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Meet the artist

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By Seanagh Palmer
Meet the artist

THERE are dozens of artists living and working in Dumfries and Galloway and we decided it was time The Gallery got to know more of them. So, here’s our new Meet The Artist feature. In the first of these profiles, Seanagh Palmer gets to know Galloway painter and illustrator Ailsa Black

* What made you go into art? AB: I always loved to draw and paint and was fortunate to be encouraged from an early age to be creative.

* Why did you pick your chosen field?
AB: When I was at art school I wanted to specialise in painting but I was told my style was too tight and the painting department wouldn’t have me. Instead I studied graphic design and illustration where I developed a more illustrative approach to my work. I think it was the right move in the end.

* What is the main inspiration behind your art?
AB: My inspiration comes from the beautiful countryside and wildlife in Dumfries and Galloway. Many of my images have an imagined storyline where the animals and birds are deep in conversation. I also regularly feature my partner Alan and our collie dog Jack who pop up in harbour scenes and plan their own adventures.

* Who is your favourite artist and why?
AB: I recently discovered the work of American painter Fred Calleri and am blown away by his sense of fun and the beautiful illustrative quality to his work.

* What are your main ambitions as an artist?
AB: To earn a living and spread a little happiness with my paintings. To build my name as a designer and an awareness of my work. I have recently started working with a fantastic agent. We now have Ailsa Black calendars, cards and diaries selling nationwide with plans for expanding in to Europe next year. Watch out for a range of clocks and homewares coming very soon.

* Do you have a favourite piece of work?
AB: I painted a piece called “Pep Talk” a few years ago of Alan and our collie dog Grimsby on the beach. It has been used as a greetings cards by Oxfam for several years now and it’s a favourite piece of mine. Sadly I sold it, so I will have to paint myself another similar to keep.

PEP TALK . . . One of Ailsa's favourite pieces
PEP TALK . . . One of Ailsa’s favourite pieces

* If you could choose any gallery to showcase your work, which gallery would you pick and why?
AB: I have worked with some fantastic galleries over the years who have been very supportive. I have been fortunate to exhibit at the Royal Glasgow Institute and the Paisley Art Institute and I should really submit work to more of these selected exhibitions, but I never seem to find the time.

* What do you feel has been your best achievement as an artist so far?
AB: I love walking in to a shop and seeing my work for sale on a range of products. I’ve been fortunate to work with fantastic brands like Oxfam, Marie Curie and the RSPB who are all working for such deserving causes that I’m delighted to be associated with them.

* If you could make a commissioned piece for anyone, who would it be and what would you make?
AB: I’d love to paint for Bill Bailey. I’m a fan of his offbeat comedy and I saw him live a few times when he was doing stand up shows in Edinburgh. He is a great advocate for animals, a lover of wildlife with a sense of humour and speaks out against animal cruelty.

A collie dog with robins sitting in orange and yellow flowers
A collie dog with robins sitting in orange and yellow flowers


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