Peter McLaren was born in Edinburgh in 1964 and studied at the Edinburgh College of Art (1982-1987) after living in Kirkcaldy, Fife, for most of his childhood. During his time in Edinburgh, he was awarded the John Kinross Scholarship from the RSA and the Richard Ford Award from the Royal Academy in London. This allowed him to study abroad, both in Florence and Madrid. Inspired by the Scottish Colourists and post-war Expressionist paintings, Peter often cycled to visit collections in London, Paris and Amsterdam as a student and developed his distinctive Expressionist style.
Following his graduation in 1987, Peter won an Andrew Grant Scholarship which he described as his first introduction to American Art. This further influenced and nurtured his style, which tends more towards the abstract. In 1989, he won Inaugural British Airways: Most Promising Artist Award, which further allowed him to travel but also to exhibit worldwide.
'McLaren had always been drawn to arresting and dramatic subject matter while at the same time he has consistently implied that his real subject is abstract, that the dashing marks he makes on his board care nothing for their mimetic quality but only for their inherent abstract property.'
- Quote from the exhibition: 'Scottish Landscapes", The Scottish Gallery.