I am determined to work in a few more random sketches into my day.
Not for commission, not for promotion, not for deadline. Just for me, as it brings so much joy and although I love drawing for a living and am so lucky to have clients wanting my work, sometimes it’s just so relaxing to just draw for fun 😊
Have a great weekend all, and here’s to a little more normal routine returning next week with the kids returning to school.
The Sketcher Twins are getting older, 10 years old this month and I’m losing them little by little to their gadgets. But then I’m just as bad plus this morning I welcomed the chance to get my little sketching fix 🙂 Plus it’s nice listening to them giggle together.
Time to put pens and gadgets down now though and get out in that glorious sunshine. Enjoy your weekend everyone 🙂
The view down Fleshmarket Close is always a favourite and recently the snow fall in Edinburgh made this view even more special.
One morning in early February I got wrapped up in extra layers, gloves and big boots on and ventured into the city. The snow had not stopped the night before and everywhere was covered with a thick layer of crisp snow.
I took probably a hundred or more photographs, every corner revealed a new picture perfect scene, places I know so well but with a new slant, a freshness and cleanness which snow can achieve.
I did try to sketch on location but with minus temperatures my fingers didn’t last long before I had to stop and return to the warmth of my studio to work.
I have a number of photos to work from so you may see more snow sketches on here as the spring arrives in Edinburgh.
You can order your original gift card now via my etsy shop and 10% of all sales will go to the charity. Each A6 card will be sent direct to your loved one and you can request a message to be handwritten to both the front and the inside. Plus you can request a flower or object of your choice for me to draw on the front.
At the start of the year Edinburgh had a dusting of snow which for me highlighted one positive of the pandemic lockdown.
Princes Street Gardens would usually be full of the Christmas and New Year festivities, including the fun fair land of markets and rides which takes up almost all of the gardens each year.
As the markets and fairgrounds were cancelled this year it was lovely to see this scene, with the only people in the gardens those sledging down the slopes or building snow men under the snow covered trees.
I love how the sun is just reaching over the buildings of the high street and highlighting those on Princes Street.
This sketch highlights the gardens in winter and I hope in future years we still get to enjoy the gardens as a space to have fun in the snow.
On the second of January I woke early to find a new snow fall had dusted Edinburgh with a coating of what looked like icing sugar on a Victorian film set.
I dressed quickly and headed into town, eager to see the city centre streets before too many footprints and tyre tracks had muddied the white stuff. I walked up through Stockbridge taking photographs at every corner. So many views that look so different, fresh and clean with snow on the floor.
As I passed through the New Town I had to stop and make a quick drawing, I sat on a Georgian step and looked across Forres Street around the corner of Moray Place Gardens. Such a perfect scene with the stunning architecture, railings and lamps rising out of the snow!
After finishing my piece I walked up onto Princes Street taking more photos to work from, and trying to get the blood back into my fingers!
Enjoy the winter snow fall everyone 🙂
I later added a sledger being pulled across the road as an idea for a Christmas card for next year:
In December the Edinburgh Evening News and Scotsman papers ran my top ten sketches of 2020
2020 is a year that most may want to forget. It is also one that we should remember when many of us took time to reflect, to stop and slow down a bit. For me, looking back through this years sketches brings back happy memories of family time and finding new ways to make my art and connect with people.
Below are my personal favourites from the past twelve months and I look forward to sharing my sketches in 2021, hopefully with more crowds and live events. Keep playing the WhereArtI quiz every Monday on my website and in the printed Edinburgh Evening News. Thank you for your continued support. Mark, ES
1. Meadows Blossom
The year started so innocently, I was full of enthusiasm for a fresh start and trying new ways to make art, and this watercolour of the Meadows blossom was an experiment in not using the black ink as usual, instead light pencil and watercolour.
2. Just To Say gift cards
And then, due to the Covid 19 outbreak, we went into lockdown early in March. At first I wondered what to do and how to continue my artwork from home. I thought a lot about how people couldn’t see each other anymore and wanted a way to help people connect with each other through art. I created individualised hand painted gift cards with personal messages on them.
They were very popular and by giving a percentage to the NHS Covid fund I was able to donate over £350 and also keep myself busy through those early days.
3. Lockdown Bedroom / Office
As lockdown continued I sketched from my house, capturing homeschooling and our daily walks, regular life which I could share to show how most of us were going through a similar experience. I know many people related to this sketch of my bedroom/office.
4. Empty Princes Street
Once we could take longer daily walks I ventured into the city centre and it was amazing to see how empty the streets were. With all the shops closed and the buses not running this was the scene on Princes Street.
5. NHS Rainbow Windows
For my family one of the highlights of our daily walks around our area was seeing the colourful and creative rainbow windows people were displaying in the houses. They were great to spot and also a reminder of how the community was going through this pandemic together.
6. Zoom Workshops
Like many people I hadn’t heard of Zoom before 2020, but during lockdown I used it for home schooling and also for a new venture with fellow artist Cassandra Harrison. Together we started a fortnightly online art workshop where people can join in and draw together from anywhere in the world, so long as they had connection to the internet. It has been a learning curve but great to be in touch and drawing together again. This sketch is of the Usher Hall, drawn from a photograph using charcoal.
7. Festival Cancelled
For the first time in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s seven-decade history there was of course no Fringe program in August. Knowing how busy and full of life the Royal Mile usually is at that time it was so strange to see it deserted. This watercolour captured the sombre mood as well as a passer by wearing a face mask, which at the time were still quite rare.
8. Water of Leith
During the lockdown my outdoor sketching was practically non existent, with no sketching workshops to run or live events to cover it was hard not having that outlet. This sketch from the Water of Leith near Stockbridge was one of my first where I could just relax, take my time and capture the views in front of me again. It was great to be back!
9. Support A Business Sketch
As the shops started to reopen in Edinburgh, I started visiting the few independent gift shops that sell my city merchandise. It was a pretty grim tale as although most were glad to be open again and able to sell, customers were still uneasy about returning to shopping on the high street and so business was slow for many.
I thought I could support local independent businesses by sketching their shop fronts and sharing them through my social media to highlight the need for support through the local community in order to survive. I continue to do this using the hashtag #supportasmallbusinesssketch
10. Leith Theatre
Another industry heavily affected by the lockdown is the theatre and events industry.I was recently commissioned to spend a few days sketching Leith Theatre, which is currently empty and falling into disrepair. I spent a couple of days capturing both the inside and out of this beautiful venue. This watecolour was drawn in the main hall.