Clare Arbuthnott, a celebrated visual artist based at Patriothall Studios in Edinburgh, provides an insight into the life of a professional painter. She recommends a good rummage in charity shops and long walks to inspire creativity.

How long have you been a practicing artist for?

For the last twenty years – after other adventures in fine art & antiques, railway stations and whilst raising two boys.

What inspired you to take this path?

I’ve been drawing and making things since I was young with various female artist role models in my family.  Having my own kids focused the mind and I have had some lucky opportunities.

Describe your creative practice or work in three words

Vivid, alive, bold.

What’s the first thing you do when you come into the studio?

Negotiate a path through what is normally quite a “busy” (full) space.

How do you get started on a piece of work?

Landscape work – I prefer to start in location. Sketching and painting my way in to find a language to describe. Quick marks & hopefully expressive colour.

What is your favourite thing about your studio, or studio building?

The window. Also my curiosities or found objects.

artist clare arbuthnott looks out the window of bright studio surrounded by watercolour landscape paintings for interview

How you know a piece of work is done?


Name one thing you can’t live without in your studio.

Radio 4 and/or daylight.

What is your most prized, or most used tool?

My ink dipper pen.

Are there any interesting facts, or anything others might consider unusual, about the way you work?

I have cycled the long way round to Greece.

Do you have any recommendations/advice for negotiating creative block?

First to say I’m quite a ditherer but often a walk can help clear the head. Or a rummage in charity shops, museum or gallery might help to trigger ideas.

artist clare arbuthnott stands looking down the camera in bright studio surrounded by watercolour landscape paintings for interview

Find out more about Clare Arbuthnott on her website, and follow her work on Instagram and Facebook. Discover more about Clare’s studio building, the Wasps Patriothall Studios.

Wasps is sharing the voices of studio artists for Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, stay tuned for more perspectives from creatives across the country with our artist interview series.

All images © Martin Shields

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