Mary Andrews

From the pet tortoise I had as a child to the jellyfish bloom spotted off Skye last year I have always wanted to share images of what I consider special by drawing, painting and printmaking. I do not want to dwell on my difficult times but to celebrate what appeals to me and share this excitement with others. Sometimes I would like to follow in the tradition of printmakers who expose the injustices around us, but I have found that this is not part of my creative make-up, and is better left to artists whose talents in this field are greater than mine. If I have any message at all it is to cherish and care for the diversity of the environment we live in. Much of my current work is an effort to express my excitement in the beauty of the animals and plants around my Highland home, although landscapes, buildings and people also make an appearance.

“Go into science, you can always do art as a hobby,” my teachers said. Although I followed this advice my enthusiasm for creating art and, in particular, my love of printmaking, has long out-lived my career as a research scientist. My initial introduction to lino printing came at school, but I never had time to try it again until I was at home with a young family and bored after surgery. Having rediscovered what has become my favourite medium, I eventually made it to Art College as a mature student, where the print workshop was a safe haven from 18 year old student drama queens. When the family had to move to Scotland, preventing me completing a degree in illustration, a new opportunity arose with the discovery of the Highland Print Studio, which was then down the road from our new house. I showed up at the door, was warmly welcomed and have never looked back.

In lino printing I find a combination of craft and art that throws up technical as well as visual challenges, appealing to the remaining scientist within me. Everything about the process, from the first cut through to the smell of the inks, the hiss of rollers, the use of the presses and the final thrill of peeling back the paper to see what is there, is deeply satisfying. When the image I wish to share demands it I do have the occasional foray into etching and screen print, and I have a desire to learn stone lithography. Recently I have fulfilled a long held ambition to learn wood engraving and this is becoming an increasingly important medium to me.