Margot Sandeman drew on her family life and her garden and the Arran landscape which she had visited consistently since childhood and knew so well. She painted the things close to her, her family and the landscapes that she loved, the beauty of which she found pure and magical. Like Norman Gilbert, despite early critical recognition, Sandeman’s work remained under the radar throughout much of her lifetime. However in the past two decades she has gained the notice she deserves with several acquisitions into public collections. Her work has poetry embedded in it, sometimes quite literally. In later years boldly linear and imbued with philosophy, a shared interest led her to collaborate with her art school friend and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay on several of her paintings.
Born in Glasgow, her father was an accomplished watercolourist and her mother an internationally famous embroiderer who trained with Jessie Newberry at Glasgow School of Art. Margot followed in her footsteps, also studying in Glasgow where she met and became a lifelong friend of fellow artist Joan Eardley. They made many painting trips together to Arran which was the Sandeman’s summer base, where Margot created many of the idyllic scenes of figures in nature. Sandeman was a poet, for her the thought, the idea, the atmosphere of beautiful trees and shady lanes, sheep as part of the pattern and shape of the landscape were rare, pure and magical. Light, airy and colourful, the figures are romantically symbolic of her thoughts, philosophy and poetry. In her work there are echoes of Matisse, Seurat and a Japanese Master, tonal harmony and harnessed energy, lyrical and vibrant. Her paintings are instilled with an air of peaceful tranquillity.
Winner of the Guthrie Award, 1964; the Anne Redpath Award, 1970; the Scottish Arts Council Award, 1970 and the Laing Competition, 1989, her works are represented in numerous private and public collections in Scotland and further afield, including the BBC, The Scottish Arts Council, Contemporary Art Society, the City Art Centre, Edinburgh and The Fleming Collection, London. She has had several solo shows in Edinburgh and in Glasgow at Gerber Fine Art and Compass Gallery. Margot Sandeman’s work was exhibited in a major exhibition in the Lillie Art Gallery, 2011 and the ‘Modern Scottish Women, Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965’ exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland 2015.