Biography

bill neill wildlife and landscape artist south uistMy passion for wildlife began as a small boy growing up in Cheshire when I would examine pond and plant life, insects and spiders and of course birds. Rural Cheshire in the 50s still had a way of life that supported Yellowhammers, Lapwing and possibly the Corncrake but I never saw or even heard the elusive bird.

I trained at Leeds College of Art, and did a post graduate Art Teachers Certificate at Goldsmiths College London in 1967.  I taught in a special school before setting off overland to India, exploring the wilds of Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan on the way.  Then I spent three years in Australia doing a variety of jobs including being a ghost on the ghost train at the Royal Perth Show, working on a sheep station and teaching at a secondary school outside Adelaide before returning home.

I moved to South Uist in 1980 and was immediately impressed by the open landscape dotted with lochs, enormous skies and prolific wildlife. 

The machair in Uist is a unique habitat of semi natural grassland along the west coast of the island. It supports a variety of rare and interesting species including the Corn Bunting, Belted Beauty Moth the Great Yellow Bumblebee and of course that elusive Corncrake. The rich profusion of wild flowers makes a dramatic back drop for the Skylark and Lapwing which are still common in Uist.

My paintings aim to capture the individuality of the birds whilst exploring their relationship with each other and their environment; the environment we all share.

Many of the titles of the paintings are intentionally minimal.  The Gaelic bird names I have used are still in common usage in Gaelic speaking Uist and have a history and meaning linked to the land and people.

If you are visiting South Uist call at the Studio Gallery Askernish

Open during the summer 10:00 – 17:00

During the winter months it is advisable to phone first 01878 700 237

William Neill - Wildlife and Landscape Artist - South Uist