John Muir Trust ‘Creative Freedom’ exhibition

A charcoal drawing of birch tree branches by Tansy Lee Moir
‘Douny’, charcoal on panel, 30x30cm

I’m pleased to have my drawing ‘Douny’ included in the John Muir Trust’s ‘Creative Freedom’ exhibition. Submissions were invited from artists of all disciplines for their 40 year anniversary celebration of ‘freedom for wild spaces’.

This charcoal drawing captures the unruly growths of Witch’s broom, found on a downy birch in a Scottish ancient woodland. It’s a striking tree which I use to navigate by when I walk there, an impossible tangle of tiny branches against the winter sky. To me it represents this self-willed tree’s ability to respond to its environment and thrive despite its challenges.


The John Muir Trust ‘Creative Freedom’ exhibition is on show from the 18th March to the 25th May at their Wild Space Visitor Centre, Pitlochry and online. My drawing is included in the online gallery.

a photograph of witches broom growths on birch trees by Tansy Lee MoirYou can see more of this series of birch inspired drawings in my ‘Landmarks’ gallery.


Bringing people and trees together

Article about artist Tansy Lee Moir in the Arboricultural Association magazineAn article published in the Arboricultural Association members magazine Spring 2024, written by Ruthe Davis.

Trees are beautiful, and frequently feature in artwork. But while many artists show trees with a stylistic appearance and as part of a wider landscape scene, Tansy Lee Moir depicts them as individuals, using a deeply personal portrait style. I visited this artist in her South Queensferry studio to learn more about her work.


The story of a charcoal drawing

A moment of poise

We can’t quite work out what we are seeing: is it tree, human, or something in between?

dark and dramatic charcoal drawing inspired by a tree by artist Tansy Lee Moir
‘A moment of poise’

From a distance there’s a powerful sense of solidity and sculptural form. Emerging from the velvety darkness of densely applied charcoal, parts of the form are obscured and mysterious, while others stand out in dramatic chiaroscuro.


What to do when an exhibition ends

What I do at the end of an exhibition

There’s a flow to mounting an exhibition, a pattern of highs and lows and the bits in between.

From the start to the end of an exhibition, I feel hopefulness and excitement, creative risk, vulnerability and doubt, pleasure from sharing what I make, joy in connecting with people through the work. There’s praise and criticism, intense activity and hours of frustration and occasional, moving glimpses of strangers falling in love with my artwork. That’s a whole pile of emotions there!

So it’s never as simple as just putting things on a wall



Making a film poem

This time last year, I talked to my pal and collaborator Steve Smart about making another film together. Over the last couple of years we’ve worked on ‘Foraging’ about the way I find the trees which inspire my work and ‘Connecting’, which show how I get to know their individual characters through drawing. He created two beautiful short films which you can see here.

Tansy Lee Moir drawing at Marchmont residency

Steve’s new vision was to capture elements of my work as a film poem,


‘Landmarks’ Artist Talk online

Online Artist Talk, Thursday 4th January

I so enjoyed doing the artist talk with my fellow Calder Wood artists last month that I’ve decided to give an online one too, direct from my studio. Preparing to talk in public about your work really focuses the mind on the why as well as the how of making and I like the idea of sharing that in a reflective and hopefully informative way with all my supporters wherever you are.

a natural drawing tool for charcoal by Tansy Lee MoirI’ll be focusing on my latest body of work ‘Landmarks’, a series of charcoal pieces prompted by some of Calder Wood’s memorable trees.

It will be just for Studio News subscribers so you don’t need to book, just make you have added your email to my list, put the date in next year’s diary and I’ll send you details and a link nearer the day.

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charcoal drawing by Tansy Lee Moir on wall at Linlithgow Burgh Halls
Installation view of “A moment of poise’ at Linlithgow Burgh Halls 2023

This talk was recorded – you can now watch it here.


Artists in Calder Wood

Poster for Artists in Calder Wood Exhibition by Tansy Lee MoirOpening soon

‘Artists in Calder Wood’

Almondell Visitor Centre, Almondell & Calder Wood Country Park, West Lothian

20th December – 4th February 2024

A satellite exhibition looking at the creative processes behind the exhibition ‘Calder Wood: Contemporary views on an ancient woodland’, on show at Linlithgow Burgh Halls until 21st January.

Anne Gilchrist, Kirsty Venters Marks, Tansy Lee Moir, Jennie Tuffs and Cordula Marks Venters have spent the last four seasons discovering some of the stories and secrets of West Lothian’s foremost ancient woodland, Calder Wood.

They have interpreted what they found in the wood from their own individual perspectives, exploring it from their differing cultural and historic viewpoints and considered the perspectives of the non-human world and how these ancient, complex relationships can be read in the landscape.

charcoal drawing of birch branches
‘Birken’ Charcoal on panel 30 x 30cm Tansy Lee Moir

‘These works help us to look beneath the surface of what we see to understand the layers of human and non-human relationships more deeply.’

Catalogues for sale from the Visitor Centre £8.

Supported by Jane Begg, Tree and Woodland Officer and Kirsty Morrison, Country Park Ranger, West Lothian Council.

Calder Wood Artists Walk

Sunday 14th January 2024 10.30-1pm

Join some of the Calder Wood artists and Ranger Kirsty Morrison on this gentle walk around West Lothian’s foremost ancient woodland. Hear about how it inspired their new work, see some of the special places they found there and stop to share poems, stories and memories along the way.

Free to attend but places limited, contact the Visitor Centre on 01506 882254 or almondell& to book.


Meet outside the Fork & Field pub Mid Calder from 10.15am (what3words ///knees.bounding.older)

Outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear recommended. Paths are uneven, steep in parts and may be muddy. Bring a flask if you wish for refreshments. Please note there are no toilet facilities in Calder Wood.

In the case of bad weather, the walk will be rescheduled to Saturday 20th January.


An Aberdeenshire retreat

The journey north

Imagine a dark December afternoon, cold enough to keep your hat on in the car.

Driving north, snow shines on the fields and hills beside the road. You’re glad to have your thermals and a bottle of whisky packed in the back, tucked alongside your sketchbooks and drawing kit.

The sun has long since disappeared when you turn into the long approach to the castle and stars are beginning to emerge from behind icy clouds. The impressive silhouette of Drum Castle comes into view as you move slowly through the arboretum giants. Small windows in one corner of the castle glow warmly – you’ve arrived.

Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire

A creative break

At this time of year I find the creative energy ebbs away a little and I need some reflective time away from the studio. This year I chose to properly get away


Completing the Marchmont commission

Reunion triptych charcoal drawing for Marchmont House collection
‘Reunion I, II, III’ Charcoal on panel, 110 x 210cm Photo by Steve Smart

Thinking about ‘Reunion’

I generally prefer to leave room for other people to make their own interpretations of my work but thought that, since ‘Reunion’ won’t be on public display for a little while, I would share some images and try to articulate what it might mean to me.