A FORMER MSP has gone back to the drawing board since leaving Holyrood – for a new art show.

Jean Urquhart was elected as an SNP MSP in 2011 and served as an Independent after quitting the party in a row over its Nato policy the following year.

She became a RISE candidate at the last Scottish Parliament vote and retired from politics when she was not returned on the Highlands and Islands regional list.

Now the Ullapool businesswoman has gone from politician to painter after enrolling in an art course. Her efforts will go on show on Sunday in an exhibition in the town.

Urquhart, who runs the local Ceilidh Place hotel and venue, said: “I first signed up to do this full-time course over the winter of 2013, but politics got in the way. Thankfully, it’s never too late – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

The In Transition show at An Talla Solais Art Gallery, which runs until March 5, will also feature works by other graduates of the 16-week portfolio art course run by Bridge House Art.

In recent years the students have come from France, Lithuania, the United States and across the UK. Urquhart’s coursemates included a sommelier, a tour guide and a psychologist and tutors have praised the diversity of their work.

The National:

One participant, 19-year-old Cameron Watson from Easter Urray near Muir of Ord, said he hoped the programme would be “a stepping stone to art school”, while Elspeth Wight of Carnwath in South Lanarkshire said her worked had “changed dramatically”.

Meanwhile, Susan Norton, from Glasgow, praised the “inspiring” local area, saying: “The landscape here is inspirational, challenging and diverse, as is the group and the tuition.”

During her time at Holyrood, Urquhart, who previously served on Highland Council, spoke out against nuclear weapons and brought forward proposals to decriminalise prostitution and improve the safety of sexworkers.