Friday 12 June 2015

Isle of May, May-June 2015 - the sketching

From May 30th to June 7th 2015 I was on the Isle of May in the outer Firth of Forth, staying in the IOMBOT's 6-bed Low Light lighthouse accommodation. Our group comprised me, Keith Brockie (One Man's Island, Return to One Man's Island) and four others, all of us painters, sketchers, photographers. 

We were there for exactly the same week as the 2013 and 2014 but this time things were quite different, a biting wind blasting the island and every bird & human on it. We still worked outdoors - it's hard to bear being inside when you're over there, there's too much to see - we just had to employ a lot more clothes. For several days I was in thermal, normal and waterproof trousers, plus five layers on top.

I didn't mind the wind, I love wild weather. I find it inspires me far more than blue sky and sun. And an extra treat - the two Anstruther to Isle of May boats were unable to sail on our intended departure date so our stay was extended by a full day and a half.

This week on the May is the most productive week of my year: daylight from half five in the morning until ten or eleven at night; dramatic landscapes and wildlife everywhere you look; other artists to discuss it all with; 92,000 pairs of breeding puffins! This trip west winds made working from birds on the cliffs close to impossible a lot of the time so I looked more at landscape.

- Details of how you too can visit are at the end of this post. 

- To stay up-to-date with island happenings, subscribe to the excellent SNH National Nature Reserve (NNR) blog -

To watch the island on webcam, live, click here and here.   


My previous Isle of May blog posts and artworks:
2013 -
2013 -
2014 -


My fellow 2015 Isle of May'ers, alphabetical to avoid insult. You know what creatives are like:


My 2015 artworks
- pencil, pen, watercolour, ink


several spot-the-artists;
one spot-the-photographer;
one spot-the-extremely-well-camouflaged-seabird-researcher.


spot the nesting tern (Arctic)



spot the nesting eider


spot the artist. spot the extremely-well-camouflaged-seabird-researcher!

Italian artist on the moon

spot the sketchers

spot the photographer


Getting there:

Trips to the Isle of May are by boat from Anstruther in Fife using the May Princess or the RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) Osprey, and from North Berwick in East Lothian on a Scottish Seabird Centre RIB

All details are here -

To watch the island on webcam, live, click here and here.  

Do visit.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed/enjoying your field sketches. I've experienced weather conditions similar to what you describe while hiking the marsh making sketches during the early Canadian spring. Challenging at best. I note that Keith Brockie was one of the participants in this project. It rang a bell. As I recall, early in my art career I owned Keith's first publication. Marvelous and inspiring illustrations.