Recently I was lucky enough to spend time in Scotland, mainly in Edinburgh and Oban, and as always I took my Moleskine Sketchbook, Pens and Paints so that I could capture the scenery, so here are my sketches from Scotland.
We started our holiday in Scotland, and it turned out to be quite a different experience from what we had been expecting as it coincided with the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The whole country then observed a period of mourning but as Her Majesty passed away whilst staying at Balmoral, Edinburgh led the way. This meant we were able to pass our respects in person when she came to Lie in State at St Giles Cathedral, something that living in Cornwall is not usually possible due to the distance in travelling to London. However it did mean that access to a lot of Buildings and Places were closed or restricted.
The weather was lovely during our stay, with a lot of blue skies and here are my sketches from Edinburgh.
We left Edinburgh and transferred to Oban, via Glasgow and the West Highland Railway. Our Flat had the most amazing view of Oban Harbour and Bay, looking towards the island of Kerrara, with the islands of Lismore and Mull in the distance. Sadly the weather was not as good as Edinburgh, and although we avoided heavy rain it was mostly grey, so my sketches will include a lot of grey clouds.
If was about this time 5 years ago that we visited Norway and luckily I was able to do some sketching. I wasn’t sure if the weather would be warm enough to sit outside and paint, but here are my sketches of Norway. Click on the images to see a larger version.
We were doing a train tour and flew from Gatwick to Bergen, where we stayed for a few days. The first day was very much what we were expected from Bergen i.e. wet! However in the afternoon of the second day the sun came out and it was glorious. We sat outside close to the Bryggen, where I tried to capture the Wharf houses, which are the iconic buildings that are associated with Bergen.
The next day we were off to Flam, where luckily the glorious weather continued and it was just magical to sit alongside the Sognefjord and get my paints out. Even better was in the evening, where I sat on the beach at past 10 o’clock at night and was able to do another sketch. I loved the four small fishermen houses, or Fjordhytter, that sat below the dramatic mountain above it with their reflection in the water.
We had two days in Flam then we were off on the train for our final stop – Oslo. Oslo is a vibrant and relatively small city and we had another glorious day, so we grabbed a coffee and cake from a local shop (very cost effective) and I sat and sketched the University building. Then later in the afternoon we sat alongside Oslo Fjord looking across to the Oslo Opera House, I just couldn’t capture this building, with the sun shining on all the glass and white walls. Yesterday evening we had visited it, not long after arriving, and climbed on the roof (along with everyone else!) to watch the sunset, quite magical.
All too soon it was time to go home. A wonderful holiday and I am delighted to have captured the scenery with my little sketches as a permanent memory of my time in Norway, including a quick sketch of our plane getting roead to take us home.
Recently I enjoyed a weeks holiday in Sennen with lots of walking and painting. Now you might be surprised why I would want to holiday in Sennen, when I live so close to it, and the reason is two-fold. One relates to Covid and the potential problems of travelling, and the other is, by staying somewhere I can have one week to enjoy the sunshine, the sunset and everything in-between. I don’t have a sea view from where I live and it is an absolute joy to experience such a beautiful view for one week.
On the Saturday the weather was glorious so we walked along the south west coast path, which involved walking past the glorious Gwenver Beach, where I sat and sketched the painting above. However I just haven’t manage to capture the stunning white sands and the total peace and tranquality that you feel when you sit on the beach. I have taken photographs so I will have another attempt.
On the rest of the days the weather was quite cloudy but on the day we walked across to Nanjizal bay the sun came out and it was simply glorious! The tide was coming in but we ventured down on to the beach for a short while, and I just don’t have enough adjectives to describe this beautiful place. I should mention it isn’t an easy walk, and there is nowhere to park close by to park, not to mention scrambling across the large boulders on the beach to reach the sand – but it was well worth it!
The above are sketches of the view from our accommodation where I tried to capture the fog rolling in and the waves rolling on to the shore.
As you can imagine I love Sennen and I have taken loads of photographs so I can’t wait to get my paints out at home!
We have recently had a wonderful spell of weather here in Cornwall and so I was delighted to be able find a nice comfy seat, get my paints out and enjoy sketching at The Lizard in the glorious sunshine.
Parking at The Lizard we walked down Lizard Head Lane and joined the coast path from Kynance Cove to The Lizard, stopping at a lovely sheltered spot by Old Lizard Point to capture the scene and sketch the rocks that were exposed as it was low tide.
Heading on further we stopped for a lunch at Polpeor Cafe, where we were able to sit outside and I had a great spot to capture another view of The Lizard.
What a great day, walking and painting in the sunshine! Bring on more spring days.
In 2018 we decided to go in search of some snow, not to ski but just to look at and marvel at its beauty, so we decided on Switzerland, where we undertook a mini-tour around this country that we love. Little did we know at the time that whilst we were away Cornwall would end up covered in snow due to the arrival of “the beast from the east!”
As it was ski season we were able to fly from Exeter to Geneva, where we got the train to Basel – our first stop.
It was incredibly cold in Basel, but it was a sunny day and in the sunshine it was glorious and I was able to sit and sketch some of the beautiful buildings.
Next stop was Filisur, going via Chur so we got the train up to Arosa, where it was so cold minus 18 degrees, so not only was it too cold to paint, it was too cold to be outside! Still the train trip up to Arosa and back, going through the snow covered forests was stunning.
When planning our trip I wanted to experience a moutain village and Filisur certainly did that. It was a lovely little village and our hotel room had a full length door/window with a great view over the valley, and we could watch the trains winding up through the mountains to nearby Bergun. If you look at my sketch above, look for the red train. We stayed for a few days, getting the Bernina Express one day to Tirano – where sitting on the train I managed a quick sketch of the nearby mountains. Then we walked to the Landweisser viaduct and as it was so sunny and felt warm, I decided to sit down and sketch the scene. However I became quite puzzled at the strange texture that was being created on my page, until I realised the water on my brush was quickly turning into ice crystals! Then on our last day we woke up to snow, so out came the paints as I tried to capture the scene.
Back on the train – and not just any train The Glacier Express, travelling from Filisur to our next stop at Brig – just magical. Back to painting the scene from our hotel room and this was the mountains at Brig. Our last visit was to Zermatt, where we were hoping to see The Matterhorn, it was quite a coldy day, but the clouds did clearly for a short time and I was able to sit down and quickly capture the scene, where now the temperature was above freezing and so the water in my brush didn’t freeze!
Our trip back didn’t run quite as smooth because by this time Geneva airport was covered in snow, as was Exeter Airport and had been closed the day before and the morning of our flight, but it opened for a couple of hours and we managed to get home!
A truly magical holiday, with memories that will stay with me forever.
If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that I love painting on holiday! This can sometimes be a challenge, it can be difficult to paint if it is too cold, even too hot (I need some shade), if it is windy (stuff blows everywhere) but the most important thing is preparation before I go!
Here are my sketches from a holiday to Switzerland back in September 2016, when I travelled from Lucerne to Interlaken, then finally down to Montreux.
Sketches from my holiday to Switzerland back in September 2016, when I travelled from Lucerne to Interlaken, then onto Montreux.
We caught the 7pm flight from Bristol airport, and after our 3 hour train transfer we arrived whilst it was enjoying a mini heatwave. We quickly unpacked, walked along Matthias Luchsinger Platz, sat under a shady tree and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the lake with the mountains in the distance, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the sunshine.
I kept the colours muted, as the sunshine created a heat haze however I wanted to focus on all the boats on the lake.
Next morning (Thursday) the weather broke and it was raining, luckily the showers didn’t last long. We decided to do the golden trip to Mount Pilatus, which included crossing the Lake on boat to Alphnachstad, where we ascending the moutain in the steepest cog railway. Sadly the weather was very changeable and whilst it didn’t rain the clouds were coming and going.
This is me capturing the mountain summit with the little red train climbing up.
Friday and the weather was still quite cloudy but undeterred we set off on the Lake again. Whilst walking from Weggis to Vitznau I tried my fasted painting yet! This was capturing a paddle steamer as it sailed past.
On Saturday we left beautiful Lucerne and travelled by train through the Brünig pass to Interlaken, unfortunately by the time we arrived it was wet. Whilst we did do a little sightseeing I didn’t get my paints out.
Sunday and it was still raining but we headed off on the local bus to St. Beatus Hoehlen
As it was raining I tried a little sketch from the side, which was a shame because it was just so unbelieavably beautiful. Waterfalls fell down the hillside and to me looked like Rivendell.
Monday and the sun decided to show its face and we ventured up to Murren. We were rewarded with stunning views of the mountain, waterfalls and valley.
We walked from Murren to Winteregg, which has a first class view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, although by this time the clouds were covering the top of the mountain.
Tuesday and we sent off to visit the sun on top of the Jungfrau, the sun shone and it was glorious but sorry no painting.
On our way back down from the mountain we visited Wengen, and that had a wonderful view down the Lauterbrunnen valley.
Wednesday and we are back on the train travelling to Montreux.
Our hotel was right by the Lake, so whilst it was a little cloudy it was so peaceful and I sat and did this little sketch.
Thursday and we enjoyed walking along the lake by Vevey, where I again tried to capture a passing Paddlesteamer!
Later on I ventured down to the lakeside. Montreux has a long promenade and it has little hidden spots with seating areas, just perfect for another sketch.
On Friday we walked along to the Chateau de Chillon.
Saturday and time to come home, however our room had a wonderful view across the Lake so I had time for one last experimental painting, where I didn’t use pen and ink. I wanted to capture the mood of the mountains that kept disappearing into a heat haze as the day warmed up.
Well I hope you enjoyed my sketches from Switzerland, I love this country and visited three different locations, they all had a different personality, not to mention weather!
Here are some of my sketches from a holiday in Mayrhofen, during September in the beautiful Tyrol area of Austria, back when we were able to travel freely!
Click on any of the images to see a larger version.
The weather was good during the first half of our week, and the second half was a bit intermittent with some damp in the air. That proved to be great fun trying to still be able to paint!
We travelled, via the local bus, to Hintertux, where by travelling on three cable cars we found the snow! After exploring on the top of the mountain we came down one cable car to Tuxer Fernerhaus, a large restaurant area where we had warming soup and I did a sketch to capture the skiers and cable car. Then after descending two more cable cars we decided to explore the area around Hintertux and found a delightful waterfal, so out came my paints againt!
One of the, looking up the entrance of the Gerlostal valley, was painted whilst at the train station at Zell am Ziller. I had 25 minutes until the next train so I was a woman on a mission!
The last day I found a beautiful spot just on the outskirts of Mayrhofen, which was looking down towards Finkenberg and the surrounding mountains. Well it might have been spitting but I took cover under the trees and managed a quick sketch.
We have visited Vienna on two different occasions and the buildings were so magnificent, so grand and they are hard to grasp that in a tiny little sketch! On this occasion it was mid March and it was freezing cold, so it wasn’t easy to find the right spot to sit down to sketch, but that could be me making excuses! I was in two minds about whether I should post them or not, I don’t think they are my best work – anyway here they are …
The painting at the top shows my first attempt of the Schonbrunn Palace painted from the Gloriette, but I have got the proportions wrong.
Then I tried a closer sketches, there weren’t any seats in the middle, so this is from the side
Then I decided to focus on one of the many statues they had in the garden, plus by this time the gardeners had planted a few Pansies, which added some colour. But I still haven’t done this beautiful Palace justice.
We then visited Stadt Park and I was struck by the Kursalon, a place where Johann Strauss conducted Orchestra’s, and nowadays they hold concerts every day with a selection of his music. There is so much detail in their architecture, and again proportions are wrong.
It rained one day, so painting was definitely out that day, and the following day it was very cold, but I did manage to find a little spot at the Orangery at Belvedere Palace. This I feel was my most successful.