Eastern Approaches

Joyce Cairns

  • Artist

    Joyce Cairns

  • Date

    c. 1999

  • Medium

    Watercolour and gouache

  • Object number


  • Dimensions unframed

    58.5 × 88 cm

  • Dimensions framed

    67.3 × 98 × 3.2 cm

  • Subject


  • Copyright

    Ⓒ The Artist


Joyce W Cairns PRSA,DEd,HRA,HRHA,HRWA,HRBA,RSW,MA(RCA), born 1947

Born in Edinburgh, Cairns studied at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen from 1966 to 1970. In 1971 she went to London to complete her Master's degree at the Royal College of Art, and obtained her art-teaching qualification from Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 1976. Cairns is a painter of Scottish scenes and portraits in densely packed autobiographical works. During the 1970s she painted many mythological themes, often treating them in a pseudo-religious manner using the format of altarpieces. She has been influenced by German painters of the interwar years, including Beckmann, Dix and Grosz. On returning to live in the north-east of Scotland in 1976 she began to paint the life and work of her community. For the past twenty years she has lived in the village of Footdee, at the mouth of Aberdeen Harbour. Her pictures give glimpses of harbour and are people with sailors and characters from her life. Cairns was elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2018.