Joyce Gunn Cairns was born in Bonnyrigg near Edinburgh, and has been based in the Scottish capital since 1977. After taking a degree in German and Comparative Religion, she studied at Edinburgh College of Art and began to exhibit in the late 1980s.


Her paintings and drawings are intensely personal, exploring her own emotional and physical history and using her own body as a point of departure. Reviewed in The Scotsman in 2011, her  "remarkable paintings ... demonstrate how many different kinds of visual truths there are ... in these graphic and unflinching images, she not only manages that sense of reaching out to touch;  she conveys how, from inwards, we feel outward;  what it is like to be in one's own skin...


With nine paintings in the permanent collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Joyce is one of Scotland's most cherished painters, and was awarded the MBE for Services to the Arts in the June 2004 Queen's Honours List.


Joyce's work can be found in the collections of Balliol College, Oxford, Jesus College and New Hall College, Cambridge, Edinburgh University, Newcastle University, the Scottish Poetry Library and in private collections in the UK, Australia, Austria, The USA and The Netherlands