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LIfe in Soil, Life in Art


David St Maur Sheil 


David is an innovative artist who, since 2020 has been handcrafting many of his own paints from soils, and other naturally occurring pigments, that he sources locally himself.   Wherever he goes he prospects for interesting soils and consequently knows exactly where all his colours come from. In his Studio, nestled in the beautiful and historic Lam Tsuen Valley, near Tai Po, Hong Kong, are a library of colours; in bottles and jars all filled with hand-ground and locally sourced beautiful natural soils.

Often, many of his paintings include pigments which have been directly sourced from literally a few feet from where he is crafting his creations, forming a deeper connection, between the artist, the artwork and the natural environment.  This is a means for David to bring together two passions, one for art and the other for gardening and soil.

In spite of being mainly self-taught, he has always been a dedicated artist.  He was an art scholar during his secondary school years, and later attended several art courses at the Metropolitan College Brighton.  Parallel to his practice of art, David has an extensive background in farming and ecological work, and has been deeply involved in numerous environmental and organic oriented initiatives since the 1990’s.   He has also been a pioneer of sustainable investment in the Asia Pacific Region since 1989, co-founding the organisation which is now the Hong Kong office of the United Nations Finance Initiative (UNFI).  

Art for David is a deeply ecological practice which combines five interlinked elements.

  • Firstly, a deep understanding of soil. Globally soils are under threat, but though we walk on the soil every day we rarely think about it.  Yet healthy soil is fundamental to our existence.  

  • Secondly, practicing ethical foraging for coloured soil and other natural pigments. 

  • Thirdly, the craft of making natural colours by hand, drawing on traditional knowledge of colour-making. 

  • Then only after this longer process, the act of creating beautiful artworks using soil and other natural pigments.

  • Finally, educating and communicating on his passion to as wide an audience as possible. 


A natural educator, and ecological advocate, David has run numerous highly regarded workshops on soil and art, and he has witnessed first-hand the therapeutical healing potential of painting utilising hand-made pigments. At present, David currently resides between a beautiful part of the South Downs, in East Sussex, England and the historic Lam Tsuen Valley, Hong Kong. 

Notable Exhibitions and Events

Artist in Residence and Solo Exhibition, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden Art House, Hong Kong, November 1st 2023 to January 21st 2024.  The residency also included workshops on Soil Painting.

Member, Sussex Art Collective since 2022

Exhibitor UNO Gallery Seaford, Sussex, 2022, 2023

2021 – 2024 Workshops on soil and soil art, for groups including Hong Kong University

Exhibitor, Opulent Art Gallery, 2023

Exhibitor: Surrey Art Fair, September 2022

Exhibitor, Art Wave Seaford, Sept 2022

Exhibitor, Uckfield Art Fair July 2022

Exhibitor, Sussex Art Fair May 2022

Exhibitor, MADS Gallery Milan, Gaia The Origin Exhibition 2021

Exhibitor, Visage Art Exhibition, Yarra Valley Artisans, 2015

Member, Upper Yarra Artisans, and exhibitor, 2015 – 2016

蕭大衛是一位創新的藝術家。自 2020 年開始,他用的許多顏料都是他的手工製作,而原
間。這個創作媒介也同時結合了大衛生命中的兩大熱情 —— 一個是藝術,另一個是園藝
者,後來在布萊頓都會學院 (Metropolitan College Brighton) 修讀了幾門藝術課程。
走在藝術道路的同時,大衛還擁有廣泛涉獵農業和生態工作的背景。自90 年代以來,一
直深入參與許多以環境和有機為導向的倡議。自1989 年,他成爲了亞太地區永續投資的
( United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, UNEP FI) 香港辦事處。
少對此作出反思 — 健康的土壤,其實是我們生存的基礎。


駐場藝術家及個展 —— 嘉道理農場暨植物園藝舍 (香港)
2023 年11 月1 日至2024 年1 月21 日. 駐場活動包括土壤藝術工作坊
成員 —— 蘇塞克斯 Art Collective 自2022 年起
展出者 —— 蘇塞克斯 UNO 畫廊 (錫福德) 2022 年、2023 年
土壤及土壤藝術工作坊 (爲香港大學等團體舉辦) 2021 年至2024 年
展出者 —— Opulent 畫廊2023 年
展出者 —— 薩里郡藝術博覽會2022 年9 月
展出者 —— Art Wave Seaford 2022 年9 月
展出者 —— 阿克菲爾德藝術博覽會2022 年7 月
展出者 —— 蘇塞克斯藝術博覽會2022 年5 月
展出者 —— Gaia The Origin 展覽 (米蘭 MADS 畫廊)2021 年
展出者 —— Visage 藝術展覽 (雅拉河谷匠人協會) 2015 年
成員及展出者 —— 上雅拉匠人協會2015 年至2016 年

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