Fiona Cotton is an emerging Canberra-based artist in the realist tradition whose work shows versatility in both conception and technique. She has been a finalist in a number of art prizes including the Mosman Art Prize (2016) and the Eutick Memorial Still Life (EMSLA) Award (2015).
She began her art training with professional artist Mary Martin in UK at a young age before moving to Australia in her teens. She took a degree in Fine Art (History) and Drama at Flinders University in South Australia and followed a career in education before recently returning to painting full time. She has travelled extensively to study fine art in major galleries in the US, UK, France and Italy and renewed her painting skills in classes at the Canberra School of Art from 2010-2013.
With the resurgence of classical realism and the atelier method of art training both in America and Europe, she has been able to attend intensive courses in Florence at the Florence Academy of Art in 2014 and 2015, the Charles Cecil Studios in 2016 and the Cesar Santos Workshop at the Florence Studio (2017).
Her still life paintings capture the quiet beauty of everyday objects with a delicacy of touch and technical mastery which give her work a jewel-like quality. Her portraits on the other hand arrest the gaze and are clearly influenced by the techniques of the old Masters such as Rubens, whose medium she likes to use to give her portraits depth and richness.
‘Paint what you love’, the advice given by Daniel Graves, Director of the Florence Academy of Art, has been her mantra as she explores the effects of light and reflected light on people and objects and in the evocation of atmosphere.
‘I am an admirer of so many artists who have influenced me from the Dutch Still Life Masters of the Golden Age, such as Pieter Claesz and Willem Claesz Heda, to William Nicholson, and from Rembrandt to John Singer Sargent, it is difficult to say which artist has influenced me the most. Painting for me is a never ending journey of exploration, a meditation where you are transported out of self in the pursuit of beauty.’