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Fiona Cotton

Fiona Cotton is a contemporary realist painter focusing on still life painting and portraiture.  In recent years, she has been a finalist in many art prizes such as the EMSLA, the Ravenswood and the Mosman Art Prizes as well as the 2018 Percival Portrait Prize and the A.M.E Bale Art Prize.  She began her art training at a young age with professional artist Mary Martin in the UK before moving to Australia in her teens.  After graduating in Fine Art and Drama (Flinders), she taught English Communication in many contexts, all the while painting whenever she could.  She has now returned to full time painting after leaving her academic position at UNSW, Canberra. She has been lucky enough to travel extensively to study art in Europe, Asia and the USA.  She studied part-time at the Canberra School of Art from 2010 to 2013 and took intensive courses in Italy at the Florence Academy of Art (2014, 2015) and the Charles H Cecil Studios (2016). She has also attended workshops with master painters such as Cesar Santos at the Florence Studio (2017) and Michael Klein (2018) at Rosemary’s Brushes in Yorkshire.


In my still life paintings, using as far as possible the techniques of the Old Masters which I have been studying in Italy and elsewhere, I explore the gentle beauty of everyday objects, many of which hold poignant memories of family, friends and time spent together.  In a world of noise, speed and distraction, I try to create a quiet space where creative, joyful thoughts can flourish through contemplation of an image rich with colour and light.


2018 Finalist, A.M.E Bale Art Prize, Melbourne

2018 Finalist, Percival Portrait Prize, Townsville

2017 Les Petits Travaux Group exhibition, Aarwun Gallery, Canberra

2017 Finalist, Rick Amor Self Portrait Prize, Montsalvat, Melbourne

2017 Finalist, Ravenswood Art Prize, Sydney

2017 Winner, Squares Exhibition, Strathnairn Arts, Canberra

2016 Mosman Art Prize finalist for a portrait of Lauren

2016 Mosman Art Prize finalist for Fruits of the Australian earth
2015 EMSLA finalist, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, NSW
2015 Pirtek Still Life Award exhibition, Bowral District Art Society, NSW
2013-2014 Alembic, Getting Group Exhibition, Yarralumla Galleries, Canberra, December-January



2018 Michael Klein Workshop, Rosemary’s Brushes, Yorkshire

2017 Cesar Santos Workshop, The Florence Studio

2016 Charles H Cecil Studios, Florence, intensive portraiture workshop

2015 Florence Academy of Art six week intensive

2014 Florence Academy of Art Still Life workshop

2010-2013 Part-time study, Canberra School of Art

1980s-2017 Extensive art study tours in Europe, USA and ASIA

1969-1973 BA in Fine Art and Drama, Flinders University, South Australia


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