Born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, in 1968, Senja Brendon began life by the sea, before moving to the Lake District to grow up surrounded by the breathtaking landscape. Daughter to the outdoor adventure author, Colin Mortlock, her unconventional childhood was filled with exciting expeditions and outdoor activities around Scotland and the Scottish islands. This is where her love of the Scottish coastline took root. Her mother was the creative force in the family, always encouraging drawing, painting and sculpting on every expedition.
Brendon moved to Edinburgh in 1986, where she trained at Edinburgh College of Art and Leith School of Art. During her studies, she explored different techniques until she found her preferred medium; the expressive, bold and textured brush marks of impasto oil paint. After her graduation, Senja completed several artist residencies across Scotland.
Senja recently terminated her position as an Art Teacher at a private school in order to dedicate herself fully to her passion for painting and she currently splits her time between Edinburgh and Kintyre Peninsula. She can often be found perched on the shoreline, making plain air studies, to be finished later in the studio. As a keen surfer, Brendon has a deep, emotional connection to the sea and a respect for its many moods. Her paintings often convey this understanding of the subject, inviting the viewer to engage with the elements and to share in the spirit of the ocean. The richly textured and dynamic brushstrokes often sustain the accurate detail of these striking Scottish coastlines of dramatic light and colours. Her paintings allow for a quiet wander along peaceful sands or plunge the viewer shamelessly into the heart of powerful, crashing waves.
Early influences include the brooding storms of Emil Nolde and the solitary figures by Casper David Friedrich. These works embody the immensity and elemental qualities of the ocean in all its raw and untamable beauty. On Brendon later carer, her love of Turner’s loose brushstrokes and dramatic skies became evident, as well as her admiration for William MacTaggart’s moods and beaches.