No breed of cattle seems to have quite the power of the Belted Galloway when it comes to inspiring artists and crafts people of all kinds. True the Highlander may be hot on our heels but while the Beltie can most certainly look equally stylish and spectacular, we feel our breed must surely take the lead when it comes to inspiring real affection.

Val Macadam

Val graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a BA Honours Degree in Illustration and Graphic Design- in 1985! Her year had the misfortune of not having the City Art Centre booked for their degree show so had to make do with a makeshift version at Burtons on Princes Street- not exactly a well-known art gallery! To compensate for the disappointment, she took a stand at a Freelance Trade Fair. She went all the way to London and met two lovely representatives from DC Thomson’s in Dundee!

After that she worked for a number of their magazines doing short story and feature illustrations for Jackie and Blue Jeans, a cartoon strip for Catch and latterly cartoons for an Embarrassing Moments feature in Shout.

Other freelance work has come from Collins Books, Pearson Educational Publishers, the RSPB, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Design Studios and private commissions.

Her drawings are illustrative in nature with a strong visual narrative, inspired by observations, country life, memories and wordplay.

The connection between words and pictures is reflected in different ways, where a play on words or an expression can be the starting point and also where the title is the final part of the story. Val’s illustration background is also reflected in the details she likes to add, to be gradually discovered.

There’s a humorous thread running through her work, from whimsical observations of the countryside and its inhabitants to funky houses and townscapes. She enjoys distorting the subjects she draws, with the curves giving energy and fluidity, or in some cases adding to a motif.

With the detail, energy and humour in my quirky style Val endeavours to create cheerful and uplifting images that she hopes make people smile!

Emma Colbert

Born in Northern Ireland in 1985, Emma works as a full time artist. She graduated from Kent Institute of Art and Design as an illustrator in 2007 and has worked on portrait commissions, produced original fine art series for galleries throughout Ireland and illustrated several books.

Having discovered pastel at a young age, Emma knew this was the medium in which she felt at home.  An equal passion for animals has fuelled a love of painting them although favourite subjects to paint range from people, landscape, and even interior scenes.  Every painting is produced with many hours of work focusing on how light plays on the subject, vibrancy and attention to detail. 

As a member of the Pastel Society of Ireland, she exhibits regularly in groups and throughout many galleries in the UK, with collectors worldwide.  To contact Emma or see more of her work visit her website at  For work in progress, time lapse videos and print sales visit

Alistair Makinson

Alistair Makinson was born in Whalley near Clitheroe in 1961. He has now become known as one of the countries finest Landscape and Sporting artists, with he work much sought after by collectors all over the UK and abroad.

Alistair’s interest in Belties began as a 7 year old, his Uncle had a small herd on his upland pasture farm in Lancashire. He was able to look at them from his bedroom window. In those days they were scarce and unusual in his part of the world. Several years ago he came across the Croasdale Herd in Lancashire, that is when he began painting them.

His rise to fame has been somewhat unconventional, have never had an art lesson or any training whatsoever, he is purely self taught. This he believes to be no bad thing, learning the hard way by your mistakes, but developing your own style and technique. Having shone at art as a schoolboy, he took his art O’level a year early, but as he had no intention of taking art as a profession he laid his brushes down.

Alistair was drawn to agriculture, and working with agricultural products, selling direct to the farms in the Ribble Valley. It was whilst Alistair was recovering from a broken elbow that he turned to art to ease the boredom , as his left arm was in a sling his right was painting.

He managed to get a few paintings together, mainly of the Mellor and Balderstone areas and approached a local gallery, they agreed to hold a small exhibition, which sold out and gave the flourishing artist an appetite to change course of career and enter the world of professional painter.

The style of the new artist on the scene was forever developing, his early works being influenced by the Victorian water colourists, being slightly idealistic and romantic. His own style matured and that has becoming recognisable with the name, and is readily identified.

In 1997 he was introduced to Malcolm Innes, a well known London gallery owner who suggested that he should paint a series of Scottish Salmon rivers. He provided the contacts, and after a painting trip to the Highlands, an exhibition was held in the prestigious London gallery. The show was a huge success and was attended by the late H.M The Queen Mother, and H.R.H Princess Margaret.

Several years on Alistair divides his time between painting local landscape, and the sporting paintings for the fishing and shooting fraternity. He has a large following of collectors and clients include the Dukes of Westminster, Roxburghe, Sutherland and Bedford, Baron Collinet from Belgium, a Russian Oligark Vladimir Lisen, and the football manager David Moyes.

For most of his life Alistair lived in the Ribble Valley, and had a studio on the banks of the Ribble, it was an idyllic setting, looking out of one of the best salmon pools on the river. An unhealthy distraction during the fishing season, as down went the brushes and out came the rod! He, along with his wife and family relocated to the Lune valley in 2009. The studio is now in the garden, and commands stunning views over the valley to Claughton Fell and beyond towards the Yorkshire Dales. Inspiration is overflowing in the Lune Valley providing Alistair with an endless source.

Alistair believes that natural light is the most important to paint in. Modern day energy saving light bulbs distort the colours of the painting, playing havoc with some of the greens (not ideal for a landscape artist) Digital photography has also become an essential tool, easy to email images to clients and to capture fleeting moments of light, being able to delete all inferior efforts at the push of a button.

Alistair paints primarily in oils, having spent his early part of his career concentrating on watercolours, he can paint in a larger format with oils, and painted a 6 foot by 4 foot canvas for a Russian client. He mainly paints in sizes from 10 x 7 inches to 30 x 40 inches, using board for the smaller works and canvas for the larger pieces.

His work can be seen at various galleries in the UK, but is always happy to allow people to his studio for a viewing

Alistair Makinson
Newbanks Cottage
01524 812741–07775 944 844

Lesley McLaren

Borders’ based artist Lesley McLaren has intrigued many Belted Galloway breeders in recent years with her evocative paintings of our favourite breed. Happily for the Society, she sees her painting as:

“the showcase for my quiet observations – the blackbird who hops in my studio every day for his lunch, whispering silver birches reaching for a black thundery sky and bulky black and white cows meandering up a green hill”…… and rather charmingly we say!

Artist Lesley who exhibits widely throughout the UK has produced a wealth of spectacular work. Go to where her Belties – along with many other examples of her work can be viewed and purchased. Members interested buying any of the paintings illustrated or who wish to contact Lesley directly can e-mail her on : [email protected]

Ailsa Black

Since 2001, Ailsa has been based in Dumfries and Galloway where she works from her studio overlooking the Solway coast. She draws great inspiration from her surrounding environment which is enchantingly reflected in her work.

Ailsa studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen from 1986-1991. Before moving to the south west, she worked in Edinburgh for ten years where she worked in the community, running art groups and also as an outreach and activities worker with different charities. She now very much enjoys specialising in work which is inspired by the interaction of the landscape, animals, people and bird life which surround her and which express a whimsical, quirky and light-hearted narrative on life.

Ailsa is also a member of the Scottish Illustrator Group. For more details contact Ailsa Black at Ailsa Black, Clearviews, Carsethorn, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway DG2 8DS Tel. 01387 880537 / 07789 128833

Michelle Mann

Michelle Mann working as MGM Enterprise is a photographer and artist based in the north east of Scotland. With a lifetime passion for cameras, paintbrushes and animals Michelle has always worked towards the goal of pursuing this as her full time occupation and was delighted to get that opportunity in 2014 after a successful and rewarding 8 year career in the construction industry. With a focus on agriculture and wildlife throughout her work, native breeds of both wildlife and livestock has become a natural focus and inspiration for much of her work. This only grew further with a move to a farm breeding ‘Belties’ on the beautiful Aberdeenshire coast. Michelle has fallen for the breed and finds the combination of photography and art work together seamlessly allowing with which to create artwork. Michelle is currently focusing on creating portfolio work for reproduction and designs for textiles and commercial purposes but is always available for a limited number of commissions. To find out more and get in touch with Michelle take a look at her website or facebook page

Rosie Henstridge

Rosie has been painting for 9 years and is a self-taught artist working with acrylic inks.  She specialises in painting animals and birds (although now living in Polruan, Cornwall, the occasional boat does appear in her collection!). With her attention to detail she was recently described as ‘able to capture the essence of the animal’ and is in demand for commission work.

Rosie’s painting of a Belted Galloway bull was selected to feature on the cover of The Belted Galloway Cattle Society Annual Magazine 2011 and one of his calves is the subject of a new painting ‘Young Beltie’. To purchase limited edition prints or art cards or to discuss commissions please contact Rosie by email [email protected], or by calling 07876 027897.  Further examples of her work can be found at

Christine Longmire

I am a self taught artist having drawn and painted since childhood. My paintings are inspired by my farming background, love of animals and the Cumbrian landscape. I strive to capture the character and behaviour of my subjects in a natural manner within their own surroundings. I mostly use gouache and acrylic which enables me to produce paintings with great detail and colour.

My work can be seen at The Longmire Gallery at Brougham Hall, Penrith, Cumbria CA10 2DE. Or viewed on my website at or Facebook Christine Longmire Animal & Landscape Artist

Alongside commissions I produce limited edition prints and greeting cards.

If you are an artist and would like to be featured please contact us.