Nicky Sanderson's collages and multi media pieces are created, as it were, from the inside out, in order to understand and interpret the layers of landscape. Her deep interest in what lies below the surface of the land stems from her years of study and exploration of Scotland, interpreting the built and natural environment as a guide for visitors. Her work conveys the sheer substance of the land, and rejoices in colour.

Artist Statement


"I hear it in the deep heart's core" (WB Yeats' Lake Isle of Innisfree)

As a visual artist I endeavour to discern and convey the beauty within my chosen subject.  

I look for what lies beneath, for example, the layers of geology, the interaction of time, nature, and humans in a landscape or place. Mine is a search for both the essence and substance of a subject, approaching places through maps or photos, reading poems or prose related to the theme, and from studying how other artists have approached similar challenges. My ideas can materialise in many ways, through simple graphite line to mixed media, and from close observational drawing to total abstraction. My intention is to awake interest and engagement in the observer,  to lead them to see something unnoticed before, to feel enriched by the experience.

Recent and ongoing points of focus include the Calanais Stones on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and the peat cuttings that surround them, and the islands of the Firth of Forth and their multiple interpretations. Moroccan themes have risen to the surface recently: closed, seemingly ugly metal doors into family homes are transformed into decorative images that entice the viewer to enter. The lights and shadows that fall through palm leaf roof structures onto concrete flooring are captured in my images.

My working process involves the consideration of all possible explorations of my theme, before discerning the way to embody it in my work. This can be through any combination of paint, collage or print, always governed by a strong feeling for colour and the substance of my materials. 

My continuing inspiration is sustained by many summers of working as an official 'Blue Badge' Scottish Tourist Guide. This has meant acquiring an in depth knowledge of my country in order to interpret verbally for travellers, and visually within my art practice.

My studio is at Coburg House Studios and Gallery in Leith, Scotland. 



2016 - 2017             Critical Professional Development course Leith School of Art         
1994 - 1996             Calligraphy studies, Edinburgh College of Art
1979 - 1981             Postgraduate 2 year Higher Diploma in Fine Art (Printmaking), 
Slade School of Fine Art, London.

1975 - 1979             Diploma in Art (Printmaking), Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen.


2018 Confirmed as water colour tutor for Wild at Art vacations, Lewis & Harris in April  and 
2017 Water colour tutor Wild at Art, Lewis and Harris
2017 Scottish Art History trainer for STGA (Scottish Tourist Guides Association)

2016 Water colour tutor for Wild at Art vacations, Lewis and Harris. 
2016 Print and Collage tutor for Arran Visual Arts, Isle of Arran.

2015 Painting and Collage tutor for Wild at Art Vacations, Edinburgh
2015 Scottish Art History trainer for STGA (Scottish Tourist Guides Association)

2004 – 2010 Joint director of a small art tourism business called artEscapes. This involved organising accommodation and itineraries as well as art tutoring/ demonstrating abroad and in the UK, often with a strong historical or cultural connection.

1995 – 2006 Teacher of Art (drawing & painting and calligraphy) in Community Education (20 hours per week class contact time September to May) for Edinburgh City Council.

2002 - 2003 Summer Course art teacher at George Watson's College, Edinburgh

Lifelong member of the Society of Scottish Artists

Selected Exhibitions

2017  A Land Unfolding, Coburg House Art Gallery,  Edinburgh Festival group show with Encompassed 

2016-17          Coburg House Gallery, Edinburgh, Christmas Exhibition
2009 - 2017   Open Studios Coburg House Studios
2009 - 2013   Coburg House Gallery, Edinburgh, Christmas Exhibition
2013              The Steading Gallery, Kelso 
1995              Aberdeen Art Gallery Gray’s School of Art Former Students 
1985 - 1986   Galería Tlalpuente, Mexico City
1984              Greenwich Theatre Art Gallery, London, solo show
1984              Anglo Mexican Institute, London, solo show
1983              Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, solo show
1982              Instituto de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, solo show
1980              The Henderson Gallery, Edinburgh

Work in the collection of Art in Healthcare, Scotland
And in many private British collections including:
Alistair Darling, Lord Darling of Roulanish
Sir Mark Jones, former director of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Robert Gordon’s Universty, Aberdeen
Work in private collections in France, Spain and Mexico.

Awards & Residencies

2007              Painting Residency at Catterline, ‘The Watchie’ studio made famous by the Scottish painter Joan Eardley.
1981 – 1982  1 year Bursary from Mexican Government to study Experimental Printmaking in Mexico City.
1977              Painting residency at Hospitalfield House, Arbroath.
1976              Painting prize visit to San Gimigniano, Tuscany

Other Activities

2008             Qualified as an art specialist guide to the Contemporary Art Collection in the Scottish Parliament.
2005             Qualified as a tour guide in the new The Scottish Parliament.
2001 ongoing 
 Professional Member of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association, Blue Badge Guide for Scotland, guiding actively during summer months in     English and Spanish, with a particular interest in art, design and architecture.
1995             Advanced Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE, University of Salamanca). Fluent Spanish speaker. 


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