Having run classes for terminally ill patients, former Macmillan nurse Sandie Youngson knows all about the therapeutic quality of painting.
Growing up along Scotland’s coastlines has innumerable perks, not least for the creative spirits among us. No matter if you wake to a dreary morning, even the grey and blue hues in the skies seem to meet the waters with immeasurable beauty.
Of course, there is occasionally a treat awaiting those early risers, where pastel sunrises are mirrored on tranquil waves.
Such views served as primary sources of inspiration for Sandie Youngson, an artist now living in Aberdeen, who spent her childhood days in the coastal town of Carnoustie.
After seeing her older brother producing beautiful portraits, Sandie decided to take up a paintbrush at the age of 16.
Commenting on her days as a girl visiting her grandmother on the Isle of Bute and her time spent on New Zealand’s shores, she said: ‘I love beaches and the way the ocean changes – it’s a subject matter I’m passionate about. I keep saying when I’m old and decrepit, “Stick me on a beach, kids, on a nice sun lounger and let me watch the waves crash!”’
Sandie Youngson’s works are varied in tone, but all possess a wonderfully modern slant and distinctive style that leans towards the impressionistic.
Whether she is capturing an energetic surfing wave or a comparatively serene mooring landscape, Sandie lets her mood influence her works.
‘Sometimes they come together really quickly, sometimes they can take weeks. There’s no real recipe. If you’re in the mood and it’s all going well, you can finish a painting in a couple of hours. The next one might take two weeks.’
Although she is perhaps best known for her seascapes and beach scenes, the selftaught artist expanded her repertoire extensively, working forests and floral scenes into her collections. The vibrant blocks of colour contrasted with progressive gradients are a feast for the eyes.
Predominantly working with oils, Sandie enjoys working from the landscapes in front of her, but always adds a touch of vibrancy and atmosphere to her work.
‘Oils take an awfully long time to dry – some people consider that a downside. But if you’re doing a very large canvas, it gives you plenty time to blend all your colours, and if you want to go and meet a girlfriend for lunch you can come back and just carry on because it hasn’t dried up.’
Admitting, though, that she isn’t a lady who lunches terribly often, Sandie happily whiles away hours in her home studio.
‘I just love being up there painting. If my husband’s out of town and I’m missing him, I’ll just go up there with my coffee in the morning and before I know it the day’s over. It totally takes over. It’s just something I love.’
Before making the transition to selling her artwork, Sandie was a Macmillan nurse – after fulfilling her nursing duties in the morning, she ran art classes with her patients.
‘It was a day-care hospice. I find art is a hobby that absorbs you and it’s a real escapism. When you’re stressed, as you would be when you’re terminally ill, it’s just a way of losing yourself. It became very popular among my patients. I used to think it did more good than the nursing sometimes!’
After selling some of her artwork locally, Sandie began exhibiting in Milton of Crathes Gallery in 1997. Twenty-two years later she still uses the gallery and they frequently put on cancer charity exhibitions.
Several of Sandie’s other pieces are displayed in and around Aberdeenshire and throughout Scotland. There are even a few oil offices that sport her paintings, as well as the College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and businesses across the pond in the US.
Having contributed to NEOS, North East Open Studios, and several charity exhibitions, Sandie Youngson’s artistic schedule is full to the brim. Talking of her plans for the future, she explained ‘I love my life – I’m a busy lady, busier than most people my age. I do travel a huge amount and I’m out the country a lot. I’ve got enough work! I’m happy to carry on as I am.’
For more information on Sandie Youngson’s work, visit www.sjypaintings.com.