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Name: Heather M Nisbet


Personal Statement – 2015

I paint because it’s so absorbing and rewarding. From sketching the image, through mixing the colours on the palette and putting the paint on the board or canvas, to the emergence of the finished work – it’s all hugely satisfying when things go well. Like every artist, I experience the lows of duff work – where the product of days of effort (and loads of wasted paint!) ends up in the bin – but the good pieces make up for all of that.

Generally I sketch out work in charcoal and then paint using acrylics or water mixable oils (to avoid the smell of turps). I like the effects you get when you smudge a charcoal line and apply dilute paint to it; some of the charcoal flows into the colour, which can add texture and a bit more interest to the image. Occasionally I’ll then apply more charcoal and other media (such as oil sticks or pastel) on top – and then I blend and fix it all with the finishing varnish.

Although I’m inspired by the landscapes and fishing ports of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish islands, I don’t often paint exactly what I see. Instead each piece is a sort of jigsaw of images of things that I’ve sketched, all knitted together to produce a painting that I hope will evoke in the viewer a pleasant memory of something from their own experience. My focus is on the images and the colour – not on replicating reality.

I think it’s quite difficult to explain paintings because they are as they are and artwork should speak for itself. Everyone seeing my paintings will take something a little different from them, which is as it should be – a personal experience, uninfluenced by anything that I might say about the work. Someone buying a painting from me earlier this year said “It spoke to me” – what more could I ask?