I am an Orcadian artist and musician from the island of Hoy, presently living and working in the hills of the Scottish Borders. I'm passionate about the power of creativity.
The Shoreline & Cliff Edge Made Me a Painter
My paintings express a place where land and sea touch,
where the over-world and the underworld join,
where the past, present and future collide,
where reality meets fantasy, safety & danger intersect, boredom and excitement smash against each other,
and where a sense of place and a sense of displacement seesaw.
Brought up on an island, the whole world is there, a distilled version of a larger place, every character an exaggerated character type.
I spent hours every week of my childhood playing, wandering on the shores and cliffs. One foot firmly on the earth, ground; one foot in the sea, underworld, rest of the world…dreaming…
I love the sea. The sea is me.
When I lie at the top of a cliff my consciousness moves and shifts and my sense of control wavers on the edge. I’m charged with deep exhilaration and deep fear all at once.
The edge of land and sea made me a painter.
I love a good story. As I walk through landscapes I like imagining how things were in days gone by, and projecting myself into the future. Finding links and different ways to open up ideas and conversations is a continual practice which I bring to my work.
When I set about painting I let intuition lead as much as possible, allowing any hint of curiosity to lead the way. As in life, if it gets frustrating or boring I know it’s time to shake it up.
I like to paint in the landscape when I can. I take representational elements into consideration, but mostly I'm trying to capture the atmosphere and the emotional energy I am experiencing.
Back in the studio I am always surprised that these things are all still there within me ready to come out in the paint.
Painting is a magic freedom.
More About Me
After school I left Orkney and went to Edinburgh College of Art to study sculpture.
Art college taught me a lot about conceptual thinking, but sadly the joy of process and making was not emphasised.
Half my time during art college was taken up playing my fiddle in pubs…. After college finished it was the fiddle that took me to places and I have spent the last 20 years playing music as a living.
I have made objects and painted imagery over the years since then, but mostly to compliment a musical idea.
The pull to paint has been with me the whole time, and I knew in my heart that one day I’d get back there.
Two years ago I discovered intuitive expressive painting and I feel like I’ve come back home to myself.
Music and song and storytelling and dance and site specific performance and fiddle making and connections and poetry and traveling and strangers and family and home….
I have another website which I’d love you to take a gander at which you will find my other creative pursuits - www.sarahmcfadyen.com
Visual Art CV
1999 | BA(hons) 2:1 Sculpture, Edinburgh College of Art
2011 | Introduction to Art Psychotherapy, Queen Margaret’s College, Edinburgh
RESIDENCIES & COMPETITIONS
2020 | Winner of Fitzroy Prize For Painting
2020 | Art Residency | Outbuildings, Anglesey
2019 | Creative Visionary Program
2018 | Find Your Joy Program