Solids, Liquids and Gases: Scott Naismith

Scott Naismith sees the world in much the same way a physicist might… in solids, liquids and gases. How does this relate to his art? Physics, specifically particle physics, has been a major influence on his process and style. Naismith calls his work atmospheric abstraction. This concept is based on the notion that we each have slightly different visual realities, such as subtle differences in color and form. Furthermore, our realities are not complete – certain wavelengths of sound and light escape our notice entirely. Naismith seeks to bring all of these possibilities to the surface. He gives us a theoretical landscape that is vivid and surreal, an attempted look beneath the hood of physics and into a world more intense and alien than our own. The result is a feast for the eyes – a cornucopia of color that borders on magical.


Optimism 3

Currently living and painting in Glasgow, Scotland, Naismith’s work is heavily influenced by the unique climate and geography around him. He asserts, “colour use often becomes an entirely emotional response to the subject, while values can remain representational.” Despite knowing that landscapes with such a range of color and saturation probably don’t exist, my imagination is more than willing to pretend that they do. Naismith’s paintings evoke the kind of natural wonder you normally experience standing on a cliff face in Yellowstone or on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Perhaps because his use of value remains representational, my mind wants to believe that what I am seeing is real, or at the very least, that it could be. The scene comes into true focus when you blur your eyes, emphasizing that the painting exists in a fugue state between your reality and imagination.

Red Transition

Silver Lining

Energy Transfer

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Naismith’s paintings is, at least to me, his generously expressive strokes. They easily draw my eye from “across the room” (though my nose continuously gets closer to my screen) and pair perfectly with the soft, desaturated colors he has blended in the background. While the bright, aggressive colors immediately command my attention, I am inclined to believe that the desaturated colors are pulling more weight, though they aren’t they first thing we see, they set the stage for the vivid hues to shine.

Scott Naismith has a sizable social media presence with thriving Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts. His videos on YouTube include both time-lapse paintings and tutorials on subjects from color theory to plein air painting, many of which I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from. If you want all of his content in one place, check out his website, where everything has been conveniently organized.

Primary Sky

Glen Spean Snow 2

Rum Skye and Raasay 

West Coast Blues 3

West Coast Blues 1

Islay Sky Custom


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