Sunday, 10 November 2019

Scotland By Rail - North Berwick - shore walk & art session with Scottish Seabird Centre wildlife group

Every year I run a couple of art nature sessions with the children in the Wildlife Clubs at the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick. I love going to North Berwick. It's such a pleasant place with lovely old houses, nice tree-ed gardens, a High Street of interesting shops and cafes, a really brilliant coastline of beach and rocks and views to the islands. And at the High Street the excellent Scottish Seabird Centre (nb - cafe and shop are open but the Discovery Experience is currently being refurbished and due to reopen in December).

I walked from station along High Street stopping at Steampunk Coffee for takeaway oat latte and as delicious a slice of banana loaf as I've ever had. Steampunk is just off the High Street up pedestrianised Law Road. Rustic, hip, cosy, sustainable, low waste - "fully traceable and responsibly sourced coffees." Great place.

After that, along Kirk Ports beside Old St Andrew's Church and graveyard, along East Road, down Balfour Street and onto the shore. 

The wind was seriously cold blowing foam past my feet as waves poured onto the beach. The view is brilliant. Craigleith island on the left and the Bass Rock on the right are the most obvious but ten miles out in the gap between them was a third island, the Isle of May. As the island appeared over the rollers, Main Light lighthouse (where I had my exhibition last year) was visible on the dark west cliffs, now and then the South or North Horns stretching weirdly upwards in optical illusion and turning dark or bright white when sun cracked through the clouds. I was watching through binoculars when seawater poured suddenly into my left shoe.

Geese were flying overhead, this large group chattering high-pitched yapping calls - pink-footed geese.
grey geese id video from BTO (British Trust for Ornithology)

I walked east along the beach as far as the rocky headland then sat to do an hour of sketching. A few sleek grey orange-long-legged orange-longish(but-black-tipped)beaked redshanks and a group of twenty or thirty smaller dumpy brown-mottled turnstones were foraging the seaweed and watery sand. A cormorant preened and stretched its wings to the wind but flew after a short while. A black-headed gull was my best subject for sketching, bobbing on the waves as they foamed onto on the sand. Best subject as it returned to my part of the beach much quicker than the waders each time dogs and walkers unknowingly sent them flying. I saw a couple of rock pipits and two lovely stonechats enjoying the dying back vegetation where beach ended.

After not-quite an hour and despite thermals on both top and bottom I was so cold that I had to stop. I climbed the steep path to the headland top and as the view reopened there in front of me was a curving panorama of Bass Rock, Isle of May, a dark looming sky, a square of rainbow to the left of the May, sand and rock and waves down below and a foreground of wind-blowing tussocky grass and a low wind-sculpted hawthorn. I'd have loved to paint a speedy watercolour ink study but I was too chilled.

Fast walk the mile back to the Seabird Centre, along pavement for speed, an hour in the cafe gradually warming and getting energy back. Then my afternoon with the Wildlife Club in the Seabird Centre Education Centre, a lovely group of primary 5 - 7s. We talked about the local islands and in more depth about the Isle of May. I showed my sketches and described what it's like to stay in the Bird Observatory and what duties we have to fulfill when we do. Then the art - oil pastel wildlife on black paper, paint and collage to create the habit around.

Children are the best artists! :

Then time for half an hour in one final cafe on my way back to the station - whynot? - a space for a cafe, a delicatessen and over twenty independent retailers.


How to get there
Trains to North Berwick take a bit over half an hour from Edinburgh Waverley
- See 'Lothian and The Borders - Glasgow - Edinburgh - North Berwick/Dunbar' timetable and 'Buy Tickets' on ScotRail website.

*** Seabird Centre ScotRail Offers ***
Get 2 for 1 entry to seabird Centre when you show a valid ScotRail ticket for the
One child goes free when you show Kids Go Free train ticket or Club 50

Many thanks to ScotRail for supporting my ongoing Scotland by Rail work. 

Previous blog post 
Bass Rock trip from Scottish Seabird Centre -

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Linlithgow Exhibition - Postcards from the Line. 2 - 26 Nov 2019

Leo du Feu, flight, 11x21cm.jpg
flight, watercolour, 11x21cm, £80

Every year my hometown gallery (and the first I ever exhibited with) holds this exhibition. 300+ artworks, c.40 artists, all works unframed and A5 or smaller. All works are £100 or under.

** Opening afternoon 2-4pm Saturday 2nd November **

The Line Gallery
238 High Street, Linlithgow, EH49 7EF
Tues - Fri 10 - 5
Sat 9 - 5
Sun 1 - 4

If you wish to own any of these ten works please contact the Line, details here.

Leo du Feu, choppy sea, 15x21cm.jpg
choppy sea, acrylic, 15x21cm, £100

Leo du Feu, tree gathering, 15x21cm.jpg
tree gathering, acrylic, 15x21cm, £100

Leo du Feu, harbour lookout, 15x21cm.jpg
harbour lookout, watercolour, 15x21cm, £100

Leo du Feu, the lookout, 15x21cm.JPG
the lookout, watercolour, 15x21cm, £100  

Leo du Feu, puffin among the tussocks, 13x14cm.jpg
puffin among the tussocks, watercolour & ink, 13x14cm, £70

Leo du Feu, at the Palace, 15x21cm.jpg
at the palace, ink, 15x21cm, £50

Leo du Feu, Linlithgow Palace, 26th June 2019, 21x15cm.jpg
Linlithgow Palace, 26th June 2019, ink, 21x15cm, £70

Leo du Feu, sketching the cherry tree, 14x19cm.jpg
sketching the cherry tree, watercolour & pencil, 14x19cm, £50

Leo du Feu, puffin & razorbill, 21x15cm.jpg
puffin & razorbill, watercolour, 21x15cm, £50

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

visit my solo exhibition at Scottish Arts Club, November 2019

2nd - 30th November
Tues - Sat, 11 - 5
24 Rutland Square, Edinburgh, EH1 2BW

phone - 0131 229 8157
email -

My third annual mini exhibition in the intimate Geddes Gallery (ie it's a downstairs down-stairs corridor!) is mini in size but not mini in number of artworks. I've filled it with 45 small unframed pieces, almost all painted or sketched outdoors over the past year or so. Mainly on the Isle of May, on South Uist in the Outer Hebrides and during a July/Aug 2019 Transatlantic ocean voyage.

In the much grander upstairs spaces of the Club Room and the Dining Room is the exciting Scottish Portrait Awards 2019. Visit all three exhibitions at the same time.

my talk on Wednesday 20th November - 12 noon
Titled My Artist Year, 2018-2019, looking at journeys and projects from the past year.
- talk is free to SAC Members. Guests & the public pay £5.00 + fees via Eventbrite.
for booking and all info click here


- entry to exhibitions is free
- ring doorbell for entry
- if you intend a special trip it's wise to phone or email the Club to make sure no functions are on.
- as you enter the Club my exhibition is down the stairs on your right.
- unfortunately there is no wheelchair access down the stairs.

how to buy
- for those who aren't able to get to Edinburgh scroll down to see the artworks and price list.
- if you wish to own a piece please contact the Club to check whether it's still available and to arrange payment.

leave a comment:
- if you visit the exhibition when I'm not there please leave a note in my comments book to say hi.

About the Club
The Scottish Arts Club is a special retreat in the centre of Edinburgh. A relaxing place to be, a very welcoming membership. Exhibitions are held every month as well as talks, recitals, concerts, lots of art workshops and more. There's an excellent restaurant for lunches and there's a bar in the Club Room for coffees and drinks

- if you're interested in becoming a Member please ask staff when you visit the exhibition, or contact the office by email or phone, or follow the link below.

- under-35s receive special membership rates.
- more info here

Friday, 18 October 2019

2020 calendar + new winter cards - order now

To order calendars or cards please get in touch by email or through my website or Facebook or Twitter
- Cards are ready to post now. Calendars will be ready before end of November. 
- Pickup in Central Edinburgh is available to save postage.

2020 Calendar:

- folded & stapled (not spiral bound)
- 21x30cm (A4) closed, 42x30cm (A3) open. 
- 100% recycled paper/card

£10 per copy, plus postage.

Calendar will contain these 12 images plus front cover:

bridge to Roslin Castle, watercolour & gouache, 23.5x31.5cm 
Buchan coast, watercolour, 25x30cm

Cruachan, acrylic, 48x69cm
do not approach, seabird research data collection, watercolour, 18x35cm

island, watercolour, 15x21cm

Isle of May summer cliffs, watercolour, 26.5x38cm

Pilgrim's Haven, ink, 25x35cm

RSPB Forsinard Flows, watercolour, 15x21cm

Scots pines, West Highland Line, mixed media, 25x35cm
southern light, acrylic, circular painting diameter 7cm

Torry dolphins 2, watercolour, 15x21cm

the puffin and the angel, acrylic, 20x28cm

These 12 paintings are all available to own - please contact me for more info.



4 designs available - 2 new this year plus some of last year's seven snow hares & winter deer:

ivy trees - card size is c.10.5cm x 14.5cm. (This painting is still available)

sheep in snow - card size is c.10.5cm x 14.5cm

seven snow hares - card size is c.12.5cm x 17.5cm

winter deer - card size is c.12.5cm x 17.5cm (this painting is available from Open Eye Gallery)

Cards are blank inside so not just for Christmas. Envelope is white.
The 2 new designs are on 100% recycled card.

- £1.50 per card
- £12 for 5 of each design
- £20 for 10 of each design
+ postage

Edinburgh pickup is available.

Get in touch by email or through my website or Facebook or Twitter

Monday, 19 August 2019

Burntisland exhibition - Island Jewels of the Forth - Aug 2019

A small selection of my and mum's Isle of May and other Forth islands paintings and sketches are displayed (and for sale!) in Burntisland Heritage Trust's Summer Exhibition: Island Jewels of the Forth. A fascinating packed-with-info-and-photos, "island hopping tour which shines a spotlight on the now mainly deserted islands of the outer Firth of Forth from the Bass Rock at the mouth of the Forth westwards to the iconic Forth Bridges. The exhibition examines their character and rich natural heritage, and tells a few tales that deserve to be better known."

Until 31st August:
Wed 1-4pm
Thur, Fri, Sat 11am-4pm
Free admission.
Burntisland Heritage Trust, 4 Kirkgate, Burntisland

Message me if you wish to know prices of any of the works or to see better pics.

Burntisland is only a 35 minute train journey from Edinburgh. When you come visit the Museum of Communication at the same time. It really is a hidden gem.
Open Wed & Sat, 11am-4pm until 28th September.  

And visit the bookshop, the cafes, the lots of independent shops, the library. Birdwatch along the shore and at the Lammerlaws. Walk the Binn circle for brilliant views of town and Forth and Edinburgh and Pentlands and Three Bridges and North Berwick Law and Bass Rock and even the Isle of May far far off if the weather is clear. Binn walk -

Read this recent blog post (not mine) for a pretty comprehensive 'what's in Burntisland' -