Sheila MacFarlane was born in Aberdeen in 1943 but soon after moved to a small village in Fife. She went on to study Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art during one of its most vigorous decades, finding herself in a class with some highly talented fellow students, including the painter, John Bellany.
In 1967, she was awarded a scholarship to study printmaking in Paris at Hayter’s famous Atelier 17. During the earlier part of the 20th Century many of the best known Artists of that era had worked there: Picasso, Giacometti, Dali, Chagall, Miro, Pollock and Le Corbusier to name but a few of them. “This was a strongly formative year for me during which I extended my knowledge of printmaking and so much more …of life ! It was also world wide a time of change and Revolution. In the spring of 1968 began the Student Riots. Clandestinely, I was printing Posters.”
Two years after her return to Scotland, Sheila was appointed as Lecturer in Charge of Printmaking in the Illustration Dept of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. In 1978, she left, and assisted by the artist Michael Stuart Green set up her own Print Studio at Kirktower House, near Montrose. Like Atelier 17, it was an International Workshop, attracting Students from many countries, world wide.
In 1988, A major Exhibition of her work at The Compass Gallery Glasgow titled “Portrait of a Village" drew from her experiences at the time of living in the hamlet of Craig and was the subject of a short T.V. film on Reporting Scotland. In 1991 Sheila moved to Tangleha, St Cyrus where she has built a Studio on the edge of the sea. The sea itself and the Creel fishermen were the subject of another major Exhibition in 1998. "From Tangleha to Barsnab' - which was was pioneering a new photo etching technique - toured Scotland for 4 years, going as far north as Shetland and as far west as Coll.
Around the same time, two huge figurative woodcuts - 8 feet tall based on the legend of Finella - also travelled around, finding their way as far south as MOMA Wales. During 2009-10 her most recent individual Show was at The Aberfeldy Watermill taking as a theme the Perthshire landscape and its indigenous plants. “Usually I prefer to work for a time on a theme. I love the extra education which the research brings me. Landscape has been one theme which has repeated itself in various guises. I love the outdoors; the changing weather… the sun, rain or wind on my face…or following a path to see where it goes . My life in Art is an adventure too. I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
WORK IN COLLECTIONS
The Arts Council of G.B. Oxford University, Whitworth Art Gallery, University College, Wales, Kelvingrove Art Gallery Bradford Art Gallery, Oldham Art Gallery, Atkinson Art Gallery, Fife Education Dept, Bedfordshire County Council, London College of Printing, Croydon College of Design and Technology ,Book Club Associates, London, Wenneger Graphics, Boston.U.S.A. Angus Council, Dundee University, The Scottish Arts Council, Hunterian Gallery University of Manchester, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Victoria Art Gallery,Bath,
Rochdale Art Gallery,Aberdeenshire Education Dept, Bolton Metropolitan Council. Aberdeen Art Gallery.