Tag Archives: Clyde Valley

passing time

Dalserf Parish Church, dating back at least to mid 17th C.

These last few days have had a theme – archives. Actually, the theme has woven between archived sketchbooks of artists who have gone before us and sketching graveyards with some monumental archival gravestones.

I spent yesterday morning with my Paintbox classmates and the archivist at Edinburgh Gallery of Modern Art Two soaking up every detail we could from the sketchbooks of Mary Newbery, William Crozier, William MacTaggart, Joan Eardley, James Mackintosh Patrick, Josef Sekalski and Oskar Kokoshka. All these sketchbooks are available for anyone to look at by appointment. No photos, but we can use pencils to make sketches and notes…

Making quick notes on the sketching techniques of William Crozier and William MacTaggart

It’s very moving being present to witness these private moments of an artist. Through their sketches, they share that same frame of mind when they were in that sketching space, recording what they saw, then years pass and here we are, in the Reading Room, observers for a few passing minutes, seeing with their eyes.

James Mackintosh Patrick -exquisite sketches

After our time in the Reading Room, we went out with our own sketchbooks to find a quiet corner and sketch. Dean graveyard is right behind the gallery and it’s a mini-city of high-rise head stones. The trees are winning though with their majestic presence and golden canopies.

Leaves giving way…

Mary Newbery’s sketchbook included a line drawing of flowers against a painted green/grey background. Nothing at all as clumsy as this sketch – but this will remind me of her work.

Today I was back getting ready for my exhibition at the Tolbooth which will be on from next Monday, here in Lanark. As you know, all my streets are drawn as archives but there’s always so much more I want to include.

When I drew Kirk Road Dalserf, I felt that the street was incomplete without some sketch of this significant Covenanter’s church so I’m happy that I completed a sketch today. The original will be framed and on display by next week.

I’m planning to post more about my work that’s going up in the Tolbooth as the people who pass by this page are miles away from here. I’m happy enough to share my work as long as you are kind enough to give up your time to read.

This post is dedicated to Colina, our neighbour here on the Braes, who passed away last night taking almost a century of memories with her.

Colina’s View of the Clyde Valley

Thanks for reading, Ronnie

The Sound of the Clyde

From the doorstep

The best thing about our new home here in Scotland, is stepping outside our back door. From here, the rush of the mighty River Clyde is carried up the sides of the valley where it never fails to take my breath away, make me stop whatever I’m doing and drink in the landscape of the Clyde Valley.

Rooftops against the woodland of the Clyde Valley

We overlook the old apple, plum and damson orchards of Hazelbank and beyond towards Crossford, where as the name suggests, there is a bridge over the Clyde. When we moved here it was peak growth season, with mostly rooftops, cables and crows visible above the dense foliage.

‘Broomhouse’ tucked into the foliage

The greenery has all died back now and as we get closer to the year end, I just wanted to wish you all a very happy Christmas and give you a flavour of some streets I plan to draw as next year unfolds.

Before I got stuck into my whisky label project (see previous post), I made a start on a few sketches of places close to our home in Hazelbank, to help anchor me into my new surroundings.

Starting with the back door step

Our nearest town is Lanark, a place full of history which I am looking forward to learning about as my new street drawings come to life.

Rich red local sandstone on the high street
Close up of a traditional Scottish window detail in Lanark town centre
Here’s the window in context (and now featured on a bottle of Speyside Malt)
Part of Bloomgate, Lanark

Much as I love this time of year, it can be very stressful for all sorts of reasons and I hope that whatever you are doing and wherever you are, you can take a few minutes to enjoy some of the beauty of the season.

I’d like to sign off by saying a sincere thank you for bearing with me during this year of our big move and wish you all the best for 2019. Thanks for reading! Ronnie

November dawn over Lanark

Diversion at the Pot Still

Have you ever tried to pin down where a new story begins? In my world the best stories begin with a sketch. Take this one from 2014, part of the very first series of Sketchbook Skool ‘Beginning’

sketch of whisky festival by Ronnie Cruwys

Four years later and it’s second nature to draw a few bottles on the wall of Glasgow’s Pot Still  where we were enjoying a glass of Edradour during our transition North. It’s a convivial pub especially on a snowy night and we began chatting with our table companions over my sketchbook…They were over from Germany visiting some distilleries and I gave it hardly a passing thought when Jens mentioned he was looking for an artist to draw labels.

Wee Dram of Edradour Pot Still  Glasgow ronnie cruwys
Where the diversion began…

I’ve got quite a few whisky sketches tucked away. They’re a bit of a clue that I quite like a malt though I am no expert!

Colquhoun Lodge Cruwys.jpg

whisky fest 2015 Ronnie Cruwys.jpg

I’m going to keep this a short story.

Today I finished the 386th hand drawn label to go on a very fine 1976 Speyside Malt for Sansibar – an independent bottler in Germany. You can see some of the bottles here: Sansibar

ronnie cruwys sansibar labels speyside 1976 2.jpg
Spot the Burlsem Burleighware by my elbow! 

It’s been a drawing marathon taking up pretty much all of my working time since moving to Scotland at the end of June. Each label is a sketch of somewhere I’ve been to over the years, some detail that caught my eye, or some place that meant something to me including our current neighbours’ place (below). If you look closely you’ll see their dog Flynn being watched by our two cats and the local stray (now part of our gang) with his half bitten ear. We call him Rum Tum. Plums are dripping off the trees above him and you can see the old apple trees of the Clyde Valley orchards beyond.

duncan and Louise place.jpg
left to right: Josh, Ollie, Flynn and Rum Tum

If you really want an idea of where we’ve moved to, Countryfile did a short tv clip on the Clyde Valley orchards filmed practically on our doorstep. We live in the Fruit Basket of Scotland!

So these are the last batch of labels on their way to Germany.

ronnie cruwys sansibar whisky labels1976 speyside malt a.jpg

This has been my view as I work – the mist is over the River Clyde in the valley below.

Clyde valley ronnie cruwys home view 1.jpg

It’s been a wrench to leave Staffordshire with a lot of goodbyes on top of the passing of my beloved sister but what a time it has been this summer!

I haven’t forgotten my streets and will leave you with a taste of my new surroundings with a big thank you for reading!

Ronnie

hazelbank clyde valley ronnie cruwys
Hazelbank, Clyde Valley