Monday, 19 January 2015

It's been a while!

It's been quite a while since my last post, must try harder. I haven't been slacking though, things have been quite hectic at times. At the beginning of October we had a fire in the raku shelter which resulted in a total loss of all our Raku gear. the insurance is now sorted out and we are waiting for some decent weather to rebuild and replace the gear.

The Aftermath.

In November we had a couple of weeks in Mexico, I managed some sketching but not a lot, it was mainly a chill out holiday plus swimming with turtles and visits to a few cultural sites, Chichen Itza and Tullum Ruins. A brilliant relaxing trip.

Part of the Tullum Ruins.

I'm in the studio/gallery full time now so I'm managing to get to work on a few projects that I haven't had the time to do before and paintings from sketches done further afield.
Watendlath - Lake District

I'm still playing catch up and have paintings waiting to be done from : My Shetland and Fair Isle Trip in May, East Coast Sailing Trip from Lossiemouth to Chatham with Elite Sailing, a Lake District Trip from June and my Scottish West Coast Sailing Trip aboard the restored Brixham Trawler "Leader" with Trinity Sailing. A busy few months ahead.

I'm developing a range of pencil sketches based on my field sketchbooks, below are a few recent ones.
Cottage at Carrbridge

Into the Lairig Ghru.

End of Thirlmere - Lake District

I've also being producing a few bird paintings and drawings from my photographs and field sketches ready for a spring exhibition at the gallery.
Merganser - River Spey

Goldeneye - Loch Alvie

At Christmas I did a painting of Abby, the little companion we lost earlier in the year. It got tears on Christmas morning but is well liked.

The weather here in Carrbridge is snowy and about -10 degrees c so I've been doing a few winter watercolours.
Riverside Cottage, Ellan Carrbridge

Moody's Cottage - Carrbridge.

Anyway that's all for now but I will try to be more regular with my posts. I think I've said that before.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Scottish Cruise - Trinity Sailing - Dolphins in Linn of Lorne

Here is the video I took of the dolphins playing under "Leader" on the final leg of our cruise.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Scottish Cruise - Trinity Sailing Fri 29th Aug Day 7

Wet and windy today, we need to set away quickly and get across to Oban by about 1100 as some people have early travel connections to make. Thge wind is on the nose today so we are motoring.
The sound of the engine attracted a school of Bottlenose Dolphins who played about under the bows for about half an hour, a fantastic end to our trip. I have a video file of the dohphins which I will post when I figure out how to do it.
We got into Oban just after 10.00 after a quick hop across from Mull.
Many thanks to Kenny, Donald, Fiona, Alan, Julie, Val, Paul, Si, Michael, Margaretta, Axel, Becky, Ben, Stan, Sam and Cat for your company this week.

Scottish Cruise - Trinity Sailing Thursday 28th Aug 2014 Day 6

Thick mist, overcast and raining this morning.
Still feeling stuffed this morning, I don't think I need much breakfast this morning. The plan today is to sail South down the Sound of Mull and into Loch Spelvie. We set off in miserable weather but it's soon starting to improve with a few sunny spells between the showers. The weather is clearing as we pass Duart Castle and into the Linn of Lorne. A cracking sail along to Loch Spelvie, main, mizzen, jib and staysail all set. My sketching today was mainly with water soluble graphite pencils and a wash brush as it's more controllable in the rain. Anchored in Loch Spelvie at 1700 after a great sail, got ashore for a walk and a couple of sketches before dinner. Feeling shattered and sunburnt this evening - nobody seemed to put on suncream because it was raining this morning.

Sketches in the Sound of Mull

Duart Castle

Loch Spelvie

Scottish Cruise - Trinity Sailing Wed 27th Aug 2014 Day 5

 Up at 0700 to do a bit of sketching before we get underway today. Another nice bright sunny day but a fresher breeze today. The wind is forecast to get up to gale force later today then die away. We only have a short hop across the Sound of Mull to sail up Loch Sunart for lunch and then back to Loch na Droma Buidhe to get some shelter for an overnight stop in the increasing wind. We got anchored in a nice sheltered spot at the head of the Loch. I got ashore for a walk and a couple of sketches of 'Leader' and a couple of reproduction Bristol Pilot Cutters 'Lizzy May' and 'Freja' that also came into the loch for shelter.
Roast Pork for dinner followed by Bread and Butter Pudding.......bliss.......stuffed.
Loch Sunart Views

'Leader' in Loch na Droma Buidhe

'Lizzie May' and 'Freja'

Stream into Loch na Droma Buidhe

Scottish Cruise - Trinity Sailing Tues 26th Aug Day 4

A few photos from the trip so far


Loch na Keal with 'Leader' and 'Freja'

Another nice sunny morning, there is a bit of a breeze but it's dropped a lot since last night. Tobermory is our destination for today. We are having a fry up for breakfast today..great.
Saw Golden Eagles and White Tailed Sea Eagles today soaring above the cliffs and hilltops.
Another good sailing day, arrived Tobermory 1545, dinghy in the water and off for a shower and to the pub ( just looking for a decent wi fi signal honest ) failed... Had to make do with beers in the Mishnish Hotel instead. I did two sketches before the pub to fill my first sketchbook of the trip, luckily I brought a spare sketchbook just in case. I can't see being able to get a decent wi fi signal between here and Oban so the blog will need to wait until I get home to get published.
Remote cottage Loch na Keal

Skye, Muck, Rum and Eigg


Tobermory Handmade Chocolate Shop

Old Boat Shed - Tobermory

Scottish Cruise - Trinity Sailing Mon 25th Aug 2014. Day 3

 Porridge for breakfast today with all the trimmings! Honey, jam, strawberries, chopped walnuts. Not too many takers so I had two big bowlfulls to set me up for the day. Weighed anchor 0730 and away, main, mizzen, jib and staysail set, nice force 4 over the beam so great sailing conditions for us today. It will be a long day, should be in Loch na Keal by about 1700 all being well. We need to do a couple of gybed to get us through th Torran Rocks and past Iona. We reduced sail in the strengthening conditions - got rid of jib and staysail, more comfortable sailing again. I can now see the Treshnish Isles, The Dutchmans Cap and Staffa in the distance. We are heading for Staffa for a photo and sketch opportunity.
Approaching Staffa.


Now passed Staffa we are heading for Ulva and Loch na Keal. Feeling a bit chilled I went to my bunk for a bit of a's a hard life.
Awoke to the sound of the anchor going down...we are here. A nice anchorage at the head of Loch na Keal. The wind is quite strong, gusting straight down the loch but we have some shelter so should be OK. The crew will be on anchor watch to ensure we don't drag during the night. No phone signal here so phone call home will have to wait until we get to Tobermory tomorrow. No light pollution here, I spent a pleasant half hour staring at the night sky from the comfort of the dinghy, millions of stars, the Milky Way, a few satellites and two shooting stars...brilliant. The end of a fine days sailing on this magnificent vessel.
Looking West from Loch na Keal

Leaving Loch na Keal looking South

Ulva - Mull from Loch na Keal

Scottish Cruise - Trinity Sailing Sun 24th Aug 2014 Day 2

Woke to a nice sunny day - great but very little wind. Breakfast at 0800 and away from the anchorage by 0915, motoring south in flat calm conditions. Lots of birds, a few porpoises and a distant Minke Whale. Went passed Seil Island, Easdale, the Garvellachs, Insh Island with a hut in a cave, Lunga, Scarva and the Gulf of Corrievreckken to Glengarrisdale Bay at the North end of Jura. Anchored in the bay about 1430, dinghy over the side and away to explore Glengarrisdale by 1515. A nice afternoon sketching the bothy and ruins with only a million midges for company....not too much of a nuisance as long as I kept moving. Back on board I had time for a nap before dinner. After dinner we discussed options for our route over the next few days. Tomorrow we are heading for Loch na Keal near Ulva on Mull (Monday),  then Tobermory on Tuesday ( showers and pub... not necessarily in that order), Loch Sunart on Wednesday. The sound of Mull and around the Loch Spelvie on the South Side of Mull on Thursday, leaving us a short hop across the Linn of Lorne back to Oban on Friday morning. That's the plan anyway but is subject to the weather so may be changed as we go along.
Castlebay Kerrera.

Insh Island.

The Paps of Jura

Scarba, Jura and the Gulf of Corryvreckken

Approach to Glengarrisdale.

Bothy and 'Leader' Glengarrisdale

Scottish Cruise - Trinity Sailing Sat 23rd Aug 2014 Day 1

I'm away on a week long cruise on a traditional Brixham Sailing Trawler "Leader" with Trinity Sailing.
I arrived in Oban 1245, dropped off my bag at the boat and went off to leave my camper for the week.
Back on board 1315. All the usual briefings and greetings done we left Oban at 1600 bound for Pulladobhrain just a short sail away, unfortunately there were too many smaller vessels for us to anchor safely. We need quite a large area for swinging on our anchor. We retreated and headed for Castlebay on Kerrera, a quiet sheltered anchorage in the current conditions, a little bit of a swell so the boat rocked and creaked all night. A pretty reasonable nights sleep anyway.
A couple of sketches from day 1 and a pic of our boat.


Castlebay Kerrera

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Stuck in the Studio.

Ive been either housebound with a stinky head cold or stuck in the studio during the recent incessant rain. Once I started to feel human again I started work on some pencil drawings from some recent field sketches from Shetland & Fair Isle, the Cairngorms and the Highland Wildlife Park plus one from Loch Tay. They are quite relaxing and fun to do, time will tell if they sell. I've included a few of them below.

Cairngorms from Loch Morlich

Cairngorms from Glenmore

Loch Tay

Arches at Furze - Fair Isle

Sheep Craig - Fair Isle

Ruin near Culswick - Shetland.

Snowy Owl Study