With guidance from local artist Ellis O’Connor we will be working with a variety of media on paper 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 as well as less well know spots in the Outer Hebrides to work and gather inspiration from the vibrant landscapes, big skies and wild waters. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to immerse yourself in creativity and the natural elements in the Scottish islands!
Ellis is a contemporary landscape artist based – until recently – 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.”
In this short video Ellis talks about how she sees art as a way of connecting people to nature and the effects of climate change:
This art tour starts and finishes in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.
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:
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.
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.
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 Hamersay House, 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 visit Taigh Chearsabhagh, the island’s arts hub, and will use an indoor studio space as the weather and our creative workplan require. Accommodation is Hamersay House.
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.
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.
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.
– 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 & Hamersay House on 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.
The cost of this trip is £2630 per person on the basis of two guests sharing a room. The supplement for single occupancy is £260. A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required at the time of booking, the rest is due 8 weeks before the start date.
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.
Hello. I’m considering booking to attend this art holiday. I notice on your website that art retreats weren’t happening because of Covid. Is this still the case?
Hello, the worst of the Covid crisis is hopefully over and we’ve been running art holidays and retreats as planned again. This means the Outer Hebrides painting holidays will also go ahead :). With best wishes. Ute