Nicola Wakeling grew up in the North East of Scotland and graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2001 with a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting. Her Scottish landscapes are inspired by her childhood exploring the Outer Hebrides and the island of North Uist. The dramatic Scottish weather never stopped her and her family from walking in the hills or playing on the beach. “Walking on a Hebridean beach with the wind on my face, I look up at the limitless sky and feel tiny. I want my paintings to communicate a sense of immersion and connection within a landscape."
After graduating from University, Nicola continued to paint whilst teaching art and design. Her paintings begin with a digital camera. Roughly 200 photographs, over 3 hours, are taken whilst she is out exploring the landscapes.
“As I'm walking, I'm looking out for the way the light changes as the wind skiffs clouds overhead. The colours are constantly changing as light hits a particular area of sand or the way the sky is reflected in the water. Ideally, I gather material just after the tide has gone out and there is a layer of water that reflects the sky and this can be manipulated to create a sense of space. Other times, I'll be driving and will have to fling the car into a passing place because a certain cloud has caught my eye. When I began painting the Hebrides, I wanted to communicate cultural and family associations within the work. Now it's more about the landscape itself”.
After gathering as much inspiration as can, Nicola begins to paint. She begins with large brushes to block in shapes and then moves onto smaller brushers to add the finer details. Nicola’s mixed media approach includes household paints and wax to help achieve the varied textures found on the shore. Her studio is often filled with music.
“Oil paint is a glorious medium, it smells like you're doing something important and the strength of colour suits my subject matter. I use large Japanese brushes to achieve the smooth reflections and large cloud areas.”