Although I begin my paintings directly on site, my goal is not a naturalistic or realistic representation. I work outside to experience the scale, the colour, the grandeur and the sounds that surround me. It is the experience of prolonged observation in a vast landscape where the eye fluctuates from picking out microcosmic detail from far away to scanning the entire vista in a split second. I attempt to capture a refined, elegant portrayal of the environment.

In the studio, without photographs or other points of reference, I revise the paintings by memory, and the presence and connection I felt to each particular place. It’s rarely about the geography, but more so about letting the paint dictate. To be out in the natural environment is invigorating to the whole vocabulary of paint.

Born in Scotland, Lesley Finlayson graduated with honours from the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow and received her Master of Fine Art from the University of Calgary, Calgary AB. She has received numerous grants and awards including the Elizabeth Greenshields Scholarship in 1983. She is the former Department Chair and Instructor, Fine Arts, at Langara College in Vancouver, BC and is now a full-time painter.

Lesley Finlayson has had numerous solo exhibitions in Canada and the United Kingdom. Her work is included in corporate and private collections in North America and abroad.

Exhibition Catalogue



1989 Master of Fine Art, University of Calgary, Calgary AB
1986 Aberdeen College of Commerce
1984 Cyprus College of Art
1982 Bachelor of Fine Art (honours), Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland

1989 Alberta Art Foundation Scholarship
1989 Graduate Assistantship (teaching), University of Calgary
1987 Graduate Assistantship (Research), University of Calgary
1983 Elizabeth Greenshields Scholarship
1981 Hospitalfield School of Art Summer Scholarship

Exhibitions (solo)

2020 This Time, This Place, Winchester Galleries, Victoria BC
2019 filter/ed, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2016 New Paintings, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2013 Sorting Ground, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2011 A Dialogue with the Fraser, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2009 Markings… the grasslands of the Fraser River, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2007 The Appearance of Disappearance, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2006 Whistler, new paintings and drawings, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2005 New Paintings, Rendezvous Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland
2003 Fraser River Series, Phthalo Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2002 New Works, Rendezvous Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland
2001 Still Water , Michael Gibson Gallery, London, ON
2000 Coast, Foyer Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland
1998 The Boundary Series, Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary, AB
1995 The Alaska Series, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1993 Loci Familia, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1991 The Scottish Paintings, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1989 Lookout, The Alcove, The New Gallery, Calgary, Alberta
1986 Landscape Drawings and Paintings, Aberdeen Art Centre, Scotland

Exhibitions (group)

2021 – Fall Exhibition – three women artists, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2019 – The Winter Show Compass Gallery, Glasgow
2019 – Creating Connections The Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, Glasgow
2018 Summer Exhibition, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2017 Summer Exhibition, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
2005 Three Landscape Painters, Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver BC
Lesley Finlayson, Randy Steeves, Jeroen Witvliet
1997 Five Canadian Artists, Galerie Not, London, UK
1996 Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary
1995 By Example, Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, BC
Anne Campbell and Lesley Finlayson, Fife, Scotland
1990 New Gallery Artists, Virginia Christopher Galleries, Calgary
1989 The Works, Edmonton, AB
The MFA Graduating Exhibition
The Nickle Arts Museum, University of Calgary
Primary Focus, Virginia Christopher Galleries, Calgary
1988 Twelve Prints by Calgary Artists
The New Gallery, Calgary
University of Calgary Theatre Mezzanine Gallery
1983/84 Scottish Society of Arts Annual, Edinburgh
1986 Romance, Risk and Realism Artspace Gallery, Aberdeen
1985 Artists from Cyprus
Transmission Gallery, Glasgow
1984 Paphos Gallery, Cyprus
Nicosia Gallery, Cyprus
1982 New Generation Artists, Edinburgh
1981 The Hospitalfield Summer Exhibition Hospitalfield, Arbroath, Scotland


Esso Petroleum Canada (Calgary)
Sceptre Resources Ltd. (Calgary)
Public and private collections in Britain, Cyprus, Canada and the United States

Professional Associations

Art Advisory Board, The New Gallery, Calgary (1989)
Board of Directors, Artspace Gallery, Aberdeen (1986)
Art Education Coordinator, Artspace Gallery, Aberdeen (1985-6)
Langara Faculty Association, Langara College, Vancouver (Current)
(Department Head & Instructor, Painting, Fine Arts Department)