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Icelandic inspiration for Ross-shire art student


A Ross-shire painting student is set to unveil work inspired by a travel scholarship to Iceland.

Izzy Thomson Degree Show 2016Izzy Thomson (23), from Cromarty, who is studying at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, will showcase a series of paintings at the annual Degree Show, which runs from June 18 to 25.

Her work has been inspired by a research trip she took to Iceland last summer, after winning a Cross Trust Scholarship.

Izzy said: “The landscape there fuelled my imagination and gave me a ‘way-in’ to the kind of paintings I needed to paint and the stories I needed to tell. I love the Scottish landscape too and found that the continual growth and movement of the Icelandic landscape gave me a visual clue as to how Scotland was formed.  Iceland has opened my imagination, and when I go walking in the Scottish mountains, I now imagine them breathing like volcanoes.

Izzy Thomson Degree Show 2016“As well as the landscape, I was very inspired by the people of Iceland and how their odd and lovely nature seemed to be a reflection of their environment. I love the play between the little sweet charm of them against the monumental presence and dark beauty of the landscape or the differences and similarities between the mountain’s time and ours. These are all things I am compelled to explore in painting.

“My collection aims to journey the viewer through a wobbly and enigmatic landscape, providing the viewer with an experience that is both real and imagined, and taking them on a capricious adventure. I also hope to celebrate the bubbling conversation between the experience of painting and the experience of the land, to present a space within and an object in a space.”

Izzy, who is hoping to study for a Masters degree after graduating, has used mostly oil paint but likes to add to the making of the image by experimenting with additional ingredients. 

“I approach painting in a similar way to how one might mould a clay sculpture or draw what is in front of them - building, forming and gluing together the marks on the surface,” she said. “I enjoy the versatile nature of oil paint and everything it can become - a mountain, a sky or a treasure in the form, of a really red sock. I like to my paintings feel buttered with the history of my earlier marks created by ‘getting it wrong’, making mistakes and a layering of colour and texture.”

She added: “I have cherished my time at Gray’s. The teaching, from both the staff and my peers, has led me towards the beginning and after these four years, I feel I have met myself as a painter.”

The Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, which is sponsored by BP for the thirteenth year, runs from June 18 to 25 and will showcase work by students of all disciplines.

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology