Painting Students Receive Travel Awards

The Summer vacation of 2015 saw two 3rd year Painting students being awarded prestigious Carnegie and Cross Trust Vacation Scholarships. These awards allowed them to travel and research in a country of their choice over the long Summer break.

The selected students were Paul Doyle and Izzy Thompson who travelled to Cuba and Iceland respectively.

Below are their thoughts on their time abroad and some images that capture the unique character of their chosen destinations.

There will be an opportunity to view Paul and Izzy’s work, along with the rest of the Gray’s 4th year Painters, at their interim exhibition, which will be open to the public from 5th March – 20th March 2016 at The Edinburgh Palette, St Margaret’s House, London Road, Edinburgh.

Paul DoylePaul Doyle

“With the aid of a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship I was able to spend three weeks in Cuba, visiting artists and students at the University in Havana, seeing the 12th Havana Biennial and also visiting some more rural places. I was very lucky in that my contact in Havana (now my friend), an art student, introduced me to lots of artists.

1. Paul Doyle. Havana

Cuba was a culture shock for me. The society is unlike anything I have experienced before. With the oppressively hot and humid July temperatures, the landscapes and the way of life, I’ve been left with some very strong impressions. Artists there have a unique and difficult set of circumstances which has made me think more about some of the reasons people make art, and the part that this can play in communication when other channels may not be open.

The scholarship has given me lots of material to help me in my studio practice and to progress through my fourth year at Gray’s, and I am very grateful for the opportunity’.

Izzy Thompson

‘Going to Iceland on a Cross Trust Scholarship presented itself as a valuable opportunity for me to physically and imaginatively connect with this mighty but humble place-to the landscape and the people/ artists in it. I don’t think I would have been able to make the kind of paintings I desired just from being in Scotland.

The scholarship provided me with a focused amount of time in a place that I needed to be and it has extended my knowledge and boundaries of human life in a country that has ignited my visuals. I found I could channel myself into exploring, researching, collecting and learning leaving me with- for my final year- a juicy amount of new material to bite into.

Due to its aberrational atmosphere and sensational revealing of what is underneath earth’s crust, I found the experience of going to Iceland on a scholarship to be an inspiration. Allowing for an opportunity to live with the ‘genuine quirk’ that is unique to Icelandic people bequeathed me with a ticket to the kind of characters I had been searching for- the ones I need to pepper my paintings with. My painting- the narratives and the way in which I handle the paint, has certainly been influenced by the Icelander’s gentle attitude to an unforgiving environment’.

1. Izzy Thompson. A slippy road in the North


  1. […] of the Gray’s 16, Paul and Izzy, won travel awards to help them make research trips to Cuba and Iceland in the summer. Their studio work has been greatly enriched by their discoveries on these […]

  2. […] Painting graduate Izzy Thomson tells us what she likes about the BA (Hons) Painting course and why she chose to study here at […]

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