I am delighted to be included in the Scottish Gallery’s City Lights Exhibition, from the 2nd to 23rd December 2021. Three pieces were selected to be shown; the original drawing of ‘Edinburgh Aerial’ made during lockdown in 2020, a loose watercolour and ink sketch made at Warriston Cemetary made in early 2020 and a newly drawn and painted addition to the ‘Details of’ series – this time of Edinburgh.
The ‘Edinburgh Details 1’ draws together familiar landmarks around the Lawnmarket area at the head of the High Street/Royal Mile. A mixed media piece of approx A4 size, it uses various drawing methods, black and white pigment inks to collage parts of this intriguing area of Edinburgh together. I hope to have prints available to follow -but for now all 3 originals are off to be framed in advance of the show.
I was asked to create a Glasgow related drawing for an auction event for the British-American Project annual conference and so found myself locked into a relationship with the statue of St. Mungo (the Patron Saint of Glasgow) over the main entrance at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum; flanked by female figures representing Art and Music (with their respective book and organ).
My small A5 drawing set off with a few mistakes but after 3hrs had flown by, I’d caught the framed view of George Frampton’s beautiful bronze sculpture, now wonderfully patinated. No pencil lines, no sketching it out first; just straight in with my trusted 0.2mm fineliner as is my way. I wasn’t really even aware of the occasional small child or adult sidling up to look over my shoulder as I drew. I hope that whoever wins the auction will like it and take a small memento of Glasgow home with them to remember the city by.
Whilst lucky to live next to the sea and within a stone’s throw of the amazing architecture of Edinburgh, I sometimes escape westwards to explore the urban locations that Glasgow has to offer. It reminds me of my life in London and other large British cities where the scenery changes from street to street and the sheer size, density and variety of the place yields constant opportunity to draw. St. Mungo was a delightful subject and one small part of this amazing building and city to bring away in the drawing. So much to draw there!
In 2020 during the global pandemic we were asked to stay at home. I used the quiet time to pick up and complete a drawing that had started the year before but never got into it’s swing. An aerial hand drawing using isometric projection methods; it pulls together many of the famous landmarks around Edinburgh’s North Bridge, with the imposing Balmoral Hotel and Register House alongside the Scott Monument above Waverley, framed to the East by the iconic Dugald Stewart Monument on Calton Hill.
Across the bridge and we pass the Scotsman building and wind up Cockburn Street before meeting St. Gile’s Cathedral and New College to the West. Based on years of urban sketching and studying of these buildings the drawing maps their physical character and relationships, bringing them together in a familiar if not precise geographical union.
The drawing represents around 700 hours of work, using the finest pigment ink pen and on closer inspection shows many of the ghosted ‘construction lines’ used to keep the shapes and forms true. It is 60x60cm and sits on a heavy weight white cartridge paper.
It isn’t geographically accurate; it was never intended to be. It gathers icons and familiar buildings into an edited record of the amazing architecture that binds the old and new towns together around Waverley Station and the Bridges.
It has been a strange few months now since the world was asked to stay at home. I’m lucky to live near the beach and have found myself walking on the sands at low tide and crossing over the harbour which is half way along on my daily walk. The yachts have been kept up on the harbour for much longer than usual so it’s like they are all stranded too – all facing out and watching the sea where they would normally be.
In the early phase of lockdown we weren’t meant to stop other than momentarily, so I took a series of photos and drew from reference material – but it doesn’t have the same connection as drawing from life.
I’ll be out sketching again soon now that the lockdown has been eased – so will keep posting in my Instagram feed with work in progress and works for sale.
A pair of illustrations made following annual trips to Veneto to explore the streets of these two wonderful cities – full of texture and architectural drama. Based on sketchbook studies of both cities and capturing memories of ‘place’ through a hand drawn, coloured and collaged approach that brings together some of their iconic shapes, forms and details. The drawings are inspired by master illustrator Edward Bawden’s series of lino prints of London details made in the 1950s.
It’s been a busy few months of teaching which hasn’t left very much time for getting outside to sketch. A few cold weekends in the Borders and a handful of other weekend sketches but little time otherwise!
I’ve recently treated myself to some very smart new Copic markers from Cult Pens (courtesy of a kind and generous birthday ‘voucher’ from friends) and have been getting out with a marker pad to test them out.
Below are a few of my recent Urban sketches – mostly in and around Edinburgh.
The density of colour is something to play with, and the subtlety is sometimes lost but they have a lovely immediate quality. I’ll have to get them scanned too as I don’t expect the alcohol pigment to last. What I do like about them is the speed of laying down the colour. Most of these drawings were between an hour and 90 mins with probably only 10 or 15 minutes of colouring.
I’m also gearing up to exhibit at the Borders Art Fair in the Spring, so am collecting line drawings on some very heavy watercolour paper, ready for some colour work when the days get brighter and I have enough drawing work done for the show. I have a couple of free days this term so will be out and about drawing in the city and Border Country.
I’ll post more of the Borders series when I have them. In the meantime I wish you all well for the New Year and let me know if you’d like a copy of anything or to commission a drawing.
As we move into the Autumn and teaching at ECA starts up again, I’ve set a winter research project to test and experiment with different media and tools to try and find the right combination for me. Having read lots of reviews of different sketchbooks and paperstocks for different purposes I have concluded that the only way is to just play, make mistakes, look back and learn – so the next few months might see some varied outputs!
I’ll be composing a couple of large images in the next few weeks, but mostly testing out line and watercolour techniques in a lighter weight Stillman and Birn Epsilon sketchbook and a heavier Strathmore book. I’ve got a couple of large watercolour pads from St. Cuthberts and Cass Art (both 300gsm and smooth papers) and a beautiful new Namisu Ixion pen with Platinum Carbon ink, as well as some OHTO fineliner rolerballs to compete with my trusted Staedtlers. We’ll see!
If you have a favoured trio of watercolour paper, fine ink line (fountain or other) and watercolours – please let me know what works for you?!
More to follow but keep up to date with my Instagram posts, where all of my work goes as it is made.
In July this year (2019) I will have a small group of drawings included in an exhibition at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, marking their 150th Anniversary. The show is being populated by the wonderful range of artists from the Edinburgh Urban Sketchers, with whom I have been sketching there on occassion since the Autumn last year.
I have drawn a few of the buildings there, but mostly the Macmillan Cancer Day Care Centre and the Maggie’s Centre behind it. The staff there are always so warm and welcoming and its been interesting watching the landscape and buildings being transformed this last year too. My coloured sketch took a while to complete, using some lovely Caran d’Ache Supracolor pencils that I was gifted a very long time ago but have never used. A couple of other sketches will be in the show too – but I would put these firmly in the ‘sketch’ category rather than the coloured image above which is defintely a ‘drawing’!
We’ll be posting details of the exhibition on the Edinburgh Urban Sketchers and on my Siddall Drawing Facebook Pages, but the dates are running from the 17th July, in the Anne Ferguson Gallery at the WGH.
I have recently completed two commissioned drawings for quite different houses. One, a suburban Victorian villa in Portobello, Edinburgh; the other a long and low historic Cumbrian farmhouse..
I chose slightly elevated viewpoints for these to maximise the spaces that surround them and to make the most of their quite different contexts. Both are 50th Birthday presents; one yet to be unveiled, the other received with enthusiasm and thanks.
Both drawn with a combination of fine line pen thicknesses, varying degrees of pencil construction and in some parts many revisions to get the true character of these lovely houses translated onto the paper. Size: A2 (60cm wide by 40cm high) heavy cartridge, mounted into simple timber frames.