Prestigious award for Kirkcaldy portrait painter

Mark with his painting of the High Court judges. Pic: George McLuskie
Mark with his painting of the High Court judges. Pic: George McLuskie

Kirkcaldy portrait artist Mark Roscoe is set to paint the town red after being awarded one of the highest accolades in the art world.

Mark (41) of the town’s Abbot’s Walk has just been elected a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, of which there are only currently 53 in the world.

His nomination to the prestigious status was made following a vote by fellow artists who are all members of the Royal Society, on the strength of work he has contributed to the Society’s annual exhibition over a number of years.

“I am so, so happy to have made it, but it has taken me years of hard graft to get to this stage, and my family has had to make lots of sacrifices along the way,” he told the Press.

“It is a great honour and I am hopeful that it may start to open more doors for me and get me more prestigious commissions in the future.”

Mark, whose mum Beth runs Roscoe’s hair salon on Kirkcaldy High Street, was born in Australia, and the family moved to Fife when he was just three-years-old. He went to Kirkcaldy West and Balwearie High Schools where his love for painting blossomed, although he started out with the idea of being an illustrator.

On leaving school he secured a place at Duncan of Jordanston School of Art in Dundee where he changed his mind after becoming more interested in fine art and enjoying the competitiveness of trying to be the best.

After leaving college he entered the BP portrait awards and his self portrait was chosen for the publicity poster which gained him recognition and a few commissions.

Over the years he has painted many famous faces, brushing with Royalty in the shape of the Prince of Malaysia, and his most recent commission was to paint the judges from the High Court in Edinburgh, which helped secure his election to the Royal Society.

He appeared alongside Rolf Harris in the BBC programme ‘Star Portraits’ where he painted former Goodie and television presenter Bill Oddie, and two years ago he won the prestigious Ondaatje Award for the most distinguished portrait of the year.

However he says his life has been far from glamorous and while he was embarking on his art career he still worked for ten years for Asda.

“People think that portrait painting is a lucrative career, however they can take a while to paint, and my latest commission took almost two years of full time work while looking after my children at the same time,” explained Mark.

“My wife Clare has been my inspiration and kept me going throughout this journey, while herself working as a community midwife.

“It is brilliant to finally be elected to the society and I hope it will lead to some good things. My next challenge is to win a BP portrait award.”