Featured Artist Isobel Hamilton

Artist Isobel Hamilton’s paintings capture the beauty and stillness in the contrast of lamplight and darkness. Find more of her work by visiting her website.


candle lit still life by Isobel Hamilton

“Clarity” acrylic on wood panel, 16” x 20”


When my husband and I emigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada from Scotland in 2013, I knew I wanted a change in career direction. I had worked as a fingerprint expert in Glasgow. While the work could be interesting, it was essentially an office job. I knew I wanted to do something different, something creative.


night time painting with an oil lamp by Isobel Hamilton

“By Lamp Light” acrylic on wood panel, 18” x 12”


It took me several years to discover the creative path I needed to be on was the one that had always been with me—painting. It may be stereotypical for an artist to say she has always painted, but it’s the truth. I recently found an old workbook from school. At age six, I said the career I wanted was an artist. It’s interesting how we perhaps always know what we should be, but talk ourselves out of it as we get older.


“Porchlight” acrylic on wood panel, 16” x 20”


I am a self-taught contemporary realist painter, working primarily in acrylics. I’ve been using acrylic paint for decades, so I know the medium very well. My work is often highly detailed. I enjoy the level of detail acrylics allow, along with their fast-drying time.


painting of a candle lit lamp over the water by Isobel Hamilton

“Fairy Light” acrylic on wood panel, 22” x 32”


I have been told my acrylic paintings have been mistaken for oils; they have a luminous quality not often found in acrylic. I taught myself a method which is very like the technique of an oil painter, using layers and glazing to build up colour, resulting in a wonderful depth of colour and tone.


painted portrait of two horses by Isobel Hamilton

“Beauty” oil on canvas panel, 11” x 14”


Recently I have been branching out and painting animal portraits in oils—a subject matter where the ability to blend is very important! I would like to master oil landscapes in the future, but I don’t think I will ever leave my acrylics behind.


painting of a sunset through trees by Isobel Hamilton

“Last Glimpse of the Sun” acrylic on wood panel, 16” x 20”


The main theme running through all my work is light. It is my favourite subject matter. I love chiaroscuro, the contrast of dark and light. I am drawn to the contrast between the cool light of twilight with the warmth of lamplight.


Painting of a night scene and a lone candle-lit jar by Isobel Hamilton

“Night Light” acrylic on wood panel, 14” x 11”


The other thread which runs through all of my work is a feeling of simpler times, before we were all connected to the internet 24/7 and addicted to our screens. When we moved to rural Nova Scotia, I rediscovered real darkness, away from houses and streetlights. I think there is something primeval about it.


painting of a cabin at twilight with the porch light on by Isobel Hamilton

“The Hideaway” acrylic on wood panel, 20” x 16”


We’re not meant to live in constant illumination, and darkness can be a little magical. Particularly when, within that darkness, there are points of light, whether from a candle, a lantern or a window. I hope anyone viewing my paintings enjoys a moment of contemplation, a feeling of peace, quiet and contentment, away from the hustle of modern life.


Artist Isobel Hamilton at work in her studio

Artist Isobel Hamilton at work in her studio


I consider myself to be an emerging artist and I hope over the next couple of years to establish myself more fully. I’d like to build my following and find new venues to sell my art.


Artist Isobel Hamilton invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


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