Ann is a multi media artist born and bred in Scotland. She now lives and works from her home in Kiltarlity in the Scottish Highlands. Although she worked for 30 years as an Accident and Emergency nurse, she has had a lifelong interest in art and she loves the scope that different mediums allow for creating. Scotland’s dramatic history, heritage, flora and fauna, as well as light, darkness, mood and feelings, are all hugely inspirational to her work. To be able to capture elements of these in a piece of her work, to her, is like flowing water. It envelopes the senses and creates a voice of its own.

How did your artistic journey start?
I had created art on and off for years, doing the occasional pet portrait, landscape and my claim to fame, a massive oil painting of the Waterloo monument in New Abbey, Dumfries and Galloway, which is hung in Gifhorn, Germany.

In my career as an A&E nurse, latterly I felt “like butter which had been scraped over too much bread,” as Bilbo famously described himself in Lord of the Rings. After years of love of the job, I felt I had no resilience left, uncertainty and dread filled my body and mind. My escape was my art and crafting. The thought of what to create and creating itself could distract me for hours. Wrapped in imagery and work, it was the hope of ‘light in the darkness’.

Eventually, the opportunity arose when I could stop work and I delved into my arts with a passion! I wanted to learn, create, find like-minded people, find people who saw their visions in my vison and find people who wanted to have my creations as part of their lives.

How did you arrive at the theme of your work?
My Clan Art series was born out of my love of Scotland. The merging of history and heritage, the beauty of our county, the feelings of nostalgia, strength and joy from Scottish music from bands like Tide Lines, Skerryvore, Callum Beattie, and Runrig, all melted together to inspire a feeling that I replicated in my Clan artwork.

Depicting the image of the clan seat whether in past times or the present, as a castle, a ruin, or just a heap of hidden rocks shows the changes over time. Using the colours of the Clan tartans links the work to the people and the land. I find also the abstract, possibly stark colours give more of the feel of battle, bloodshed and hardship, while the blending gives a mystic and peaceful feel.

Clan MacDonald of Sleat, Dunscaith Castle by Ann Wilton

Will your next project be a continuation of your current style or are you experimenting with something different? Can you share a glimpse of your next project?
I have thought of creating a 2nd Clan Art series. There are 14 in this first series, two of which are displayed in this fabulous exhibition. The first series includes Clan MacDonald, Clan Donald, Urquhart, Maclean, Fraser of Lovat, MacKenzie, Clan Macleaod, Mackay, Buchanan, Chisholm, MacKinnon, Clan MacCallum/Malcolm, Sutherland and Farquharson. I am so fortunate there is a wealth of inspiration to draw upon for further work.

I have a big interest in wool art as well. Using mainly Scottish wool I needle felt to create landscapes and animals and find that tourist and local alike have loved my highland cow and heather pictures. From the beginning I have found the stabbing process very therapeutic!

Are there any upcoming events or additional information you would like the audience to know?
Please feel free to look on my Instagram page. I also have a selection of my work in some local outlets in the highlands. If you are interested in chatting please feel free to message me.

See Ann’s work at our first Open Call of the year, MulticulturAlba, running at Six Foot Gallery until Thursday 14th March 2023. You can also find her on Instagram @annarthighlands

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