Fionna Carlisle


oil on paper 96 x 87 cm

Alpin with pink tie

oil on paper 110 x 82cm

Private Collection

There is a distinct tradition of painting in Scotland, vibrant with colour and brushwork.  This might owe something to the brilliance of the light, so often reflected back up into the sky from the sea and lochs, especially during the drawn-out daylight hours of summer.  But equally, this tradition might be a reaction against the darkness of winter, when on overcast days the sun barely seems to rise above the horizon, and there’s hardly enough light to see colours by.

Fionna Carlisle was brought up in the far north, on the coast, in Wick, and has had a love affair with radiance ever since.  A naturally gifted painter, she never questioned for a moment what she wanted to do with her life, and she was lucky enough to born into a culture where such an ambition was not just respected but welcomed. Conceptualism has since eaten the heart out of Scottish painting, a cancer spread by the subsidised sector (see booksThe Eclipse of Art) but Fionna Carlisle is one of the few to have kept its flame alight. Her heroic determination has an Olympic dimension, for she spends half the year in Greece, on the island of Crete, where her art soaks up sunlight.  She paints people, flowers and landscapes.  Her paintings all spring from the same source: they’re imaginative explosions that fill the white spaces in which she works, whether it’s the dark, sultry, angularity and nervous ease of youth (Alpin) or the late-summer sumptuousness of sunflowers.

For more information please visit Fionna’s website: