North-Sea Diver Swaps Oil for Oil Paintings – But Still Showcases His Life Offshore


Press & Journal Article by Neil Drysdale.

Pete Davies is somebody who has switched from oil to oils without being left on the canvas. As a former North Sea diver, this is a fellow who grew accustomed to making a deep impact in the energy industry.
However, following an unconventional career change, Pete is showcasing a record of his life offshore by exhibiting his paintings at next month’s Aberdeen Art Fair.
This event is now in its sixth year and is being staged for the first time at the city’s iconic Beach Ballroom.
His works offer a unique perspective on the often challenging conditions in which he and his colleagues used to operate. But they also depict the wild beauty of the coastal landscapes which he inhabited.
Pete originally studied art at Eastbourne College of Art in the 1970s, but hung up his brushes and palette to begin life as a diver.
Yet, last year, encouraged by his wife, Helen, he started painting again, with almost instantaneous success when his work was shortlisted for The Royal Society of Oil Painters, The Columbia Threadneedle Prize and The New English Art Club.
In advance of the AAF, which will be his first major exhibition, Pete Davies explained the reason for his initial decision to become an artisan and not an artist after his graduation.
He said: “When I started out all those years ago, I had a young family and I needed a steady well-paid job.
“Diving fitted the bill. I was young and keen and life offshore was very exciting. Like everyone else at the time, I assumed that I only needed to work for about five years, then I could retire rich!”
Predictably, it wasn’t as straightforward as that. But finally, a little matter of 33 years later and still in the North Sea sector, he adjudged the time was right to pick up the paint brush again and record the lives of his offshore confreres.
He added: “I want to ensure the story and personalities of the characters who work offshore aren’t forgotten and that their memory survives all of us. I’m very excited to be appearing at the Aberdeen Art Fair. No other place is more appropriate for showing my offshore paintings. You could say I’ve moved from oil to oils!”

The AAF has quickly established itself as a perfect event for both galleries and artists, with prices of original contemporary work ranging from £50 to £10,000.
Visitors to the festival can anticipate enjoying works by a variety of household names, celebrities, local, national and international talent, emerging artists and an abundance of award winners.
The Aberdeen Art Fair’s official charity partner is The ARCHIE Foundation with a silent auction and raffle being staged during the event and all proceeds going to the charity.
In which light, Pete will be offering a rare look into life under the water and raising funds in the process. You can follow Pete Davies’ progress by visiting