Category Archives: Daily Sketch

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.

Drawing the Gardens

The stunning Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, I am lucky to have this place in walking distance from my home.

This weekend my wife and I had the house to ourselves as our kids, now 10 years old went to their Aunties for a couple of days.

We spent Sunday walking around Stockbridge, visiting the second hand shops and a walk through the Botanical Gardens. I had a lovely hour sitting by the rock garden making this sketch of the beautifully kept banks of colour and fragrance.

What a blessing to have a little time to sit and relax with my pens and watercolours, focusing in on the details and the wonder of nature in full bloom.

Remember if visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh that you currently have to pre book your free visit.

Sun, flowers and shadows

As the sun shone and the temperatures soared in Edinburgh I found my happy place drawing in my garden.

The morning was so hot yesterday and as you never know how long the summer will last in Edinburgh it is important to enjoy it while you can.

Last week I took a day off to head to the beach and today I took the morning to ‘work’ in the garden.

Although I am sketching and honing my skills, and my sketch may become a print and so make some money, it is really a stretch to say I was working as I relaxed into my cross hatching happy place.

I recomend picking up a pen and having ago picking out the light and dark places infront of you. This composition really jumped out at me as the contrast was so great and the shadows so strong.

The flowers are a mystery, but I am thinking a Touch-Me-Not or a lobelia? I am not sure but here is a photo too, so do tell me if you know.

Stormy clouds Over Granton Breakwater

Threatening skies over Wardie Bay yesterday afternoon. I don’t think the wet weather is done just yet.

Amazing downpours in Edinburgh the last few days with devastating results for many businesses and homes being flooded, so I do hope you are all doing well.

Last night the waters were calm along the Granton breakwater when my family and I took an evening stroll. The skies were saying more rain is coming. Hopefully it blows past and the worst is over. I heard over half a months rainfall fell in just 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

Good for the garden though I suppose, and the ducks 😉

This sketch is available as a print here:
Stormy Skies print on Etsy

A trip to London

Last week the Sketcher Clan took a trip around the UK, including a day in London.

We drove down through the UK stopping off to see friends and family with the destination of Legoland and a day in London.

With so much packed in the 10 days are now a blur of fun and family time. There wasn’t much time to sketch but in London’s South bank I did get 30 minutes with my daughter to sketch this iconic skyline.

Its amazing to see these huge, beautiful structures in real life, and I will remember sitting there with Zoe in the late afternoon sunshine for a long time.

I will include my daughters sketch once she is happy it is finished!!

construction taking shape

A look up into the new shopping and hotel complex where once stood the St James Shopping Centre.

The top of Leith walk is awash with brightly coloured construction workers as the huge rebuilding of the St James shopping centre and hotel into the new St James Quarter, which is due to open later this year.

This sketch is from just by the roundabout and show the new walkway and glass entrance which will lead to the covered shopping streets within.

I remember the old shopping centre being quite dark and small, I short cut rather than a destination. From the looks of the construction so far the new ‘quarter’ will be much larger and much brighter inside.

I look forward to stepping inside soon. Find out more about what will be inside from the website below.

St James Quarter website