©Ailsa Mackay www.ailsamackay.com
©Ailsa Mackay www.ailsamackay.com
©Ailsa Mackay www.ailsamackay.com
©Ailsa Mackay www.ailsamackay.com

About Ailsa

I am a UK based artist and designer. I graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 1992 with a BDes (Hons) in Printed Textiles.

My career has led me from being a Colourist & Textile Designer, Stationery Designer, Fine Artist through to a secondary career in Retail Development and Project Management. 

I ran my two careers side by side, but when a horrible accident left me wondering if I would ever be able to paint again, it made me realise that it was time to get well and get back to what's important to me.  So I did exactly that, I got up, worked hard and set up my own studio to work as a full time artist in 2016.

I have exhibited in the UK and my work is held in private and public collections in the UK, Germany, USA and Australia.

My design work has sold through High Street Brands in the UK, Germany and the USA.


Valentines day drawing

Pastel work at the very begining of Mad March Hares

©Ailsa Mackay www.ailsamackay.com

My practice

My work is all about colour. My favourite way to work is in large scale, on paper using mixed media. This includes acrylic, pastel, gouache, wax resist techniques and collage to build up layers, creating depth and contrast.  If you were to push me for my favourite medium, it would have to be pastel.

My inspiration is taken from nature and wildlife but it strays into other areas depending on what my current interest is or what I've been commissioned to produce. Never the less, my technique gives each one their signature style. Sketching is really important to me. I spend a lot of time developing ideas in my sketchbooks and designing from them. This makes my sketchbooks my own personal bible for all of my work. Photography plays a significant role in my design and composition process too. I like to incorporate and intertwine my photographs within my paintings and designs. It pleases me immensely when there is no visual distinction between the two.

 I particularly love birds as subject matter, I am drawn to them as a source of inspiration time and time again. But to tell the truth, I am tremendously scared of them. They have held a life long fascination for me, which has never paled in its appeal! I absolutely adore the work and vision of Ernst Haeckel. His work delights me and is a style I love to adopt in my own work.

I am regularly commissioned to paint birds and as with everything I do, the research produces a multitude of inspiration, which until 2016 was stacking up as unrealised ideas. The fabulous thing about being in my studio full time is that I can return to years' worth of ideas and explore the subjects fully.

I love to paint every day. I've been inspired by the Daily Painting theory, so I like to make sure that I devote time every day to create one small painting. You can see them here on my website, Facebook or my Instagram page.

Much of my work is design and can be bought on many various products, my most recent venture being wedding stationery. I launched a brand name for a less graphics based approach of occasion stationery in 2017. You can see more of these at LizzieBellaDesign.com

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​​Ailsa Mackay​​    Contemporary Mixed Media Art