Artist Clare Blois takes residence at The Admiral’s House, Skye

Clare Blois is an award winning Scottish artist based in the Highlands with a Wasps studio at Inverness Creative Academy. Her expressionist paintings conjure the magic and drama of the northern landscape and seascape, reflecting the cycle of the seasons and the elements. Clare spent one month at The Admiral’s House residency space in Skye this summer.

Set in an idyllic location The Admiral’s House has three artist studios & bedrooms, offering time and space to both explore and develop work, and meet fellow creatives. Clare tells Wasps about her time on residence, her intentions, and what she came away with.

I was attracted to the residency at the Admiral’s House as I badly needed an extended period of time to work all day every day without other distractions. I had a plan to develop my work in a new direction and needed time to myself to do this. I hoped that at the end of the month I would come back with a clearer notion of my way forward. As a landscape painter the Isle of Skye was an attractive proposition – I knew there would be no shortage of material.

Nearby rocky cove

I worked consistently and hard over the month. I wanted to use the time well, and I was up early and spent most of the day in the studio, apart from going for walks and gathering sketches. The location was perfect and there was no real need to drive about – as I live in the Highlands I didn’t bother about sightseeing except for finding a few swimming places. I made a good number of paintings, many of them large, and I tried out lots of new ideas. I came away pleased with what I had achieved both on canvas and in my head!

The studio space at the house is excellent and I had plenty of room in the converted garage (the Alan Macdonald studio). The newer studio overlooking the water (Lady Joan’s studio) is beautiful, and larger than the photos suggest – two artists were working in there. All the studios have heaters which are good for winter months. The house was comfortable and had a lot of fascinating old books including the Admiral’s memoirs which were worth a read.

The view from Lady Joan’s studio

I was a little apprehensive about who else would be staying in the house but need not have worried. It was good to meet artists from different parts of the country. We were all engaged in totally different practices and all very focused on our own agendas, so in fact did not see much of each other although we got on well.

I would very much recommend the artist residency experience – it is such a good chance to do exactly as you please for a while, to be entirely flexible and take from it what you will. Of course it all depends on what you put into it! I hope I can go to the Admiral’s House again before long.

You can see more of Clare Blois’ work at

Wasps is currently taking bookings for winter artist residencies, offering full house bookings for groups of artists or creative families. A full house booking consists of three rooms and three studios for a maximum of 6 guests and can be booked for a week, fortnight or full month. If you’re interested in taking a winter retreat at The Admiral’s House please click below for available dates and details on how to apply.

Apply for The Admiral’s House Winter Residencies

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