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' -

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Scotland by Rail - Markinch station - book swap and old railway photos - Grey Partridge recovery project

A station I've seen from the train many times through my life, usually on the way to and from Aberdeen or Montrose, but never before got off at. It's in a steep cutting and the infrastructure - buildings and bridges is modern but go into the ticket office waiting room and you find a book-swap bookcase, loads of fascinating old rail photos stacked across all the windowsills (there are lots of windowsills) and a wooden train set. Absolutely brilliant and what a difference made to an otherwise functional, standardised, uninspiring building. And how inspiring that this sort of thing is still allowed in as large an organisation as ScotRail. Thank you stationmaster and thank you ScotRail.

You can walk out into the countryside from Markinch station in only moments and a couple of miles of country road between woods and meadows gets you to the fields, copses and hedgerows of Balgonie Farm. This is the home of a really successful-sounding Grey Partridge Recovery Project. Grey Partridge are one of our native 'game' birds and are now Red-List threatened with extinction having crashed to a tiny percentage of their historic UK population. Europe-wide they are declining.

I was exploring with artist friend Kittie Jones who you probably already know of but if you don't please enjoy her work here:

We didn't see Grey Partridge but they are hard to spot. We did see a pretty good mix and quantity of birdlife.

Farms can be great for nature, should be, and I believe more and more will be. Ditto gardens, parks, playgrounds, office rooftops...

I look forward to going back to explore around Markinch more. And taking Oren to play with that train.

How to get there:

Trains to Markinch are easy from Edinburgh and Fife in particular. 

The station and the castle are only open 1st April to 31st October.

Click 'The East Coast and Fife' timetable and 'Buy Tickets' on ScotRail website.

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

Monday, 1 July 2019

Linlithgow Line Gallery 'Summer Light' exhibition until July 23rd, & online

If you can't get along to the Line Gallery in Linlithgow between now and July 23rd to see Summer Light exhibition by me and five other artists, you can see them all in this blog post.

Linlithgow is my hometown and the Line is the first gallery I ever exhibited with back when I was in my final year at Edinburgh College of Art (14 years ago!). I'm always delighted to be exhibiting with them again.

Until 23rd July at:

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

Tues - Fri 10 - 5
Sat 9 - 5
Sun 1 - 4

Linlithgow is very rail accessible with four fast long trains per hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If you're interested in buying please contact Gail and Elizabet at the Line to check which pieces are still available. 

Email or phone +44 (0)1506 670 268.

** all these artworks are mounted but unframed, unless otherwise specified below **

Atlantic light

Boddin limekiln
watercolour & pencil

Buchan coast


desert yellows
acrylic & ink

Do Not Approach, Seabird Research Data Collection

Dunnottar Castle
watercolour & pencil

island gateway

island helipad
£650 (framed)

island life

summer cliffs
£650 (framed)

mountain streams

Pilgrims Haven

Pilgrims Haven

rain cloud east of May

razorbill, Isle of May
£400 (framed)

red mountains

secret bay, coots, Linlithgow Loch
watercolour & pen

watercolour & ink

the puffin and the angel

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Flash Sale! Start of June. Original paintings & sketches.

This weekend Sat Sun Mon buy these eight originals at reduced prices. 10% of sale price goes to RSPB, preserving and enhancing wildlife and habitat in the UK and overseas (and underseas!).

Private message me through website or social media to buy:

All works are mounted but unframed for easier postage. 

Prices include UK postage. Overseas postage costs extra.

Thanks for looking!

Montrose morning

preening eiders, yawning seal

red-breasted merganser preening

Montrose postures

Dunbar quarry

leaving Aberdeen

beacon & black guillemot at Ayr

the pier at Nairn

Sunday, 21 April 2019

BTO Breeding Bird Survey hill count above Garelochhead, 20th April 2019

transect 1:
meadow pipit 5
skylark 3
raven 3

transect 2:
meadow pipit 10
skylark 4
crow 2
buzzard 1

red deer
fox signs
lots of sheep



After the count, walking to the highest summit Beinn Chaorach 713m.  Stop in the hollow between Beinn Tharsuinn and Beinn Chaorach. Lie on my back. Weak, tired, head on my rucksack, valley before me as a vast mountain punch-bowl. Dark Fairtrade chocolate, nuts, an apple, oatcakes, coffee. 

11am, text update to Jennifer then close my eyes, see what happens, thinking of Nan Shepherd and Robert Macfarlane and their naps in the hills. Wake up, look at watch, 11.10. Start to write, then I'll sketch. Why does starting writing almost always feel easier than starting sketching?

No sign of ticks this time but keep trousers tucked to socks anyway, and t-shirt to trousers, and despite the heat. Brittle dry underfoot, fissured peat.

No sound of humans except now and again the rumble of a plane. 

A few small dark black flies and some larger with long abdomens and eyes glittering black, legs and mouthpiece yellow, orange red touches on leg segments closest to body, especially hindmost legs. Long antennae. Perches (do flies perch? Is it a fly?) on my writing hand, pause writing, don't damage those legs.

Skylarks around and now one rising in song flight right behind me. Meadow pipits peeping calls, close and far, a parachute song flight.

Drone and buzz of bumblebees. I've seen quite a lot up here. The five or six I've got close to have all been white-tailed. Rarely I see white-tailed and often when looking at buff-tailed think, "is that a white-tailed?" Seeing these today I realise that their tails really are clean white, not buff, their two yellow bands really are cool bright yellow, not gingery like buff-tailed.

Flying towards me, a dark thing with orange. Closer... a cockchafer? Closer... close... a ladybird! Passes a foot from my nose. Red wing cases raised and open. Where has it been? Where is it going?

Now sketch.