"In these new works for The Stratford Gallery, I have created a deep historical well -  from the domestic indulgence of the brilliant Berthe Morisot to the isolation of Tracey Emin, to the lively brushstrokes of the Impressionists.  My main purpose was to capture the fluidity of paint,   To express my familiarity with art history and allow my viewers a glimpse in a private sphere.


The works draw from memory, art history and contemporary life.  They have an uneasy yet beautiful coexistence of contradictory states: strength and vulnerablilty, loneness and hope, love and despair.  I examined these tensions by capturing fleeting moments of humanity with the novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.  A subject that is still on going and evolving all the time.

I examine these tensions by emplyoing a technique of wiping and layering that suggests the human process of erasure and reinvention.  I am left with a series of momentary resolutions that contain both clarity and a sense of contingency."  Elaine Speirs, June 2021 

Elaine Speirs was born in Johannesburg 1967 and moved to Scotland as a child. Her childhood experiences in and between these two places spurred an interest in the themes of fragility, contradiction and reinvention that recur throughout her work.

Elaine explores the stark contrast she observes between the rich contours of female personhood and the depersonalised portraits of women that appear in the public sphere.

Referencing a variety of imagery - ranging from nineteenth century literature to contemporary photography and film - the work reclaimes the fleeting moments of humanity Elaine Glimpse in these images, establishing a tentative connection between the distant and the intimate, between the universal and the personal.

Elaine attended Edinburgh College of Art between 1989 and 1993, and completed her MA at the Slade School of FIne Art in 1995.  

A regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy of Scotland and The Mall Galleries in London, her awards include The Caron Keating Memorial Award and The John Purcell Drawing Award. She was shortlisted for the National Open Art Competition, The Threadneedle Prize, W. Gordon Smith Award and selected for the BP Portrait Award.  In 2021 she was elected as Professional Member for Visual Arts Scotland.  Her works are included in many international private collections.


1993-5 Slade School of Fine Art, M.A.

1989-93 Edinburgh College of Art, BA Hons

Solo Exhibitions

2019 AndGallery, Edinburgh, Beautiful Regrets

2017 Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh, Portrait of Her

2014 And Collective, Bridge of Allan, No Small Dreams

2013 Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, Lost Sleep

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Tiny Yet Mightly, And Gallery, Edinburgh

2021 Artist Focus Week, And Gallery, Edinburgh

2020 Winter Exhibition And Gallery Edinburgh

2020 Glimpse of Gold, Patriothall Gallery

2019 BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London

2018 And Gallery Edinburgh

2017 Basel, Switzerland Art Fair, Arusha Gallery

2016 Shortlisted W. Gordon Smith Award, Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh

2016 SSA Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2015 Mall Galleries London

2014 Paisley Art Institute, Paisley

2014 Aberdeen Art Gallery

2013 SWA, The Mall Galleries, London

2013 VAS, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2013 SSA, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2013 Aberdeen National Gallery

2012 Open Eye Gallery Edinburgh

2012 Award Winners' Show, Glasgow Art Club

2012 Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2012 Shortlisted National Open Art Competition

2012 Kelly Gallery, Glasgow

2012 Aberdeen National Gallery

2012 Paisley Institue Drawing Competition

2011 Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh

2011 Quartet, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh

2011 VAS Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2010 RSA, Edinburgh