Monday 24 October 2016

Exhibition - Postcards from the Line. Linlithgow, 29 Oct - 22 Nov

Loch Arklet, New Year's Eve 2013, watercolour & pencil, 15x21cm

Every year my hometown gallery - the first gallery I ever exhibited with - runs Postcards from The Line. Postcards is an exhibition of 250+ artworks, all A5 size or under, all £100 or under, all unframed, from artists across Scotland & UK & overseas.

The exhibition runs at:

The Line Gallery
238 High Street, Linlithgow, EH49 7EF

29th October - 22nd November
Tues - Fri 10 - 5
Sat 9 - 5
Sun 1 - 4

The opening event is Saturday 29th October, 2 - 4pm. Lots of the participating artists will be there.

If you're interested in buying any of my postcards shown here you can also contact Gail and Elizabet at the Line by emailing or phoning +44 (0)1506 670 268.

razorbill studies, pencil, 14.5x21cm

razorbill, watercolour, 21x15cm

Silbury Hill, watercolour, 15x21cm 

Bennachie, watercolour, 19x14cm

fieldmarks, watercolour & ink, 19x13.5cm

guillemots & razorbill, pencil, 14.5x21cm

ink study, ink, 20x14.5cm

mist on the Forth, ink & gouache, 14.5x20cm

the Binn Pond, watercolour & pencil, 14.5x21cm

Thursday 6 October 2016

Scotland by Rail - Burntisland to Ladybank - Kirsty Lorenz's studio. Also Kirkcaldy Galleries - Kate Downie's Forth Bridges.

Ladybank station, Kirsty's studio & Off the Rails Arthouse

Burntisland to Ladybank by train to visit artist Kirsty Lorenz's studio

I'm taking on the disused platform building at Burntisland station, turning it into my studio and a now-and-again space for workshops and for welcoming visitors. To help decide how to lay out the space out I'm visiting other station studios, of which Fife has quite a lot. This post is a trip to Ladybank to visit Kirsty Lorenz's studio.

train sketches

train sketches

Meadow brown on valerian in Burntisland station wildlife-friendly flower beds. Thanks to Floral Action Burntisland

hoverflies on ivy at Burntisland station. Ivy is one of the very best of winter food sources for insects - don't cut yours down!

Burntisland station, wildlife-friendly. Thank you Floral Action Burntisland (FAB)!

Inchkeith island, Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags. From train Burntisland to Kinghorn


If the connection at Kirkcaldy works, Burntisland to Ladybank takes less than 40 minutes. If it doesn't you can spend the spare time visiting Kirkcaldy Galleries, which I've blogged about previously here. It didn't, I did. Kirkcaldy Galleries is only a two minute walk from the station. LINK.. At the moment Kate Downie's Forth Bridges drawings and paintings and monoprints are on display, part of a family-friendly exhibition exploring the first, second and third Forth Bridges. Kate has been artist in residence during the Forth Replacement Crossing and here shows a whole room of her works, large and small.

SPAN - A Tale of Three Bridges runs until 26th February 2017. Check opening times on Kirkcaldy Galleries website.

Kirkcaldy Galleries photographed from Kirkcaldy station


From Kirkcaldy it's a ten minute train journey to Ladybank. If you're coming from Edinburgh you won't need to change at Kirkcaldy, your train goes directly to Ladybank. Kirsty's studio is seen as soon as you get off the train on platform 2. Three bold floral paintings brighten three original sash and case windows.

We had coffee while we chatted art, funding, selling work, opening studios to visitors, trips to Orkney. Kirsty has recently returned from the far north where she was photographing and filming native Scottish wild flowers as part of her ongoing 'Votive Offerings' series. The work is intricate and intriguing. A piece from the project is included in the Scottish Society of Artists (SSA) Exquisite Corpse exhibition, at St Andrews Museum until November 19th 2016.

You can visit Kirsty's studio, and other venues along the Fife railway line, during The Artline's Open Doors weekend. My studio probably won't be ready for the 2017 Open Doors but hopefully will be in time for the 2018 one!

Kirsty Lorenz, Votive Offering No.52, oil on linen, 70x50cm


Intermission - Bollywood in Edinburgh
I had no time to properly explore Ladybank as was due in Edinburgh mid-afternoon for Bollywood dancing. Not me dancing but Jennifer and friends performing at Fettes College to entertain walkers starting out on Maggie's Centre's Culture Crawl in aid of cancer care.

spot Jennifer


Ladybank again

I did manage a twenty minute circle of the streets before leaving. House martins swirled around the railway buildings, surely any day now departing for Africa. Off the Rails Arthouse is behind and above Kirsty's studio and is a venue for regular art classes and tutoring. On the other side of the station a wide border of wildflowers was glowing all along the station car park, covered in bees, hoverflies, wasps.

Various woodland walks and country road cycles are accessible from the village so I hope to go back for a proper explore.

wild flower meadow all along Ladybank station car park. Packed with bees, butterflies, hoverflies

Ladybank station

Off the Rails Arthouse

outside the station

Ladybank, Auchtermuchty, Falkland circle cycle

field and forest, Ladybank


How to get there

Trains to Ladybank take 50 minutes from Edinburgh Waverley, and run at least hourly on weekdays, sometimes half hourly.

From Dundee it takes half an hour and weekday trains are hourly.

Timetables and Buy Tickets option on ScotRail website.

Many thanks to ScotRail for enabling my Scotland by Rail work.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Burntisland Wildlife & Nature - great exhibition, ends 27 Aug

Photo copyright Joyce Murdoch. Lots more of her beautiful photos in the exhibition.

Please encourage your friends and family to visit Burntisland Heritage Trust's 2016 exhibition celebrating the wealth of nature and wildlife that we have in and around our town. Packed with beautiful photos by local people, full of fascinating facts, drawings & collages & writings by our school's two primary 7 classes. Loads and loads of work went into it and it looks great!

The exhib is due to end on August 27th. It's at no.4 Kirkgate, Burntisland, just around the corner from the Burgh Chambers and the Library. It's open Wednesdays 1-4pm and Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11am-4pm. Admission is free.

Read more at:

Please share!


Other things to do in and around Burntisland:

Circular walk up the Binn hill

- Museum of Communication
- Potter About cafe
- Food for Thought cafe
- Macauley's Fruit & Veg Merchant
- Hanselled Books

- walk the coast to Aberdour Castle and McTaggarts cafe
- walk the coast to Kinghorn and Carousel Cafe
- walk to Kinghorn Loch, The Ecology Centre, Earthship Fife, The Barn at the Loch (cafe!)

And loads more.


How to get here by train

Burntisland is 35 minutes by train from Edinburgh Waverley, trains twice hourly during the day.
Timetables on ScotRail website or download their excellent free app.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Scotland by Rail - Fife to Perth train trip

Journey, Burntisland to Perth

Beautiful day, beautiful rail route. Burntisland to Perth and back, delivering paintings to Frames Gallery.

Sun shining, grasses glowing, fields waving in the breeze. Gulls, woodpigeons, swallows and martins. Lomond Hills the backdrop:

grand Perth station, one of the best

Just about make out that red '39' in front of the middle window? That's the pedestal of a bust of Perth-born John Buchan, author of The 39 Steps, Greenmantle, lots of others. Closer pics of the bust here


Frames Gallery 

Frames Gallery summer exhibition runs until 3rd September. A lot of the works are online here.

I'm showing my west-coast-Canada series. Ten double-mounted watercolours from a sixteen hour ferry journey I took in 2010 from Port Hardy at the northerly tip of Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert, a small fishing town just a little short of the southern tip of Alaska.

On the journey I saw humpbacks fluking, solitary cottages and shacks and disintegrating piers. Lonely lighthouses, eagles soaring, passing boats, passing tankers. Everywhere was forested. Mountains reached far above us, trees climbing high towards ice-covered pinnacle peaks. One little island was like Snufkin's hat. Weather was perfect and I sketched non-stop. Darkness had fallen as we arrived in Prince Rupert.

See more from the Prince Rupert trip in my book Sketches from Canada.

These are the five works in Frames Gallery just now:

Port Hardy to Prince Rupert - a light, red boat passing
pen & watercolour, 7.5x10cm & 6.5x10cm

Port Hardy to Prince Rupert - from a blue window, darkened islands
pen & watercolour, 6x10cm & 7.5x10cm

Port Hardy to Prince Rupert - green reflections, glassy water
pen & watercolour, 8x10cm & 7x10cm

Port Hardy to Prince Rupert - journey to the islands
pen & watercolour, 5.5x10cm & 7.5x10cm

Port Hardy to Prince Rupert - through the porthole windowpen & watercolour, 4.5x10cm & 7x10cm

Frames Gallery is open Mon-Fri 9-5.30, Sat 9.30-5

10 Victoria Street, Perth, Scotland, PH2 8LW

Phone - 01738 631 085


How to get there

From Edinburgh, Perth is on the line to Inverness. From Burntisland you need to change at Kirkcaldy. 

Edinburgh & Glasgow - Inverness is the timetable to look at - , or download the very useful free ScotRail app.

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

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Scotland by Rail - Kirkcaldy Galleries

Kirkcaldy Galleries behind wildflower planting

Exit Kirkcaldy station on the Edinburgh-bound side and the big old building immediately in front of you is Kirkcaldy Galleries, home of museum, gallery, library, cafe.


The museum tells of Kirkcaldy's history - mining, lino, pottery...


The gallery's permanent collection is only four or five rooms but has really top quality works. One room is devoted to the Scottish Colourists, including beautiful small Peploe studies of town and of sea, and a number of his Iona beaches. Another room is for Fife artworks, names I didn't know but am pleased to have discovered. The last room is McTaggart, who I've never managed to never get on with, but there was one of his - The Wave - that had none of his cherubic figures and really did grab me.

The collection is online here - - many more paintings than are on display in the gallery at any more time. I've been browsing it just now and there it's seriously exciting. One of my favourite paintings for example, Frances Walker's Leaving St Kilda, and companion piece Passing St Kilda. I first saw these two at the opening of her Place Observed in Solitude exhibition in Aberdeen Art Gallery in 2010. One of my favourite exhibitions of all I've seen. Read about it here -

Scottish Colourists room. plus mum's leg

Temporary exhibitions also take place here, lots of different things. Currently it's a celebration of The Singing Kettle... My brother liked them but I always preferred Mr Boom, Singing Kettle were just so loud.


The cafe does coffee and scones, date slices and very nice carrot cake.


Oh, and the men's toilet downstairs is all nice and aged with a big wooden seat and a pull flush, as in my mum's childhood home. The word 'Modern' is stamped inside the bowl...


Kirkcaldy Galleries is set within Kirkcaldy War Memorial Gardens, a small area of parkland which at the time of this visit was brought absolutely alive by a wildflower bed, primarily poppies. Hundreds of hoverflies and bumblebees and other pollinators were buzzing in the come-and-go sunshine.

Incidentally, why not do your own bit by planting an area of wildflowers in your garden, or even just leaving a patch of lawn to grow long. Easy and quick. Even half a square metre helps to Give Nature a Home -


How to get there

Trains to Kirkcaldy take 35-45 minutes from Edinburgh Waverley, usually running every half hour during the day, or hourly on Sundays. The views are pretty great.

from the train, between Kirkcaldy and Kinghorn

from the train, Kinghorn

From Dundee it takes about the same length of time but trains are less frequent.

Timetables are all here.

(Recently there have been lots of cancellations on the Fife line so do check the ScotRail app or website before leaving.)

Many thanks to ScotRail for their support of my Scotland by Rail work.