Awards for Midlothian artists

Alison Stewart, winner of the RSW Watercolour award, with her winning painting. Photo: Chris Watt
Alison Stewart, winner of the RSW Watercolour award, with her winning painting. Photo: Chris Watt

Midlothian artists Aine Divine RSW, Alison Stewart and Ruth Thomas have won awards at the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour 136th Annual Exhibition.

Aine, who lives in Penicuik and trained at Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork, won the new £200 John Busby Award for her painting ‘Helena, Blue Hat’. She has won several awards for her work and this is her second RSW award.

Talking about the inspiration for the painting, she said: “Helena is a beautifully elegant model, very inspiring. I have painted her in a variety of costumes and often from the side so that I see the full length of her dark hair. Once as she got ready to leave she put on this blue fur hat and I loved the look! In the back of my mind, I felt inspired by the dynamic poses of Michelangelo’s zephers from the Sistine chapel. Something in the turn of her head reminded me of those poses.”

Alison, who lives near Millerhill and trained at Camberwell College of Art in London and Leith School of Art, won the RSW Watermark Award. Discussing the award winning painting ‘Pincers Study’, she said: “I live on a farm outside Edinburgh where I grew up and where I now live and work and have been collecting tools from around the farmyard where they have been stored over many years.

“I have been making studies and paintings of these objects which I love for their shapes and surfaces but I also like to imagine their past function. My interest in these tools is definitely bound up with their history as well used objects on my family’s farm.”

Ruth won the £250 Turcan Connell Award, her third consecutive RSW award win. She previously won the John Gray Award and the RSW Student Prize. She is an Australian artist, who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2014 and lives in Dalkeith. She also has a home on the South Coast of NSW.

Talking about her award-winning concertina book ‘Misty Morning’, she said: “It really is very exciting that I have been successful again. My artwork is based on two contrasting geographical landscapes in Scotland and Australia. I love them both for the rawness of their beauty.

“The concertina book is inspired by winter mornings in July in Australia, when I wake up to a landscape shrouded in mist. The eucalypts, with their patterned bark in greys and whites, drift in and out of focus as the mist rises off the water and the early morning sunlight casts shadows through the tree trunks.”