David Martin trained at Glasgow School of Art from 1940-42 when he left to join the RAF, returning after the war in 1946. He resumed his studies under the tutelage of David Donaldson R.S.A. (1916-1996) until 1948.
Between 1949-59 Martin studied design with Robert Stewart, the textile designer who produced some of the most innovative and exciting post war designs for Liberty. Martin had instilled in him a fascination and delight in colour and pattern. This passion can be traced in the composition, colour and texture of works such as Near Galston today. He says of his landscapes: 'I search for the inherent abstract qualities to be found there, mainly through man's endeavours to cultivate the land, ploughed fields, marks made by carts, the various surface textures made by the various crops... These I harness for my own pictorial vocabulary. The result is what you see.'
Martin was elected a member of the Royal Institute of the Fine Arts in 1981 and a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1984. He is a highly established and respected artist and has has exhibited annually since 1948 at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Glasgow Institute and held many solo exhibitions in Glasgow and London amongst other places during the course of his long career.