Joy Arden has long been fascinated by urban wastelands, demolished buildings, weathered surfaces, archaeological excavations and construction sites.  

A sense of place, the passage of time as well as the traces left by human activity in the environment form a focus for the work.


The paintings are characterised by an atmospheric use of muted ochres, chalky greys/whites and deep earth colours. The process she engages in begins with sketchbook drawings carried out at a site of interest. These are a response to what she sees rather than drawings of record, so the drawings can take on a life of their own in the moment of their execution.

The studio paintings are begun with the memory of the experience of the place or objects. They are a free interpretation of the subject, where colours or shapes are ‘discovered’ or revealed during a process of applying  paint and scraping back, until there is a tension and a sense of something seen or experienced.


 I paint intuitively, I strive to provide atmosphere and presence.  I don’t usually start with a particular idea in mind. Or if I do, it inevitably changes as the work grows during the process of building and destruction. It is created  “in the moment”, when eventually I find something that resonates with an experience, a feeling, a place, or other visual stimuli.  I may not be able to say what that is at the time.  But occasionally I have later recognised something particular that may have come to the surface. The work often reflects an interest in partially hidden forms, worn surfaces, marks made by human activity as well as natural forms.


Joy Arden is a painter/printmaker based in Edinburgh. She is a Fine Art graduate of Nottingham College of Art and Design. She lived and worked in Ireland for 20 years before moving to Edinburgh. She is a professional member of Visual Art Scotland.