In 1992 I completed a MA Hons Fine Art degree at Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art, a five year degree split equally between the History of Art and studio-based art practice. After a pause working in the arts sector and starting my family, I resumed a daily art practice in 2012.  This has evolved through constant experimentation in visual diaries and sketchbooks, which has enabled me to find my voice and my preferred palette of colours.

My recent work is influenced by remembered landscapes, earthy textured pottery ware, and motifs of seeds, biological cells and dried petals.  These all have a relationship to the land beneath my feet. I am creating a sense of a personal archaeology, weaving in familial connections, enhanced by recurring trips to familiar places layered with memories.

These remembered landscapes include treasured childhood walks with my geographer Dad who taught me so much about the land.  I loved his beautiful ink illustrations of geological cross-sections.  I inherited my Mum’s curated collection of pottery ware, and the still life elements of my work commemorate her, as I explore the pots’ relevance to the landscapes the clay came from.  The new fascination with the shapes of seeds, cells and petals comes from my drawings of these pots and bowls evolving into more abstract shapes.



Morag Thomson Merriman, Artist

Daily sketchbook practice remains a big part of my work since 2012, a commitment to a regular rhythm of working in my visual diaries and sketchbooks.  This builds momentum, has revolutionised my approach to mark-making and motivates my desire to explore and experiment.

Since 2021, I have been experimenting with small works on paper. These layered and textured miniatures have continued to evolve through the influence of remembered landscapes, the earthiness and texture of pottery ware, and the living organisms found in healthy soil.


Morag Thomson Merriman, The Wound Within, emotional landscape, Fading Series, 12x7.5cms 2022
Morag Thomson Merriman, Artist



2024   VAS 30 x 30, Borders Art Fair, Kelso

2024   VAS Centenary Show 30 x 30, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2024   RSW 143rd Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2023   SSA 125th Annual Exhibition 30 x 30 online

2023   AngusAlive Meffan Winter Show, Meffan Museum & Art Gallery, Forfar, Angus

2023   RSW 142nd Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2022   SSA 124th Annual Exhibition 30 x 30, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

2010   Group Exhibition, Craft House Concept Gallery, Newington, Edinburgh

1995   ‘A Day in the Life of Scotland’ Photographic Competition organised by The Scotsman & the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in association with the exhibition “Light From the Dark Room”, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

1993   Christmas Watercolour Group Exhibition, ESU Scotland, Edinburgh

1993   CD2 Show, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

1993   Group Exhibition, Harestanes Visitors’ Centre, Jedburgh

1992   Solo Exhibition, Helensburgh Music Society October concert, Helensburgh

1992   RSA Students’ Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh


2023   Longlisted for final selection, Scottish Landscape Awards exhibition 2023

2013   AccessArt Star Award


2017-2019   Commissions for UK private clients

2011   Commissions for local authority and private clients in UK


2022 – present:   Mentoring with visual artist, writer and mentor Samantha Clark

2022   My sketchbooks were referenced at an international InSEA webinar as an exemplar of using visual journals to develop visual thinking in education.

2014   Selected participant in the Scottish Book Trust Illustration Lab (led by Jonathan Gibbs and Vivian French, with Catherine Rayner and Nick Sharratt)

2013   Member-tutor, AccessArt ‘Focus on Drawing’ project (online)

1993 – 1994   Moray House Institute of Education, AMTIS postgraduate training programme with placement in the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh

1987-1992   Edinburgh University & Edinburgh College of Art, MA (Hons) Fine Art 

Work in private collections in UK and America


2022 – present   Social Media Marketeer, AccessArt Creative Direction Team (resource contributor 2012 – present)

1997 – 2007   Grants Administrator, Scottish Arts Council

1994 – 2001   Grants Admin Assistant, Edinburgh City Council Arts Development Team.  Arts administration for Edinburgh District Arts Council.

About Morag Thomson Merriman

Visual Diaries & Sketchbooks

The Serial Participant

“It is simply this: do not tire, never lose interest, never grow indifferent—lose your invaluable curiosity and you let yourself die. It’s as simple as that.”
Tove Jansson, Fair Play.

I don’t tire of a challenge. I’ve committed myself to a daily mark-making practice since 2012, but I also like to shake things up to maintain that spirit of experimentation and keep my work fresh. I’ve taken part in a number of challenges and workshops over the years to inject new ideas and concepts into my work, and I also contributed to several wonderful community projects. Here’s a selection below:


  • The AccessArt Village Project for which participants were invited to send in a sewn drawing of their home on a 20cm square piece of fabric. All kinds of stitched mark-making were encouraged, and it was lovely to see such an amazing response to the project. Around 700 sewn squares, from all kinds of audiences all over the world, were submitted. For AccessArt, the project “…celebrated diversity and reminded us of the universal sanctity of ‘home’”. These squared pieces were mounted and toured as a ‘village’ to venues within the UK in 2017 and 2018, with school workshops also held.
  • The AccessArt August Creative Challenge where the concept was to create something new each day throughout August. My friend and fellow artist Andrea Butler and I shared and discussed our resulting work on a daily basis on the AccessArt website. I used a self-made concertina sketchbook to explore this challenge through illustration and narration, and experimented with a different approach each day. It was quite an intense process but I really enjoyed pushing myself daily to come up with new ideas and explore different mediums, and a bonus was discovering accidental narrative threads throughout my concertina sketchbook.
Morag Thomson Merriman, Serial participant


  • American artist Hilary Lorenz’s multi-sensory installation “The Moth Migration Project” which is currently touring world-wide, features thousands of hand-printed paper moths crowd-sourced from around the world, including my own lino print latticed heath moths. Hilary’s work focuses on her relationship with the natural world and building communities through art, hence the choice of moths “as the vehicle for cross-pollination and international exchange”. She put out a call on social media, inviting people from around the world to create paper moths native to their geographic location, and I just about managed to meet the submission deadline for the inaugural exhibition at Gallery 516, Albuquerque, NM, in 2017. Since then, the MMP has toured to various venues in the US, Canada and Australia, and very recently back in Denver, Colorado. Other touring venues are being planned, as well as a permanent display home.
  • As a spin off from the MMP, I took part in three international print exchanges in 2017, 2018 and 2022, the theme continuing to be on cross-pollination. I enjoy relief printmaking as a contrast to my usual daily practice, and have used both wood and lino. I prefer relief work as I enjoy the meditative process of physically carving into a surface.
  • Inktober Challenge October 2017. This proved to be an intense but rewarding challenge to take on, as you had to illustrate a prompt each day, and it was interesting to see the almost immediate impact on my work in my daily visual diary that I was maintaining alongside the challenge. This is precisely the reason why I wanted to take on a number of different challenges as I knew it wouId shake up my work and prevent it from becoming stale. I wrote about my Inktober experience for AccessArt which you can see here .


  • Surface Print workshop, Hidden Door Arts Festival, Edinburgh, May 2018. The focus was on monoprinting using textured objects and surfaces, and it enabled me to work more abstractly. I really enjoyed working impulsively on achieving harmony in the composition and layering of colours and textures, which in turn generated interesting new colours, patterns and depth. This again revolutionised my daily practice, and has led to a love of layering, textured surfaces, and depth of colour in my work.
  • House of Illustration One Inch Square Drawing a Day Challenge, September 2018. Again, a pretty intense challenge, more so due to the size constraints. I chose to focus on faces, switching from ink in the early days of the challenge to working with colour, and I shared my work on a daily basis on my Instagram page. I also chose to show alongside each completed square the choice of mediums and colours used. An added bonus was discovering the practicality and speed of working small-scale as my studio practice has to fit around the needs of my family.


  • I chose to challenge myself to continue with further experimentation with colour, scale, texture and mixed media, which resulted in exploring a significant shift from figure sketches in daily visual diaries to landscapes in my sketchbooks. The aim was not to produce fully resolved landscape sketches but to generate experiments where I could explore my thoughts and feelings about what I was seeing and experiencing. Some were straightforward sketches done in situ, others that were further developed or altered from memory.
Morag Thomson Merriman, Serial participant


  • A pivotal year where my A6 lockdown sketchbook challenge enabled me to keep pushing with my mixed media landscape memory experiments, resulting in thickly layered textured surfaces and manipulation of the sketchbook itself. This process strengthened my voice and consolidated my preferred approach. I have written more about this challenge on here.

2021 – present

  • Inspired by my lockdown sketchbook journey, I set myself a new challenge to create a new body of work, focusing on mixed media mini landscape memory pieces on watercolour paper. My work is continuing to evolve and I am very much looking forward to seeing where this takes me.

See the relevant gallery pages to see some examples of my work, past and present.

Read my piece “The Intentional Miniaturist” on my Journal page.