Painting and drawing small ship cruise of the Inner Hebrides islands with Ellis O’Connor from 4-10 September 2022
If you are familiar with Ellis O’Connor’s work, you’ll know the dynamic energy to be seen in the paintings are her 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.” We invite you to join Ellis on this 7-day art cruise vacation and let the elements around you inspire your art with her guidance.
We meet at a hotel in Oban for a welcome reception with dinner. In the morning you’ll have a bit of time to explore Oban before we board the Seahorse II for our art cruise.
In the daily workshop sessions 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 places we visit. We explore 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 stunning surroundings. We’ll be working outdoors – on board and on land – as much as possible and there are several sheltered spots on deck to work outside but the ship also has a cozy saloon which we can use as our indoor studio.
This workshop is suitable for all artistic skills levels and art materials will be provided.Our route
The cruise takes us along the majestic Sound of Mull, famous for its wildlife and bordered by the Isle of Mull and the Morvern Peninsula, and along historic Loch Linnhe. The voyage will give you the full flavour of Scotland from the sea: its sheltered sea lochs, tranquil anchorages, picturesque harbours, ancient castles and even a whisky distillery.
Oban: Your departure point will be Oban (Dunstaffnage Marina), the gateway to the Hebridean isles. After a short introduction to life on board our small ship we lift anchor and set sail to our first destination.
Timings will allow for daily drawing and painting sessions at the locations we visit. These may include:
Loch Linnhe: The long Loch Linnhe goes all the way to Fort William. We travel past Lismore Island for the sheltered anchorage off Shuna Island. We can go ashore and visit the local nature reserve on the mainland and admire the famous Castle Stalker. There are lovely walks across the causeway bridge to Port Appin.
Loch Spelve: A narrow entrance leads us in to the tranquil waters of Loch Spelve (on the beautiful Isle of Mull) with its surrounding ancient oak forest. If we are lucky we might spot an otter along the loch shore. We can also pick up some locally grown mussels in the morning before we leave to our next destination.
Duart Castle: Our daytime anchorage in Duart Bay is below the spectacular 13th century Duart Castle, the ancestral home to the Maclean clan. You can visit the castle, learn about its rich clan history and walk along the shore to find your favourite painting spot.
Tobermory: One of the most picturesque towns in the Hebridean Isles with its famous whisky distillery and colourful waterfront. We anchor in the bay where a Spanish galleon was supposedly sunk with all its treasure. We can spend a day ashore and for the adventurous there are fast boat trips that can be arranged to visit Fingal’s cave on the Isle of Staffa. You may want to paint the wooden fishing boats and the colourful waterfront.
Isle of Oronsay: Just south of Oronsay island, another Inner Hebridean island, lies secluded Loch Drumbuie. A squeeze between high sided cliffs and we are in a perfectly sheltered anchorage. We can spend a tranquil night here.
Loch Aline: At the picturesque Loch Aline there are woodland walks and, at the head of the loch, is the ancient Ardtornish estate with its woodland gardens.
Please note that our route is weather dependent. Weather doesn’t just mean good or bad weather. There are many considerations such as tidal gates, wind direction and strength, the strength and direction of currents, overfalls, and fetch. Depending on the weather and nature’s conditions, wildlife viewing varies.
This cruise departs and finishes at Dunstaffnage Marina near Oban.Your tutor: Ellis O’Connor
Ellis is a contemporary landscape artist based in North Uist. 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. She 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.Accommodation
Seahorse II can take up to ten guests plus the art tutor. There are two double (or twin) en-suites and two further twins, two single cabins and one double/single cabin with a 105 cm wide bed, all temperature controlled and with washbasin. All cabin linen and towels are supplied including towelling dressing gowns for the cabins with no en-suite. There is a wonderful deck saloon where we dine and view the spectacular wildlife. A bridge full of the best navigational aids, a high foredeck for wildlife spotting and a boat deck for lounging, Seahorse II is the perfect vessel for your life afloat.
On the spacious aft deck (ideal for alfresco dining when the boat is at anchor or under way) we have a powerful little crane for launching Seahorse II’s tender, two sea kayaks and paddle board.
In addition to the art tutor, who looks after your creative side, there is a crew of three taking care of you – a professional skipper, an on board chef and another crew member to provide assistance whenever needed.