About Ailsa Chapman (née Nicolson)
Exploring the botanical world around me through drawing and painting, using a variety of traditional and digital media to create my works.
Being an artist, for me, is as much about exploring and experimenting with media as it is about exploring my favourite subject - flowers. I like to paint and draw flowers and other botanical subjects much larger-than-life-size to convey the feeling that one is looking at them close-up.
My own digital photographs are used as reference material for my paintings, which are created using a variety of media, from traditional methods such as coloured pencils, pastels, gouache and acrylics, to digital drawing and painting software.
I also design and make greetings cards.
I am based in Orpington/South East London and am currently a member of Croydon Art Society and also Painters Online. I was a member of both Bromley Art Society and the Society for All Artists for at least 10 years.
After being awarded a Diploma in Graphic Design at Wimbledon School of Art in 1981, this was followed by a 20-year career as a graphic designer working initially for printing companies before moving to the magazine publishing sector. Following a change of direction in 2001, I was later awarded an Open University BA Honours Degree in Humanities with Art History and Religious Studies in 2008. Whilst studying with the OU, I spent any spare time drawing and painting. In 2019 I was awarded a Diploma with Merit in Botanical Coloured Pencils by the London Art College.
My passion for drawing and painting botanical subjects together with an interest in art history inform the style of my work which I am constantly developing. I love the detailed floral paintings of the old Dutch masters, the bold flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe, and the work of contemporary botanical artists. The use of metallic background colours is inspired by religious Italian Renaissance paintings which often use gold. Through the use of these influences and ideas, I aim to create bold and lively portraits of my subjects.
'The artist see what others only catch a glimpse of',
Leonardo da Vinci.
Artistic Family Heritage!
Being an artist is part of my family heritage. Both my father and his sister had attended art colleges. My father Jim Nicolson went on to have a career as a scenic designer for a television production company. His sister Betty was married to the artist Albert Irvin.
My paternal grandfather, John 'Jock' Nicolson had also attended an art college in London and later went on to have a career as an illustrator and artist. He was also a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours.
Having grown up looking at some of my grandfather's pictures which hung on the walls of my parents home, I was inspired to study art, go to art college and develop a creative career.