David Turnbull Gardner was born in Lanarkshire and studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1967 till 1972, graduating D.A. - Diploma in Fine Art, specialising in sculpture.
After two years of freelance design work, he took up a teaching post at Rothesay Academy, while teaching he continued to paint and sculpt, exhibiting in Argyll and Bute galleries. In the 1980s, he began to take on commercial photography work which proved to be valuable in terms of professional development for teaching.
In 2004 the opportunity of retirement allowed David to concentrate full time on his artwork and help his wife Caroline to run and develop her Gallery on the Isle of Bute.
His first solo exhibition was in 2007 was inspired by a month-long visit to Japan, following in the 19th-century footsteps of E.A. Hornel and George Henry. The exhibition featured paintings and sculptures comparing similarities and contrasts between the landscape, figures and architecture of his home environment of Bute, and the fascinating culture of Japan. The Japanese inspired images remain an important subject for his work, in addition to intimate harbour scenes from the West Coast of Scotland.
David exhibited in Exhibitions in Marseillan, in the south of France and in various galleries on the West Coast of Scotland.