If you're looking for inspiration, you could do a lot worse than head for Cove Park. A retreat for artists located on the fringes of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in Scotland, it combines incredible natural beauty with creative recycling.
The retreat was founded in 1999 by Eileen and Peter Jacobs as a place for artists of all kinds to research and develop new projects. The public are also invited to participate through a program of events. The land it's on was once a conservation park for local plants, flowers and wildlife, and today Cove Park maintains this directive. In addition to artists, it houses highland cattle and sheep, wild orchids and other native plants.
Humans can stay in two different types of accommodation – both equally interesting. Pods, designed by Andy McAvoy, were purchased from the BBC after being used in its Castaway 2000 TV series on the island of Taransay in the Outer Hebrides. They're made of green oak and their curved roofs are turfed to blend in with the environment.
Cubes, designed by Urban Space Management, are converted freight containers joined together to produce individual units of accommodation and work spaces. They have sliding doors that lead onto decked balconies overlooking Loch Long. Makes you want to paint, even if you've never done it before. RM