Howson to hike into Crail

Artist Peter Howson

Artist Peter Howson

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A renowned Scottish painter whose list of celebrity clients include Madonna, Bill Gates and David Bowie has his sights firmly set on the East Neuk.

Peter Howson (55) will be visiting Crail on his 300 mile trek from Aberdeen to Ayr in April to raise funds for charity Scottish Autism.

It’s a cause close to the heart of the famed artist, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and has a daughter with the condition.

As well as taking part in activities to raise awareness of autism - which affects one in every 100 people - Howson plans to do a series of daily sketches throughout his trek.

Howson starts out from Aberdeen on April 2 and will eventually chart a path through the East Neuk from Crail, ending in Methil.

He said: “I am passionate about “Putting Autism on the Map” and helping the charity Scottish Autism with the great work they are doing to enhance the lives of people who live with this condition.

“I’m looking forward to being out on the road, meeting people and visiting communities across Scotland, including the East Neuk of Fife, to help promote understanding and awareness of the challenges faced by those who live with autism.”

Peter Howson, who graduated from Glasgow School of Art, was the UK Government’s official artist during the Bosnian Civil War in 1993.

His distinctive figurative style commonly depicted dignified yet down-at-heel characters in his early career.

In the last decade his subject matter has become increasingly religious.

Recently he was commissioned to paint the official Christmas card for Scottish First Minister.

His portrait of Artaban, the fourth wise man, is due to be auctioned off for charity early this year.

Howson has endured many years of illness and poor health, brought on by an excessive lifestyle and stress which was partly linked to his Asperger’s Syndrome.

However, last year, with support from his partner and a new team of advisers, he began to adopt a healthy living regime and has been using exercise as a route to both physical and mental well-being.

The trek challenge has already attracted £50,000 of sponsorship from property investment firm Raven Russia, whose deputy chairman Anton Bilton collects Howson’s work.

Rachel Webb, Fife’s regional manager for Scottish Autism said: “We are really grateful to Peter for the amazing support he is offering to people with autism and their families across Scotland, including those here in the East Neuk area.

“He has a first hand understanding of what it is like to live with the condition and we’re delighted that he will be coming to our area to help further support the important work we are doing to help families whose lives are also affected by autism.”

For more information on Howson’s 300 mile cross-Scotland challenge visit the charity website: www.scottishautism.org