This April’s Artist Spotlight features Shelagh Campbell. Known for her vibrant colour palette and moody beaches, Shelagh’s large-scale acrylic compositions are always a favourite for bidders at McTear’s. Pictures Specialist Makenzie Cool interviewed Campbell to get an insight into her artistic roots, her life advice, and the things she cannot live without.
Q: When did you start painting? Or did you start with another art form first?
Campbell: My lovely grandpa introduced me to painting and drawing at a very early age. No, he wasn’t an artist. He was the janitor of a school and magically provided me with little boxes of Reeve’s watercolours, pencils and coloured chalk. He even constructed a blackboard easel for me, getting much of the blackboard paint on the floor and muttering “Jesus Christ” a lot under his breath.
Q: When did you develop your distinct style?
Campbell: What distinct style?
Q: Who were or are your artistic influencers?
Campbell: Joan Eardley, Barbara Rat, James Downie Robertson
Q: What is your favourite dessert?
Campbell: Anything Chocolatey
Q: What is your favourite beverage?
Campbell: It used to be white wine, but now that I’m old it doesn’t agree with me its very sad.
Q: Where is your favourite place in Scotland?
Campbell: We used to live in Ullapool, Wester Ross, and when the children where young we set out in the car and visited the most beautiful places in the world, Achnahaird beach, Hand Island, Sandwood beach, the Standing Stones of Callanish. My favourite places.
Q: Is there a medium that you have not yet worked with but would like to try.
Campbell: Stained glass.
Q: Are you into fashion?
Campbell: At my age? Fashion!
Q: What is one painting by someone else that you wish you had done
Campbell: “Summer Grasses and Barley on a Clifftop” by Joan Eardley
Q What is your favourite holiday?
Campbell: I shudder at the thought of long queues at the airport and getting frustrated at having to remove belts, shoes and socks. I always set the metal detector off and have to be patted down for concealed weapons. Driving to some remote Scottish beach would probably be my favourite holiday.
Q: If you could choose someone to play you in a film who would you choose?
Campbell: Scarlett Johansson or Dawn French.
Q: Who is your favourite artist?
Campbell: Charles Anderson and Nael Hanna.
Q: If you didn’t paint what would you want your career to be?
Campbell: I’m not remotely religious but when I was very young, I thought I’d make a great nun, I’d just seen “The Nun’s Story” with Audrey Hepburn. I’d have to be one of those French nuns though, with the big hats, they had the best costumes!
Q: If you could choose to meet any artist or person from history, who would you choose?
Campbell: Ideally, I’d go back in time and hangout with all the Impressionists in a café in Montmartre. What tales they would have to tell. Poor Van Gogh and grumpy wee Toulouse Lautrec.
Q: What is your favourite book?
Campbell: Probably “Gillespie and I” by Jane Harris.
Q: Do you have any pets?
Campbell: I’ve always had dogs, three variations of Tibetan Terriers, Henry, Harry and Rosie, my wee white Westie Terrier Archie died last September and I miss him x.
Q: What is your favourite time of the day?
Q: What are three things you cannot live without?
Campbell: Family, eyeliner and a sense of humour.
Q: What are you currently reading?
Campbell: “A very short history of life on earth” by Henry Gee. Its idiots guide to our evolution over 4.6 billion years, as we suspected, the earth will survive. But we might not be so lucky.
Q: Do you have any advice you would give your younger self?
Campbell: Never take advice from your elders. We like to think we know it all, but we really don’t. Young people are amazing! They’ll sort it out by themselves.
Q: If you could paint one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Campbell: Stormy beaches, surprise, surprise!
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