Kirkcaldy Railway Station around 1910 – Indian ink on a regular Moleskine Renefijten has described, in his last two posts, how he makes a sketch which describes the tones and values before his final painting. This is something I am guilty in NOT doing and should be, of course, a good habit to get into. I decided, therefore, to try this on my drawing describing the station in the town I was brought up in. If you look to the rear of this effort you can see the factory belonging to Barry, Ostler and Shepherd. Kirkcaldy had many such factories belching out smoke as in this one. The town was famous for the production of linoleum floor covering and the whole place stank of linseed oil. There is a famous poem which describes a young boy’s growing anticipation, of visiting his grandmother’s house, there. Part of the last verse says: I’ll sune be ringin’ ma Gran’ma’s bell, She’ll cry, ‘Come ben, my laddie’, For I ken mysel’ by the queer-like smell That the next stop’s Kirkcaddy! The boy in the Train – Mary Campbell Smith Although the whole area has now been modernised, it was, incredibly, just like this when Margaret and got engaged, in 1971 and I took her to visit my parents for the first time. The poor girl must have wondered what she had got herself into.
latest updates: Scotland
Towards the Pentland Hills from Ratho, February 2nd – Ink/Inktense on a Watercolour Moleskine
Heavy snow was forecast so I nipped out early to the local shops for supplies, before Armageddon arrived. Just in time! This shows the start of the rough weather which we “enjoyed” on Monday. We were, however, not as badly hit as our cousins in England who have had much disruption. As happens, frequently at this time of year, the snow has all but vanished although Jack Frost is threatening us with more towards the end of the week.
The Guardian – Ink/Inktense Pencils with some Watercolour on a Watercolour Moleskine
I’ve given this massive Beech Tree this name because it sits, like some sort of sentry, at the edge of the village, marking the boundary between our houses and countryside. It’s a really impressive specimen – I wish I could do it some justice. It must have been planted in the late 1800s. I fear, however, that it doesn’t like me as I once decided to photograph it, from the same spot, every Saturday for one calendar year, starting at the beginning of January. I had reached March, and was just approaching it, when a large, lower branch fell off. I think the tree was trying to tell me something. Perhaps I should give it a wide berth in the future.
Edinburgh’s skyline as seen from Princes Street – Watercolour/Pencil & Pen on a Watercolour Moleskine
This is the view most visitors experience when looking up to the old town from the centre of the city. Not all the skyline is shown, for instance, Edinburgh Castle would be on the right of this picture while the east of the city would be placed to the left. To get everything in would mean a really long, thin drawing with tiny buildings.
The dark building, with towers at the corners is the home of the General assembly of the Church of Scotland and sits near the top of the Mound. It was temporarily used as the headquarters for Scotland’s Devolved Parliament until the Parliament moved to the foot of the Royal Mile, opposite Holyrood Palace. The dark tower, on the horizon to the left, is the crown-shaped steeple of the High Church of St. Giles while the building at the extreme left is the headquarters of the ill-fated Bank of Scotland which is a victim of the recent, so called, “credit crunch”.
Running for the bus, Princes Street, Wednesday 21st January 2009 – Watercolour and Ink on a Watercolour Moleskine.
When the old town of Edinburgh became too crowded, a “new town” to the north was planned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Town_of_Edinburgh
The main street, between this new town and old Edinburgh was called Princes Street. The original name was to be St Giles Street but it was decided to name it in honour of the three sons (princes) of King George 111. (1738 – 1820) Princes street is just over one mile in length and is unique, among most European Capitals’ main shopping streets in that there are no buildings, shops etc on its south side. This means that shoppers, on the north side, have an uninterrupted view of the gardens and, of course, Edinburgh Castle.
P.S. We didn’t catch the bus and I was fuming! I was, however, really humbled a while later when the next bus came. On board was a young man in a wheelchair. He had lost both legs. I realised that he wouldn’t be able to run for any bus. We should give thanks for our blessings – often!
Eighteenth Tee, Old Course; St Andrews – Inktense Pencils on a Regular Moleskine Sketchbook.
Still trying to get to grips with these pencils. I thought you might like a sunny scene for a change. This is from an old photo I took many years ago. It is memorable as the three golfers, playing the last hole, all managed to put their shots, one after another, into the Swilken Burn. The famous Swilken Bridge can be seen 20 feet in front of the left hand player. This is where Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer stood as they waved farewell during their final Open Championships. The last green is under the large building 381 yards away. This area was once used as a burial ground for plague victims. Golfers play, as it were, right into the old town which is very daunting. Some of us actually manage to go into the town with our approach shots. The building on the left is the headquarters of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club which rules over the game in Europe. They do not own the course, however, as it is a “public links”. Freemen of St Andrews can, if they wish, graze their sheep on the fairway but would not be advised to try it these days. The scene is also memorable for me as I left this area and went to the nearby beach for a swim (this lovely beach was used in the opening sequences for the film “Chariots of Fire”), fell asleep for a couple of hours and was admitted to hospital with SUNSTROKE – IN SCOTLAND!
St. Mary’s Parish Church, Ratho – Ink/Watercolour Pencils on a watercolour Moleskine
We had some snow again today but, by the time I finished this wee picture, it had all vanished. St Mary’s is a very old church. There has been a place of worship, on this spot, for many hundreds of years and parts of the existing building are said to have been here since the reformation. The graveyard “boasts” an unusual gravestone which is in the shape of a coffin and is very heavy looking. This was probably made to stop body snatchers(also called resurrectionists) digging up the body to sell for medical research. In the late 18th century Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, was at the forefront of medical science. To discover how human anatomy worked, physicians needed dead bodies. When the supply of the legally obtained, deceased dried up resurrectionists turned to other sources. (Read about the infamous case of Burke and Hare) http://www.edinburgh-royalmile.com/famous-scots/burke-and-hare.html These days it’s just the government that skins you.
West Prince’s Street Gardens, Winter – Dilute Indian Ink on a Regular Moleskine
This follows a lengthy discussion recently about getting colour to sit on the pages of a regular sketchbook. I had just about given up on trying to add tone to my original Moleskine when I discovered, by chance, that dilute Indian ink sits on the surface then granulates. I hope this might be of some interest to some of you. If the ink is applied by brush it can then be “smoothed” over larger areas.
This is the West Gardens in central Edinburgh. I suspect many folk will make use of the benches, donated in memory of departed loved ones, this year as Prince’s Street will be closed to traffic to make way for the new tramway system. Prince’s Street is up the hill on the right while Edinburgh Castle is just to the left of this scene. The gardens are home to hundreds of ravenous squirrels and pigeons which can get quite aggressive if not offered titbits. Visitors beware!
Union Canal from Ratho Bridge, Winter – Watercolour/Ink on a watercolour Moleskine
Lots more boats are now moored more or less permanently here. Jings! It must be cold for the folk who stay in the houseboats with the canal frozen over. Ratho village is on the horizon and has been our home for thirty years. We like it. People are very friendly and easy to get on with. I like to think we all behave like the second traveller in this story:-
A traveller once walked into a village and asked an old man, sitting on a bench, what sort of people lived here. “What were they like where you came from?” asked the old man. “Noisy, discourteous, hard to live beside”, was the traveller’s reply. “I expect you will find the people living here, exactly the same,” said the old man. Later on, a second traveller wandered up to the old man and asked him the same question. “What were they like where you came from?” replied the old man. “They were very nice, polite and kind folk,” said the traveller. “I expect you will find the people living here, exactly the same,” said the old man.
Neighbouring Houses in Moonlight – Black ink on a watercolour Moleskine
This was the scene, from our bedroom window at 4.00am this morning. (Don’t ask – you will be sixty sometime yourself). The neighbouring houses were bathed in bright moonlight giving the whole place a rather “Lunar Perspective”. It was incredibly bright due to the full moon.