Shadow Flicker
Shadow Flicker
Woodcut. 2008

Paul Bloomer

An artist responds to Shetland windfarm proposals

"I have been moved to produce a series of images in response to proposals for a very large wind farm in Shetland. These images are not meant to be literal rendition of the Viking Energy project but depicts the effects of living in the shadow of 127 giant wind turbines and their affect on the human psyche. What should ostensibly be a traditional Shetland crofting scene has become a nightmare scenario where animals and birds are being displaced and humans are gradually being driven mad."

Letter sent to local media in Shetland in April 2008.

"Last night as I lay down my head I dreamt a dream. In need of solace I headed for the hills and soon lost my bearings. The ancient cairn I used as a land marker was gone and in its place was a giant windmill. In need of rest I looked for a place to sit and tried to settle at the base of this great graffiti stricken rusting beast. Amongst the broken glass and beer can filth I looked around and found my self in an industrial landscape with wind turbines stretching as far as the eye can see. Suddenly I heard a truck driving up the giant road that cut into the hills , then men and boys unloaded motorbikes and screeched around the track they had made into the heather.

Distressed I began to draw and looked to the sky in search of spiralling lapwings but instead all I could see was the never ending spiralling of windmill blades cutting into this once tranquil air like a knife in the night.

Unable to draw I began to walk and found myself at the shore of a loch where years ago I could catch a dozen half pound ruby encrusted brown trout with ease. I fished on with out a fish then I looked into the water and noticed that it was black with death and peat run off. I threw down my rod and walked again, then in the distance I saw a traveller. As he approached I noticed that like me he too was weeping and heavy laden. I asked him where he was from and what was he doing here. He said he came from afar in search of Shetlands legendary beauty and multitude of birds but so far he had found neither birds nor beauty. He enquired where he could see Merlin's and Wimbrel and I said they have not been seen round here for some time, even the Curlew and Snipe have no where to rest their heads on this hill and the Sky Larks no longer sing, though the Bonxies where doing well on the dead birds that lay beneath each turbine. We bid farewell and he said he would not be coming to these Isles again.

In despair I headed back to the village to seek out the company of friends and when I knocked on the door of the disheveled house a bleary eyed woman answered who I did not recognise. I enquired what had happened to my friends and she said that several years after the turbines had arrived they could take the noise and visual intrusion no more and unable to sell their house they had upped and gone and let it out to her. I asked why this village which I remember as being so full of fun and children was so empty , and she said that no one wanted to live here any more. I started to run as fast and far away as possible but no matter how far I ran in any direction I could still see the turbines. Dazed and sweating I collapsed into a heap and then suddenly I was awakened by the sound of a skylark singing high above the house. I looked outside and the hill was still intact and I realised it was indeed a very bad dream"

Paul Bloomer
Brake Cottage

To see more of Paul's work, and his wind farm series, go to his website:

See also: Paul and other artists in Shetland who protest against the wind farm showed their work in an  Exhibition at Vaila Fine Art in Lerwick

Read a Review of the Exhibition in Hi-Arts

Windfarm Vision 1
Windfarm Vision 1.
Woodcut. 2008. 63 x 91.5 cm

              Vision 2
Windfarm Vision 2.
Woodcut. 2008. 63 x 91.5 cm

Windy night
Windy nights
Woodcut. 2008

For more information about the plan to put a 127 turbine windfarm on Shetland,
go to this website:

For a map showing the proposed locations, go to this page on the Developer's website:

Viking Energy have a page devoted to video illustrations of the proposed wind farm. They will of course have done their best to make the turbines look as inoffensive as possible, for example the blades all perform a synchronised dance as you pass over them in the virtual fly-over. 
You can see the videos at the link below, but  If you love Shetland, prepare yourself for a shock.
127 turbines
up to 145 m high from base to tip

covering site area of  32,000 acres

62 miles of new roads through
 moorland and peat bog - peat is a carbon sink and should not be disturbed

danger of  landslides and water pollution