Bridge # 14 – Ink in a regular Moleskine Sketchbook
During a canal bike run I stopped and attempted this this. Some of the ink was finished, later, at home. Its not as good as I hoped and illustrates the problems I have with anything “wet” on sketchbook paper. Any solutions would be welcome. I’ll stick to watercolour paper in the future if I want to add ink or colour.
Bridges, on our canals, were given numbers when they were being erected. It was only later that they acquired names from local landmarks. One such is the skull bridge where a human skull was unearthed during construction.
Boat in reeds, Union Canal – Ink in a Watercolour Moleskine
British Waterways, who are in charge of all canals, have a constant battle keeping the aquatic weeds under control. Presumably, in the old days, the constant stream of horse-drawn barges swept the canal clean but there is not the traffic to do this in these times. The route is dredged fairly regularly but, as my sketch attempts to show, this is not always successful. This scene shows a small boat, almost hidden by the reeds next to its berth. It must have succeeded in leaving as it was not there later but I suspect it had a hard time.
This was an attempt to use a set of tiny brushes obtained recently. They are called “mini MAJESTIC” and I got them at a hobby/craft shop, not my usual art shop. They are made by Royal & Langnickel and are extremely cheap. I don’t know how long they’ll last but I had a great time using them as I can loose myself completely in working in tiny detail. Although this address is not the place I bought my brushes from its the only one I can find with pictures of them.
Ramsay Gardens, Edinburgh – Ink in a Watercolour Moleskine
If you stand in Princes Street and look up towards the left of the castle you will see a strange group of houses perched high on the rock. This is Ramsay Gardens, arguably the most sought after group of houses/flats in the city. Parts were originally built as accommodation for students at Edinburgh University but one single flat was recently on the market for offers over £1,00,000. Although it’s in a great location it’s a nightmare to draw/paint as the houses were built before proper planning laws came into force and they seem to be of every shape and size. This adds a certain charm to the place. Strangely, although smoky chimneys are no longer allowed in Edinburgh all of the original chimney stacks must be retained as they form part of these protected buildings. This effort shows only a small part of the complex which extends backwards towards the castle’s esplanade. This must be noisy when the International Festival takes place as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Massed pipes and drums etc) and the huge firework display (at the end of the Festival) are right next door. Mind you, I might just put up with this , if someone was to donate a house to me, as the views are stunning. No such luck! Ah well! Back tae auld claes and porridge.
The return of the bats (see previous post dated 15th August) – Ink in a Watercolour Moleskine
Its actually impossible to draw these tiny creatures accurately as they fly about the evening sky at an incredible speed. If you stand quite still they will come very close but, of course, never collide with you due to their fantastic sonar aided navigation. We have got into the habit, when its too dark to see outside, of leaving the lounge curtains open and they will zoom quite close to the glass window. These are probably pipistrelle bats and, under Scottish law, are a protected species – all species are. It is forbidden to harm them in any way and, if you find them in any part of your building, say in the loft, you are not allowed to disturb them. Since “our bats” do no harm, are not too noisy and make very little mess we feel it is a price well putting up with, besides they earn their keep by devouring vast quantities of insects. Ours are noticeable as darkness sets in when they crawl, head first, down the side of the house from underneath the fascia boards of the roof. They launch themselves into the air then fly around the garden for half an hour before heading off into the woods for a night’s feasting. I have never seen or heard them returning. We have put up some bat boxes, in some of our trees, to further encourage these visitors and I have a design for an electronic detector which I keep meaning to build – one day!
All this and Bats too – Inktense in a Watercolour Moleskine
A late evening sketch, looking northwards from the local woods over some recently harvested cereal fields. Thursday has been a nice day but the weather is set to turn stormy. I’m enjoying playing around with a few Inktense pencils but don’t know how this drawing will turn out. I’m thinking that the local farmer must be giving thanks in getting his crops cut and the hay bailed (That’s what these cylinders, in the fields, are meant to be – one wee boy said they were Polo Mints for cows). I finally return home and sit outside in the darkness unwilling to give up and go inside. Suddenly I’m surrounded by small bats flitting around the house. We have had bats roosting under the eaves of our house for many years but recent building work, in the woods behind us, seemed to have disturbed them and we haven’t seen them at all this year. Its such a joy to realise they have not gone.
PS A few inches of rain fell on Friday and Saturday.
Pot Moggie – Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine
There’s been a lot of posts/discussion about cats recently but do you know where they come from? This, believe it or not, appeared on our TV some years ago and is a spoof ad about the fast food industry.
Do you feel something is missing in your life?
Do you long for companionship, affection and love?
Do you think a pet might fill a gap in your life but don’t have the time to visit the pet shop?
Why not try POT MOGGIE? POT MOGGIE comes in a handy sized container. All you do is add water (cold) and stir gently. When your POT MOGGIE is ready your pet will appear ready to be loved for years. POT MOGGIE comes in a variety of different types including Long Haired, Short Haired, Tabby and Siamese. Try POT MOGGIE today.
(Please note that POT MOGGIE should be used immediately and is for life).
Baird Road, Ratho – Ink/Pencil in a Moleskine Sketchbook
A good time, yesterday. The rain relented long enough to spend an hour, sitting by the edge of the canal, sketching. This is a view I have never attempted before. Visitors to our village always try to paint/photograph the bridge and the Bridge Inn. If you look at my post, dated 10th July 2008, you can see the general layout. I sat under the tree, on the right hand side of last year’s picture, looking across the canal towards the old cottages in Baird Road. This road is named after Hugh Baird who designed the Union Canal which was eventually completed in 1822. These cottages have been greatly modernised. When they were built they had no running water or electricity, although they probably had gas as there was a gasworks to the left of this scene. In fact the canal was used to transport coal from the West Lothian coal mines to Edinburgh and some of it was landed at this very spot to be refined into gas. One old photograph shows a lady drawing water from a stand pump located in the street. I felt that I was sketching a piece of history.
To race the “Roaring Fraser” to the sea – Acrylic in an A4 Watercolour Moleskine
My first every attempt using acrylic paint only.
One of Roseindigo’s recent posts ( 8th August ) shows a steep gorge leading down to a river. When I opened Saturday’s newspaper there was an article about travel in the Canadian Rockies. This advertised the great rail journey from Whistler to Vancouver. The accompanying photograph seemed to have so much in common with Rose’s, I decided to attempt my version showing, I assume, the River Fraser crashing through this gorge.
The title of this post comes from the song “Northwest Passage” by the late Stan Rogers. In it he drives across Canada comparing his journey with that of John Franklin who tried, in vain, to find a route for shipping across the north of the continent. You can hear this song on You tube. (When my kids were wee, I used to “sing” this to them – other children got more conventional stuff).
The tale of Franklin’s, and other Polar expeditions, has long fascinated me. Victorian society was appalled when the Scottish doctor and naturalised Canadian explorer, John Rae, discovered the remains of some of Franklin’s expedition. He concluded that the last of the survivors had resorted to cannibalism and this shocked folk in the UK – Englishmen would never resort to such a thing! The local Inuit must have been responsible. A smear campaign was directed at Rae, mainly by Lady Jane Franklin but also by, among others, Charles Dickens the famous author. Rae was ostracised, his reward for finding the “truth” about Franklin’s fate withheld for some considerable time and he was branded a liar. Only years later were his findings grudgingly acknowledged. Rae is buried in St Magnus Cathedral’s graveyard, Kirkwall, Orkney. There is a memorial to him inside the cathedral which shows him, as if asleep.
Edinburgh Castle from Calton Hill – Blue and Grey Inktense pencils in an A4 Watercolour Moleskine.
This picture was never meant to be. I have always wanted to paint this scene so, following a suggestion by Nick Powell, I armed myself with a new A3 Moleskine and set off for my vantage point, the one which national TV and newspapers always use when describing the city. My objective was to make initial sketches for use later. When I returned home I discovered that the sketchbook was too big for my scanner and that a photograph, of the book, was not sharp enough for a post. Never mind the fact that I spent about three hours travelling as the city was heaving with an influx of people for the annual festival and fringe. (Many locals avoid the centre of Edinburgh, during the festival, unless they want to see a particular show, or like my two eldest sons, actually work there). This effort is then, crazily, a sketch made from my earlier sketch so you can take in one of the most iconic views of Edinburgh. I hope I’ve done it some justice by restricting myself to two Inktense pencils.
Apart from the views of the castle, Scott Monument, Register House etc, the top of Calton Hill, itself, is worth a visit in its own right. (About a thousand tourists, last Thursday, also thought so). My sketch shows the Dugald Stewart Memorial to the right. Further on, but not visible, is Edinburgh’s other observatory – The City Observatory (see my post , 13th July, to see the one on Blackford Hill) To my left, but also out of scene, is Nelson’s Monument. The top of this is used in conjunction with the Castle’s One o’clock gun. A Large white sphere becomes visible when the gun is fired giving a visual as well as an audio signal to ships in the Firth of Forth. Behind me is The National Monument (Edinburgh’s disgrace as this memorial to the troops lost in the Napoleonic wars was never finished as they ran out of cash. The whole of the Calton Hill and
surrounds has a “Napoleonic feel to it; local streets include “Waterloo Place”; Wellington’s statue sits at the foot of North Bridge etc.). There a many other fine views of different parts especially of Holyrood Palace, where Mrs. Queen and the Chookyembra stay when up here and the New Scottish Parliament situated conveniently within sniper range below the south side of the hill.
Never mind. It was a great day out and I got some half decent material including a short video of the one o’clock gun being fired two miles away.
If you really want to see the gun look at my other video, taken inside the castle
Jardin des Plantes – Watercolour/Inktense in an A4 Watercolour Moleskine
201169′s recent posts refer to this place. We last visited here three years ago and I thought that I would look through some old sketchbooks to compile a painting. When we were there it was a late April evening and many plants were not in bloom, some were not yet in place, so this has a certain amount of license. However, many great memories have been evoked and I just had an urge to do this. This is meant to be the Museum national d’histoire naturelle. Est-ce quelque chose comme le lieu, Pascal?