Diana Vreeland, Empress of Fashion


Acrylics on paper, 58x40cm.


Arran Sketchbook 4 : Cnocan Donna

Donna’s Mount or Hillside, North Glen Sannox.

Continuing my travels with a sketchbook I took on this lump of rock from the perfect one-car parking lay-by, having to reverse in thereby allowing me to get the car boot open with easy access to all my materials.

“Cnocan Donna”, mixed media (pencil and Neocolours) in sketchbook, A5x2.

The real fun began later when I launched into plein air painting in acrylics. With easel set up and paints, brushes and water pot laid out on the ground in front of me a bold start was made. The dark clouds which were building up over the cnocan and it’s initial risible spits and spots of rain (I laugh in the face of smirr!) should have forewarned me of approaching disaster. Undeterred I kept going under a large umbrella held in one hand and a brush in the other. When the spits turned to steady rain I knew I was in trouble – how the heck to get my painting into the car without having it wash off onto my feet?

First thoughts were to tough it out, after all it was only a bit of rain. You would think it couldn’t get any heavier, but it did – the downpour turned into a deluge!

With the brolly protecting the painting but not me and water running down my neck I finally gave up, chucked the painting and gamp into the boot and dived into the car soaked from head to toe.

“Cnocan Donna”, acrylics on paper, 42x59cm.

At least the acrylic paint didn’t wash off and I eventually dried out with a flask of hot tea to warm my cockles and a buttered gingerbread slice. Happy days.

Arran Sketchbook 3

On the North side of Glen Sannox stands the mighty Suidhe Fhearghas, or Seat of Fergus, and behind at more than 200m higher, the jagged crown of Abnail’s Castle – Caisteal Abnail.

Mixed medial (pencil, watercolours, and Neocolours II) in sketchbook, A5x2.

I wonder what Fergus, on his lofty seat, scraping his napper off the sky blue, or Abnail in his black ivory tower, would have made of me on my wee canvas fold-a-way seat muttering about the privations an artist in the wild has to put up with including the crick in my neck from peering so far upwards!

The Autumnal Garden 1

Sometimes you don’t have to travel far for inspiration – it’s there waiting for you just outside the studio door:

Mixed media on paper, 59x42cm.

A shaft of sunlight cuts across the lawn while the flowerbed closest to the house falls into deep shadow.

There is a distinct autumnal smell – dampness certainly, but also decay. The scarlet acer is rapidly losing it’s leaves and the hydrangea petals are turning brown at their edges.

Today I am rewarded for my patience and withholding of the secateurs with a visit from a dashing blackbird to the rosehips left for just this purpose much to the delight of Amy, my 18 month old grand-daughter.

It’s never too early to introduce the wonders of nature.

Torr Reamhar

On the road over to Lochranza I stop in a small car park/lay-by, set up my easel, and launch into an unaccustomed sketch A2 size rather than in a small sketchbook.

“Torr Reamhar”, Mixed media on paper (charcoal and acrylics), 42x59cm.

Of course the minute I set up an easel in a car park I attract attention from all and sundry whose mother/daughter/niece draws and paints (is it only girls that do this kinda thing?), and how wonderful they are, which I don’t really mind but since they are interrupting me mid-flight would prefer they told me how wonderful I was.

Just as well I know it for myself :o)

Arran Sketchbook 2

Cioch na h Oighe, Glen Sannox.

A fair lump of a mountain poking straight up like a sentinel guarding the entrance to Glen Sannox. A red deer stag bellows his presence not just to his harem but seems like a challenge to me. I’m keeping my head down, just sitting quiet, drawing:


Mixed media (pencil and Neocolours), A5x2.