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Find out what brought these enthusiasts to Ullapool for four months

By Hector MacKenzie

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Bridge House Art Portfolio Course Artists
Bridge House Art Portfolio Course Artists

PEOPLE with occupations as diverse as composer, tea expert and research psychologist – and from as far afield as the United States – have converged on a Wester Ross village to pursue a shared passion.

Ten enthusiastic artists relocated to Ullapool to develop their skills and create new work on an immersive four-month course unique to the Highlands – the Portfolio Course at Bridge House Art.

And now, from this weekend, an exhibition titled COLLIDE / CONNECT will showcase the students’ thought-provoking work at the An Talla Solais gallery space in Ullapool. It runs from Sunday, February 25 to Sunday, March 3, 10am - 4pm.

With subject matters from figurative to abstract, using materials ranging from traditional oils, printmaking, and acrylics to found materials and collage, visitors can expect an eclectic and exciting range of work. Entry to the show is free of charge and many works will be for sale. On Friday, March 1 at 3pm, Assynt-based poet Mandy Haggith will read from her work.

Saturday, March 2 from 1pm will feature a pop-up portrait session for interested visitors by artist Laura Beveridge, for a small donation to benefit future supported places on the Portfolio Course.

Eva Faber, former head teacher of Ullapool primary school, said: “As a child I wanted to be a painter and yet throughout my education I was never encouraged to be one. Having spent a lifetime thinking of others, it is miraculous to get the time to do something so creative.”

Laura Beveridge at work on her portfolio course.
Laura Beveridge at work on her portfolio course.

Laura Beveridge, of Dingwall, is pursuing an art degree after the course. She said: “We’ve had the chance to try whole new disciplines and learn about all sorts of different processes. My internal definition of what art can be has expanded since I’ve been here.”

Composer and music editor Elaine Gould, from London, praised the quality of teaching on the course, noting that "tutors Eleanor White and Kittie Jones skilfully direct and push us to fulfil our potential. Their way of teaching always asks us to dig deep to find our own answers”.

This exhibition marks the 24th year of Ullapool's Bridge House Art Portfolio course. Highlights of the exhibition can be seen online at https://www.bridgehouseart.co.uk/exhib2024

Bridge House Art based in Ullapool is a non-residential school offering a summer programme of weekly courses and weekend courses as well as the four month Portfolio course in the winter.

The Portfolio course is unique to the west coast of Scotland and offers an opportunity to study in an intimate and stimulating environment. It is designed for people who wish to access degree level study at art school or would like to study art at a deeper level. Many mature students have used this course as a sabbatical or as a chance to develop a new direction in their lives. The course promises excellent studio facilities for up to 12 students ensuring personal input in a creative and supportive environment.

An Talla Solais is a community arts charity in Ullapool, offering classes and workshops, and a community art hub incorporating artist studios, a ceramics studio and gallery space.

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