Here at Allanbank Arts we are incredibly fortunate to be able to draw on experienced tutors who are still actively practicing in their chosen fields. Our aim is to allow individuals the space and time to pursue and explore their own creative potential through group and one-to-one tuition, mentoring support and networking.
Partner and creative director of Allanbank Arts, Liz has a background in arts administration and ceramics, working principally in thrown pieces. More recently Liz has turned her hand to painting.
Event co-ordinator, art for young people & outreach worker
With a background in primary teaching, community development and a young family Fi enjoys being creative! She loves drawing and painting and creating edible sculptures. Her strengths lie in supporting others to unlock their creative potential. She is able to insill just the right amount of confidence and enthusiasm with practical skills to locate their inner-artist.
George Donald RSA RSW
George Donald is a painter, printmaker and lecturer in studio arts.
Born in South India, his early memories are of the colours and rhythms of the East. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art, and was awarded a travelling scholarship to India, Afghanistan and Nepal.
Later at Hornsey College of Art, London (then in the late 60's at the forefront of student-led changes in visual education) he studied art education. He taught for many years within the Drawing & Painting School of Edinburgh College of Art, and in 1999 co-founded the Centre for Continuing Studies - a centre for innovation and excellence in higher art education, and the first to offer part-time BA degrees in visual arts.
In mid-career he returned to the University of Edinburgh to study philosophy and education.
George has travelled widely as an art lecturer: with the British Council in India and Korea and as a visiting artist/tutor in France, Spain, Japan, China, UEA and USA.
He is currently visiting professor in the Art Department University of Central Florida. He retired from full-time teaching in 2001 to concentrate on making art, exhibiting, occasional teaching and consultancies.
He is a member of the RSA and RSW, and he was formerly Keeper of the RSA.
George exhibits annually at the RSA and RSW. He has held many solo exhibitions at the Open Eye Galley, Edinburgh, the Bohun Gallery, Henley, and contributed to numerous group exhibitions in the UK and abroad over many years.
His work is to be found in public and private collections, including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
Painter, printmaker and lecturer in studio arts
Jacqui Higgs SSA
Jacqui Higgs is an Edinburgh-based, Dublin born artist with a background in fine art and painting.
Having graduated from Edinburgh Art College in 1994, she then moved on to study Art Therapy, gaining her Postgraduate Degree in 1996.
She became a professional member of the Scottish Society of Artists in the same year. Since then, she has exhibited frequently throughout the UK, in group and solo shows, as well as London Art fairs.
Many of the drawings and paintings currently exhibited have been developed from recent visits to Kirkudbright and the nearby location of the remote Sandgreen. Done in-situ, salvaged materials, structured surfaces and storm damage debris enter into the pieces.
Jacqui is currently working with applied silkscreen under-layered into the images, and she develops this with wood block printing and watercolour figuration. The process of excavating, exploring surfaces derived from sea, shorelines and places on the edge is at the forefront of her practice and is reflected in the title of the recently finished 2019 show in Edinburgh: 'Traces'.
For her forthcoming exhibitions, Jacqui has created pieces from the locations of Portugal, following her residency there; Iceland, the Faroe Isles, Caithness, and Kirkcudbright. Closer to home, the industrial graffitied east side of Portobello (Seafield), provide a wealth of salvaged debris which she incorporates into her drawings and final works.
The materials of perspex, collage, silkscreen, watercolour, oils, woodblock, seasalt, and wax are forged and excavated into the surfaces to achieve maximum effect. Jacqui assimilates these processes into her upcoming shows; featuring oil rigs, platforms and harbour activity from her recent trips to Iceland, the Faroe Isles and The Shetland Isles.
Ann Oram RSW
Ann Oram trained at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). After her post-graduate year and Andrew Grant Scholarship to France and Italy, Ann returned to ECA to lecture in the Painting school.Ann has spent many years living and working abroad and the inspiration she gets from her travels helps to keep her work fresh and vibrant. During the 1980s, she spent many years living in southern Spain and, more recently, Ann returned from a long spell in Vienna, Austria. The Austrian journey adventure also allowed her to work in Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Italy and Hungary. Ann exhibits widely throughout the UK, including London, Oxfordshire, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Her work is included in many private and corporate collections throughout the world.In recent times she lived and painted in France. Ann now lives in the Scottish Borders.
I am from County Durham and am based in the Scottish BordersI paint and draw female faces and figuresI use a large range of media depending on the model and the basic idea.They include watercolour, gouache, acrylics, oils, pastels, charcoal and digital work.Am happy to discuss commissions... contact me through Allanbank initially please.
Esther Donaldson SSA
Since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 1993 Esther has exhibited and sold work regularly in galleries across Britain, including the RSA, SSA, the RSW, the RBA, Mall Galleries and most recently the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019 where she was selected as one of their favorites.
Esther's work is based on gardens, trying to reflect the brevity of life, beauty, toil, energy, death and rebirth that is observed in the cycle of life within the garden. Esther says her work is becoming increasingly more referential and not entirely realistic inviting the viewer's participation and hopefully giving glimpses into the life, toil, death and rebirth of the creative.
Conor has always loved creating art but now, in his retirement, he is enjoying fully focusing on developing his interest. He has been particularly fascinated by experimenting with a variety of styles, techniques and ways of applying colour, tone and texture.
Andrew is a painter and ceramist who works from his garden studio in the Scottish Borders.
He was born and grew up in Bristol and trained in fine art and ceramics. In 2002 he moved to West Cornwall to pursue a full time career as an Artist and Ceramist, finally settling in the Scottish Borders in 2015.
Taking inspiration from the surrounding landscape and using a mixed media palette he produces paintings which have a reflective and atmospheric quality.
Andrew's ceramics are hand built or sculpted in either stoneware or earthenware clays often incorporating other materials such as driftwood and metal.
Decorated with oxides, engobes and hand mixed glazes the work can take on a quirky and playful quality.
Jenny Findlay has a B.A.(Hons) in Textiles from Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and an Art Teaching qualification from Brighton Polytecnic. She is currently teaching for Edinburgh City Council on their Adult Education Programme, whilst continuing to develop her own artistic practice.
She has also worked in management roles within a variety of contemporary galleries and innovative arts organisations, which gave her the opportunity to develop her strengths as both an educationalist and artist.
Printmaker & Textiles Artist
Fiona is a pastel specialist, Unison Colour Associate Artist and qualified teacher. After a career in design for broadcasting, Fiona taught Drawing and Graphic Design at Newcastle College for many years. She left to focus on developing her own creative practice and continues to teach workshops in Drawing and Pastel.
Much of Fiona's work is inspired by natural forms. Pattern, line and shapes that re-occur between life forms, geological formations and landscapes are fascinations that permeate much of her work. Driven by ideas and a passion for colour, she exhibits her work regularly in galleries and venues across the country.
We are delighted to welcome her to Allanbank Arts.
Lucy Baxandall is a hand paper maker and book artist based at Tidekettle Paper on Bridge Street in Berwick. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago (2005) and a PGCE in Modern Languages from Queen's University, Belfast (1997). From 2008 to 2011, she was a teacher and artist in residence at John Mason School in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. After returning to London she taught at the London Centre for Book Arts, and now teaches 2D and 3D papermaking at Morley College in London and at West Dean College in West Sussex. She also runs papermaking and book arts workshops for groups and individuals at her studio, around the UK (East London Printmakers, Barber Institute of Fine Art, Birmingham) and in the Middle East, and translates for academic publications.
Lucy's raw materials for papermaking include plant fibres, as well as recycled cotton and linen fabrics. Much of her work is inspired by geological formations, as she explores human attempts to control uncontrollable forces.
Paper maker & book artist
Justine is one of the partners with Liz Hardy at Allanbank Arts. She is originally from London and has trained at Camberwell College of Art and Edinburgh College of Art, specialising in fine art printmaking. She has studied computer imagery and technology alongside traditional techniques. Justine has worked extensively in local primary and secondary schools and thoroughly enjoys engaging young people with the world of making art. She now lives and works in the Scottish Borders, exhibiting widely.
Printmaking, art for young people & outreach worker
Daisy completed her teacher training at London’s Institute of Education with a PGCE specialising in early years education, following a History of Art degree from Edinburgh University. She loves working with and encouraging children to achieve their full potential and to bring out their uninhibited artistic side. She is a brilliant new addition to our team and we’re very excited to have her join us at Allanbank Arts.
Eric Ritchie graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in the mid 1950s, a prize-winning student who went on to travel and exhibit in Edinburgh and London. He famously collaborated with Leonard Rosoman, the noted war artist and illustrator, on the sell-out Diaghilev exhibition. This landmark exhibition of the life and work of ballet legend Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes was first shown at the Edinburgh Festival and later transferred to London where it drew massive crowds and earned great critical acclaim and led to Eric rubbing shoulders with and gaining a following from many distinguished film and theatrical luminaries.
“During his course, he has won every Scholarship in turn, finishing, in 1956, with an Andrew Grant Major Travelling Scholarship. He studied in France and Italy and the exhibition of his work done on this scholarship was quite outstanding. I regard Eric Ritchie as a very promising painter . . .“ W.G. Gillies, Head, School of Drawing and
Painting, Edinburgh College of Art, 1960
Much has been written of this effervescent octogenarian and his influences – Miro, Klee, Ernst, Picasso and indeed Rosoman. His stunning portraiture, murals and representative work. His love of Orkney and of the fishing industry. The wry humour in his caricature work.
“In the end, however, it is the actual arrangement of forms that means most, the balancing of curving, touching, pointing elements, the way he creates a ballet with the bits of pieces of his ideas. “ Edward Gage, The Scotsman, 1981
“He is one of those rare people in the world of art that I can regard as a true professional with the kind of personal integrity which would never allow him to be satisfied with his work, no matter how much he had achieved.” Richard Demarco, Gallery Director, 1969
The Ritchies maintain a strong sense of community and now live in Coldingham near St Abbs where Reena has her roots. Some of Eric’s most appealing work stems from time spent on his brothers-in-law’s fishing boats. He sees his place in the community as the man who works with paint – that has even included painting the fishing boats’ registration numbers onto their bows.
“I can’t not draw or paint. It is necessary for my well-being and I can unload on small pieces of paper, large areas of wall or anything in between, but I must do it.” Eric Ritchie, February, 2017
Gill Walton is an award winning, life-long artist. She has been lecturing for 30 years and is kind in her approach yet encourages students to try to explore new ideas and techniques to the full. She is thorough in her research and develops a deep understanding of artists from the past such as Caravaggio, Turner and Vermeer. She often ends up using their approaches in her own work while developing new methods. She has taught in Further and Higher education, in psychiatric hospitals and with young offenders. She established Allanbank Arts in 2011 and ran it until 2017. She now concentrates mainly on her studio practice and teaches occasionally at Allanbank and for Berwick Educational Association.
Her paintings are contemporary figurative using pigment-rich oil paint on aluminium. They merge influences as diverse as historical portraiture, Jungian psychology and shamanic dream worlds to create a unique visual language deep in metaphor which can sometimes pose more questions than answers.
At the heart of making sculpture for me lies a mystery, which is strange considering that we all live in a 3D world.
Having studied and practiced in the classical tradition, absorbing sculpture from earliest times, my appreciation and understanding has come in fits and starts. However several experiences stand out. Adrian Stokes phrase still resonates: "the bloom of stone", a synthesis of his keen observation and my actual experience of shaping stone.
Subsequently, I fully 'realised' whilst looking at a carved Buddah a sense of the total synthesis of form and space a profound sense of its concrete existence.
This transformation has spread throughout my life and continues to manifest in my work.
In conclusion this process is best described as a ripening of the surface so that on completion the piece becomes "big in feeling".
Sculptor & Exhibiting Artist
Julie's fascination and interest in buildings, architecture and townscapes stems from working with architects for many years. She enjoys shapes and quirkiness, the spaces in between plus playing with colour, texture and line.
Mo Healy is an artist-printmaker based in Northumberland. Originally from Ireland, she trained as a stained glass and mosaic designer in London ( receiving the Chase Award to study in Ravenna), going on to refine her specialist printmaking skills in Edinburgh. Using intuitive colours inspired by the Northumberland coastal light, she captures observed moments with memories of place in a series of original handmade prints. On-going commissions for editions of her handmade artist-books enables her to explore illustration with text as a response to contemporary challenges of dementia, lockdown, equality and diversity.
Siobhan is a painter and tutor living in the Scottish Borders. Originally from Ireland Siobhan moved to Scotland in 1989 and has taught in further education since then. She combines her part time teaching with a professional studio practice and exhibits regularly throughout the UK.
Her studio practice is painting based and her subject matter whilst predominantly landscape is dominated by an intense love for colour and semi abstraction.
Claire Beattie has an MA in Fine Art from the University of Edinburgh and is a professional artist based in the Scottish Borders. She is a member of the Society of Scottish Artists and Visual Arts Scotland, has widespread gallery representation, and exhibits her work across the UK and at the Affordable Art Fairs in London and New York. As well as teaching at Allanbank Arts, Claire also works with the National Galleries of Scotland on their programme for schools and is a member of the local museums and galleries team at Live Borders.