ONE of East Lothian’s most recognisable landmarks is at the heart of an exhibition opening this week.

About 30 artists have come together to present their unique view of Bass Rock, which sits three miles off the coast of North Berwick.

‘Bass Rock’ opens on Saturday (September 4) at Fidra Fine Art in Gullane, and husband and wife Darren Woodhead and Pascale Rentsch are among the artists involved.

The couple, who live in Haddington with their three sons, have a deep connection to the famous volcanic plug, having first met 25 years ago during a seabird drawing course in North Berwick, run by the late John Busby.

A highlight of his annual seabird drawing course, which Darren now runs along with his wife as one of the visiting tutors, is a visit to the Bass Rock.

In 1996, neither artist lived in Scotland.

Darren, who is originally from Leeds, had been living in Wales, while Pascale, a native of Switzerland, had encountered John Busby when he took a drawing course at Bern Zoo.

Darren said: “Like everyone who visits the Bass Rock for the first time, both Pascale and I were overwhelmed by the experience.

“Even as you approach it by boat, it literally glows thanks to being covered by both gannets and guano.

“It’s like entering another world; a real sensory overload with the noise of the birds, the smell and the busyness of the place.

“At one point during the visit, I gave Pascale my jumper because she was cold – and that’s how it all started for us.”

Pascale had come to Scotland to study at Edinburgh College of Art and became friendly with John Busby and his wife Joan.

Pascale added: “The Bass Rock is very special to us and it’s been wonderful for us, particularly in the last year or so, to focus our energies on making work inspired by it.

“The small and quiet things are as important as the obvious things and that is what I try to get across in my paintings of it. What fascinates me about the rock is how it sits and feels in the landscape, the sea, the weather and the light within its surroundings.

“The little, tiny yellow flowers, the sea grasses, the brown coastline stones sparkling like gems in the evening sun are all part of the small things but, for me, they are as important as the mighty Bass Rock.”

The Bass Rock has inspired painters including JMW Turner and writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson.

Alan Rae, owner of the Gullane gallery, said Bass Rock had “long fascinated artists”.

Among those featuring in the latest exhibition are Julia Albert-Recht, Ann Cowan and Clive Ramage.

Mr Rae said: “As a local there is something reassuring about its permanence that always makes me feel at home when I see it.

“All the artists I have invited to take part have a connection to the rock but each and every one of the them looks at it in a different way.”