Known for her wild seascapes with dramatic skies, Ruth Brownlee is one of Shetland’s most beloved and widely collected artists. She has exhibited across the UK, with her latest solo show in February 2020 at Edinburgh’s Open Eye Gallery, a widely respected gallery of Scottish contemporary art.
Originally from Edinburgh, she studied at the Edinburgh College of Art. In July 1998, she came for a weekend workshop with Shetland’s South Mainland Art Group. She fell in love with both the islands and Tommy Watt, who was running the group, and by October she had moved, and was living with him in Sandwick, in the South Mainland. Tommy passed away from leukemia in 2010, but Ruth still lives at Sandwick with their teenage daughter, Alice. Her studio, caked in blue and white paint, has appeared in the Shetland TV series. She also runs a beautiful Airbnb, Sea Winds, with a view over Jimmy Perez’s house by the waterfront in Lerwick.
Here, she explains the inspirations and processes behind her work.