By Karen Carruth

Heather Afrin’s artwork depicts the gentle beauty of flowers and nature, majestic sea shores being battered by waves, and village scenes caught when no human is around to disturb the silence and atmosphere. 
Which is the polar opposite of where I find Heather when I pin her down for a chat during the hectic summer holidays. Surrounded by children, some of which are her own, at her home in Inverness.  Heather is originally from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis and her art is heavily influenced by the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland and she is quite rightly proud of her heritage and loves producing lively artwork that shows her passion for the area. 
As is often the case for busy working mums, art was something that she enjoyed while she was young, when she had more time on her hands. She studied at the Art School in Edinburgh which led her into then studying graphics at Glasgow College of Building and Printing, which led into a more multimedia platform for her artistic qualities. “As time went on,” says Heather, “I was leaving art further and further behind.”
A career in web design and programming took over, as well as life in general. And before she knew it, 15 years had passed and she hadn’t picked up a paintbrush. 
“It was three years ago that I was given a painting set, and I thought, I really ought to get back to it.”
The first thing that Heather put onto paper was a small painting of Stornoway Harbour. (It is still displayed over the kitchen table). She was so pleased by her efforts she popped a photo of it on Facebook and was delighted to have people ask for prints of her first foray back into art. 
“I had no idea how to source prints, so I had to start looking into where I could have them printed and where to source mounts, bags, labels etc, it was a steep learning curve.”
And, of course, when she started, she couldn’t stop. She works in watercolour, oil and pastels. Her current love is water soluble oils. 
“I love using messy watercolour. No lines, no edges, sometimes I feel that the watercolours are more in control of what is happening on the paper than I am, it’s a wonderful, freeing, medium,” says Heather. 
Over the past few years Heather has experimented with many subjects, the animal paintings have proved very popular with customers, and she has a loyal following on the Western Isles of the art she has produced which features scenes from the islands. 
She is really enjoying painting old buildings, and has just finished a row of abandoned buildings at Camserney Farm, Longhouse in Aberfeldy, which has a calm, ghostly, feel to it. 
Does she trawl the country looking for scenes to paint? “I wish I had the time,” says Heather, “when I do get out with my camera I take as many photos as I can, we try to go out as a family (partner and two little boys), and we are really lucky to live in Inverness because within five minutes you can be in the countryside.
“There is a terrific resource called AmBaile, which is a website that is an online learning and research resource which has lots of digitised archives covering the language, culture and history of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, that has been a great source for me to look at historical images to base some of my work on.”
But back to the Isle of Lewis and it has been a great source of custom for Heather. She has her work in a few shops and galleries in the area, (as well as across the Highlands) and a happy coincidence for Heather is that her sister and niece have opened a shop in Stornoway called Salka Gift Shop on the Rock, featuring their own Salka seaglass jewellery, which is a perfect place to host Heather’s artwork too. 
She was delighted when someone who had bought one of her paintings of Stornoway thanked her for “brightening up our town” in her depiction of a Stornoway street.
“I’m not a realistic artist, I think it is quite difficult to describe my style. I do paintings that are very precise, particularly the street scenes, and then on the other hand when I use oils and watercolours I like to depict freedom and wildness when tackling the beauty of the western isles,” says Heather. 
Looking at her range, I ask her what has been most popular with her customers.  “It’s always hard to predict, there has been cases when I’ve painted something and not been too impressed with it and yet it sells really well. The Highland cows are always popular, as is my Stornoway Harbour scene, my images of Loch Ness always sell well around here, and I’ve one called Purple Isle which is popular too. And the beach scenes seem to also do well.”
When thinking about supplying shops and galleries, Heather thought it would be a good opportunity to produce some of her work on mugs and coasters, on notepads, mirrors and magnets which have also been good sellers for her. 
As for price, Heather keeps her range in the accessible range. “What’s the point of painting something and then pricing yourself out the market, I would rather my paintings were on someone’s wall, than sitting here with a price tag that is outwith people’s budgets.”
Heather’s only free time after working full time, and looking after her two little boys is in the evening, when she grabs any time she has to sit down with her brushes and create her latest work. 
“I start to get restless if I haven’t painted in a while, art is something that is just mine, I do it for myself, and I am so glad I started painting again.”
Prints: small – £19, A4 mounted is £29, A3 mounted is £40.
Originals are available from £180. All sizes and commissions are negotiable.
To browse Heather’s work go to:   
Or browse and ‘like’ her facebook page to stay up to date with her latest work at
Contact: 07786 994373