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Finer details

Words by Hannah Tapping

Transitioning from the world of technical graphics to becoming a prolific painter, Mark Dale’s story is one of evolution, innovation and a deep passion for art.

Mark Dale is a multifaceted artist who embarked on a creative journey that has spanned decades. His artistic odyssey began at Cornwall College of Art, where he delved into the world of illustration and graphics. During this time in the early 1980s, technology was undergoing a seismic shift, and Mark found himself at the forefront of this digital revolution. He joined the college’s pioneering degree course in scientific technical graphics, a realm where technology was not merely a tool but the medium itself.

Rolls-Royce recognised the potential of this burgeoning field, helping to set up the course and offering to employ a student every other year for four years. Mark was to be their first, and he moved from Porthleven to Derby to begin a career in the cutting-edge world of technology-driven design. Mark’s work at Rolls-Royce spanned various sectors, from aeroplanes to boats, and even nuclear power, where he pioneered the use of computers for creating brochures, exhibitions and other promotional materials that were exhibited around the world.

'Winter Sunset Porthleven' and 'St Ives Harbour Beach'

Having said he would stay for three years, Mark was with Rolls-Royce for 37, before he took early retirement. This marked a new chapter in his life, one without a concrete plan but brimming with potential. His artistic journey began with a picture painted for his father’s birthday, which was met with much acclaim. A dear school friend suggested they exhibit their work together, but his untimely death left Mark with an empty exhibition space. In tribute to Keith, Mark painted fervently, successfully holding his first ever exhibition at the Old Lifeboat House in Porthleven. Mark’s artistic process combines digital technology with traditional techniques. He often starts with photographs, manipulating them digitally to create a foundation for his paintings. He transfers these images onto paper and begins the process of painting, focusing on the intricate detail so much so that they can often have a photographic quality.

'Botallack' and 'Cadgwith Boats'

Drawing inspiration from various sources, including personal experiences and his beloved Cornwall, his landscapes and seascapes capture the essence of the Duchy’s beauty. His works reflect a fusion of traditional and digital techniques, resulting in unique and captivating pieces that inspire and resonate.


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