Walton and his artist friends formed a group known as the Glasgow Boys. They were inspired by developments in landscape painting in France and sought to explore the natural effects of light in the open air through painting Scottish rural subjects. Walton spent a year in Dusseldorf and studied at the Glasgow School of Art, but gained most experience working with his friends at Cockburnspath, Berwickshire and Cambuskenneth, Stirling. He specialised in landscapes and portraits. He settled with his family in Edinburgh in 1904 after a successful decade in London. Walton was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1905.