Tag Archives: creative

Tonal sketching with brush work only today

As an artist I am always learning and love to see new ways of creating art, simply reversing the way you work can create a new perspective.

I always remember an art teacher telling me to look at my piece in a mirror because that is how a new viewer sees your work. Try it, it can be very off putting when you have spent time working on your piece and then to see it reversed is very strange.

Its a great way to highlight wonky lines or unbalanced composition.

Often simple differences to the way you work can create new insights and fresh perspectives. This afternoon I skipped my usual initial fineliner line drawing and went straight to waterbrush and a watercolour wash.

This was a little hard to get my head round at first, instead of drawing lines I created shapes of shadow. Building up tonal areas and trusting that the finished piece would come together.

I will let you be the judge but I like the softer finish and enjoyed the exercise. I think I will add this to my upcoming sketching workshops, details of which you can see on the ‘Sketching Workshops page‘.

I have a number of dates coming up in various locations around the city. All abilities are welcome and all materials provided. I hope to meet some of you there.

My Sketching Workshops Page.

A wonderful evening at the Museum

NMSLate JacobitesI hosted a creative workshop table at the latest Museum Late event on Friday, which was Jacobite themed to tie in with their current exhibition: Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.

The Museum Late events are always very popular with around 1500 people enjoying a drink and seeing the museums many artifacts in a relaxed atmosphere, whilst listening to live music and taking part in a few themed activities.

After the success of my After Hours Fringe Lates table where visitors created their own Royal Mile picture from my line drawings I did a similar thing with Jacobite figures and locations.

I supplied four locations featured in the Outlander television series as backdrops and a number of small either redcoat of jacobite figures which could be cut out and stuck on top to create a Jacobite scene, whether a battle in front of Linlithgow Palace or a love scene at Lallybroch.

NMS Jacobite figures

The scenes could then be painted with watercolours before being mounted in a small frame.

The table was a great success and constantly busy which was excellent, with many visitors taking home their own mounted masterpiece.

The location line drawing s that I used on the night are from my book ‘Midhope and More’ in which I look at 10 Outlander filming locations around Scotland. Details of the illustrated guide, which was made with tour company Mary’s Meanders and is a perfect present for any fan of the Book and TV series can be found by clicking on the image below.

Click to open 'Midhope and More' in my Etsy shop.
Click to open ‘Midhope and More’ in my Etsy shop.

The National Museums Scotland What’s On page.

Mary’s Meanders tour company website.

Capture the stunning city of Stirling with my latest Sketching Day Tour

Stirling CastleCome with me this April to sketch Stirling’s imposing fortress and medievil old town in watercolour and charcoal.

For one day only on 29th April 2017 I will be running a day of sketching workshops with The Curious Thing, drawing on location in this central and vibrant Scottish city.

We will focus on pen and watercolour in the morning session which runs for 3 hours from 10am to 1pm and will head out sketching for the first two hours, followed by a relaxed sit down with a cuppa while we add watercolour to our creations.

In the afternoon (2pm-5pm) we will use charcoal to capture the city’s medieval buildings and stonework, giving an atmospheric twist to your work. Again we will head out for a couple of hours before taking a seat to add detail and discuss our creations,

No previous experience is required for this informal and relaxed workshop as I will be on hand throughout to direct and give guidance as you create your own personal sketches of your visit.

Tickets can now be booked for this one day only very limited event, follow the link below to reserve your place via The Curious Thing website. I look forward to seeing you there.

Book your ticket for the morning session (£24 per person)

Book your ticket for the afternoon session (£24 per person)

The Curious Thing website

The Atelier Restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End

Atelier_starterRecently I popped in at the The Atelier Restaurant for a bite to eat, and a little food sketching.

The 2 AA Rosette Scottish dining restaurant lies on Morrison Street in Edinburgh’s West End, and has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere with a friendly welcome.

I visited with the Sketcher Clan for a week day lunch, they open 12-2.30pm, 5.30-9.30pm Tue-Thu and 12-2.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm Fri and Sat, and the place seemed to be a popular business lunch location.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary ‘Atelier’ means a room or building in which an artist works. This couldn’t be more appropriate for this Edinburgh kitchen.

Atelier: a room or building in which an artist works

We enjoyed 3 courses of beautiful food. Each plate was a work of art, the above starter of ‘Lamb ballotine, buckwheat, fennel, artichoke’ had delicate sauces dabbed around the the plate like one of my sketches.

Not only did they look good but tasted delicious, the Sketcher twins shared a pasta dish of ‘Fregula, peas, asparagus, ricotta’ and when they couldn’t finish it all asked if we could take the rest home.

Our shared dessert of ‘Poached apricot, dark chocolate cremeux, sorbet’ disappeared before I could sketch it to a flurry of silent scooping and synchronised ‘mmmm-ing’.

Below is a sketch from after the event 🙂


Today’s sketches were made with a black fine liner pen and watercolour paint. 

The Atelier Restaurant website

The Atelier are holding an ‘Aura Night’ Italian cuisine evening on Monday 22nd August for one night only from 7pm-10pm, creating a ‘Tasting Menu offering a Journey through great Italian flavours’. Places are £45 per person and reservations are required. To book, please call 0131 6295040