About the Artist

Ailsa Craig

SANDRA RATCLIFFE was born in Rothesay, on the beautiful island of Bute in the Firth of Clyde on the West Coast of Scotland....sharing the birthplace of George Leslie Hunter, one of The Scottish Colourists, born there in 1877.


‘I had always enjoyed art at school, but it was a love of writing, too, that took me into a lengthy career in journalism. When I left a senior job in Scottish newspapers at the end of the 1990s, I rekindled my passion for painting.


‘When I worked in Glasgow, I had a retreat on the shores of Loch Fyne in Argyllshire...a little cottage in a stunning part of the Scottish West Highlands which have inspired artists over centuries, and continue to be an artist’s paradise.


‘There were many artists around me there, so ‘the bug’ to paint again gradually crept back into my life. A lot is made of people who start painting late in life...that they are not art-school trained. I have always believed it is what comes from the heart.


‘Like most artists who enjoy landscapes, I have been inspired by many great painters, especially The Scottish Colourists, of course including G.L.Hunter...who was a fellow ‘Brandane’. That is what we call ourselves when we have been born on Bute. But anyone reading this website will probably know the works of his fellow artists – Fergusson, Cadell, Peploe - in recent exhibitions in Scotland. They were a magnificent group. I would love to have known them and talked to them about art.


‘Their works encompass so much that was Scotland, Scottish life in figure and landscape and still life...and the works from their travels in Europe. No other single group since has equalled them as an artistic force in Scotland.

Blazing Sunset, Arran

‘The magnificence of The Scottish Highlands in autumn is truly breathtaking and it has been a challenge to try to capture their beauty on canvas.  And when I have painted in Spain, many of the landscape colours could be similar to Scotland at certain times of year....the rich red of the soil, the verdant springtime, the white sands that you only see around the West Coast here, the exotic colour of springtime flowers in both Crarae Gardens in Argyll and Achamore Gardens on Gigha where I love to paint. And the waters around the island of Gigha off the West Coast of Scotland can look very Mediterranean in summer.


It is impossible not to be moved by the power of nature. And while the hot summers and mild winters make the climate so appealing to us Scots in Spain, it was the storms over the Mar Menor, the great lagoon next to my home, at many different times of the year that were truly breathtaking for me. But looking out of my home here on the Ayrshire Coast now where I can see the fantastic sunsets over Arran and look south to see the rock of Ailsa Craig  is an inspiration I have loved for the past few years, too. There is enough material here in Ayrshire to keep any devoted artist busy for a century!