Tag Archives: Painting

Valentine date at the gallery

Recently I was asked to sketch a couple at the Scottish National Gallery to help promote their Valentines competition.

When I was younger I remember going on a few dates to galleries, often when I was meant to be somewhere else the local gallery would be a warm and dry place to go too, full of inspiration and wonder.

Just this week I was asked to sketch a few quick watercolour paintings within the red walls of the gallery by the Mound and it was an honour to have the place to myself and to be sketching in front of such stunning works of art.

Below are a couple of other sketches I made on the night. Thanks to Howard and Kenneth for being our perfect models!

Follow @Natgalleriessco on Instagram and also the hashtag #ScotlandSketches for ore information about the monthly online giveaway.

hand painted charity gift cards

My hand painted gift cards which were so popular during 2020 when visiting loved ones was so difficult, are now available for you to send again.

They proved very popular during 2020 when visiting loved ones in person was so difficult or impossible due to the pandemic travel restrictions.

Thanks to sending out hundreds of cards we made over £300 for the NHS last year which was amazing.

This year I am supporting the charity Kindred Scotland with these bespoke gift cards. Kindred are an Edinburgh charity close to my heart, as I have benefitted from them in the past.

Kindred provide practical information, advocacy, emotional support and guidance for families of children with complex needs. You can read more about them HERE.

One of many charities working hard that provide vital help to those who need it at a time when they need it most. A charity you hope you never need but if you do then you are so glad they are there.

Learn more about this 30 year old Edinburgh charity by visiting their facebook page below and if you can make a donation to help support the amazing work they do.

Kindred Scotland facebook page

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.

Order your original gift card here.

Edinburgh Skyline in Rainbow

My lock down influenced rainbow sketch of Edinburgh’s iconic skyline.

I had previously added a rainbow to my Leith Shore print, which you can see HERE but for this week thought about drawing a sketch from the start with rainbow colours.

This view is the iconic capital skyline featuring Edinburgh Castle and the clock tower of the Balmoral hotel on Princes Street.

I started with a pencil sketch of the skyline and then from that top edge drew a block of watercolour down the page.

After leaving to dry I then started added darker washes of each colour to pick out the shadows in the photo. With each darker layer the painting gained more depth.

You can currently buy the original painting which is 297x210mm for £150, which includes recorded delivery. Plus 20% for this sale goes to the NHS Lothian Covid-19 Appeal. More info HERE

Also you can buy prints from £20 from my Etsy shop HERE, with 10% from all print sales of this piece going to the NHS Lothian Covid-19 Appeal.

A Wild time was had in Kinross

Last weekend I was at the second Wildhood Festival at Tullibole Castle

A festival in its infancy Wildhood has already a strong following of families and creatives all wanting to come together and be involved in this weekend full of fun aimed at those aged under 12 and their families.

I first got involved last year when I and my family camped and I put on a couple of arty workshops making paint brushes out of feathers, leaves and twigs that we found in the woods.

This year I had space in front of the picturesque Tullibole Castle so we created paintings of the bright white 16th Century castle which sits on a small hill surrounded by both lush well kept gardens and wild forest.

All of which was open to explore with many hidden workshops happening within, like foraging, storytelling and many crafts. The sketcher Twins loved making mini twig rafts and floating them along the small river that runs through the grounds.

Another favourite was foraging in the forest and trying various concoctions like nettle cordial and elder flower tea.

On the second day I sketched the castle again with charcoal on the end of long sticks we had found. We stood and drew on to paper on the floor, the distance from paper to hand focusing your hand and eye into precise mini movements.

You can see some of the results here as both the children and their adults had a go, which I was really pleased with. It was great to see families creating art together.

I love the whole vibe of the festival, to log off from work and technology for the weekend and immerse yourself in family and nature. Simple really but not always easy to accomplish.

Have a look at the festivals website below and put your name down for next year, I and I know my family can’t wait!

Wildhood Festival website

Tullibole Castle on Facebook

The Shore, Leith with India ink

A time-lapse video of myself painting The Shore in Leith using a brush and black India ink.

My India ink sketch shows Edinburgh’s beautiful docks in Leith, and this stretch of gable ended houses line The Shore, and area of restaurants, cafe’s and pubs. Perfect for a late afternoon summers walk.

Using the India ink with a brush allows for a wide range of strokes and with a little added water a dilutted lighter hue can be achieved for shading.

Below is the scanned painting, prints of which can be bought in a mount in two sizes. 150x100mm for £18 and 290x200mm for £32. Drop me an email HERE is you would like a print.

TheShore InkPainting

Illustration painted on watercolour art paper with India ink.

Never a wasted journey in Leith, Edinburgh

leith-theatre-and-registrar-officeWhen recently at Leith Regestry Office without an appointment I had time to spare, and time to sketch.

Behind the beautiful building which houses Leith Library and Registry Office is the Leith Theatre, which is also home to the Thomas Morton Hall.

The theatre was a gift from the people of Edinburgh to the people of Leith following the decision on 10th October 1920 to incorporate the Burgh of Leith into Edinburgh.

The theatre has been closed since 1988 but the Leith Theatre Trust was established in 2004 as a community trust with an aim to return the building to a use which will add value to the Leith Community and generate business in the area. Find out more about the building at the link below.

I had to return to the registry office the next day, so if wanting a copy of your birth certificate remember to call ahead and make an appointment!

Sketch drawn on location with ink, watercolour and a ‘water brush’.

Leith Theatre website

Under the bridges on the Firth of Forth with Inner Forth Landscape Initiative

IFLI_BlacknessCastleLast week I ran a painting and sketching activity on a boat trip along the Firth of Forth with the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative.

The IFLI is a Heritage Lottery Funded Landscape Partnership Scheme which focuses on the upper Firth of Forth area. A beautiful and often overlooked part of the country home to a wide range of wildlife and plant life.



I had visited the area with IFLI  on land for a sktch trip to the stunning hidden world of Kennetpans Distillery, but that as I said was on land over the Forth Bridge and along the A985 to the Kincardine Bridge.

This time we were to travel under the Kincardine Bridge on the Maid of the Forth passenger boat, which regularly ferrys people over to the island of Inchcolm.

Around ninety people boarded at South Queensferry and we headed west under the road bridge and almost finished (the multiple sections of road are almost touching) South Queensferry Crossing. It was amazing to see these huge structures from a new angle, the stormy reddening sky behind made the view unforgettable.

We passed by various interesting sites like Rosyth Dockyard with its tenant aircraft carriers, the smoke and flame bellowing from Grangemouth contrasted well with the ghostly, now unused Longannet Power Station. As we passed by each experts took turns on the microphone to tell us about each location.

I had given out pen and paper for passengers to try and capture the sites as we floated by, and below are some of the great sketches people created.


On the lower deck I set up a watercolouring table where paint could be added to sketches drawn or visitors had the option of colouring some pre drawn line drawings. Below is a selection of those created.


There was a great atmosphere on board and I thank all those who took part and got into the sketching spirit. It was facinating to see an area I thought I knew from a completely new perspective so thank you to IFLI for providing such a trip. Have a look at the links below for similar events in the future, and remember to take your sketchbook!

Below are a few more of my sketches from the trip, click on each to see a larger version.

IFLI_BoatFlag IFLI_Grangemouth IFLI_LonganantPowerStation IFLI_Watching IFLI_KincardineBridge IFLI_Limekilns

Inner Forth Landscape Initiative website

Maid of the Forth website

A Weekend Drawing at the Museums

museum1Two very different drawing workshops at two of Edinburgh’s fantastic museums.

On Friday night the National Museum of Edinburgh of Chambers Street hosted their latest Museum:Lates event, this time themed around their Celts exhibition.

Revellers could take a break from the bar and live music in the main hall and chill out creating Celtic designs to colour in. Below are a few photographs from the night, which was a huge success. The Celts exhibition runs until 25th September 2016.


Then on Saturday I was up early to run a number of workshops at Surgeon’s Hall Museums to mark the Festival of Museums weekend.

Celebrating the magnificent architecture within the Surgeons Hall courtyard we sketched various angles in black fine liners and watercolour. It was great to be sketching in the sunshine, and to share some of my speed sketching tips to a great bunch of artists.

Below are a few photos from the gloriously sunny day. If you would like to come sketching with me keep an eye on my Sketching Workshops page, where I will post all details and links to where you can book a place.

I hope to see you sketching soon!


Celts exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland.

Surgeons Hall Museums website.

Architectural Drawing at Surgeons Hall Museums

SurgeonsHall_cropSurgeonsHall_pillarsI’ll be running a sketching workshop this Saturday 14th May at the Surgeons’ Hall Museums.

Come and draw the magnificent sculptured buildings of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
I will be giving speed sketching tips and helping you capture your view in ink and watercolour. All abilities are welcome for this relaxed and engaging workshop in beautiful surroundings.

Find out more about my  three 90 minute classes on Saturday and book your place from just £6 (£3.50 concession) here:

Book Your Place

Less than a week until the @FestofMuseums – Are you taking part or attending an event? Find out more about what is happening this weekend on the Festival of Museums website.


Painting Portobello in April showers

PortobelloBeach_noprintToday I visited Portobello promenade, a great place to take a stroll along the seaside and feel the sand under your feet.

Unsettled is a good word for the weather, glorious sunshine against dark skies followed by brief showers of cold rain. I sketched from the beach between showers to create this piece which includes drops of rain and grains of sand.

This piece is drawn on 220gsm paper with black ink and watercolour. It measures 250x160mm and is this months never to be printed original sketch, for sale for £150 in a mount or £175 in a frame. 

Contact me at contact@edinburghsketcher.com to purchase this one off sketch, first come first served. 

Below are a couple of photos from the beach.