May Byrne studied at the University of Glasgow and is a professional artist and tutor. She has developed an instantly recognisable style of expressive painting and has received many awards and accolades for her work, which is held in a number of private and public collections throughout the world.May was also Vice-President and Honorary Treasurer for the Paisley Art Institute (2011 - 2015).


maybyrnephotoWorking from her Harbourside studio in Irvine, Ayrshire, May is inspired mainly by her journeys through the Highlands and Islands and in particular, her intimate connections with the Uists in the Outer Hebrides. With her family history intrinsically entwined with that of South Uist, May's art is an evocation and interpretation of the Gaelic rhythms of her native island. Generations on both sides have been shaped by island life, as well as making their own mark on the character of South Uist. Subsequently, many years spent visiting have only served to further strengthen these strong bonds. An unconscious absorption of the history, culture and environment of the chain of islands that make up the Outer Hebrides has proved integral to her art. A subsequent lifelong fascination with the crofting lifestyle, the environment and its resilient people, allied to her instinctive awareness, appreciation and understanding of the Hebridean landscape, has shaped May's very distinctive voice.


Using photography and sketches to record the underlying tension of the changing weather and seasons of the islands, she expresses the huge expansive skies, the colour palette of the machair, the hidden depths of the lochans, vastness of the beaches and drama of the mountains. 


May, over a number of years has developed an expressive, loose approach to painting. Her paintings are devoid of human presence, bordering between realism and abstraction with gestural marks laid over glazes to portray machair grasses, wild flowers, lochans and mountain ranges, although indications of human habitation in the form of telegraph poles, fences, paths and distant houses feature heavily in her work. May often uses broad brushstrokes and palette knives to create layers of texture as means to capture the light and effects of weather on the environment.  


More information to follow shortly..





Colourful Expressions - House for an Art Lover(2020/21)

Imprint - The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool (2018)

McTear’s Auctioneers, Glasgow

The Lighthouse,Glasgow - Children's Hospital

House for an Art Lover – Tir an Eorna

Paisley Art Institute, Paisley

WASPS Open Studios, Harbourside, Irvine

Atholl Gallery, Dunkeld

The Lime Tree Gallery, Fort William

The Schoolhouse, Dornie

Taigh Chearsabhagh, North Uist

Art on the Map, Isle of South Uist

MacMillan Cancer Support Art Show

Save the Children, Rozelle Galleries, Alloway, Ayr

Art off the Square, Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire

North Ayrshire Open Art Exhibition, Eglinton Park, Irvine

Portencross Art Exhibition, Ayrshire





Paisley Art Institute, House for an Art Lover Award (2012)

Irvine Rotary Club Award (2009)

Work held in private and public collections in Botswana, China, America and United Kingdom.


Paisley Art Institute - Award winner 2012

Paisley Art Institute, Vice-President 2014/15

Paisley Art Institute, Honorary Treasurer 2011/14

Paisley Art Institute - Artist Member

House for an Art Lover, Tir an Eorna, Solo Exhibition October 2013

The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, Imprint, Joint Exhibition with Chris Byrne, June 2018

Workshops and Demonstrations:

Mid Auchengowan Farm, Lochwinnoch - Art Retreat

House for an Art Lover –  Various week-end Masterclasses 4/5 March 2017, August 2018, 2019

Summerlee Heritage Centre - N Lanarkshire

Troon Art Club – Demonstration with Inks, Charcoal and Pastels

North Ayrshire Art Club – Demonstration of Expressive Mark-Making Techniques

Fairlie Art Club – Workshop - Making Collage Papers

Brookfield Art Club, Renfrewshire





Workshop News



News on new workshops will be available shortly.



WASPS Studios, Studio L, Courtyard Studios, 128 Harbour Street, Irvine, Ayrshire. KA12 8PZ