AN artist who was head of art at a Clydebank high school for over two decades admits his upcoming wood engraving exhibition will be his last ever display.

James Greer, 88, taught at St Andrew’s High for 22 years and was an active campaigner to have young art students graded on their portfolio rather than exams before taking early retirement in 1992.

Now, after a prolific career spanning seven decades where teaching, printmaking and the intricate art of wood engraving were his three passions, James admits his talented Dad was the inspiration for his lifelong loves.

He said: “I always wanted to go to art school, and I am privileged to have been able to have been able to pursue my passion.

“Although I have worked across different mediums, it was my father who introduced me to wood.

“He was an artist too - a cartoonist for the now defunct Glasgow newspaper, The Bulletin - and couldn’t stand the smell of paint!  He handed me some wood and small chisels instead and it was love at first cut.

“I hope people will be able to see just how much my art meant, and continues to mean, to me, and the ways in which it can enrich your life. I like to think I’ve made my mark!”

This technique of wood engraving was first used in Britain at the end of the 18th century and involves carving an image on wood and applying paint to the face of the block; the wood is then pressed onto paper to create a print.

Over the years, James has captured changes to the landscape as part of his wood engravings, such as prints of lone tenements and disused railway carriages.

These were a nod to the demise of facets of life at the time, such as the demise of heavy industry and the end of an old way of life.

These engravings sit alongside vibrant vignettes of girls meeting in the street ‘all dolled up’ for a Saturday night and kids playing in the local swing park.

The final exhibition will open on Saturday, August 26 at the Lillie Gallery in Milngavie and run until October 28.