Outer Hebrides, May 2020

Drawing from the Land ~ Drawing & painting holiday with Ellis O’Connor in the Outer Hebrides islands, Scotland

Dates: 10 – 17 May 2020
Tutor: Ellis O’Connor
Activity: Mixed media drawing & painting
Location: North Uist and Lewis & Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Update 15 March 2020 – Sadly, because of international travel restrictions related to the coronavirus/ COVID-19 situation, this trip can no longer go ahead. But the good news is – the May 2021 tour is now open for bookings – find out more.

About this trip

With guidance from local artist Ellis O’Connor we will be working with a variety of media on paper – including acrylic paints, charcoal, conte, water based inks and chalk pastels – to capture the wild beauty of the Outer Hebrides. Visiting different locations on the isles of North Uist and Lewis & Harris, we will be working in the studio and outdoors exploring the various ways in which to approach mark making, using mixed mediums to create texture, detail and depth whilst learning many techniques of drawing and painting to capture the spirit of the surrounding environment.

Join us for an inspirational and dynamic week of drawing and painting in an extraordinary setting. Each day will involve going to iconic spots in the Outer Hebrides to work and gather inspiration from the vibrant landscapes, big skies and wild waters. Don’t miss this amazing adventure through the Scottish islands!

Book your place now! 

east beach berneray outer hebrides
East Beach in Berneray

Your tutor: Ellis O’Connor

Ellis is a contemporary landscape artist based in North Uist. The dynamic energy to be seen in the paintings are Ellis’ response to observed changes in the landscape; ‘the movement and rhythms of the sea and the land … the merging of sea with air, advancing rain and mist, ever changing light – elements that seem to be about something intangible.’

In order to immerse herself in the environment, Ellis makes much of the artwork on site where extreme weather and the elements find their way into the pieces. Ellis loves helping others cultivating a deeper understanding of the natural environment and describes the process of working outdoors in wild weather as almost ‘performative’.

Read more about Ellis and see examples of her own work on her profile page.

“I find meaning in the turbulent and chaotic ways of the landscape and elements around me. Everything is temporary, everything is shifting, we can only flow with it not against it.”

Artist and Wild at Art tutor Ellis O'Connor, North Uist
Our tutor Ellis O’Connor


This art tour starts and finishes in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, but if there is demand we can arrange group transport from Edinburgh to Stornoway and back.

The Scottish weather is very changeable, so we have to be a bit flexible in our itinerary and go with the flow. This is what we have planned for you:

Day One

You arrive in Stornoway in your own time. We meet at our accommodation, the 4-star Cabarfeidh Hotel, in the evening for a welcome reception, introduction to the week and 3-course dinner with wine.

Day Two

After breakfast we depart for the Isle of Harris. After a stop at the famous, must-see Luskentyre Beach with its white sands and turquoise water, we head to our exquisite studio base for the afternoon, the Talla Na Mara centre overlooking Niseabost Beach. Lunch will be pre-booked for us at Talla Na Mara’s Machair restaurant. In this afternoon workshop session Ellis will introduce us to the materials and give demonstrations as we begin our creative work inspired by the sights and impressions we’ve gathered so far.

View from studio at Talla Na Mara in Harris
What a view from our studio at Talla Na Mara!

From Talla Na Mara it’s just a short drive to Leverburgh from where we’ll take the ferry to Lochmaddy in North Uist and to Lochmaddy Hotel, our accommodation base for the next 4 nights.

Days Three to Five

The workshop itinerary during our stay in North Uist will take us to the best bits of this stunning island, including Clachan Sands, Hosta Beach, Berneray West Beach and Langass Woodland. We also spend some time at Taigh Chearsabhagh, the island’s arts hub, and will use our indoor studio space as the weather and our creative workplan require. Accommodation is Lochmaddy Hotel.

Hosta Beach
Hosta Beach

Day Six

After breakfast we check out of our hotel to travel back to Harris by ferry, and from there to Lewis where another highlight and iconic landmark awaits us: the world-famous Calanais Stones. where we will spend the afternoon drawing and painting – weather depending either by the stones or at the visitor centre, where we will also have lunch. Around 5pm we head back to the Cabarfeidh Hotel in Stornoway, our accommodation for another two nights.

Day Seven

A day in Stornoway to do some more exploring and painting at your leisure. The studio space at Lews Castle will be available all day and Ellis will also be at hand for guidance. Near the end of the painting day we will do a mini exhibition and review session of the group’s work.

Final day

Time to say goodbye after breakfast. You leave inspired and chances are you’ll have fallen in love with the islands :).

We aim to offer the best balance between touring the islands and working in an indoor studio. Please be prepared for some minibus travel between different locations!

Please note: this is a prospective itinerary and subject to modest modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the interests of the group. The itinerary is based on careful selection of suppliers and is accurate at the time of publication. But should it be necessary, Wild at Art reserves the right to make changes.

The famous Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis
The famous Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis

This art holiday includes:

–  6 days of drawing and painting workshops with Ellis O’Connor in different locations
– 7 nights hotel accommodation (Cabarfeidh Hotel in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis & Lochmaddy Hotel in Lochmaddy, Isle of North Uist)
– 7 full Scottish breakfasts
– Welcome drinks and 3-course welcome dinner on arrival night
– Refreshments and in-between nibbles on workshop days
– Minibus transport when travelling as a group while on the islands (from and to Stornoway)
– All workshop materials
– Studio hire fees
– And a member of the Wild at Art team will be with the group throughout to ensure guests are well looked after.

Flights and travel to/from the island are not included, as are meals other than those listed above. Personal travel insurance is required.

This vacation starts and finishes in Stornoway – we will be happy to advise on how to get there. You can use our Getting There page as a starting point to plan your journey.

International travellers are best to include flights to and from Stornoway when booking travel. Alternatively, Caledonian MacBrayne runs a regular ferry service from Ullapool to Stornoway.

In 2020, Scotland celebrates its Coasts and
Waters with a year-long programme of events and
activities which will shine a spotlight on these vital
elements of our landscape.
Join the conversation #YCW2020


8 Comments on “Outer Hebrides, May 2020

  1. I am interested in the May 2021 session. How early should I book? Thanks, Willa McMullan Calgary, Alberta Canada

    • Dear Willa, I could add your expression of interest to our list (non-binding of course) and email you as soon as details of the May 2021 trip get published. With best wishes Ute

  2. I am also interested in the 2021 Outer Hebrides session. Please add my name when you send out the information. Thanks.
    Eileen Miller, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

  3. I am also interested in the May 2021- please can you inform me when details are published
    Than you
    Janet campbell

    • Dear Janet, I’ve added you to the list of people to notify first when the May 2021 tour opens for booking. I’m hoping to have the details published in the next week or so. Will be in touch. With best wishes Ute

    • Dear Carol, I will do! Have noted your expression of interest and will email you as soon as the details are published. Best wishes Ute

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