Martin was born in Newport, Isle of Wight in April 1951. He was educated at Carisbrooke Grammar School, then at the New University of Ulster, Coleraine, Co. Antrim and University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.
With no professional training, Martin decided to become a painter. What he started drawing in his final university term were the flowers and plants he found in the hedgerows in the hills above Aberystwyth. By the time he returned to the Isle of Wight, he had augmented the simple drawing with a watercolour wash. With this background Martin's paintings evolved into landscape. The plants were increasingly neglected. From 1986, for the next 10 years or so, walking the countryside and landscape painting became Martin's life.
Then about 1996, or thereabouts, Martin started to notice boats and the sea. It was the geometry of sailing boats that caught his attention, in particular the lines and shapes made by the sails and rigging. Not to mention light and shadow falling on sails. So for the next 10 years, Martin painted little else but boats and the sea. He came to specialise in the racing thoroughbreds that sailed in the Solent from the time of the original Americas Cup race of 1851 until the outbreak of World War Two.
In 2000 Martin started exhibiting with the Royal Society of Marine Artists at the Mall Galleries in London. In 2003, without going through the usual procedure of applying and without being asked, he was elected by the members to be an associate of the society. Full membership was granted in 2005.
In recent years, boats as such have become less prominent. Martin has moved away from boat portraiture, as it were, seeing the boats more romantically perhaps, in a more expansive setting of a wide sea under a big sky.