Last night Edinburgh Castle came to life with lasers, lights, fire jugglers and even a fiery dragon, and the family all loved it.
With many locations around the city now being lit up for the festive period I thought I know what to expect. Projected imagery morphing the sides of each building into movable objects, wonderful illusions and clever trickery turning the castles buildings into 3D canvases.
Castle of Light had all this but also took it to the next level by introducing characters, and telling some of the history of Edinburgh’s stunning fortress as we walked around the cobbled walkways.
My two eight year olds loved it and I was impressed by the projections, especially St Mary’s Chapel as a treasure box. The fun element was all around but I was blown away by the drawings and emotion of WW1 commemorative piece on the War Museum.
Fun, moving, thought provoking and educational. Top marks.
The Castle of Light is on until 22nd December and although not inexpensive at £18 for an adult (concessions are available) this is so much more than just a light show.
When you see a full size dinosaur crossing the road you know the Festival Fringe is full swing.
The dinosaur in question was part of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, currently showing at the McEwan Hall at 11am each day until August 26th.
Erth’s dinosaurs are manually operated by supremely skilled puppeteers, but interact with the audience and those on stage in a way that makes them come to life.
Like the amazing puppetry in the War Horse and The Lion King it is amazing how even though you can see the people controlling them, you quickly look to the puppets faces and movements as if they are real.
It gets me every time, and it is a joy. The show was filled with educational facts too and the host was great fun, especially with those who he brought up on stage to see the creatures up close.
And a nice touch was that after the show everyone got to pet the smaller dinos outside and grab a photo too.
Great fun, my two loved it. Especially the flying. For more info and to book a ticket see the link below.
My sketch from the amazing opening event of the Edinburgh International Festival where a stunning light show was projected onto the Usher Hall in front of 15,000 onlookers.
I was lucky enough to be invited onto the press platform to capture this sketch live during the evening.
Celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People and reflecting on the centenary of the end of the Great War the light show was split in to four separate sections, each seeming to swallow up the Usher Hall and surround the audience in sound and illusion.
I love the fact this is a free event to open the Edinburgh International Festival is now a regular occurrence and if you didn’t get chance to see it this year I recommend looking out for next years spectacle. This year for the first time actors in the audience lit lanterns and sang to the atmospheric music creating an all encompassing sound which made me feel quite emotional, adding to a sense of wonder and inspiration I felt by the end.
Lothian road was completely closed off a couple of hours before the show and as Festival Square and the road in front of the Usher Hall began to fill with the lucky ticket holders I started to draw my sketch in black ink. I added all the detail as darkness began to fall saving only the watercolour wash to add once the show began.
I am currently having a limited number of signed giclee prints made of this piece so if you are interested in finding out more leave a comment below.
A new exhibition starts tomorrow at the City Art Centre, showcasing some forgotten treasures from well known artists.
Housed in the basement floor of the City Art Centre on Market Street the Hidden Gems exhibition brings together some of the venues lesser known objects from their 4,800 strong fine art collection.
These pieces have rarely been seen in public and are now getting their time to shine. I got a sneak peak yesterday and loved the wide range of artwork on display, from both artists I knew and those I was unfamiliar with.
I left feeling inspired
This is the main reason for visiting a museum or gallery for me: to see the works you know up close but also to discover and learn about those you don’t.
I love the idea of Hidden Gems and hope the City Art Centre continue the idea but rotate the objects. I left feeling inspired and also happy that these pieces were finally getting the acclaim they deserve.
My watercolour above was drawn at the exhibition and shows a bronze in the foreground dated 1903, by Edinburgh born sculptor Ottilie Maclaren Wallace OBE, ARBS (1875-1947). The piece is entitled F.S. Oliver and is a portrait of her brother in law.
Find out more about the Hidden Gems exhibition (7th Oct 2017 – 13th May 2018) in the City Art Centre What’s On guide HERE.
As part of this years Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations the hit musical Five Guys Named Moe has taken over Festival Square.
Squeezed within the square inside the famous Spiegletent the show is a riot of colour and energy that jives its way through the crowd with the help of a rotating stage and fantastic energy of the excellent cast.
I loved the way the stage was brought out into the audience. giving you a perfect view where ever you are sitting in the Spiegletent, which is this year at Festival Square. Don’t make the same mistake I did and turn up at St Andrews Square, where the venue was last year.
After a quick jog along Princes Street I was soon relaxed (thanks for the prosecco!) and enjoying the uplifting songs, comedy and energy of this hit show.
There was a great party atmosphere throughout and I would definitely recommend it for an after work get together or family Christmas night out.
Here are my sketches drawn through the show, all in black pen with a watercolour wash. It was a challenge trying to capture all the colour and movement!
Last night I attended the first showing of the Street of Light, as 60,000 bulbs lit up the famous cobbled high street in Edinburgh.
The huge (19m high) installation came to life as lights flashed in time to recordings of the Edinburgh Choral Union Choir. A series of illuminated arches cross over the Royal Mile and created a tunnel of bright light which thousands of wide eyed people slowly walked through.
I drew these sketches during the 20 minute show, the first from the entrance and the second from half way down. I loved being surrounded by the lights and festive music, and although busy it wasn’t too packed. I wouldn’t have any worries about taking the Sketcher Twins (aged 4) up to see the show, I’m sure they’d love it.
The Virgin Money Street of Light is supported by the Royal Mile Business Association and is part of Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations. The event will run daily until Christmas Eve, and is a free event although you should reserve a ticket at the link below to ensure entry in case it gets busy.
Such a powerful voice, Monica Salvi is perhaps mad, but definitely talented.
One of the bonuses of setting up my ‘Sketching The Shadows’ exhibition in St Johns Church chapel, was listening to Monica Salvi rehearse, set up and sound check her one woman cabaret show ‘Mad Woman In My Attic’.
Accompanied by a piano player Monica uses her polished and powerful voice to fill the vast church, telling the tale of the many personalities habiting her head! Moving, funny, its a hidden gem of a show.
BONUS: The show tonight starts at 18.30 and is FREE as they are making a video and want the church to be full, so head along early.
Dragon, the wonderful and moving story of a boy meeting a dragon, told without words and with amazing puppetry and stage magic that will leave you believing the unbelievable.
Created by Vox Motus, the National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin Children’s Art Theatre, Dragon tells the story of Tommy whose life, since the death of his mother, has gone from bad to worse. One restless night Tommy goes to the window and throws back the curtain to find himself face to face with a dragon.
Here have captured a couple of scenes from the play which runs today and tomorrow only at the Royal Lyceum Theatre as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Above shows he Dragon first appearing to tommy as he sits beneath a swing, and below the dragon appears to become a motorbike as it and Tommy play together.
Last night was the press launch of this years Underbelly Fringe Festival, and I was lucky enough to see a glimpse of what’s on offer.
It was great to be back under the gaze of the upturned coo, and as the transformed and unrecognisable Bristo Square filled with those eager to see what this years Fringe Festival had in store I sketched the inflatable heed :).
Compare for the evening was the very funny Felicity Ward, who did a great job introducing each act, and dealing with a rowdy crowd and kept the evening flowing superbly.
Each of nine acts (ten if you include Felicity) had around five minutes to show off their act in a bid to make it into the watching reviewers ‘highlight of the night’.
For me that honour went to the spell binding ‘Circa: Beyond’, an amazing show of strength and agility which saw a performer suspend from a piece of material, high from the stage.
A close second though was a hilarious double act called ‘Frisky and Mannish’ who sang out letters of advice for pop stars, possibly (or possibly not!) penned by Sinead O’Connor.
All the acts entertained and I can’t wait to see more, one thing is for sure – the Edinburgh Fringe has definitely begun! Below are a few of my sketches from the night, scribbled largely in a darkened theatre!! For more information about the acts on at the Underbelly this year see their website below.