Dougie was born in 1949 in a tenement in Clark Street, Renfrew. He left school at 15 to start a 5-year apprenticeship as a gardener at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens and then took up nursing at the Berwick-upon-Tweed Infirmary.
Later he moved to Hexham and became a gardening instructor for Mencap, the UK charity for people with a learning disability after which he returned to nursing as a senior care officer. At this time he found his interest in playing music was taking off and an opportunity to become a professional musician came along. He moved to Egypt and the Gulf, where he found his talent for sand sculpting.
When Dougie arrived back in this country he appeared on the day time television programme ‘Pebble Mill at One’ with Andy Craig, where he created a sand sculpture in the studio; this was the start of his being affectionately known as ‘Mr Sandman’.
He returned to Northumberland and became involved with the Rainbow Trust, a Children’s Charity which enables families who have a child with a life-threatening illness to make the most of time together. As well as caring for terminally ill children he sand sculpted at festivals, raising money for the Trust.
He travelled to America in 2000, where his sculptures were featured on TV, before returning to Scotland where, while recovering from illness, he began painting as his therapy. He now paints in many different styles and is still looking to find his favourite subject matter.
Dougie still plays music in and around Aberfledy with his wife Hilary. They both paint together regularly in their studio/gallery ‘Pendle Art’ in Aberfeldy.