Ann Finlayson was born in Glasgow in 1943. She trained at Glasgow School of Art, Kingston School of Art and the Royal College of Art where she graduated with a first class M.A.
Ann held solo exhibitions at the New Art Centre in Sloane Street, the Oxford Gallery, (at the request of her former professor, Carel Weight) and the Adam Gallery and Thornton Bevan Arts in London, and was the winner of the Watercolour Prize at the Royal Academy Summer Show in 1984.
As well as exhibiting in many group shows, Ann was a much loved teacher at different art schools including latterly Kingston and the Sir John Cass. In the early years after graduating from the RCA she was an assistant to Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley, Alistair Grant and also Leonard Rosoman on the execution of large murals. Ann also worked as assistant to Ken Baynes, Design Consultant, on the preparation of exhibitions for the Welsh Arts Council.
Ann’s paintings and drawings reflect her great love of nature, and Scotland where she travelled each Summer. Her work is in various collections including the RCA, Glyndebourne Opera House, Bolton Museum of Art and Hamilton Education Centre, Scotland.
In 1995 Ann contracted Multiple System Atrophy, a rare progressive disease of the nervous system. She died from this disease in 1999.
This obituary was written by her good friend and neighbour, the Artist Mary Fedden RA
ANN FINLAYSON 1943 – 99
A visit to Ann Finlayson’s studio was a journey into an enchanted space. It was a conservatory full of plants, shells, stones, an aquarium, postcards of favourite paintings, poems pinned to the walls, strange photographs from ancient colour supplements: all of which constituted the rich visual mulch which nourished her work.
There was a thread running through all her wide range of painting – a passion and sincerity which bound her work together, and a technical sureness, especially in her unbelievably beautiful and subtle watercolours, which made looking at them such a pleasure. Although many of the paintings appeared to be initially abstract, her starting point was always based on something seen – plant or planet, or the Scottish landscape where her heart was. She looked long at those subjects and translated them into something so profoundly her own, that they could have been painted by no one else. I think this very personal and private passion was what made her work so outstanding.
Although she was a single minded and dedicated painter she was completely unselfish in giving time and affection to her friends and fellow students. Her talk was witty and warm hearted, and she was always eager to listen to the concerns of those around her. She loved and valued her friends and was deeply loved in return.