#Inktober is an Instagram challenge to draw daily in ink throughout the month of October. Last year, I took part and drew a series of some 25 vignettes focussed on Lanark. Some of these were framed and went off to be sold at the Tolbooth Christmas pop-up shop. I really enjoyed drawing these on watercolour paper prepared with a thin wash of warm yellow ochre.
With the recent cold weather/strikes etc, a lot of my plans for the busiest time of year have gone adrift so I’ve begun to sort through a pile of past work including these wee Inktober sketches of Lanark.
Not only have we just been through a sharp cold snap, but we’re in the darkest time of year here in the Northern Hemisphere. I was thinking how the recent fiery skies were such an uplifting shot of colour.
I decided to see how the Inktober sketches would look if I added the hottest cadmium red to the sky as a flat block of colour and then simply to respond with other colours working over the ink studies as underpaintings.
Here are the first of the results.
More will follow as I play and experiment with these lovely gouache paints. It feels good to try something different.
Having embarked on a year of Professional Development with Paintbox School of Art, it’s becoming second nature to look at past work with fresh eyes, whether it was done a few weeks ago or a few years.
Sometimes, I’m still happy with the work and sometimes I think ‘What if I changed one thing?’ Or, ‘This all seems a bit flat, how can I perk it up?’
These drawings were all made on thick, 300gsm Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper and the ink lines are waterproof. If I don’t like the results, this paper will stand up to a tap washing the gouache off. I can press the drawings flat and work over them again. Or use them for studies for paintings. Or cut them up for collage. It really frees me up to experiment and discover new ways of working.
Most of these are now framed and available to buy from the Tolbooth Lanark; (Castlegate will be framed and at the Tolbooth next week). The rest will be available to buy from my Etsy shop as fresh stock for the New Year or if you see something you like, just get in touch – they are all originals and priced between £60-£95.
Thank you all for spending the time with me over here and I wish you and yours a happy, peaceful and loving Christmas/Season of Light and all the very best for a creative and fulfilling New Year.
August is the month when I like to complete unfinished work or perk up drawings or paintings that I think are just missing something.
I’ve had four framed drawings of Lanark townscape packed away but during a recent sort I brought them back into my studio.
I really enjoyed putting these compositions together. I had only planned on doing the one at first, but there are so many interesting details in Lanark’s townscape that I ended up with four different layouts including New Lanark.
The thing that bothered me about these drawings was that they were locked into lockdown time when windows were decorated with rainbows in support of key workers. The images captured an expression of hope at that time but right now I want to look forwards.
All four images have been scanned at a high resolution and I have these on the record so I decided to take the paintings out of their own lockdown. I removed them from their frames and decided to free the rainbow colours from the windows and move the colour elsewhere on the drawings.
I’ve been looking at ways to take my street drawings in a new direction and I’ve really enjoyed searching out architectural elements and details and forming these compositions.
I wrote a post about this change in work here when I responded to the call for entries to enter a local art competition here in Lanark.
Back to the task in hand. Having taken the artwork out of the frames I began by lifting off the rainbows (gouache paint so water soluble) and reinstate the dark blue and build up contrasts.
Looking at each painting in turn, I gradually introduced a range of blues. The colour pops of reds, oranges and yellows brought the warm spectrum colours out into the streetscape.
I worked on these during our recent hot spell so I went for that sun-drenched, blue-skies and flaming chimneys look!
Here they are, back in their frames, refreshed and revitalised!
The artwork and cards are all available to buy and shown together here on my main website.
Over the course of a week, there have been two back-to-back celebrations here in Lanark. The Platinum Jubilee has led straight into Lanimer Day 2022.
I thought it was timely to share a few sketches of Lanark to mark this lively time of year and I have to include the parts of the town that appeal to me most – the roofscapes, windows, chimneys, towers and eaves…..and the colourful bunting that makes it all feel like summer is here at last, even with grey skies!
Let’s have a look around the Tolbooth main gallery area at ground level. The side windows face up the length of the High Street and it’s worth taking a look in every few days as work is sold and new art brought in.
Lovely hand-made hats and textiles by Beth Fleming as well as this wee chappie’s bandanas. This is Boothby, the Tolbooth dog. He was given a bit of a fluff-up and a new outfit from Beth and now models the bandanas and tasty dog treats.
Below, some fun wee pirates and elves by Dianne McNaughton – check out her amazing paintings here. Hand-crafted wire-wrapped jewellery by Hanne Harris and necklace by Jean Mellin. A variety of beautiful pottery by artist/ceramicist Richard Price. Glass robins by Sian Press.
Bottom row we have hand sewn fabric coasters by the multi-talented artist Evelyn McEwan, walking pebble figures by Gemma Lamara, wee bear (with mask in pocket) by Lisa Ritchie, glass stars by Carol Shoel.
This year, there is a focus to raise funds to improve access to the first floor of the Tolbooth. The Tolbooth is supported by a team of committed volunteers who know what a good thing this place is for the town. Even buying a pack of cards helps!
Many years ago Lanark had four town gates: West Port, East Port, Wellgate and Castlegate. There’s no sign of the gate that once stood at West Port – it’s long gone, demolished sometime in the late 1700’s, but the name remains.
West Port, Lanark is the sixth in my series of street drawings of this Royal Burgh. Here’s a clip from the part of the street where it meets Friar’s Lane.
My street drawings are flat-faced elevations – it keeps things simple and allows me to relate cleanly from one building to another in a way that can be read with ease in future. It shows the relationships of eaves and rooflines, heights and widths of properties and the general fall of the ground. It also gives clues as to what might lie beyond – take for example the chimney stacks. Here you can see the lines of stacks but no idea of the extent of their scale….
Let’s take a closer look at the stacks that sit on this early 19th century part of the street. I’ve recently drawn a series of sketches of the town for #inktober – looking at some of the less familiar views. Here though, this is a view you will see as you head out south from the town.
Look at these rows of chimney pots! Each one will service a fireplace somewhere inside these buildings.
Below is a close up of the West Port B&B which is one of the Instagram #inktober series (you can look these up on my Instagram page @drawingthestreet). The original is now framed and on sale in the Tolbooth, Lanark.
Moving along the street, let’s look at these two fine early 19th C buildings. The one on the left listed grade C, the one on the right grade B.
Moving along West Port, we move poetically from Mucky Paws to the Police Station…
The last part of this section of the street drawing is shown below.
Here’s the whole street drawing – from Friar’s Lane to number 43 West Port. You can see the drawing in more detail on my website drawing the street along with the other Lanark streets in this series including the High Street, Bloomgate, Broomgate and Wellgate.
As I write (9th Dec 2021), there’s one limited edition print, 104cm x 36cm, signed, framed and ready to hang on your wall, available from the Tolbooth Lanark. There are over 40 artists displaying their work there at the moment, so if you can’t see it on the wall, it may be awaiting its turn! Please ask at the Tolbooth reception or just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll sign off with the final framed original of West Port from the #inktober series which is also available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark.
Thanks for reading
Framed original artwork of West port now available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark.
It’s easy to miss but if you look up at the front of the building where Bernard’s Wynd meets South Vennel, you’ll see a carved stone stating ‘Trafalgar Place’.
I only spotted this when I recently began a series of small sketches of Lanark to mark the month long Instagram drawing festival that is #inktober.
I hadn’t twigged that there were official prompts for the Inktober drawing themes! I simply began my own theme of drawing the views of Lanark that had caught my imagination – there are so many details that I want to pause a moment over by making a sketch.
Back to the name ‘Trafalgar Place’ on this street sign. The name doesn’t show up on the National Library of Scotland map of Lanark 1847-95 South Vennel. The photo below is a screenshot from the maps.nls.uk website, link above.
I did a search for ‘Trafalgar Place Lanark’ and came up with the ancestry website which records ‘Thomas Marshall Braidwood, born Trafalgar Place, Lanark, 1883-01-06, died 1967’. Braidwood is just up the road from us so a local Lanark connection. Thomas’s parents were Adam Braidwood (born in Douglas 1855) and his mother was Jane Marshall.
I find it interesting to look into the meaning of the names too so I looked up:
‘TRAFALGAR‘ this word is derived from ‘Cape in southwestern Spain, from Arabic taraf-al-garb “end of the west,” or taraf-agarr “end of the column” (in reference to the pillars of Hercules). The British naval victory over the French there was fought Oct. 21, 1805; hence London’s Trafalgar Square, named in commemoration of it.‘
Here’s the corner of the building where it meets Bernard’s Wynd. On the map at that time it was called St Bernard’s Wynd.
Perhaps there are Braidwood families that can research further into the history of this building but that is as far as I got…days are short and I want to catch a daily sketch.
I will sign off with another view from South Vennel – here we see the rooftops of the old Lanark Grammar School on Wellgatehead.
If you would like to see my drawings unfold each day this month, I am posting them on Instagram @drawingthestreet. I will post a few of them as I go along over here too.
Being part of the Tolbooth’s new exhibition feels rejuvenating. A call for new work, not shown before, inspired by living in the Clyde Valley – Garden of Scotland, has been a summons to shake out the cobwebs and create something fresh.
It has also been a delight to think of new growth against a backdrop of the traumatic 20th anniversary of 9/11 and two personal family health situations. Life is so complex and I never forget how fortunate I am to be here in the Clyde Valley.
I’ve been working on a few things – taking the Paintbox approach to not putting all your eggs in one basket. I find this freeing as it means I don’t get locked into worrying over one piece of work. It allows a bit of space and time to compare and contrast as I go along.
For the few long term readers here, this is a step away from drawing streets, but only a step. I feel like my current work is only archiving our orchard landscape which is the wider context of the streets.
Here’s ‘Pick the Bloody Ploughman’ – an apple tree growing in our orchard and named after a mythical character who was caught red handed stealing apples…
The Tolbooth only thrives because there are committed people who realise the value it brings to the community.
There’s a great display of work up at the Tolbooth – if you are in the area – please do call in and have a good look around and a chat! You will receive a warm welcome!