The Colmcille Legacy Award

Duais Dìleab Chaluim Chille / The Colmcille Legacy Award is a national arts and heritage award scheme created in partnership with CHArts, Argyll & Isles and Bòrd na Gàidhlig to commemorate the life and cultural legacy of St Columba throughout the year of Colmcille 1500.

I am one of 9 artists so far awarded and it has been a fantastic journey. It gave me the chance for the work I have been exploring over the past few years to come to life. As many of you know I have a deep love of our landscape and all that I find in it. Inspired by the pilgrim trail of Argyll. Its nature, history and art heritage. This award gave me the opportunity to draw it all together and create something new in the process. You can see the work of awarded artists here.

I also had the chance to see my work projected onto McCaig’s Tower recently. In an event organized by CHArts, Argyll. It was a great way to see the work in a different way. Inspiration came from the stone carvings in the area. Seeing the images cast back onto stone at such a scale was well worth braving the midgie-bites and rain.



Tillicoultry Christmas light


Before leaving behind my home of 14 years in Tillicoultry Clackmannanshire, I was asked by the Tilly Mens Shed to help make a Peacock Christmas light for the town. I couldn`t say no. It was lovely to be able to leave such a thing behind. The Mens Shed made a lightbox and I made their stained glass effect peacock.  It met with disaster when it snapped in two as it was being transported, but it was a clean break and easy to repair.  The video made by a member of the Tilly Ladies appeal shows the light in use. I hope it lasts for years to come. 






Pet Portrait Mirrors

 Are you looking for something special? How about a Pet portrait mirror featuring your pet? These are one-offs, original paintings on 10 x 10in wooden frame mirrors.

The examples below have now been re-homed with the pet’s own parents/staff. Featuring Czesar and T.A.R.D.I.S, Parsley by moonlight, Fleurie & McCaig’s Tower, Toby & Iris in the daisies, Teddy the Malmut and last but not least, Yogi and his bear. I am happy to paint other pets & animals, Dogs, Horses, Rats, Unicorns, whatever takes your fancy. 

It`s not just animals, just about anything you can think of can be painted so long as I can fit it within the mirror frame. Get in touch if you would like to find out more. I have a limited amount of spaces so orders will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. Thank you B.V x

Enquiries to

personalised pet missors

Solo Exhibition in Hope Kitchen, Oban.

Setting up with a little help from my friend Parsley, in Hope Kitchen, Oban.

I am excited to announce my first solo exhibition in Oban. My Host, Hope Kitchen is a charitable organisation, providing food, shelter and companionship to vulnerable and marginalised people in Oban. They kindly offered this brilliant space. How could I refuse? (They also make the best soup and there are cupcakes!) Parsley hosts a cat cafe there on a Friday afternoon so he popped in to help me set up before his guests arrived.

Anyway, I digress, the exhibition… I am showing a collection of painted and mixed-media mirrors using Glass, pewter & copper, a few mixed-media framed paintings and a collection of prints &  cards. The preview was lovely, I don`t know many people in my new town. I have been a hermit for a while so I was a bit on edge about meeting a lot of new faces at once. I need not have worried. My capable hostess Catriona made it a very relaxed event. I met lots of new people, had a catch up with friends who attended and had good sales. The exhibition will run until at least September so there`s plenty of time to drop in if you are in town. I have been catching up on commissioned work since then and it`s all about cats! 


Parsleys` human parents asked me to do this.

Iris & Toby- Commissionned by owner.

This one of Toby & Iris is on it`s way to Lexington, Virginia!

Czesar & TARDIS. Anniversary gift

What to buy for the man in your life who loves his Siberian cat and Doctor Who?  Czesar & T.A.R.D.I.S obviously 🙂

I have a collection of mirrors in my Etsy shop so pop in and take a look. If you would like to order a custom mirror just get in touch.

Opening Night

New Collection! Oban Art , Isle of Lismore & Ardchattan Priory.

Here it is! My new collection – Oban Art.

I have been busy exploring the area around Oban and now have a collection of new Illustrations of some of my favourite places.  I`m still working on a few more of the Isles of Kerrera and Lismore, and have plans to expand on my sketches from Mull.  Here it is so far.

All original artworks in this post are Ink, or Ink & Dry watercolour pencil, on Fulmar Ultra White Pinseal card which has a lovely texture. Prints are also available, printed on the same card stock to ensure they are as close to the originals as possible. You can see a close-up sample in the final image at the bottom of this post.

I have to start with this illustration, inside  McCaig`s Tower in winter. Ink & dry watercolour pencil.   The Tower is the first thing most people see when they arrive in Oban and it is well worth the climb up the hill. The tower itself is lovely, with lawns, seating and garden. The view from the platform is really beautiful. Seeing the sunset from here is a must!

If you have made the effort to get to the tower, why not go for a walk around the Hydropathic ruins just up the road? This illustration shows the only turret left standing, though there are lots of other bits of ruination on this huge site. Nice woodland, majestic ruins and a beautiful viewpoint looking over all of Oban and out over the Isles of Kerrera, Lismore & Mull. Mind the drop!!! You can find more photos in my earlier post –  Winters end & Ruins – Oban Hills Hydropathic Sanatorium.


Just down on the waterfront sits St Columba`s cathedral. It is an imposing building  in the neo-gothic style and is the

mother church of the diocese of Argyll & the Isles. My original sketches were done while listening to the peal of the bells ringing over the bay, the seabirds answering and the waves lapping the shore. 

This Ink & pencil illustration is the of the view from the old carriageway to Dunollie Castle gardens and the  1745 house. The house is also a museum to the MacDougall family. I love this place and they have cake! The view from the castle is great, Looking over the sea to Kerrera and watching the ferries and sailing boats go by.

This Illustration is titled “Sunshine on the pride of Ardchattan”

The priory at Ardchattan is around 10 miles from Oban. It has so much history, I don`t know where to start, so just go see it and enjoy the gardens. My friend John won the Wellie throwing contest on their last gala day. 🙂

Over the sea to the Isle of Lismore now for the last three illustrations. I am besotted with Lismore. I want to have a croft there. When I visit, I sit in my spot, imagining all the things I could do.

My number 1 thoughtful spot is at port Sailien, Limekilns Cottages. A derelict row of workers cottages. This ink illustration grew from a sketch I did last summer. It was so hot that day.

We shared the shade with a sheep and her lamb. They could see that the heat was more dangerous than my little whippet dog and just kept a close eye on us 🙂 Rufus, my dog was brought up around sheep and livestock and is very gentle with other animals. He tends to just avoid eye contact and keep out of their way.  🙂

I did the first sketches of this view last spring. The weather was hot and the leaves were just opening on the trees. This Ink & Watercolour illustration shows 2 derelict mills near Achnacroish. I spent a happy weekend camped there. There are so many bits of Lismore I have still to explore. I`m sure I will be posting more views soon.

Well, That`s it for now! I will add these images to my Print shop and they will be available from my Etsy shop soon. If you would like any more information or to order your original or print, just get in touch. I am always happy to hear your comments. 🙂


The scholars cat Pangur Ban, and a new outlook on Illuminated Art.

This year I have been looking at the skills of the Early Christian & Medieval illuminated manuscript makers.


These works of art are detailed almost beyond the available space, and their colours, which would be garish and harsh if one of us were to use them, seem to fit and work perfectly, even more so when seen in the way they were created. Imagine the monks, lit only by candlelight, creating these masterpieces with none of the advantages enjoyed by modern artists.

Many years ago, I discovered a poem. The story of a 9th-century scholar and his cat, Pangur Ban. The original poem in old Irish is in Reichenau Primer in the Lavanttal in Austria. Pangur Ban is also mentioned in The Secret of Kells. It is said he and the old monk fled Iona during Viking raids. The monks’ name is not known, but his cat carries his tale through history. The translation I found was by Robin Flower. Since reading this poem I have created many sketches and artworks of how I see Pangur Ban, before finally featuring him in illuminated artworks earlier this year.

Since then my interest in ancient manuscripts and pages has revived and I have tried to recreate my own. As an Agnostic, I have found it difficult in the past to recreate these works, the themes were too godly/saintly/iconic for me, but Pangur Ban has opened the door to a new, secular view of modern illumination for me. Since then I have strained eyes and patience, and discovered that ending up wearing gold leaf is easier to do than applying it to the artwork!

I these images I am using a gold ink to illuminate. I use brushes to apply this ink as the flow isn`t so good with a dip pen. Probably due to the suspended metals in the ink, compared to other pigment inks. 



Ancient Art


It`s that time of year again!

My last few weeks have been spent wisely, preparing for Oban Winter Festival and the Argyll Animal Aid Christmas fayre. I now have a hearty collection of prints, cards and gifts ready to move on to new homes. This year my interest has returned to ancient art and archaeology and it shows in my collection.

Running Through Time- Ink & watercolour digitally layered.

I have always been fascinated by the art of the ages. From the cave art at la Grotte Chauvet pont d`arc, Lascaux and Peche Merle to name a few, through to the Pictish, Viking and Celtic designs we all admire, and of course those medieval manuscripts created and illuminated by gold.

The West coast of Scotland and it`s islands are rich in pre-historic and early Christian art. Everywhere you go there is a bountiful supply of ancient sites, rock art and carved stone. I already have an intense interest in the cave art and ancient art of the world so it seemed impossible for me not to respond to the sites I have visited in my new hometown, My Cave Art Series was born and will continue to grow as time passes and inspiration dictates.

 Prints and gifts featuring these images and other collections will be available at the aforementioned Christmas fayres, but if you can`t be there then just get in touch. I am happy to post out to you at any time of year. An Artist is not just for Christmas 🙂