Allan has drawn or painted more or less all of his life, with a childhood dominated by artistic activity, most of it through his own motivation. Several things led to this. His father was a headmaster who actively encouraged the arts as a form of education, which was unusual at the time. Also, his famiy had no television and few other outlets for creative leanings, so early on he became acquainted with the need to generate his own momentum.
Being an artist is a fairly solitary life so the ability to be self motivated as a child has come in useful ever since for Allan. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art, getting an honours degree in Drawing and Painting. Allan learnt little about art but a lot about himself. He kept painting, indifferently at times, but his work changed when he came across the paintings of the Canadian artist Tom Thomson, one of the ‘Group of Seven’. Since then he has painted in many remote parts of Northern Scotland, always carrying boards and canvases with him, not usually sketching but doing full scale paintings.
Once back in the studio, detached from the moment, they are reworked, manipulated, altered. Sometimes even left alone. Anything to make them work. He exhibits in a small selection of galleries. Allan's principal outlet for expression is landscape, but image making is what appeals to him, so portraits and other stimuli often appear in his work.