How philanthropy was born from a passion for paintingPublished on 04 Nov 2020
David Benson’s love of art allowed gave him a platform for making a positive difference through giving
David Benson’s approach to philanthropy is to give little and often. “I give smaller amounts to a larger number of charities where the money will make a tangible impact”, he says. “In the past I have not only given back to the arts but also to hospices, nursing and care facilities. I don’t have any fixed views or prejudices. My only criteria is that donations go to registered charities”.
It all started when David started to sell his paintings for money, the culmination of a long-standing passion. A keen draftsman from an early age, his teachers encouraged him to pursue art and go on to study at The Byam Shaw School of Art, now part of Central Saint Martin’s College of Arts and Design.
Despite his talent, David decided to pursue a career in finance at the helm of the family business. In 2001, he joined Stonehage Fleming as a Senior Adviser. Over the years, however, he always made time to paint. As the artworks accumulated, he was spurred to exhibit. “Happily,” says David, “most of them sold” and he decided that he would use his talent for good, donating all the proceeds.
When it comes to subject matter, David is inspired by nature and the landscapes that surround him. “We live in the most beautiful countryside in Scotland” he says. “The clarity of the air is extremely good. There is no light pollution and it’s lovely for painting”.
Watercolour has always been his medium of choice, having been inspired by the great British masters of the 18th and 19th centuries. “The immediacy, translucency and spontaneity of watercolour particularly appeals to me. There is nothing laboured. Even the most detailed pictures are very quick in comparison to other types of painting”.
“For me, painting is therapy. The joy of turning off from everything and concentrating on something very beautiful. It’s entrancing”, he says. “I am delighted that, in turn, I have been able to use my hobby as a platform to make a positive difference”.
David Benson, Hon. RWS, FRSA, has been exhibiting his watercolours since 1953. David’s first virtual exhibition shows works from the last ten years, drawing inspiration from the light and landscapes of the UK, Italy and beyond. All paintings are for sale via https://www.davidbensonpaintings.co.uk with all net proceeds will go to registered charities.