Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1938, Alan graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1960 with a degree in mural design and mosaics. He immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1967 and became a full-time artist, teacher, and art gallery owner.
Alan has had seventy-four solo shows. He is a senior signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society; the California Watercolor Association; the Louisiana Watercolor Society; the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour; and the Federation of Canadian Artists, receiving their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He is also a dolphin fellow of the American Watercolor Society (the first Canadian to achieve this distinction). He served as juror for the 139th Annual International Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society in New York, and was made an honourary member of the Jiangsu Watercolour Research Institute, Nanjing, China. He lives in Fort Langley with his artist wife, Janice Robertson