Wildlife Art

martin ridley - wildlife artist
wildlife art Kayak adventure wildlife paintings by martin ridley

Otters, eiders and stunning west coast scenery - a wildlife artist's inspiration. Paddling a kayak in west coast of Scotland sea lochs provides useful birdwatching and frequent encounters with otters, eiders and seals.

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  At the end of a day watching eiders, otters and seals. Photo - Rhum and Eigg by Martin Ridley - wildlife art

View from Arisaig to the Islands of Rum and Eigg

Jill returning from a paddle. wildlife paintings
Returning from a paddle
Jill and I had an inclination to try a kayaking course. Soon afterwards we acquired our own equipment, so we are now free to incorporate a little paddling into our itinerary.
We are complete softies, favourite launching conditions are the very finest weather with flat calm water. I have a disturbing memory of very nearly having drowned in a canoe some years ago and Jill too has no desire to try any interesting water conditions. We paddle to experience relaxation not stress.

Paddling has proved an inspirational experience. Kayaking opens up a whole new dimension. Intead of water being a no go area it becomes your means of transport and rather than always just looking out over the water you can explore the shoreline looking back at the land. The low view point provides wonderful reflections and the detail of the water, rocks and weeds are much closer to hand. This page shows you the creative results, which stemmed from our trips.

    Drying the equipment after wet weather in Torridon. wildlife artist
Drying out at a more sheltered campsite

Camping along the west coast of Scotland in October can be quite wet from time to time. In-between bright sunny half days we had 24 hour storms.
  At an exposed campsite with a gale due overnight we took compass bearings in order to pitch the tent at the right angle to the forecast wind, then tied the tent to the car and piled boulders around it. The tent flexed about a bit and the noise was intense, but all seemed fine until I unzipped the inner to discover our rucksacks and food floating in a lake of water.
Arisaig sunset by Martin Ridley. wildlife art

We made a limited number of sorties due to the weather but they were amongst some of the most memorable days I have ever had. As an artist I thrive on vivid memories:

  • skimming along in the kayak through patches of glassy water reflecting the mountains
  • forty seals following us out of curiosity
  • beautiful flowing seaweeds suspended in crystal clear water
  • punting over pristine bars of white sand into yet another Caribbean blue channel
  • a myriad of islands and reefs each with their piping oystercatchers
  • watching an otter fishing
  • spectacular sunsets accompanied by the sounds of crooning eider ducks and the occasional roaring red deer stag

I could harp on but I'm sure you're getting the picture. I'm keen to share the experience through my paintings, but the best I can produce will always in my mind fall short of the real thing.

  Wildlife Art : Eiders, oils by Martin Ridley


  Wildlife Art : Eiders, oils by Martin Ridley
Oils, 12 x 16 inches
  Wildlife Art : Otter by Martin Ridley
  Otter, Loch Ailort
Oils, (detail from the painting)
  Underwater Photography

Equipped with an underwater camera, which could be mounted onto the end of my paddle by a clip that I had made earlier I located some attractive underwater scenery. Once above the spot the camera was fitted onto the paddle, the timer activated and lowered into the water with the lens facing the right direction until the shutter was triggered.

My methods were somewhat random but I did get a small percentage of quite useful shots, which were used as a starting point for the painting below. The twinkling rays of sunshine and the amazing colours were a revelation and the next plan is to get a wet suit and pursue this angle further in the future.
Wildlife paintings: An underwater view of an otter chasing a sea trout, oils by Martin Ridley
  Otter and Sea Trout
Oils, 19 x 24 inches
Original sold
  The above image features on the wildlife screen savers
  Otter and sea trout print
Signed open edition print
image approx. 246 x 310 mm
(approx. 10 x 12 inches)

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Wildlife paintings: Eiders, WWT magazine cover design  by Martin Ridley
Oils, 24 x 18 inches
  Wildlife Art : Oystercatchers by Martin Ridley
Oils, 14 x 21 inches
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  Wildlife Art : Oystercatchers, oils by Martin Ridley
  Line of Oystercatchers
Oils, 12 x 21 inches
  Sea eagle picture, painting in oils by Martin Ridley

Sea Eagle
Oils, 19 x 34 inches
White-tailed Eagle Prints

  Photo of Eigg and Rhum by Martin Ridley: A wildlife artist's  inspiration - exploring sea lochs along the west coast of Scotland. Kayaking provides useful birdwatching opportunities and frequent encounters with  otters and seals.

Photo from Ardtoe to the Islands of Rum and Eigg

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More Otter Paintings

Martin Ridley, 29 Toberargan Road, Pitlochry
Perthshire PH16 5HG

Telephone: International +44 7925 549 002
UK  07925 549 002

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