Daytrip to Ullapool

I tagged along with Jane and her weekly art group on their “grand day out” to Ullapool today. We had a brilliant day out and mooched around the shops and galleries, sat in the hot (yes, hot!) sun and drank tea, coffee and cold beer.

Our main purpose for going was to visit Kittie Jones’s exhibition that was on at the Ceilidh Place and to see Kittie give her artist’s talk during the afternoon. The talk was great and we had the opportunity afterwards to have a look through Kittie’s sketchbooks.

I took half an hour before the talk to do a sketch of The Ceilidh Place

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Sketch outing – Bosta Beach

A beautiful sunny day, so after spending all of it so far indoors manning (womanning?) the Callanish exhibition Jane and I decided, after closing time, to grab our sketchbooks and paints and head out to Bosta beach on the small island of Great Bernera. What a stunning location! The wind was a little chilly but we hunkered down in a sheltered spot, accompanied only by the lively local rabbits and set to capturing the scene.

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Here is my sketch – fineliner pen and a little watercolour added. The weird looking object in the sea is the tide bell which I believe is no longer working? I also did a few sketches of the rabbits which didn’t stay still for more than a few seconds at a time!

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Jane sketching and using watercolours. Hunkered out of the cool breeze.

Sketching and Sktchy

The weather has been atrocious all over the Christmas period – sometimes the wind was gusting to over 70mph and the rain was torrential. This all meant that I didn’t want to leave the house but was a bit fed up with practising my drawing by sketching the teapot or the pepper grinder for the umteenth time. I have a friend that has been doing a 365 day challenge during 2016 – and she was drawing/sketching a face every day on a post-it note and used the Sktchy app for continous inspiration.

The idea of the app is that people upload photos (of themselves or their friends or families) and the artists in the Sktchy community use the photo for inspiration for a drawing or painting (using real not virtual media, though some do use drawing apps). There are some amazing artists on there! Also a whole variety of experiences from raw beginners just starting out to professional artists/illustrators with years of experience.

Everyone is really friendly and encouraging so I plucked up courage to add a few that i’d done (I first downloaded the Sktchy app back in July 2016).

I have to say i’m not the best at faces – I have terrible trouble getting the eyes right, in one of the following pictures I made such a hash of it that I ended up collaging an eye in… Anyway, I’ve had fun and hopefully as time goes by my portraits will improve!


Pamplona – rest day 2

Another warm sunny day but very very windy. We headed into the city centre on the bus and had morning coffee at Cafe Iruña – none of the sun umbrellas were up as the wind was gusting. Explored the shops, bought a lovely dress and chatted, in Spanish with the lady in the dress shop, when we found out that we were from the UK she told us about her sister who had lived in London and had died suddenly earlier this year. Told her we would pray for her sister when we got to Santiago (I’m not particularly religious but J has just qualified as a Deacon).

After wandering the city for a while we went for tapas at Okapi which is located on the “encierro” which is where the bull run takes place at the San Fermin festival in July. I left P and J sitting inside with their tapas and sat outside to sketch. Although I have a “proper” sketchbook with me i’ve been using my diary – I think I suffer from “blank page syndrome” with the sketchbook!

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A little urban sketching
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A fabulous sunset from the apartment this evening and a few bats flying around outside. Species unknown.


75 Day Ink sketch Challenge

Finally got around to compiling the results of my attempt at the 75 Day Ink sketch Challenge.

This is a challenge that was started by artist Brenda Swenson who was one of the amazing teachers at Sketchbook Skool during 2014.

The rules are simple: No preliminary pencil sketch just dive straight in with ink, no erasing, just do it!

I believe I have pushed the rules somewhat as most times I added colour after i’d completed the ink drawing. Colour was added using a variety of media – most often watercolour but at other times Inktense pencils, coloured pencils, spray inks and a little glitter every now and then…

My personal challenge started, very tentatively, on the 19th July 2014 and ended on the 1st October 2014. I really enjoyed the challenge and although didn’t have much confidence when I started but the time the end came around, although I don’t feel that my drawing improved much, I was much more likely to tackle subjects that I never would have dreamed of tackling when I started.

Slight hiatus…

Well it’s been a wee while since I posted. I was away from home for a couple of months – daughter’s wedding in Santorini, Greece then off to Portugal to walk a little of the Camino de Santiago from Lisbon. I only walked 10 days of the camino and had the news that my best friend had been diagnosed with lung cancer so I flew back and spent time looking after him and sitting with him while he had his chemotherapy.

I completed my 75 day ink sketch challenge but haven’t finished photographing the pages yet – hopefully over the impending Christmas holidays I can get that done. While looking after my friend I was also given the task of looking after another friend’s art studio, gallery and gift shop so I used my time wisely and started my work for Drawing 1, Assignment 1 which I will write up very soon and add photos. Once I returned home I completed the drawing for the assignment and I’m just waiting to hear back from the OCA about a change of tutor and as soon as I do so I will submit the work.

Today I spent some time making up Christmas cards and for both my daughters i’ve made a card using one of my sketches from Santorini – not particularly Christmassy but it will bring back lots of happy memories of our family time there during September at the wedding. As I looked at the sketch I could almost feel the heat of the afternoon and the glare of the reflected sunlight off the white buildings. Coming from a photographic background it surprised me that a sketch could provoke such feelings in me – i’m used to having that feeling invoked, to a certain degree, when looking through photographs of past travels but it seems somehow special that I physically created the image on a blank sheet of paper and now, looking at it takes me straight back to the half hour that I sat on the hard marble floor in the heat, drawing and painting.

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Gardenia Hotel, Santorini, Greece


Sketchbook Skool – Seeing – Week 6

Seeing – Week 6 – Homework Part 1

Liz Steel is the tutor for the week 6 Seeing class – I have been really looking forward to this amazing Aussie’s class. Liz is an architect by trade but is mostly known for her urban sketching and her addiction to drawing tea cups. I love her tea cup sketches! Liz Steel Liz’s Flickr Our first lot of homework was to draw an object that means something to us – it didn’t have to be a tea cup… Sadly I don’t have any really fancy cups and saucers (but have it in mind to go through mum’s china cabinet when i’m there next month…) so I started off with a 1930s style cup and saucer – a Clarice Cliff repro by Moorland Pottery with the famous Crocus design on. I wasn’t too thrilled by the results so this morning I had another go – this time using a Wedgewood soup cup and saucer which was given to me by my grandmother on the birth of my oldest daughter 30 years ago. The design is called Kutani Crane. I was much happier with the result. I was quite embarrassed when The Artist from next door dropped by to pick up my husband and i’d left my book on the side, opened to the Wedgwood cup page so he scooted over when he spied it and had a look. He seemed reasonably impressed 🙂

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Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist

Seeing – Week 6 – Homework Part 2 The next lot of homework that Liz set for us was to draw a building. With her being an architect she gave us a number of tips for when drawing buildings. It was a dull and dismal day and I decided to draw our house – it’s kind of wonky, I think I definitely need a lot more practice!

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