Today Blackadder works mainly in watercolours and is best known for her paintings of flowers and cats. Her flowers and still lifes break with the traditional organisation of space to create an arrangement of objects against a flattened background. The eye concentrates on the quality of the painting and the details without the distraction of a three-dimensional background.
Elizabeth Blackadder DBE RA RSA RSW, 1931 - 2021
Born in Falkirk, Blackadder studied art at Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art, where her teachers included Blyth, Philipson and MacTaggart, although it was Gillies who had the greatest impact on her work. Awarded a Carnegie Travelling Scholarship in 1954, she visited Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy, studying Classical and Byzantine art at first hand. In 1956 she took up a two-year part-time teaching post at Edinburgh College of Art, and from 1962 to 1986 taught there full time. She travelled extensively in Europe, America and Japan.
Blackadder was the first woman to be elected an Academician of both the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy in London. She was an Honorary Member of the Royal West of England Academy, the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2001 she was appointed Her Majesty's Painter and Limner in Scotland.