Born in 1952, Charles Simpson graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1975 and then worked as a graphic designer in Edinburgh. In 1990 he left full-time employment and moved to the Scottish Borders to work as a freelance designer while developing his painting. He had his first solo exhibition in 1991 and became a full-time artist in 1999. Since then he has had regular one man shows mainly in Edinburgh and London.
Every year trips are taken to the north-west coast and islands of Scotland with particularly favourite locations being Iona & Mull, Durness, Wester Ross, the far north west and Arisaig. The combination of stunning beaches, changing seas, distant islands and mountains, and large dramatic skies provides unique subject matter. His paintings have increasingly become more concerned with depicting the ever changing Scottish light and its effects on sky, sea and land, while remaining true to the topographical landscape. The rough hill farm countryside immediately around his small cottage in the Borders also provides material, particularly when snow covers the surrounding fields and hills.
Like many other GSA students of that era he was greatly influenced, and still is, by the work of the then head of painting David Donaldson. He has also maintained a great interest in a diverse range of painters such as Barbara Rae, Duncan Shanks and Joan Eardley, as well as Lucien Freud, Euan Uglow, Ken Howard, Andrew Gifford, Kurt Jackson and even Richard Diebenkorn. The great Andrew Wyeth has been a constant source of inspiration.
He has several works in the collection of Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as those of M&G, Walter Scott, Baillie Gifford and Arisaig Partners.