Alan Bradshaw was born on October 7th, 1936 in Belfast. During his formative years he painted prodigiously in both oil and watercolour media. In his early twenties, a discussion with Maurice Wilks RUA (a family friend) persuaded him to turn his artistic ability towards architecture--"get professional letters after your name, young man--the life of a painter is far from clever!" Given this advice, Bradshaw qualified as an architect from the Architectural Association, London.
Throughout his interesting and busy professional career, although he was strongly committed to improving the environment and circumstances in which people live and work, he never lost sight of his first love--painting. In 1992 and for the first time, he permitted his wife, Annette, to exhibit some of his work in the McGilloway Gallery, Derry--with immediate and dramatic results. During the next two years and via six major group exhibitions he established himself by being the most successful painter despite serious competition from seasoned and nationally recognized artists. The steady increase in demand for his work resulted in the necessity for him to take early retirement from his position as Regional Director with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. In June, 1995 he created a home-based studio in Omagh, Co. Tyrone from which he still works.
Bradshaw's motivation to paint stems mainly from his great love of the natural world and the unique and ever changing nature of the Irish countryside throughout each day and from season to season. While his primary concern is to portray the moods of Ireland in a realistic and unpretentious manner--his interest in sunlight, both direct and indirect and the way in which it variously affects everything, can also be found in his still life and interior paintings. He views his efforts as a painter as a direct link with his maternal grandmother--a Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow lady who was, by reputation, an artist of very considerable talent.
In March 1996, Bradshaw was lead painter in a "No Boundaries" exhibition staged in City Hall, Boston, USA at the request of the then mayor--Mr. Thomas Menino. The purpose of the event was to promote the attractions and great beauty of the North West Region of Ireland as portrayed through the eyes of local cross border/cross community artists. This was the fourth in a series of "No Boundaries" exhibitions that he and Annette were instrumental in organizing in association with a Donegal gallery and the American Embassy in Dublin.
Bradshaw currently paints in oil, watercolour and acrylic media and has held tutorials for mature students. During the last four years, gallery demands for his work have resulted in him staging six solo exhibitions in various parts of Ireland. He has also exhibited with other Irish painters on three additional occasions in USA.
Bradshaw paintings can be found in private collections throughout Ireland, Europe, USA, Canada and further afield. He is increasingly asked to undertake commission work not only on a private basis but also for presentation purposes and municipal collections.