Old Street Light – Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine

Whenever I cannot decide what to sketch or paint I look upwards to the skyline of the old part of Edinburgh. There is usually something to catch the eye. This artefact is no exception.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is flanked by many “closes” or passageways leading off the main road. In the past these closes allowed access to hundreds of cramped dwellings and were blocked by merchants selling their goods. These day, things are more hygienic and a lot tidier. If you go down the first close, on the Lawnmarket (the upper part of the “Mile” which leads to Edinburgh Castle) you find yourself in a very tiny square which boasts one of the capital’s most famous restaurants. It was, when visiting this place recently, that I glanced up at the old street light which looked like a “reproduction” of the old gas lights which were phased out in the first part of the 20th century. Incredibly, this light seems to be an original gas light, modified to take electricity. It reeks of age, is covered in rust and really should be in a museum. If you look at the bottom, right hand side of my painting you can still see the original gas pipe which has been broken off. I hope someone disconnected the gas.