Adelaide Shalhope Mixed-Media Artist

‘Art Beat’ Forth Valley Open Studio’s
10th July 2021

Gartness, By Balfron

Adelaide Shalhope (2021) It’s All True- Oil, walnut ink, crayon, and collage, on paper 43x58cm (17×23”)

A selection of paintings, collages, and assemblages exploring the fragile boundaries and subtle relationships between humans and nature, and the often-messy process of growth.

Through the open studio’s tour, I was delighted to come across textile artist Adelaide Shalhope and her beautiful garden studio with its idyllic surroundings, which offers so much immediate inspiration for her artwork. It was great to have the opportunity to discuss the artists work which often used mixed media including pastels, crayons, ink, and collage as well as oils. She acknowledged that throughout her adult life she has sought to go willingly into the unknown. That this was a continual struggle to recognise the need to embrace her own vulnerabilities which allows her to fully release and optimise her imagination.

Adelaide Shalhope noted that I don’t know where my life, or my work, will take me. Like my paintings and collage, sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes things are in complete conflict and yet manage to hang together. Many questions have no final answer. This is the process: to somehow manage to be in the deep end of what is not being seen. Isn’t this where we experience the creative disordering necessary to allow ourselves to see what is possible?

I simply try to listen. I respond. I play. I express, hide, repress, awaken, retreat, and express, again. Each mark, each gesture, is intuitive – a moment of experimentation that begets another. Each piece of work is the unknown communicating itself into being.

Adelaide Shalhope (2021) I Can Fly When I Want To- Oil, ink, pen on paper 92x122cm (36×48″)

‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’

– Anaïs Nin

I can readily relate to this quote, of the need to take more risks, to move beyond what is known to become more experimental and in the moment with less predetermination to achieve creatively. I have increased my scale of intuitive relating with a wider range of materials to achieve that optimal level of reciprocal reacting and responding. I like this artist’s means of expression using mixed media, of the need to listen and respond, to play to express more, of this continuing need to be fully engaged and connected in the moment through each gesture and mark made to get the most out of any creative process. As stated by Adelaide Shalhope “each piece of work is the unknown communicating itself into being.” From full immersion in the moment, being fully receptive with the materials in use and the act of creating in accordance with what is being communicated my relationship with textiles continues to be developed, to continue to embrace a broader range of materials and to encapsulate a more comprehensive interpretation and meaning of what materials are and can be.

Adelaide Shalhope (2021) Unintentional Houseplant- Acrylic and oil on paper 35x41cm (14×16″)
Adelaide Shalhope (2020) Everything- Oil, oil stick and crayon on paper 56x76cm (22×30″)
Adelaide Shalhope (2020) Unadulterated- Oil and oil stick on paper 107x108cm (42×43″)

When reviewing this artist and her mixed media work I am immediately drawn to her expressive use of materials, of her use of expressive abstraction to create. The use of oils and acrylic paints are navigated in such a freed up and emotive way which suits the overall narrative. I like the merging of painting techniques with drawing using oil sticks, of the layering effects of paint on paint. The vibrant colour themes very much suit the gestural mark making, which would translate well to a range of printed textiles. My favourites include the use of collage, of the merging and melding of a range of mixed media techniques like Its All True as the walnut ink and crayon drawn over the oil paints creates such a dynamic contrast. I like the outlining effects using the inks as defining segments of line. I Can Fly When I Want To is another favourite which highlights the merits of oil when painting abstracted forms, of the beautiful harmony created using blocks of oil paint differently alongside ink and pen, a real balance of imagery has been achieved. I aim to continue to extend my range of techniques and methods within mixed media work to best communicate what I want to say, of the need to be heard through my creative work and the visual imagery to elicit responses from others.

Create Magazine – Women’s Issue, July 2020 (web version) Expressive Paintings by Adelaide Shalhope

Adelaide Shalhope (2020) Garden of My Secret- Mixed media assemblage on card 28x36cm (11×14”)

As stated by the artist…Why are we so often unable to integrate and reconcile experiences that cause us to hide, express, repress, awaken, and then retreat, again? Why are we so reluctant to let go? Isn’t this how we grow? What is growth?  Like my paintings and collage, sometimes things in life work out and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes issues are often left unresolved. This is the process: to somehow manage to be in the deep end of what is not being seen. It’s here where we experience the creative disordering necessary to use our imagination to see potentiality. Isn’t this growth? 

Adelaide Shalhope (2019) Don’t Look Now, But- Mixed media assemblage on card 28x36cm (11×14″)

I am an American/British visual artist who lives and works in the countryside north of Glasgow. My current works are formed by creating expressive paintings, many of which are cut then re-cut, painted and re-painted, simplified, elaborated, reduced, and re-introduced. Ultimately, each is an artefact in an ongoing tale, memories in relationship within a multidimensional environment.

Create! Magazine is an independent magazine that features contemporary art from around the world.

Thalia Magazine – The Fragment Issue, September 2019


1999 Certificate in Interior Design, Inchbald School of Design, London, UK

1995 M.Ed, Creative Arts in Learning, Lesley University, Cambridge, USA

1986 B.F.A. Theatre Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA


2020 Exploring Abstraction, on-line course with Jenny Nelson

2020 Drawing with Paint, workshop with Elaine Speirsme, Edinburgh, UK

2017 Explorations in Abstraction, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow UK

2008 Fashion as Art, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA



Create Magazine, Women’s Issue 2020 (web version), Honourable mention

Thalia Magazine, The Fragment Issue, September 2019

Art North ISSUE 2 | SUMMER 2019 Ripped and Torn


Harvard University



Society of Scottish Artists

Visual Arts Scotland

Axis Web

Scottish Artist’s Union

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