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About Ailsa Chapman (née Nicolson)

Exploring the botanical world around me through drawing and painting, I am inspired by a variety of plants and flowers which either grow at home or were given to me as gifts. I use 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.

I also enjoy walking and some of the landscapes I walk through inspire me to produce digital paintings which I put together in digital books so that the viewer is taken on a virtual guided tour of the walk I have undertaken myself.

I use my own digital photographs as reference material for my paintings, and when I get the chance I enjoy sketching outdoors. Painting still life arrangements provide me with the opportunity to observe and paint from life. A variety of media is used to create my works, 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 have been a member of the Society for All Artists for more than 10 years, and in 2019 I joined Painters Online and Croydon Art Society. I was also a member of Bromley Art Society for 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 and the bold flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe as well as 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 - I come from a long line of artists and designers. Both my father and his sister had attended art colleges in London. My father Jim Nicolson went on to have a career as a scenic designer for a television production company. His sister Betty initially had a creative career but later gave up work to support the career of her husband, the artist Albert Irvin RA.

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. In turn, his father before him, my great-grandfather Alexander Nicolson had, apparently, also been an artist.

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.