A mother of three who started a late career in art has been announced as the winner of the Scotland’s biggest prize for emerging talent.

52-year-old Charlene Scott from East Lothian has won the 2024 Glenfiddich Artist in Residence prize worth £15,000.

She was awarded the prize for her work using folded paper and home made botanical pigments.

Charlene only took up the hobby in her 40s, heading to art school, and will now spend three months of summer 2024 at the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, Moray, as part of their Artists in Residence(AiR) programme. She’ll be accompanied by a range of talent from around the world.

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The former travel agent said she was ‘shocked and delighted’ to win the award. She said: “The residency is such a gift.

"My work is quite slow, and I need time to soak up my surroundings. I’m really looking forward to developing my work at Glenfiddich.”

Charlene creates her work by making her own colours from plants she’s cultivated in her garden. She has been hailed by the bosses behind the award as a complex and underestimated artist.

She added: “I use a stove in the garden for making pigments - when I use the kitchen my family complains about the smell!

“I can’t help but make connections between the aesthetics of minimalism and the basic principles of herbalism and ecology.

“I use line, folds, repetition and pattern along with botanical pigments to build a framework that I hope will entice a viewer to look closely and linger a little longer.”

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The prize, supported by distillery owners William Grant & Sons, is awarded annually at the RSA New Contemporaries exhibition in Edinburgh, which is regarded as the leading showcase of emerging art in Scotland. Charlene, who has two grown-up daughters and a 16-year-old son, fulfilled a lifelong ambition when she started a degree course at Edinburgh College of Art in her late forties.

Co-ordinator of the Residence Programme at Glenfiddich, Andy Fairgrieve says Charlene’s distinctive work, made by folding paper to create lines and patterns then adding colour from natural pigments she makes herself, caught the eye of the judges and was hard to overlook.

He said: “It would be easy to underestimate the works of Charlene Scott, however, the longer you linger and absorb her works more is revealed.

“Not unlike a well-crafted single malt whisky, her work is a clean yet complex celebration of simplicity with a great sense of hidden depth. She will be a perfect fit to this year’s Glenfiddich Residency.”

It’s not the first time Charlene has been recognised for her artistic talents. While at Edinburgh College of Art, she won the James Cumming Award for Draughtsmanship, the Astaire Art Prize and an RSA John Kinross Travel Scholarship, which enabled her to spend six weeks in Florence.

The RSA New Contemporaries exhibition brings together the work of recent graduates selected from all five Scottish art schools. Due to a cancelled exhibition during the pandemic, this year’s showcase features 104 artists, double the usual number, drawing graduates from the classes of 2022 and 2023.

Gareth Fisher, President of the RSA and co-convenor of the New Contemporaries exhibition, said: “The support offered to emerging artists through the Glenfiddich Artist in Residence Award at RSA New Contemporaries showcases Glenfiddich’s commitment to investing in Scottish creative talent.

“Not only is the recipient provided with the time and space to develop their practice, but the opportunity also gives unparalleled access to a network of international artists. The support the award provides is key at this early stage of their practice, and the Academy is incredibly grateful to Glenfiddich for their ongoing partnership.”