Paul Gunn was born in London, in 1934, the only son of Sir James Gunn, RA He was educated at Ampleforth College, and then spent two years in the Life Guards. Much of his early life was spent at Carsthorne on the shore of the Solway Firth, where he spent happy holidays roaming the wild sea shore, and the surrounding countryside, developing a great love of nature and the sea. He took up painting seriously after his father died in 1964, when after 15 years in industry he became an art student, studying at the City and Guilds School in Kennington under Rodney Burn and Robin Guthrie for four years.
Like his father, he specialised in portrait painting for a number of years, but then turned to landscapes. He has exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, has pictures in national collections, and has held over 20 one man shows between London and New York.