From conjuring sci-fi characters out of snow and lugging a 5ft Oor Wullie sculpture to the top of Ben Nevis, Dundee artist Douglas Roulston doesn’t do things by halves.
Now Broughty Ferry-based Douglas, 37, is revealing the “blood, sweat and tears” behind his stunning landscape paintings with a new short film and exhibition.
The father-of-two made headlines in February when he created huge snow sculptures of Star Wars characters The Mandalorian and “Baby Yoda” in his front garden.
Thanks to their popularity, he managed to raise almost £3,000 for The Archie Foundation, the official charity of Tayside Children’s Hospital.
To coincide with the film’s launch, he is exhibiting more than 40 new paintings at Eduardo Alessandro Studios in Broughty Ferry. It’s the largest show he’s ever done.
The 15-minute film can be seen in the art gallery. It shows how Douglas combines his love of hillwalking and mountain biking with his passion for art. For him, the process of exploring the great outdoors has a huge influence on his paintings.
“With so many people talking about the snow sculpture, it’s lovely show them what I actually do,” says Douglas, who is also an art teacher at Forfar Academy. “It’s nice the exhibition’s in Broughty Ferry – it had to be Broughty Ferry.
“The film is the story of a journey from the mountain to the beach. I have to climb this crazy mountain called Suilven with a bike on my back, then I end up at the beach. Scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life!
“I love going away on my mountain bike, I feel relaxed being by myself, in the landscape, and you’re with your thoughts. Then I take that back to the studio. So, when I paint, I’m back in the landscape.
“There aren’t many movies looking into the extreme side of art – like mountain biking. There’s nothing showing the blood, sweat and tears that goes into getting inspiration.”
Scaling Ben Nevis
The film came about after Douglas met local businessman Norman Sutherland while working on Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail in 2019.
Norman bid for Douglas’s “Oor Nevis” statue on behalf of Higher Ground Health Care Planning Ltd.
Covered with one of his trademark landscapes, Douglas even carried it to the summit of the iconic mountain with the help of 12 volunteers to raise cash for charity.
“Norman Sutherland has become a lifelong friend,” explains Douglas. “He came to me and said ‘let’s make this happen’. So he is the executive producer.
“Norman has a friend who works at Perfect View Productions. We went to Sutherland to film the movie. It features music by Scots band Beluga Lagoon.
“What’s made this incredible is that Kirk Watson from Perfect View Productions was one of a team of drone pilots who recently won a BAFTA for another movie.”
Douglas is looking forward to being able to show local fans what he has been working on. His show, The Mountain and The Beach, runs until July 31.
He adds: “The art has gone absolutely crazy through lockdown. I’m having to put a sixth-month waiting list on commissions.
“I have a huge selection of prints now and during lockdown everyone decided to decorate. It went from me selling the odd one or two prints a month to forty or fifty.
“The framer and publisher couldn’t cope with it. It’s taken a long time, but it’s going well.”