Tag Archives: architecture

Aberdeen Architecture – perfect for a workshop

A sketch of the Mercat Cross in Aberdeen

My first visit to Aberdeen and a chance to sketch some of the granite buildings.

I was asked to run a couple of workshops in Aberdeen’s Union Street this month to help raise awareness and appreciation of the wonderful architecture this part of the city has to offer.

A quick sketch of a granite doorway

Known locally as the Granite Mile, Union Street is one of Aberdeen’s main streets. It is the subject of a Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), which is providing grants for the repair of historic buildings. CARS also offers opportunities for events and activities that engage people in the history of the street and the wider regeneration objectives.

Which is where I came in, highlighting some of the stunning architecture and details which can really be taken in and appreciated when you take the time to draw a scene.

The Kirk of St Nicholas Colonnade

The workshops were free for people to attend which I really liked, and provided all the materials so people could come and have a go sketching in ink and watercolours, and perhaps see their city centre in a new light.

Hopefully I can work with more local councils around Scotland, offering these workshops to more people.

Find out more about the CARS project in Aberdeen HERE

A watercolour wash of a tower in Castlegate

Free workshops on Aberdeen’s Granite Mile

This Sunday I will be running FREE sketching workshops on Aberdeen’s ‘Granite Mile’ Union Street. And we still have a few places available for the morning session.

Working with Aberdeen Council I will run two walking and sketching sessions as part of their Union Street CARS sketching workshops, taking place throughout September providing an opportunity for participants to get creative and observe the wonderful heritage of the city centre.

If you would like to come along there is no experience necessary and I will bring all the materials you need for a gentle introduction to capturing your surroundings with ink and watercolours.

Book here

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.

Tollcross Fire Station

A very interesting building with curved edges and odd shapes, which I have been meaning to sketch for sometime.

Situated about half  mile to the south of the West End of Princes Street, this must be Edinburgh’s most central fire station.  The building was built to replace the Lauriston Place Fire Station which is now home to a Fire Museum.

I must visit the museum soon, I bet they have some great old vehicles to sketch.

Fire Scotland website.

Workshops in the city

Last week I was back at the City Art Centre with a sketching workshop to tie into their current exhibition: Classical Edinburgh.

I was asked to run a couple of workshops to tie in with the Classical Edinburgh exhibition of photographs which is free to see until Sunday 8th March at the Market Street gallery.

This exhibition is a celebration of Edinburgh’s neo-classical architecture, as seen through the eyes of two architectural photographers, working half a cen­tury apart. Edwin Smith (1912-72), and Colin McLean who has spent the last two years re-interpreting Smith’s evocative black and white images. 

I used the stunning images to kick off some sketching, picking out certain features and tones to make often very detailed views seem simpler to tackle with pen and paper.

The results were amazing (the above sketches were by those attending) and the two sessions were very enjoyable, with all my workshoppers leaving with a few completed drawings one of which they mounted in a card frame.

I will be running another two sessions the day before the exhibition ends on Saturday March 7th and if you want to join me the £28 ticket (£18 for children 7-15 yrs) which includes all materials needed plus a hot beverage can be booked via the link below.

Capturing Classical Edinburgh at the City Art Centre – 2.5 hour sketch tour

More information about the exhibition can be found here:

Classical Edinburgh, 9 November 2019 to 8 March 2020 at the City Art Centre.

When the Moon came to St Giles Cathedral

Last week a brand new festival celebrating Scottish Culture from Burns to present day ran a number of events across the city.

One such event saw a huge (7 metre) illuminated moon seemingly floating between the arches of St Giles Cathedral.

The installation by artist Luke Jerram was amazing to see, being so large and in such an unexpected loaction. I loved it as did all the people walking around it at the weekend when I visited and made this sketch.

Congratulations to all involved this event certainly got people talking and I could see all generations were enthralled to see the ‘moon’ up close.

Burns & Beyond website.

Luke Jerram website.

Ravelston Garden buildings

This striking building on Craigleith Crescent is known as Ravelston Garden and always catches my eye as I pass by in the car, usually on the way the either the Modern Art Gallery or Craigleith Retail park.

One such time I had a little time so stopped to sketch the view. I was looking for a location for my WhereArtI quiz and thought this was ideal. Somewhere I would recognise but not necessarily know the location of from memory.

Designed by Andrew Neil and Robert Hurd, in the 1930’s the buildings were originally known as the Jenners flats, who were the managing agents. Ravelston Garden is a category A listed building, designated by Historic Scotland for “national or international importance”.

I love finding out a little bit more about the buildings I draw, and hope you do too.

This drawing was created with a black 0.3 fine liner and a water brush and watercolour set.

The Great War Stone on the Royal Mile

War Memorial Royal MileThis sketch was created just off the Royal Mile, within the City Chambers courtyard and shows the beautiful archways which make up the street side of the quadrangle.

Edinburgh City Chambers is the home of the City of Edinburgh Council, in Scotland. The “Great War Stone”, which sits central and surrounded by fencing commemorates residents of the royal burgh who lost their lives in World War I.

It is a beautifully peaceful place to admire the architecture and contemplate life and the things we take for granted, even on a busy festival afternoon.

This sketch was made using Spectrum Noir pens from Crafter’s Companion. 

City of Edinburgh Council website

A Sketching Day inside one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful locations.

ARsketching4The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh recently opened its doors for sketchers.

This Georgian venue, which lies at the heart of the New Town celebrates its 230th year in 2017 and to mark this, and the 25oth year of the New Town itself there are a number of one off events taking place.

One of which was my Sketching Day Tour when a number of keen sketchers were invited to tour the glorious interiors of the Assembly Rooms and make some beautiful watercolour sketches.


We had a great time capturing both details and tricky perspectives in pen before adding watercolour washes with a cuppa and a chat.

I really didn’t know what to expect , my favourite part was to find myself increasing in confidence during the course

This was a great way to kick of my season of Sketcher Days in and around Edinburgh, which will include the Old Town, the West End and Lauriston Castle. If you would like to book a place at my next Sketcher Day click on the link below.


It was perfect! – I believe you have influenced my life for the future.

Sketcher Days in 2017

More about the Assembly Rooms events here. 

The Café Royal, on West Register Street.

CafeRoyal_colourThe Café Royal is a true Edinburgh landmark, with its beautiful lines and exquisite stonework it has long been a building I have wanted to draw.

Designed by architect Robert Paterson the elegant stained glass and Victorian plaster work make this a stunning building, especially when light up at night which it was when I visited just before Christmas.

Although there is currently plenty of construction work going on around the building, I was glad to find out The Café Royal is listed and will be preserved for future generations to appreciate its beauty.

This drawing was created for a Christmas present commission in December, it measured 25cm square and cost £145. If you would like to discuss commissioning and original drawing email me here.

This sketch was made with black ink and watercolour, both the colour and a black only version can be purchased as a mounted print from just £19.50. Email me for more information.

The Café Royal website