Art of Looking

Dates : Mon 18th - Fri 22nd August 2014

Location: Ullapool

Course Places : n/a      

Price :n/a


artoflooking6Two days of art and creative writing in Ullapool

The nineteenth century artist John Ruskin encouraged all his students to draw, even if they weren't especially good at it. "The greatest thing a human being ever does in this world is to SEE something, and tell what [they] saw in a plain way." For most of us, such clarity of focus has become increasingly rare. There is so much to see, and and it passes by so fast, on the tiny screens of our digital cameras and the larger ones of our personal computers, on TVs and videos and flashing billboards, that simply looking has become a luxury.

Over the course of our two days together, Jan & Christian will guide you in "the art of looking," both as a pleasure in and of itself, and as an opportunity for more sustained creativity. You will take the time to read and write and wander and explore, learn the forms of several hand-made books, and record what you see in the form of poems, drawings, and extended journal-entries.

This workshop may be of special interest to creative writing students and practising artists of whatever genre, but all participants are welcome.

Christian McEwen is a freelance writer, teacher and workshop leader. She grew up in the Borders of Scotland and attended King's College, Cambridge and the University of California, Berkeley, from which she graduated with a Master's degree in English and Creative Writing. In addition to her own writings, she has edited four anthologies, including "Jo's Girls: Tomboy Tales of High Adventure" and "The Alphabet of The Trees: A Guide to Nature Writing". She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Her new book, "World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down", provides the inspiration for this workshop. To purchase a copy of the book, click Amazon UK or Bauhan Publishing USA. To find out more about Christian, go to her website

Recently, Christian has contributed an essay on the benefits of walking to the new on-line journal of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics. To read this essay, visit

Jan Kilpatrick is a practicing artist and lives in Assynt, in the north west Highlands, just a few miles north of Ullapool. She has been teaching to a variety of audiences over the past 20 years and draws upon a broad range of materials and skills as she helps to seek out the natural creativity in each one of her students. She is particularly interested in using text and image together in order to express the connection between human experience and the natural world. To find out more about Jan, visit her Biography page

This will be the fourth summer that Christian and Jan will have taught together and they look forward to another season of shared experience and inspiration.


Much of the attraction of this area of the country is the wildness it has retained as a result of the limited impact of human habitation.  Of course, this means that there are fewer choices of accommodation for the intrepid visitor, but there are still a wide number of options, many of which can be found on the Accommodation page.

The following accommodation is worth noting.  Within walking distance of Jan's studio, there are two self-catering cottages each sleeping 4. Further details can be found at Nutfield Cottage and View Hill Cottage

You might also consider Ardmair Campsite and Holiday Chalets, which lie in a beautiful bay overlooking the Summer Isles, just 15 minute drive south of the studio.  See for details. Also try, (Self Catering cottages north of Jan's studio).

Finally, Ullapool is a large village and ferry port, with accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. This lies 20 minutes of spectacular commuting drive south of the studio.

To read about an innovative community partnership approach to preserving and improving this landscape for the benefit of all, have a look at Coigach and Assynt Living Landscapes. To find out about the fascinating geology of this area go to North West Highland Geopark.


Email :    Tel : 01854 666279,   Postal Address : Jan Kilpatrick, Cul Mor, Elphin, By Lairg, Sutherland, IV274HH.

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