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Denise Playfair

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Denise Playfair
On leaving school, I chose to train as a draughtsman in a local drawing office rather than to take up the place at art college, which has no doubt contributed to the level of realism with which I draw. At the same time I completed my first degree by distance learning, in History of Art. Thereafter, I went on to qualify further as a Surveyor.
After years of working in both the Public and Private Building sector, I left after the birth of our son and then bought The Vennel Gallery in Kelso, running the gallery and a successful picture framing business until ill health forced its sale.
I now work from home where we have a large, established garden. It is my love of the garden that attracted me to do some botanical drawings, no doubt influenced by my previous technical drawing experience. I never set out to do traditional botanical illustrations. I draw the plants from my garden which were originally chosen for their blousy flowers and colours, rather than their leaf size, colour or shape. This year I have built a new studio and am also building new floral gardens around it with a view to opening the studio and garden in the future.
I have never applied for an Art Award prior to my successful application to BISCOT where I was selected to participate in their exhibition at Gardening Scotland in 2019. I can’t say that I wasn’t a tad disappointed to only receive a Bronze medal but that morning I learned that I had been selected as a Finalist in the Visual Arts Open Prize, exhibiting later that year at Chester Art Fair.
On a personal level, I live on our small farm with my husband and son, where we breed and show Shetland Sheep and pygmy goats. I compete at Endurance riding and was selected for the Scottish team, winning the Novice Home International in Wales in 2019. My son now also competes and we are both on the Team GB development squads – although he is much more likely to be selected! I also breed and show my pack of Standard Smooth Dachshunds.
2019 awards Bronze medal, six Hydrangea at BISCOT finalist Visual Arts Open Prize, Hydrangea