Sketches from Scotland

Joel and I recently returned from spending 3 weeks in Scotland. We saw many castles, mazes, big houses, puffins, weird and awesome landscapes, glens, highlands, rode horses, experienced volatile weather and rain. So. Much. Rain. Which is not at all conducive to outdoor sketching! Prior to our departure Joel and I had said we were going to sketch on this trip like it was our job; every other day. But due to rain, generally cold weather and midges (biting insects) we only managed half a dozen sketches! It was difficult to get a two-hour window without any of the aforementioned things to sit down and sketch.

I love how moody the landscape is in Scotland. I took many reference photos which you might see popping up in my work later on this year.

Here’s what we came up with:

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Doune Castle, where Monty Python & the Holy Grail and scenes from Outlander were filmed. A nice example of a restored 13th-century castle.

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Random house, just outside Pitlochrie.

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Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness. I’d say skip this one if you’re not into ruins crawling with tourists. We were told not to sit on the grass here…which did not please me.

 

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Lovely Tudor building in Peebles, in the Borders.

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The kitchen at Glaschoille House, in the Knoydart Peninsula. We were waiting to go back to the mainland after two days on horseback and had an hour to kill. Midges prevented me from sketching outdoors so here is the one and only indoor plein air sketch!

 

 

 

Summer Plein Air

 

 

 

 

 

Every year September rolls around and I go “What? Already?!”. This summer was a good one for plein air drawing, even though Joel and I always feel like we could do more. Plus, he just bought me the artist-quality Winsor-Newton compact watercolour set for my birthday and I haven’t tried it out yet!

 

The following drawings were done in and around the Westport, ON area and on our Pacific Northwest road trip.allanmill_web vistahouse_web gypsy_web perth_web

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Mackinac Island

Joel and I recently spent my 30th birthday on Mackinac Island, in northern Michigan. This island is a very special place, because it is completely car-free (only horses and bicycles ride on the roads) and has been since the 19th century, when the island became a popular Victorian resort destination. Everything on the island is ridiculously picturesque. The Victorian summer houses are massive, beautiful buildings.

Joel and I toured around on our bikes, ate great food, drank nice beer, sketched and generally had an amazing time. Mackinac, we shall be back.

The governor’s summer residence

Sketch of Fort Mackinac

Here is a selection of photos from the trip:

Mackenzie King Estate

Joel, Peanut and I were in Ottawa for Canada Day last weekend (saw Wills and Kate on a screen, yay!) We decided to take a jaunt over to the Mackenzie King Estate in the Parc Gatineau the next day and these “ruins” were on the property away from the house. Mackenzie King thought it would be fun to salvage various pieces of old houses from around Ottawa and leave them on his property as ruins. A nice place for contemplation, methinks, but not a night because that would just be spooky.

We would have sketched longer but we had forgotten to bring stools with us and therefore had to sit on stones, which hurt our bums. Note to self: always have camp stools handy in the car!

Part of a "ruined" window