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.  


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