Artist in Residence aboard the Borealis

I wish I could say this was my studio, although it was for a short while. . .

At the end of last year I was privileged to be invited aboard Fred Olsen Lines' cruise ship the  Borealis as an Artist in Residence.

Two of their flagships have beautiful studios where they run craft workshops and art classes for their passengers on days 'at sea'.

We sailed from Liverpool to Lisbon, Madeira, Porto and La Coruña in Galicia. This was my first time cruising.

In terms of the interesting itinerary, the impeccable crew, generous facilities, fabulous dining and the friendly fellow passengers it was a fantastic voyage. But unfortunately seasickness while crossing the Bay of Biscay marred the pleasure somewhat.

I worked in the studio up on Deck 10, top deck at the stern of the ship, which when rough, moved about quite a bit.

I was available in the studio to give advice and suggestions to those who wished to come and do something creative whilst aboard. When at our ports of call I was free to go and explore and discover the delights of Portugal and Spain. I thoroughly enjoyed our, oh too brief, time in beautiful Madeira. I will definitely have to return. I rode the cable car up to the top of the hills, wandered around the tropical gardens, took lots of photos, made sketches, ate espada (fish) with bananas in Funchal but the clock was ticking and I wanted to see as much as I could.  The bus ride back down to town was a wild whirl of hairpin bends and close encounters with traffic and walls!

Back on board I produced a series of multi-media abstract paintings inspired by my meanderings and the sensation of being upon the waves.

Towards the end of the cruise, whilst heading back to Liverpool I put on an exhibition to show what I had been up to.

It was just a peek at the various destinations, but despite time being of the essence, I came away with a myriad of memories and visual imprints. It was an amazing experience.


Our first destination was Lisbon. I had heard that the town of Sintra was very pretty but the excursion was fully booked. Whilst at the picturesque station in Lisbon I saw there were trains, it took 50 mins for 5€ return. I bought a ticket and just prayed that the punctuality and reliability of Portuguese trains would be good (it was a Sunday) or I would miss my ship - they were, and it was well worth being brave.

Madeira with its tropical gardens, stunning views and ravines was spectacular. I kept seeing CR7 around, (?) until I realised that Cristiano Ronaldo is a famous son of the island.