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 option of early retirement was irresistible, providing the opportunity to concentrate full time on his fine artwork and help his wife Caroline to run and develop The Castle Gallery which she had established in 1997.
His first solo exhibition was in the Castle Gallery in 2007 and was inspired by a month-long visit to Japan, following in the 19th-century footsteps of E.A. Hornel and George Henry. The exhibition was named “East Meets West" and 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.
In 2011 David exhibited in a three-man show in Marseillan, in the south of France, and in various galleries on the West Coast of Scotland.
The Castle Gallery hosted the 2012 exhibition of David’s work, “Island Triptych" which featured paintings of Bute, Iona, and Mull.