Vanessa was born in Manchester in 1975, before moving to Ayrshire in 1982.
In 1993 she attended 'Lorenzo De'Medici, School of Art', Florence for a 9-month program studying figurative drawing and painting. From here she travelled and lived in Switzerland till the end of 1997, mainly painting commissioned portraits.
In January 1998 the opportunity arose to obtain an 18-month scholarship given by 'The Stanley Morrison Trust' to attend 'The New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture'. Vanessa then won scholarships from the school to complete the program, including a 4-month exchange in Fall 2000 to the 'Ecole des Beaux Artes', Marseille, France.
After graduating from the Studio School in Spring 2001, Vanessa applied for and was accepted as one of the 9 artists to take part in the 'Studioscape Residency Program' on the 91st floor of the North Tower of The World Trade Center. The program ran from the end of June until the tragedy of September 11th. Vanessa was painting the sunrise that morning when the first plane hit the North Tower. All her work was lost, but she was lucky enough to escape with her life.
Two months later she left New York, and has since been living in Glasgow and working from her studio at the 'Studio Warehouse', West End.
Vanessa's influence for painting clouds definitely also comes from growing up on the west coast of Scotland and taking trips up the north west coast. The sky is always so dramatic. Using watercolour Vanessa manages to create this drama because of the freedom of the medium. Whilst on the World Trade Center Residency this was also Vanessa's main interest. The sky was always changing. One moment you could see far off into the horizon right over all the boroughs of New York, the next you would see nothing as a cloud passed by. Instead of always looking up at the clouds, for once I had the opportunity to be painting up in the clouds!" "