As night fell on Edinburgh last Friday evening the Sketcher twins, my wife and I all entered the gates of a place we thought we knew well…
The Botanic Gardens are one of my favourite places in Edinburgh, an ever changing world of colour, peace and beauty, with stunning views over the city. Since the twins arrived four years ago we have visited often and like to think we know the gardens well, stunningly beautiful yes, but perhaps not surprising any more.
That was until we entered ‘Botanics Lights 2015 – Seasons in Colour’, a magical evening of light, sound and nature combining to create a wonderful journey for both young and old. Designed by leading Scottish lighting artist Grant Anderson working with composer Claire McKenzie to create a unique night-time experience, including interactive light shows and hypnotic displays throughout the gardens.
Following the pathways we were all in awe, the children especially; the ‘magic house’ (Inverleith House, above) and the lightning tree were amongst their favourites, as was jumping over the swinging spot lights. For me I could of watched and listened to the illuminated Glasshouse and its orchestral rhythms for hours.
These are my sketches from the evening, some hastily scribbled in the dark, others from memory whilst sipping a mulled wine in the warmth of the gardens restaurant.
Botanics Lights 2015 runs nightly until 22 November, an adult ticket costs £14 but you can get a family ticket for £38. For more information follow the link below.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh website
Last night I entered the Blair Street Underground Vaults, deep beneath Edinburgh’s Old Town, in search of a ghost or two.
Recently I tried night sketching on Calton Hill for the Torchlight Procession, and I’m no stranger to theatre sketching in the dark, but I have never drawn from deep within Edinburgh’s underground vaults, in complete darkness except for the shimmering of a candle on the stone wall. Once a hive of trade and slum dwelling the small cave like rooms were formed in the nineteen hidden arches of the South Bridge.
According to many the rooms, some only a few feet square are still a hive of activity, with ghosts and ghouls still lurking in the labyrinth of walkways and darkened corners. Although I didn’t witness any apparitions myself the vaults are very spooky, with distant noises leaking down from street level and flickering candlelight creating menacing shadows on the walls.
My sketch above is of our guide, Alex in one of the haunted vault rooms. Below are a couple of quick sketches from above ground as Alex led us through the Old Town, plus the sketch from above before I darkened the outside edges digitally.
Take a look beneath the streets of Edinburgh if you dare with Mercat Tours, you will learn alot about Edinburgh’s history, and may even meet one of its late inhabitors.
Mercat Tours website
More about Edinburgh’s Vaults from Wikipedia
All eyes were on Princes Street this week as the big wheel begins to take shape.
As Christmas arrives in Edinburgh the central wheel is up but has still to have the ‘pods’ fitted so people can ride on it. The lights of the wheel tell that the big day is coming, and I captured them before the rest of the Christmas lights are turned on next weekend.
Edinburgh’s Christmas website