Painter; Born May 27, 1922; Died January 17, 2009.

Margot Sandeman, who has died aged 86, was an accomplished painter, born into a family of artists, who worked with Ian Hamilton Finlay and became Joan Eardley's longest-standing friend, a friendship that lasted until Eardley's death in 1963.

Sandeman, whose work has been all too rarely seen, deserves to have been better known in her own lifetime. She possessed a knack of painting life in detail in a style that remained lucid and simple, employing elemental colour: battleship grey to evoke turbulent sea, or pale yellows and blues to show a sunset in spring.

Margot Sandeman was born in Glasgow, the daughter of embroiderer Muriel Boyd and self-taught watercolourist Archibald Sandeman. She grew up in a home in Bearsden that reflected the influence of Edwin Lutyens, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. Her mother, whose work became internationally known, had studied at Glasgow School of Art under Jessie Newbery, the lecturer, artist and needleworker married to Fra' Newbery, the principal.

By the time the young Sandeman reached art school herself, she was quietly and confidently painting in the manner of Walter Sickert, creating colour from a limited palette. She was quickly singled out, along with Eardley, by Hugh Adam Crawford, head of drawing and painting, for an experiment in which a very small number of outstanding students in that 1939 session were selected for special attention. This effectively amounted to a three-year course in two years, with Crawford himself as tutor.

Compressed in this creative atmosphere, Sandeman blossomed, as did Eardley, with Crawford opining that Sandeman's paintings possessed an "inner structure".

Sandeman and Eardley lived not far from each other in Bearsden, and frequently drew and painted together in the Campsies. In the summer of 1941, while still students, they acquired an elderly horse called Paddy, harnessed him to a home-constructed caravan and spent some time camping and painting by Loch Lomond. This led to Eardley being invited by Sandeman to join the family summer holiday on Arran at Corrie the following year.

For years afterwards, they would rent the Tabernacle from local worthy Mrs Jeannie Kelso, this being a tiny outhouse in the back garden of Mrs Kelso's handsome villa. The Tabernacle was little more than a hut on two levels, the sole upper room being reached by a ladder. Here the two women painted, and drew in pen and ink and scumbled colour, Sandeman beginning to show Matisse references of skilled simplicity.

On graduating in 1942, Sandeman was sent on wartime work to Bletchley Park until she was granted compassionate leave to look after her sick mother. This gave her the chance to gain a small studio in Glasgow, and her output began again as she gave vivid life to the simplest of still- lifes of shells, fruit, flowers and crockery.

Her marriage in 1946 to the potter and ceramicist James Robson, an art-school contemporary, caused a pause in output in the 1950s during which she raised sons Peter and David - though she enthused her husband enough about Arran for them to buy and equip the Bothy, a small house in High Corrie, as a place to raise her family in summer. Thus she renewed painting on the island that was her second home and to which she returned at least annually.

In 1970 she won the Guthrie Award of the Royal Scottish Academy, the Redpath Award from the Society of Scottish Artists and a Scottish Arts Council prize, going on in 1989 to be Scottish winner in the Laing Competition. This was a period when she succeeded in twin aims. Using acrylic watercolour with ink, she recorded rugged Arran landscapes - rocks and cliffs, as well as rowans, lilies and sheep - working at speed either en plein air, or using phenomenal memory to give life and liveliness to colour work back in the studio. At almost the same time, she produced a series of large canvases of bathers echoing Matisse and Seurat, as well as collaborating with her old contemporary Hamilton Finlay on his texts. She created a parallel series of still-lifes plus all the illustrations for his "concrete poetry".

As she grew older, so her range of work as well as her output seemed to increase. Notably, she produced a suite of paintings to accompany a celebration of the life of dramatist and poet Robert McLellan, a neighbour in High Corrie.

The critics saved much praise for her, Cordelia Oliver stating that "among Scottish painters of her own time, there is no other whose work reveals such a combination of deep-rootedness in a given place with an equally strong sense of mind set free to soar into a world of visual poetry".

Sandeman contributed to mixed exhibitions in the UK and US, with her principal solo exhibitions being at the Demarco Gallery in Edinburgh and the Hughson Gallery in Glasgow, with a final show at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh three years ago. Her work is represented in public and private collections in Scotland, and in private collections south of the border.

She remained actively interested in painting right to the end of her life. She was predeceased by her husband James Robson, and is survived by her sons Peter and David. By GORDON CASELY