My work is primarily about responding to my surroundings in a personal way. I have long been obsessed with the figure. I enjoy the challenges involved in expressing a physical and emotional presence while attempting to give an honest representation of the fall of light on the body.

I return to self-portraits again and again. I hope its not a self-centred obsession! I scrutinise my own face as I would any other, the only difference being that I know what’s going on behind it. I find that self portraiture helps me to respond better to the inner lives of my other models.


My recent work has been inspired by my new home in the Western Highlands. I've been particularly drawn to the salt-marsh close to our house and the hill behind (Angel Hill) which provides an excellent promontory for sketching.

The wildness of this new landscape reminds me so much of county Mayo in the west of Ireland, a place I've loved and painted for years.

"The strength of her work rests not only on her assiduous attention to the demands of each area of subject matter, but also, very much, on the consistency of her dark-edged vision."
Aidan Dunne, Irish Times

Angel Hill

In the middle of October 2012, after eighteen years of living in Edinburgh, I moved with my partner to the North-West Highlands, pregnant and with our two year old daughter Maisie in tow. We settled into our traditional crofter's cottage and braced ourselves for the winter ahead.

The spot we chose is called Kirkton, a small clutch of cottages next to a church on the main road to Skye. We look out past an early nineteenth century barn towards Loch Alsh, a tidal sea loch frequented by otters.There is a tree-lined path down to the loch that opens out on to a wide salt-marsh which changes all the time according to the tide and provides a wonderful children's playground.

Our very steep back garden reaches up high into the woodland behind, and right next to us a burn runs down to the sea alongside a mossy drystone wall. Quite a change from noisy Dalry in Edinburgh. Despite being hugely pregnant I started painting at once.

Having survived our first winter and the birth of our second daughter Amelia (at home) I became more and more drawn to the strange hill-top graveyard behind our house, the beautifully named Angel Hill. The graveyard is on the site of an ancient hill-fort and has a breathtaking view out over the trees, shinty pitch, near hills, loch and, far beyond, to Skye and the Cullins. This is just the kind of layering that I love to tackle in my work.

As well as being a wonderful promontory, the graveyard itself is a beautiful thing with it's rhythmic rusty railings encircling the higgledy-piggledy headstones. I also love the battered and exposed trees up there draped in greeny yellow lichen.

February produced a blanket of snowdrops on Angel Hill, April brought huge clumps of buttery daffodils. Both flowers seemed so poignant in their abundance amongst the graves. I was determined to capture them before they withered and I dragged a six foot drawing board and easel up the hill to paint during a rare sunny spell.

My father has been struck by Angel Hill too. He has written a beautiful poem called 'Snowdrops' which inspired a drawing. I've also attempted to illustrate his poems 'Birth-bed' and 'Amelia's Poem'. I'm delighted that we have coincided in this way*.

We've now been here for almost two years and I feel that painting and drawing have helped me to get to know this mysterious place. I've loved observing it change through the seasons. It has started to feel like home.

*This led to a book of poems and drawings called Sea Asters, published by Andrew J Moorhouse, 2015


Born and raised in Belfast and now living in Scotland, Sarah has exhibited in many locations including the Peppercanister Gallery (Dublin), Mullan Gallery (Belfast)  and the Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh) to name but a few.

You can view all of Sarah's previous exhibitions and experience in her CV below.

Download Sarah's CV