The sun was out, the sea was sparkling and the beauty of the highlands was clear for all to see as I sketched from the GALE Centre in Gairloch last weekend. I have an exhibition there during this month and I love the chance to meet some of the visitors (the cake is also marvellous if you have the chance to pop in and treat yourself). It was also great to be able to gaze through charcoal at Skye and Rona from their eastern sides rather than being on the islands themselves.

So I now have a highland sketchbook as well as a Skye one (you could call it an excuse to collect stationery but I’m calling it a necessary item as part of the project) in my midst! How lovely! I’m appreciating the ring-bound ‘sketch and store’ sketchbook by Derwent at the moment. I like to put a piece of glassine paper between the pages to protect the drawing and its a great way to hold everything all in the same place.

PS: There’s still chance to see the exhibition if you’re in or near Gairloch before the 26th May, the details are below:


I’ve been dreaming of doing this for years, and last Sunday I finally got round to it – doing a series of charcoal sketches from the roads and lovely scenic spots around Skye. I watched Brené Brown’s new talk on Netflix ‘The Call to Courage’, choose ‘courage over comfort’ and got myself out with the sketchbook.

You see, I don’t have a problem particularly with people seeing or watching me draw/paint, it was the fact that this tiny idea of a potentially enormous project would actually start when I made it. It would mean that I had committed to potentially sketching from every layby and every sight on this island, other islands and the rest of the Highlands (not unusually, my sights and ideas have escalated exponentially since I first had the inkling). That’s huge by anyone’s standards isn’t it? So, I took a took a starting step and went to nearby Dunvegan Castle to begin – here before (well, at the top of the page a you are the first two sketches of the series that has been dwelling in my head for quite some time.

The weather was clement (although distinctively breezy on the Lochside, unsurprisingly), the midges hadn’t hatched and it was lovely to at least begin something that had been brewing for so long. Like any release of energy, lots of new ideas also seeped in: there are lots of beautiful tulips and rhododendrons currently in bloom that swept through my unsuspecting imagination. So my brain leapt from monochrome to vivid colours – typical! Maybe next spring for those, but it was so fabulous to be out and about doing what I love most.

(Both sketches are in charcoal)