therapy. In 1977 he travelled around Europe going as far as Istanbul and returned to live in Leeds. After travelling, his interests began to change and he started restoring furniture and generally working with wood, occasionally painting but turning his hand to all kinds of jobs to pay the mortgage when in 1981 his son was born. He then worked for social services, with people with learning difficulties and with young 16 – 18 year olds on various projects, still using his arts background.
In 1984 he began work with Artlink West Yorkshire and he worked with Artlink for the next 13 years, developing arts projects with people with learning difficulties and people with mental health problems. In 2001 he moved back to Newport on Tay, Fife, to look after his two elderly parents until they both passed away. He had continued to paint during those previous years but mainly for himself, family and close friends never showing his work but using it as a form of personal therapy. By 2004 his health began to fail and he had four major operations but as he was unable to work he had more time to paint. In 2009 he felt able to call himself an artist and began to show his work.