Orkney has long been home to communities of artists and designers, drawn to the islands by its location, history, culture and beauty. It is truly inspirational. In studios and galleries, visitors will quickly understand why Orkney continues to hold such a fascination for painters - the results speak for themselves!

There's an unmistakable 'arty' feel about Orkney and this is perhaps most evident in the charming seaport of Stromness. Not only is it home to the world-renowned Pier Arts Centre, but it attracts visiting artists and festival goers in great numbers. The buzz is hard to resist and in the cafes and bars old and new friends are reacquainted and stories swapped.

In our towns and villages, small independent galleries are now flourishing and open to the public. It is here you will see the work of local artists, sculptors and textile designers. For Orcadians, the islands are in the blood and this is evident in the dramatically different interpretations of this unique landscape and the seas and skies that surround it. There are dozens of galleries and studios in Orkney. Many can be found in the East and West Mainland around the main towns, but across the islands in far-flung corners, such as the tiny and remote isle of Papa Westray, artists have put down roots and established creative communities.

On Orkney, art is sometimes unconventional, often unexpected and challenging, but always of the highest quality and integrity. Orcadian artists, such as Stanley Cursiter and Sylvia Wishart, gained worldwide recognition and put the islands firmly on the map. Today's generation of painters continue this tradition and are responsible for works of outstanding creativity.

As you travel across Orkney, you will come face-to-face with the source of this inspiration. Imposing Neolithic monuments, mystical stone circles, stunning sunsets, the Northern Lights, dramatic coastlines and crashing waves. All this might inspire you to pick up a brush and try your hand. Many galleries run courses and workshops for enthusiasts of all levels - so give it a go and put your own stamp on Orkney!

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