Europe19: Passing through Edinburgh

June 26, 2019 | 2 Comments

After my 6.5 weeks in Italy I headed for Scotland, and had two nights in Edinburgh en-route to the Isle of Lewis.

After so much time in Italy it was a bit of a culture shock to be in an English speaking country and I kept saying Grazie for the first 24 hours. It was also a shock to go back to ‘winter’ weather – 12C and rain. But I don’t worry about the weather when the important thing is catching up with friends!

I had a lovely time with Esther Semmens and a wet but fun meetup with a few people from the local Urban Sketchers Edinburgh group. Great to see Pam and Andrew again (and have some amazing chats about perspective) and meet Jane from Florida.

Here are my sketches from my brief stay.

It was a very wet afternoon so we sheltered in a tearoom – Eteaket.

Stills from a video recording a quick sketch of the castle.


Part of the view from my hotel window and my full Scottish breakfast – vegan style.

We then caught the bus to Leith – it was a wet day.

This was my first visit to Leith and I could see lots of fun buildings and street scenes to sketch but we headed for a cafe. After a coffee and an extended period of chat, Pam and Andrew went on the hunt for some shelter.

They found that the porch of the Customs House was dry so we all sat in a line and sketched a row of buildings just down the way a little.

Here is my sketch.

And  the throw-down of everyone’s work. It was such a fun morning and there is always something special when everyone in a group sketches the same scene. I love the different  selection, technique and style.

Esther and I then had lunch with Jane and I hit my #30 sketch as part of the 30×30 challenge. (More about my 30×30 sketches soon)

After lunch and a little shopping, Esther and I retreated into St Giles.

Description written at the time on Instagram:

Sketching in St Giles Cathedral with Esther at the end of a great day. This is my longest sketch for a long time. We have been sitting here for 1.5 hours chatting and sketching. I did a quick first sketch in the first 15 minutes and we have been going at a leisurely pace. Just what I needed.

This sketch was done with permanent fountain ink and a waterbrush. I needed to apply the water quickly while the ink was still wet.

There is just so much that I want to sketch in Edinburgh… here’s a photo of a scene I might attempt next visit.

On the next morning we had blue skies and sun!

We found a nice quiet spot (quiet in terms of tourists, but we could still hear bagpipes!) and I tried a complex scene in direct watercolour. The complexity of the scene and the changing light (clouds reappearing) made this sketch a little stiff.

So I did another sketch and decided to alternate between line and wash so that I could work freer.

I really enjoyed doing this sketch – here is a detail…

and another one!

Soon it was time for me to go… but on the way to the tram to the airport Esther and I stopped and sat down on the pavement (sidewalk) for this quick sketch.

One of the cool things about this visit to Edinburgh was constantly seeing this gorgeous sketch of a highland cow – done by my friend Wil Freeborn. Congrats Wil!

Here is that last Edinburgh sketch in the full spread including my sketches of the flight to Stornoway!



Leave a Reply