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As an Artist who is deeply influenced by remote landscapes, wild living and being surrounded by nature, my time spent as Artist in Residence at the Bothy Project in the middle of the Cairngorms National Park was spent in an enlightened and very influential way. The Bothy allows you to escape from monotonous routines and think about what you really want to achieve with small basic comforts of living. I ambled through the forest, I spent hours exploring and looking out to the mountains, I listened to the still humming of the land whilst capturing this through my photographs and drawings. Long live the wild.  


Ellis O'Connor - Artist in Residence with The Bothy Project.




Ellis' response to The Bothy as place.

The Both­­y will forever mean something to me, the place where it sits, the surrounding mountains will always be remembered as an experience that not only changed my art work but myself as a being. Upon departing the residency, I left not only with a new body of work but also with a fresh perspective and a quietened mind; my thought process slowed down to match the rhythm of the landscape around me.


There are a number of reasons why it came to be such a significant experience to me. From being comforted by the surrounding woods, the silence, space to think and the unawareness of the passive time enabled me to focus on what was truly important, the elements and working on my practise in a direct and purposeful way.


‘Stark quietness, the presence in the woods and the back to basics way. Upon arrival at the bothy I was overwhelmed by the stark lonely setting of the Bothy in relation to the outside world.’


No thoughts of the modern outside world, your worries are based on the basic necessities of fire, light, water and making. It’s refreshing. It’s when you realise that all outside problems become insignificant your vital survival and true human instincts c­ome in.


‘The Freedom and Simple beauty is too good to pass up.’

I wrote a simple poem whilst walking through the forest one day during the residency and it will forever sum up my experience of the place and why it meant so much.



Mountain Awakening

Dawn enlightens

Expanses of forestation and land


The land surrounds me

Trees they comfort

Lost in the wild

By the presence of nature


I walk silently,

Forever losing track of time

No significance of outside noises or meanings

I am here

Tread softly through the terrains



Overall, it forced me to look past the landscape, what is beneath it and look into the true significance. Our connection to these overwhelming landscapes goes a lot deeper than our simple vision of the Mountains.

Everything at the Bothy engaged my attention, the light rain falling on the trees, the crackling of the fire, echoes in the forest, silence of the land and this will always stay with me, influencing me and my work.



‘Here I am without distractions and allowing my mind to think clearly again.’


About Ellis O'Connor.

I am a visual Artist working in photography, painting and printmaking. My practice deals with different elements based on remote landscapes; the spirit of place, traces of the land and the sublime. I am very interested in the feeling of ‘genius loci’ and feel that within certain natural places there is a powerful atmosphere.


I challenge the way in which we perceive and view the landscape. It is affected, disrupted and rough; I bring these elements into focus to highlight these areas of the land. I concentrate on showing the best way of representing the meaning of my work, so the viewers can feel the presence of the landscapes and understand the underlying meaning of the sublime and overpowering elements.


Keep up to date with Ellis O'Connor's work via her website and blog.

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