Artist of the Month: Ishbel Strachan

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Serendipity is an amazing thing. There we were this past fall, in Inverness, Scotland. We'd had such lovely recommendations from Sarah-Jane Summers, on things to do and people to see. One of those people to see? Ishbel Strachan, our Artist of the Month. We'd phoned Ishbel from the Dolphin Research Center, and asked if we could come to visit. And we did - it was an Amazing afternoon, with Ishbel, her husband George, and even grandkids for our daughter to play with. We had a gorgeous drive to their very lovely and welcoming home (and B&B), were welcomed graciously, had tea and cookies, the kids ran off to play, and Ishbel opened her studio to us. George has a framing business (to keep up with all Ishbel's work!), and the studio is comfortable, with lots of windows. There are paintings everywhere - for inspiration? or for pure joy? I loved it all. It was peaceful, a nook of tranquility in a busy world. Taking a break from art? Head to the music studio, up the hill. Meanwhile, back to Ishbel's paintings - of beautiful Scottish scenery, of her family on the beach, of colors and an incredible sense of place.


Upper Glassburn, Scotland


WE: Please tell us about your art...

IS: It all happened by chance, a friend was moving house and he came across his late mother’s paints and thought as I was into crafts etc., that I would like them.  It was like Christmas for me, there was a lovely wooden box full of oil paints, a beautiful wooden palette, a large tin box of watercolours, many brushes and palette knives and the list goes on.  I had not painted before apart from in school, so I began with the watercolours and just copied studies of mushrooms and flowers.  Some time later I joined a small informal class in a nearby village and took to it like a duck to water.  Our teacher was a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and she and I became great friends.  Apart from the class, she and I spent many Saturdays just painting.   Sadly, Pat died in 2009 just before her 81st birthday.  We have kept the class on and meet every Tuesday afternoon in my studio here at Glassburn.


Ishbel Strachan studio



WE: What do you draw inspiration from?

IS: My inspiration is taken from the surrounding countryside in all its changing seasons and moods.  We have three beautiful glens around us, all quiet peaceful places.  I usually go there armed with my sketchbook and my camera (a useful tool for reference).  My grandchildren also inspire me to paint and are featured in many of my seaside scenes.  Visits to art galleries to see all the wonderful works of famous artists are also inspiring.


Ishbel Strachan



WE: Where are your favorite places to create art?

IS: My studio in the garden is surrounded by trees and flowers. It is quiet and peaceful with no sound but that of bird song and is probably my favourite place to work.


Ishbel Strachan



WE: What do you enjoy creating most?

IS: What do I enjoy painting most?...this is a difficult one as it depends on what inspires me at the time.  Most of my work is of local landscapes in which I try to portray the beauty of our area in either pastel or oils and sometimes in acrylic. Old cottages, especially if they have a rusty corrugated iron roof, are a great favourite of mine.  We have many red deer in the area and they also feature in some of my paintings.


Ishbel Strachan



WE: How can readers find and purchase your art?

IS: I am lucky enough to sell my paintings from either my studio here or in local galleries and restaurants who are kind enough to display them. Prints and greetings cards are also available on our web site


Ishbel Strachan



WE: Thanks so much, Ishbel - for your hospitality, and your beautiful art. We've got your painting hanging up (as do both sets of parents) and just LOVE the glimpse into Scotland that you've shared.


To see more of Ishbel's paintings (I especially love the one of Rannoch Moor), please see: