Category Archives: Daily Sketch

Castle at night for the Castle of Light

I was lucky enough to be invited along to see the new Castle of Light nightly event at Edinburgh Castle.

To see this historic building transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour and storytelling is spellbinding. Projection of light and film, animation is such a great way to bring buildings to life at night, and with the castles rich history there is plenty to draw on.

Walking around the cobbled, lamp lit streets of the castle at night was special too, I felt I was in Victorian Edinburgh, climbing up and down the ‘castle village’ of stone buildings, statues, steps and street lights. It is so atmospheric, even before the animated dragon breathes fires across the castle walls!

This stunning lion greeted us on the way in the castle gates.

Our kids loved it, and combined with a poke of chips and a hot chocolate from the Castle esplanade while looking at the sparkly views across the city, it made for a lovely festive night.

The Castle of Light – Hidden Treasures night show is on until 9th Jan at Edinburgh Castle, for more information and to book visit their website HERE.

First frost on the Harbour

This morning I saw and sketched as the ice melted away in Granton Harbour

On the school run the kids and I noticed how the masts of the boats were all at wonky angles and the water was frozen over.

The sun was strong and although it was bitterly cold I headed out onto the Granton breakwater, a small stone wall in the sea that protects the boats from the strong waves from the east.

Inside the harbour there was a thin layer of frozen water and all the boats and buoys were sitting on top, as if placed there by a giant.

I sat and sketched for about 20 minutes until the water had thawed and my fingers had frozen!

New Hospital, new name

Today I was visiting the great team at Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, now in their new location at Little France.

I have fond and emotional memories of the old Sick Kids hospital as many of you will know. My boy James has Haemophilia and was in and out of the old hospital by the Meadows many many times as a wee one. I have sketched the beautiful Victorian building many times in the past.

But now we have a brand new children’s hospital to visit, thankfully for us not so often now, but along with the new location there is a new name.

And so instead of visiting ‘The Sick Kids’ as many would have known the old building, I was today visiting and sketching the also beautiful and very striking ‘Royal Hospital for Children & Young People’.

the City Art Centre unviels new aquisitions

This week I enjoyed a wander around the City Art Centre, still a splendid novelty after months without the option of visiting galleries due to the lockdowns.

I was at the Market Street gallery to see some of their latest acquisitions, exhibited together in the new showcase: Incoming: New Acquisitions at the City Art Centre which will run until May 2023.

I found it fascinating to see the range of pieces which have been brought in to the fine art collection, either through gifts, donations or purchases. How wonderful it must be to have a piece included, one day perhaps!

As I say there was a range of pieces, using many mediums some of which include oils, etchings, cyanotype, sculpture, photography and watercolours.

These two stunning miniature watercolours of Edinburgh are well worth seeing in person. Painted by Robert Batty, a 19th Century army officer and amateur artist, proving there is time for us all!

You will find this exhibition on the basement floor at the City Art Centre, now open and free to visit. Read more via their website below.

City Art Centre website

Cinema sketch

Today I had a sneak preview into Summerhall’s newly refurbished cinema, CineHall.

Summerhall, in the south side of the city, has been a favourite place of mine for years and years, a vibrant inspiring place filled with visual and performance art. A hive of activity free to visit and always changing.

The kind of place I would of loved to visit whilst skiving off from art college back in the day.

This week I was asked along to a preview of their newly refurbished cinema, the Cinehall. Unfortunately I couldn’t make the screening so popped in beforehand to sketch this.

I needed to add a ghost audience for my sketch but when fully open (from Friday 1st October) then the intimate cinema should hold 70 people.

Showing a unique programme of new releases, big blockbusters, underrated indies and engaging world cinema gems, check out the full list of upcoming films on the Summerhall website below.

Summerhall Cinema website

Rising from the waters

I had a tour of the Ocean Mist in Leith today, the newly restored ship on the shore has a new level, and some impressive plans.

Owners Alan and Nadia Pedley hope to open for business before the end of the year, and although there is still plenty to do their whole family is pitching in and I am sure they will get there on time.

The décor inside is high end, tailored wood panelling and beautifully designed ironwork guides you around the three story floating hotel.

The finishing touches nod to the art deco style of the 1920’s, from when the ship had its hey day and throughout the hotel you will find links to the boats glorious past.

I can’t wait to return once the Ocean Mist is ready for guests, to have a whisky at the bar and to be transported to the luxurious past, without even leaving the dock.

Follow the progress of the Ocean Mist on their Instagram page HERE

This sketch I made after the tour, whilst enjoying a fine coffee from Custom Lane

Selective sketching on Princes Street

ink and watercolour sketch of a princes street building

Today was such a glorious September afternoon here in Edinburgh, perfect for a little outdoor sketching

This beautiful Victorian building is on Princes Street. I have ignored the bottom floor as it is a recently closed, boarded up shop.

It is such a shame that rinces Street is looking so tired just now, a mixture of closed shops, discount stores and mobile phone clones. But look above the ground floor eyeline and there are some beautiful architectural details.

Like this tall building which lies opposite the Scottish National Gallery. Dating back to the late 1800s I believe it was originally a tea room and would be lovely brought back to its glory days.

I would love to see more independent shops on Princes Street, original and different enough to bring shoppers back to the high street.

Camping in the Borders

A last minute stay in the Scottish Borders proved to be the perfect escape before school starts.

At the weekend the Sketcher Clan took a camping break to a favourite campsite; Ruberslaw in the Scottish Borders. Just an hour and a half away in the car, the stunning location sits between Hawick and Jedburgh in the heart of the rolling border hills.

Although we had meant to be there for three nights we stayed for two and a wonderful three days in the country, disconnected from our gadgets. The above sketch is of their beautiful glass house which sits within a walled garden.

James and Zoe had a great time playing into the dark with children on the campsite, including what looked like a toasted marshmallow eating tent crawl !

It was my mistake about the length of stay, I had mistakenly thought the schools in Edinburgh went back a day later than they actual did. The error did mean however that we could take our time packing up on the Tuesday morning and also fit in another walk up the hill to see the sheep and the ‘truly wild’ camping pitches (and safari tents) up in the woods.

Perhaps next time we will venture further from the comforts of the walled garden and communal hub!

Take a look at this family friendly campsite via their website HERE

We have visited Ruberlaw Wild Woods Camping before, back in 2016 and HERE is my post and sketches from then.

new discoveries in dunbar

What a lovely place Dunbar is, and just an hours drive away from Edinburgh.

Headed east today for a meeting in Dunbar, such a beautiful harbour town with a spectacular coast that I need to visit more often. The rocks around the coast are amazing and I look forward to returning with the family for some rock pooling.

I took a walk down by the cliffs and loved the stacks of rocks on the beach, someone’s been very busy! I later heard it was the result of the recent European Stone Stacking Championships, which was held here.

I sketched the piles of rocks and then the rocky island in the bay, just to the right. I look forward to returning to Dunbar soon and sketching at the harbour.

Sunny afternoon on Leith Links

This is a sketch of Links Place, looking towards the Seafield end of Leith Links on a sunny afternoon.

I was parked up taking shelter form the sunshine, imagine that – in Edinburgh!

I was waiting for someone to give them a lift and the day was so hot I parked up to sketch from the car in a shady spot on this quiet road.

I used to work close by in an advertising agency and would walk to the nearby shop on my lunch break so the area was familiar although I hadn’t sketched this view before.

I like the randomness of the view, the perspective is there which I like but it was the shadows running right to left which caught my eye today.