"Despite growing up in the North East of Scotland, it is the landscape of the Outer Hebrides that inspires me. We would visit family on the island of North Uist several times a year throughout my childhood and spent most of the time outside walking in the hills or playing on the beach regardless of the weather.
I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2001 with a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting and continued to paint while teaching Art and Design for several years. It is the sheer scale of the landscape in Scotland that stirs me to paint.
Walking on a Hebridean beach with the wind on my face, I look up at the limitless sky and feel tiny. I want my paintings to communicate a sense of immersion and connection within a landscape."
Nicola's main method of recording the landscape is with a digital camera. She will take around 200 photographs on a walk of about 3 hours. 'As I'm walking, I'm looking out for the way the light changes as the wind skiffs clouds overhead. The colours are constantly changing as light hits a particular area of sand or the way the sky is reflected in the water. Ideally, I gather material just after the tide has gone out and there is a layer of water that reflects the sky and this can be manipulated to create a sense of space. Other times, I'll be driving and will have to fling the car into a passing place because a certain cloud has caught my eye. When I began painting the Hebrides, I wanted to communicate cultural and family associations within the work. Now it's more about the landscape itself'.
Once she is back in her studio she works with music constantly blaring, first with large brushes to block in shapes then moving on to smaller brushes for detail in the finishing stages.
'Oil paint is a glorious medium, it smells like you're doing something important and the strength of colour suits my subject matter. I use large Japanese brushes to achieve the smooth reflections and large cloud areas.'
She uses mixed media and various techniques including wax and household paint in order to achieve the many different textures that are found on the shore.
The Jetty Gallery