Martin Herbert (1957-2014) was an aspiring artist and my husband. This is a collection of some of his work. Martin chose to migrate from a career in industry and launch on a new path in mid-life. He worked in both traditional and digital media. His IT industry background fuelled techniques including 3D modelling, lighting simulation and computer music. At the same time his exploration of ‘old master’ oil painting and drawing techniques helped complete a multi-faceted practice. His last works explored the possibilities afforded by combining digital modelling with the drawing techniques of the Renaissance, oil paintings and electronic media including video and programming.

Martin was also a talented fiddle player and active on the folk music scene for almost 40 years. 


A project that started out as illustrations for The Crock of Gold by James Stephens (see artist's talk video below). 

Project “Synthesis”:

The project resulted from experimentation into ways in which modern digital media could create source material for ‘real’ drawings in traditional media - taking advantage of new technology, but putting back into the process the manual skills which are often seen as missing from much contemporary art. The project had two threads:

Using the ‘perpetual archiving’ properties of the world-wide-web. A multitude of out-of-copyright texts, including many classics of literature, are now freely available to download from internet archive sites like the ‘Gutenberg Project’. This is a rich source of inspiration for diverse new projects. The text selected was the Irish fantasy classic “The Crock of Gold” by James Stephens, and some of the works included in the exhibition are inspired by the book. This was to become an e-book, thus completing the cycle.

Secondly, a lifelong fascination with the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci inspired the use of 3D computer modelling software to create new ‘machines’. Influenced by the work of 1930s scientific illustrator Ernst Haeckel, similar techniques were used in the invention of biological forms resembling microscopic sea-creatures. These new contructs, both mechanical and organic, were incorporated into drawings representing the investigations of Renaissance man into a speculative world which never was.

All the drawings, although rooted in modern digital technology, were made using the most traditional of media - sepia ink and red chalk pencil on 100% recycled cotton rag handmade paper tinted with hand-ground egg-tempera. (Based on Martin Herbert's own words).


A LIFE UNREMARKED - Self-portrait project 

This is an uncompleted project now consisting only of a portrait in oils and egg-tempera and a video animation. I discovered the unfinished video work after his death and decided to do a posthumous collaboration by adding an appropriate ending and a soundtrack.

Martin's project was exploring the premise that the skills of the generalist or polymath are not valued in our society - that individuals are only well-regarded if they become 'experts' in one narrow field. Because of Martin's premature death and the nature of the music I came up with much without any conscious thoughts of what I wanted to achieve, the impact no doubt diverges from Martin's initial intentions. The final product is rather uncanny and hints at the idea that we sometimes may have premonitions about our own death. The work takes on a whole new meaning as describing the transient nature of a prematurely ended life and its impact on those left behind.


3D organic digital creations

Martin Herbert created many images which appear to represent exotic flora or miscroscopic sea creatures, since fractal geometry often echoes nature in these areas, and used colour rendering techniques reminiscent of hand tinted lithographic botanical illustrations from the 19th Century. The Encyclopedia Xenobotanica and the Encyclopedia Xenopelagica document life-forms which do not exist here and now, but may exist somewhere and somewhen. 

Video installation with algorithmic music soundtrack by the artist: 8' 21"


Martin's blog Arted States

Interview with Martin


Solo exhibitions

2014: "Synthesis", Mid-Wales Arts Centre, Caersws.
2013: “Synthesis” : Works on paper, with video installation, MOMA Wales, Machynlleth.
2012: New works on paper by Martin Herbert, The Radnorshire Museum, Llandrindod Wells.
2012: Drawings, Julian Jardine Gallery, Perth, Scotland.
2011: Drawings, Comptons Yard, Llanidloes, Wales.
2011: Prints, PH Salon & Gallery, Newtown.
2007: Prints, Comptons Yard, Llanidloes, Wales.
2003: “Crystal Icons”, Comptons Yard, Llanidloes, Wales.

Group exhibitions

2014: Gas Gallery, Aberystwyth
2011: MOMA Wales, Machynlleth
Radnorshire Museum, Llandrindod Wells
2010: Stadshusets galleri, Hangö, Finland
The Mall Galleries, London, England
The Williamsburg Institute, Brooklyn, New York, USA
HR Giger Museum & Gallery, St. Germaine Castle, Gruyère, Switzerland
Vezzano Gallery, Trentino, Italy
Lofhouse Gallerie, Rosshaupten, Germany
Lauderdale House, Hampstead, London, England


Currently studying part-time for MA in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University
Durham University (Collingwood), B.Sc. Physics
Peterlee Grammar Technical School, Co. Durham


Aug 2014: Online course - "Creative Coding" (Monash University)
Jan-Mar 2014: Online course - “Critical Listening for Studio Production” (Queen's University Belfast)
Oct-Dec 2013: Online course - “App writing for Android” (Dept. of Systems Engineering – Reading University)
Summer 2003: Studied Mische Technique (oils & egg-tempera mixed media) painting with Professor Ernst Fuchs at his studios in Menton, France, and Payerbach, Austria.


May 2012: Project grant (professional development) - Arts Council of Wales.
July 2011: Shortlisted - BA Great Britons commission.


Jan 2014: Participated in Arts Council of Wales Stakeholder focus group.
Sept 2013: Attended conference - “Noises of Art” - Aberystwyth Art Centre.
May – Dec 2013: Researching new painting and video techniques arising from project Synthesis.
Jan-May 2013: Started a fine-art subscription based print business – ''.
Jan 2012: Consulted for “Art in Participatory Settings” focus group (Paul Hamlyn Foundation)
May 2010: Co-juried and curated the annual Hangö (Finland) Fine-Arts Society exhibition
Oct 2007 – Jan 2010: Two year painting sabbatical in Andalucia.
Nov 2007: Public art commission - designs for a 'town trail' for young people in Llanidloes, Mid-Wales.
2004 – 2007: Proprietor of a small art gallery in Llanidloes, Mid-Wales, selling own work.
2005 – 2007: Full-time artist and fine-art publisher. Also signed to fine-art publisher Able Framing Ltd.
1999-2000: Round-the-world travel.

Voluntary/Community Arts

2005: Collaborated with Powys artist Suzy Pegrum in organising and promoting “Powys OpenArt”, a juried open art exhibition.
2004 – 2007: Created 'Llani Arts Co-op', a secondary marketing co-operative of local arts and crafts practitioners.
2002 – 2004: Director - Compton's Yard Charitable Trust Ltd. The trust owns and operates a building housing a variety of artists' studio spaces, environmental groups etc. and ran a comprehensive program of arts workshops including outreach work in schools and retirement homes.

Three of the twelve dragon drawings for  the commissioned "Dragon Trail "in Llanidloes   (2007)