Fiona Strickland studied Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art under the tutelage of Dame Elisabeth Blackadder DBE, RA, RSA, David Michie OBE, RSA, PSSA, FRSA, RGI and John Houston OBE, RSA. Prior to graduating she exhibited at the Royal College of Art before embarking on an Andrew Grant travelling scholarship to Italy and France followed by a year of post graduate studies in a studio which overlooked her much-loved Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.
Photo: Robert McNeill
Married to Robert McNeill, and Head of Department of Art & Design in a secondary school, she raised her daughters and continued to exhibit in the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy of Painters in Watercolour, the Royal Glasgow Institute, The Scottish Society of Artists, Visual Arts Scotland and private galleries.
Captivated by and inspired to paint botanical subjects by the book ‘Contemporary Botanical Artists, The Shirley Sherwood Collection’, she exhibited her first botanical watercolours at the Society of Botanical Artists, London, 2008 where Dr Sherwood, collector of the worlds’ finest collection of botanical art in private hands, purchased Fiona’s first ever botanical watercolour. James White, world-renowned curator of Botanical Art at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Art, Carnegie Mellon University immediately invited Fiona to exhibit at the Hunt Institute. Her painting; Helianthus, ‘Last Sunflower’ was chosen for the cover of the catalogue as a poignant tribute to him. Encouraged by the Society of Botanical Artists, she received the RHS Dawn Joliffe Botanical Art Bursary and an RHS Gold Medal within a few months of this first exhibition.
Since then, Fiona has become one of the worlds most renowned botanical artists, her paintings are highly regarded in the upper echelons of botanical art available today. Her attention to detail and unrivalled technical virtuosity in the use of transparent washes used to build her vibrant paintings highlights her skill in handling colour; her signature approach to botanical watercolour. Her emotive response to the visual elements of colour, tone, texture and movement in the plant world is captured in a very personal approach to botanical painting.
Although her work continues the tradition of botanical art, she endeavours to challenge, inspire and go beyond cold illustration or recording purely for scientific purposes. She strives to produce work which apprehends the spectator so that they stop, look and become captivated by the quality of her paintings. She strives to engage the viewer, persuading them to discover an interesting aspect of a plant, and to appreciate its beauty, when viewed from an unusual angle, when its character is captured in a way that is unexpected or sometimes less than perfect.
It is of no surprise that her work is highly sought after by prestigious collectors, institutions and individuals alike who have a passion for botanical art work of the highest quality.
Enquiries; Jonathan Cooper Gallery, London