Tag Archives: Mound

The Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery

Inspired by advertising prints made over 100 years ago.u exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery is inspiring

This is the first exhibition held at the National Galleries of Scotland devoted to the art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Coming from an advertising background myself I find his work so inspiring, the limited use of colour and striking imagery which captured the imagination and turned mass produced posters into artwork for many years to come.

Most famous of all are his posters for the nightspots of the bohemian district of Montmartre in Paris, where Toulouse-Lautrec lived, worked and socialised, including the now legendary café-cabarets Le Moulin Rouge and Le Chat Noir.

The exhibition which runs until 20th January 2019 focuses on Toulouse-Lautrec’s lithographic posters, portfolio prints and illustrations which made stars of Montmartre’s venues and their entertainers.

But also we see his portrait sketches in pencil and some of the less known rejected artwork. The exhibition creates a glimpse of the man who, over one hundred years ago created such lovely sketches from rehearsals or back stage including the acts, the orchestra and the crowd.

I’m looking forward to doing more of that myself in the summer.

The sketch was made with fine liner ink pens and a watercolour set and brush. PS I added the writing on the walls 😉

For more information and to book see the National Galleries Scotland website here. 

Shadows on the Royal Scottish Academy

The strong Autumnal sunshine in Edinburgh is creating some stunning shadows on our architecture.

I often spot this beautiful snapshot of sunshine on sandstone as I drive down the Mound. The back of the Royal Scottish Academy building has a number of green lamps and railings with the pillars standing tall behind. When the sun is strong enough it creates perfect shadows of each of the lamps.

Look out for it next time you are travelling down the mound.

The RSA runs a year-round programme of exhibitions, artist opportunities and related educational talks and events which support artists at all stages of their careers. It’s a great place to pop in, have a look round and be inspired.

The Royal Scottish Academy website. 

Festival fun in full swing

The Mound just outside the National Galleries is packed with performers this August.

I love the colour and excitement of festival time in Edinburgh. The mix of people from all around the world both watching and performing in every available space around the city. It is such a happy and positive time.

There are many places to people watch and I love to find a quiet corner where I can find a wide vista of the performers and watchers all coming together. This particular place was just around the corner from the main entrance to the National Galleries at the foot of the Mound, just off Princes Street.

This is my first festival sketching with a moleskin sketchbook with its recognisably wide double page spread. It was perfect for capturing the crowds and buildings in which all seemed to be watching the acrobatic performer in the middle.

This drawing was made with a fadeproof fineliner, watercolour brush and moleskine sketchpad.

National Galleries Scotland website

The day Cirque Éloize came to the Mound

Cirque Eloize atMoundEarlier this month I witnessed the incredible Cirque Éloize performing a few routines at the Mound in Edinburgh.

I passed by with the Sketcher twins (aged 6) and they were in amazed as the dancers shimmied their way up the Scottish National Gallery pillars, hung horizontal from street lamps and juggled each other in front of Edinburgh’s stunning skyline.

In Cirkopolis (at Pleasance at the EICC) Quebec’s Cirque Éloize transform the classic film Metropolis into a virtuosic spectacle for the whole family. As artists rebel, their grey cityscape is replaced by absurd humour, beautiful poetry and bursts of brilliant colour, in a world where fantasy defies reality.

What results is said to be a staggering blend of circus, theatre and dance, and if what the group produced at the Mound is anything to go by, I imagine the show to be  a jaw dropping spectacle for all the family.

Cirkopolis runs until 28th August (not Wednesdays) at Pleasance at the EICC (Venue 150).

See a quick 30 second clip of the award winning show HERE.

EdFringe website

This sketch was created with a fineliner pen and watercolours

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Blogmanay, Day 3

Fireworks_blogmanay2014Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great night. I was sketching at the world famous Edinburgh Street Party with over 80,000 revellers from around the globe.


Armed with my torch light, pen and watercolours I set off into the crowded streets of Edinburgh to see what I could capture in my sketchpad. If you follow me on twitter, Instagram or facebook you may of seen quick snaps of my sketches in your timeline but here I have scanned them for better quality.


With so much on offer this year it was hard to decide where to start. Thankfully the #blogmanay media centre was at the Assembly Hall right next to the Hot Dub Time Machine stage on the Mound. Anthem after anthem was blasted out over the cheering crowd which was jumping all the way down to Princes Street. The Sketch above shows the stage and behind it the Museum on the Mound. I could of stayed there all night very happy.



Instead I made my way down the Mound and into the Princes Street Gardens concert just as Soul II Soul were singing ‘Keep on Moving’ underneath Edinburgh Castle. I positioned myself high up towards the back and sketched the stage with the castle above.


After a short break and a word or two from compare Grant Stott (who did an excellent job as ever) Lily Allen took the stage for the main event. Belting out her well known pop tunes Lily didn’t disappoint and as she left the stage for the countdown the crowd were going wild.


For the first time the Castle was lit with different colours for each second in the final moments of 2014 as thousands of people counted down together. The fireworks were amazing of course, truly spectacular and being in the Gardens it seemed like they were going off all around me. I sketched away trying my best to capture each explosion!


I’d like to thank the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay team for helping me with access, it was a great experience and a terrific way to start 2015. I hope you enjoyed my sketching 🙂


Edinburgh’s Hogmanay

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Hot Dub Time Machine




A misty view of Princes Street Edinburgh

StGilesStViewA hazy day in Edinburgh yesterday, this a quick sketch from St Giles street looking down on Princes Street and the Gardens.


I had a meeting at Riddles Court yesterday, I’ll be sketching the interior before it is closed for restoration work later this year. But more of that later.


I had paid to park near the High Court on St Giles St and returned with twenty minutes still on my ticket. So I sketched this quick one from the railings overlooking Princes Street Gardens and the Scott Monument. I love how watercolours can give a hint of a shape without the detail, perfect on a misty day.

Pining for the North…?

MoundChristmasTreeI’m pretty sure the Christmas tree on the Mound came from Norway, which may explain its eagerness to head North this year.


There’s a definite lean to the splendid tree on the Mound today. Maybe it’s just the wind, or maybe it’s all the lights from Edinburgh’s Christmas markets down on Princes Street that are attracting him. What do you think?


It’s actually more North-East from the Mound to Norway, from where each year a Christmas tree travels as a gift to mark the assistance Scots provided Norway during  World War II. More than 7,000 exiles were based in Scotland and the help and support they received from the Scots has never been forgotten.

From Fringe to Fife


You get fabulous views from the top of the Mound, in Edinburgh’s city centre. Down the curved road to Princes Street and it’s line of shops and through the gaps to the Firth of Forth, and Fife beyond that. Its a stunning view and one that needs to be savoured, taken-in over time… and I’ve found the perfect place in which to do so.


Cafe Musa sits right at the top of the Mound, in between the Assembly Hall and Wash Bar. This sketch is the view from one of their windows over looking the crowds that now fill the square below to see the Fringe shows performing.Their coffee is delicious, as is their tea, and they also serve a variety of sandwiches, baked potatoes etc to fill you up mid Fringe. Plus a bonus for me, they have gluten free cake 🙂