A stopover in Shetland

So up until now I’ve not really stopped travelling. I left Norway the third week of May and then went straight to Shetland, then onto the mainland, then up to Ullapool, over to the Isle of Lewis where I travelled down through the Isle of Harris, Berneray, North Uist, South Uist back over to Mallaig where I then caught the ferry to Eigg to where I am right now. Talk about going the long way around. I’m going to spend quite a bit of time though on this post showing some of my photographs and travels around Shetland, a place that will forever inspire me, also because I took so many photos whilst there and had such a great adventure.

I spent only a few days in Shetland having explored the Islands quite thoroughly in the past few years and me being me I decided to fly back to the Scottish Mainland via Shetland from Bergen, a good way of connecting the landscapes together. My accommodation for my few days in Shetland was the beautiful homely and well situated Ortolan House B&B, a large Georgian townhouse dating from the 1780’s, well located in the central conservation ‘lanes’ area of Lerwick, less than a minute’s walk from the bustling main street which is home to all amenities. Ortolan has a wonderful well-established walled garden with stunning views overlooking Lerwick’s busy harbour and the tranquil island of Bressay. The property offers two exclusive bedrooms with an emphasis on having a relaxed and comfortable stay and I certainly did have that! Here’s a few images of the accommodation and the places I explored whilst on the Northern Isles.

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My first full day began with a trip over to the neighbouring Island of Bressay. A quiet place but home to many wonderful clear coastal routes, I aimed for a few hours there to take in the sights and also view Lerwick from a different perspective. I spent my time wandering around the Island and taking sanctuary in the beaches that surround the west coast of the Island. I then spent the rest of the day wandering around the Mareel and Shetland museum, always a great place for finding new contemporary art that’s inspired from the unique Shetland landscape. It was then onto Burra for a coastal hike with a couple of local artist friends, impressive geology and wild seascapes leading us around the shore.

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I set off in the morning for an Island I’d never been to before. I’ve been to every single one of the Shetland Islands now apart from Foula and Fair Isle, that is a must for in the autumn of this year! And so Whalsay it was, without a clear plan I headed off for the ferry with just one aim, try and hike around most of the Island and see the unique natural wonders and coastal paths.

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On my last day of my short trip I hiked out to the Knab, one of my favourite coastal walks in Shetland and ideally located so close to Lerwick, such incredible views over to Bressay and down to the south of the mainland. It was then onto a boat trip around Bressay with Shetland Sea Bird Tours, the same lovely couple who ran the accommodation I was staying in. Turns out both Rebecca and Phil not only run their homely Ortolan B&B they also are very knowledgeable and expert guides on bird and sea life. Not only do they stock an enviable natural history library for their guests but with their combined knowledge and expertise they are perfectly placed to advise and even facilitate your time in the field. The trip to Shetland was perfect in gaining some inspiration from a landscape that so richly appeals to me, and leave with a new appreciation for the varied geology there.

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Again another wonderful trip, I’ve realised that my blog is turning a bit into a travel, photography and art blog which I don’t mind one bit. I’ve gone from one project in one country to the next consistently this year and I find it good for myself and reflection through my art to document and write what I’ve been up to in the place. It’s also really fulfilling for me to share it with you all so again thanks for reading this. My next blog is going to be about my further onward travel around the wonderful Scottish Islands where I’ve been recently, it’s good to be back in my home country, a place that inspires me to the highest level and always will do.


May & June Updates

It’s been a while since I’ve posted again sorry!

May was a jam packed month full of exciting workshops and new ventures! I’ll give you a quick update as to what I’ve been up to!

Firstly, I was in Ullapool to run art workshops with the community as part of the ‘Just Landed’ Exhibition at An Talla Solais where my three large scale drawings were on show. I ran some drawing workshops with the two local care homes, spoke in the gallery about my art practise with the primary schools and also gave a gallery tour of the show. It also allowed me the time to get out in the landscape and explore some of the amazing natural spots around Ullapool, it’s such an interesting part of our Country!

Secondly, my Solo exhibition ‘Fading Light’ opened in the Small Gallery on the 11th of May at the Grampian Arts Trust in Aberdeen where it’s on show until the 24th of June. The work was a response to my time spent in the high North of Iceland and in the exhibition is a selection of my newest works, all available to purchase.


Leading on from this, I then travelled the incredible North Coast 500 route with my lovely friend Sam in her motorhome! We drove and explored this amazing coastline in 10 days and I still can’t stop thinking about it! The inspiration I gained from this trip is immense and the places we explored were incredible, it certainly gave me a huge appreciation for my wonderful home country. My next post will be dedicated to my North Coast 500 trip as I have so many photos and writings from my time that I have to share with you all!


I was also invited to be part of a new portrait film for Visit Scotland filming with Cut Media. It is a new series of portrait films for Visit Scotland’s Tourism and I am the focus of the film, being selected to represent the Dundee and Angus area. We had an incredible two days of filming in my studio, my favourite landscapes in Angus; Glen Clova of course and even got a night time bothy scene in from Glen Lee! I’m so excited to share this film with you all and I cannot wait to see it myself, hopefully it will be out soon! It was an absolute pleasure being able to be filmed working in my studio and out in the landscapes taking photographs and I’m so happy I was invited to do this! It’s also amazing exposure for my work so I look forward to sharing it.


After this, I then had the pleasure of photographing the opening of my home town’s festival, the Dundee Design Festival that is! It was a pleasure being able to see so much creativity and talent in an amazing space of the West Ward Works in Dundee.

At the end of May it was then off to the Knockengorroch Festival down in Dumfries where I was left feeling inspired from the many creative workshops on offer and the wonderful people I got to meet along with the experience of being part of such a vibrant arts community.

Phewwww! And that was my May! June has been a bit slower but equally as lovely being in my studio and making the most of my last month as DJCAD’s Artist in Residence. I have to move out of my studio next month so I’m making use of the time and space to concentrate on my practise and develop my work from Iceland and the smaller residencies I was part of last month. It’s been incredibly busy so my studio space is a place where I can reflect, experiment and produce new work in a quiet and creative setting. The most important thing is to be inspired and to keep making the work!

Ellis O'Connor Artist Studio-138

Leading on from this now that I’m all up to date my next adventures are to the Isle of Barra, a trip up to Achmelvich in the North of Scotland for some inspiration, The Isle of Eigg, Norway, Svalbard for my epic trip with the Arctic Circle Organisation, Shetland and I don’t have a clue after that but it’s all exciting! I’ll keep updating as much as I can about my upcoming adventures and the new work I will be making.

Remember, if you would like to follow my day to day adventures and photographs please follow me on my social media channels:




Or even head over to my website where I have put up new work and updated my online shop! In the meantime thanks for reading my blog and keeping up to date with my art work, photography and travels!



April 2015 to present


So it’s been a very long time since I’ve posted a blog post and it’s definitely time for an update. I have no idea where these past few months have gone but all I know it’s been a very intense and busy time.

To summarize what I have been working on, exhibiting and where I have been travelling too, here’s a little breakdown from April right up until now.


  • RSA New Contemporaries, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 14th March – 8th April 2015
  • Fleming Collection ‘New Scottish Artists’, London,12th May – 24th June
  • Corridor: VAU Members Show, Visual Artist Unit, VAU Studios, Glasgow
  • Wall Projects Solo Exhibition, ‘Another Place’, Forfar, 13th June – 11th July 2015
  • ‘Dimmi’ Tell me, Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh, 31st July – 16th August
  • Meffan Gallery Solo Exhibition ‘Edges’, Montrose, 15th August – 12th September 2015
  • DJCAD Masters Show, Dundee, 22nd – 29th August 2015
  • VAU Annual Members Show – 15th – 23rd September, Generator Projects, Dundee
  • Lateral North, South Block Gallery, Glasgow, 4th September – 6th of October
  • ‘Festschrift’, House for an Art Lover’s Studio Pavilion, Glasgow, 6th – 13th November

Phew! All of these shows – group and solo in just a matter of over 6 months.

Along with also finishing my Masters Degree and receiving it with distinction, I’ve managed to squeeze in some time for journeys, travel and a few island hops around Scotland. Here’s a look at some of the places and events I’ve taken part in since April

  • Isle of Colonsay
  • Greece Study Trip to the beautiful Island of Aegina and then onto Athens.
  • London for Fleming Collection Show
  • Geneva Alps trip to Switzerland and France
  • Moved into my large studio space in May for the summer
  • One week on the Isle of Eigg staying in two bothies.
  • Camping in Glen Coe
  • July Trip to Skye staying in a Wig Wam, the Isle of Harris and onto St Kilda!
  • Published in the Scots Magazine, Evening Telegraph, Courier, GQ Magazine and the Herald whist also appearing on STV News twice.
  • Completed my year long Masters degree.
  • Rome
  • Raised over a thousand pound for the British Heart Foundation whilst walking and completing the 96 mile West Highland Way in Scotland.
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride over Perthshire
  • Wild Camping on the Islands of Islay and Jura
  • Started working at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design as Artist in Residence.
  • Shetland

And so to this present day, I’m currently in the midst of organising and packing for my 5 month long trip to Iceland. I leave this Thursday the 1st of October and fly up to Reykjavik where I will then embark on a 4 hour bus journey to the rural fishing village in the North Part called Skagastrond. It is here where I will be artist in residence for a 2 month period from the 1st of October to the 30th of November with Nes Organisation and then travel further North East to the town called Ólafsfjörður. I have been selected for the Listhus award and will be here from the 5th of December until the 1st of March 2016. It doesn’t really seem real yet that I’m going to Iceland, my dream place for this long a time but I am so excited to be doing so. Working with the remote communities, gaining plenty of inspiration from the unique surroundings for my practise, travelling around the remote area whilst engaging with the other brilliant artists I will be sharing the residency with.

I’ll be blogging more regularly about what I am up to whilst in Iceland over the harsh winter months and also blogging here and there about what I was up to this summer with more detail on St Kilda, the Islands and my studio space for example.


Speak soon!


Ellis O'Connor Artist Studio-146


The second big trip of the Summer was being Artist in Residence with the sailing around the Northern Isles of Scotland. I have spoke a lot about this in previous blogs but not at how influenced I have been from these places, these tiny uninhabited Islands, the remote inhospitable places right at the edge of the world.
Being back in the Studio, I have started working on my images from my time spent on board around these Islands. This year i will be working with the title ‘Edges’ exploring exposed and remote places on the egde of the world through visual photographs, prints and experimenting with drawing and paintings. Bringing out the unique atmosphere and wild untamed nature of them that most people do not get to see.

Here’s some photographs from my ‘Edges’ Series. You can also find them on my website with new work on

These photos were all taken from my time spent sailing around the entire Coast of Shetland and the Islands of Mousa, Bressay, Noss, Whalsay, Out Skerries, Fetlar, Unst, Yell, Ramna Stacks, and Papa Stour.