At five, Isabelle Borg drew her very first painting of Paul McCartney in his heydey, after a family trip to watch the Beatles' film 'Hard Days Night' in London.

Thirty years on Isabelle is one of Malta's established artists and the work she has done over the past 18 years will be exhibited at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta between Friday and January 31.

Aptly named 'Paintings of the last eighteen years', the exhibition will include about 30 works of art which have been carefully selected by the museum's curator Dennis Vella. Some of the exhibits are from private collections.

Mr Vella has followed Isabelle's work for the past 20 years and the work he has selected clearly portrays the artist's different methods of expression from oil on canvas, to Indian ink on handmade paper, vivid landscapes to black and white images of industrial buildings.

Born in the UK to a Maltese father and an Italian mother, Isabelle is constantly shuttling between Malta, London and Florence - trips which widened her artistic insight.

Her recent sabbatical in Ireland, from her teaching job at the Junior College, has also inspired her recent collection of colourful landscapes of Cork.

Isabelle speaks with passion about her art, which is at times vivid and provocative.

"I tend to paint in cycles. I usually catch on to something and let it take me so far," she said as she curled up on the sofa in her living room which is brimming with paintings.

One of her earlier paintings on canvas, Lovers in the Bull, which was inspired by images of Malta's prehistoric past, has been described by Mr Vella as a landmark in 20th century art.

Isabelle's trips to Berlin, at a time when the country's artistic scene was flourishing, also widened her perspectives and brought her into closer contact with the changes in European art.

Her dark Berlin drawings have been executed in Indian ink on homemade paper and East German toilet paper and mounted on a sack cloth to complete the roughness of the piece.

"These drawings reflect a period of my life which was quite gloomy. A time of travelling, train journeys and changes. My trips to Berlin were a big eye-opener of what was happening in European art," Isabelle said.

Isabelle also has a collection of the Grand Harbour views complete with the rusty hulks and cranes that often dot the harbour's serene horizon.

Isabelle's subjects have changed through the years and she has painted abstracts and portraits of friends or colleagues.

"I particularly like painting nature and the pure unobstructed landscapes in Ireland have really inspired my latest pieces," she said.

Isabelle graduated BA (Hons) in paining at the Camberwell School of Art in London and qualified MA in History of Art at the University of Malta.

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