UK Sketchbook Part 2: York and Edinburgh

Sunday, May 05, 2013

High Petergate, York, UK

We had only one day in York, which wasn't quite enough. We hit most of the "sights" in the central area, but next time I would love to venture farther afield. (By the way, we'd highly recommend the Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa -- steps from the York train station, it's an old railway company HQ that's been converted into a hotel, complete with a fabulously atmospheric spa in the basement vaults.)

The street view in the sketch above is typical of what you see in the medieval-walled town -- especially enjoyed the famous Shambles, which many have compared to Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series. There was even a small art supply store there, so I bought a Hahnemuhle sketchbook to add to my collection.

The next morning it was on to Edinburgh. It's truly as lovely as advertised -- the views in every direction just beg to be painted. We spent the first day wandering around, going to shops and getting oriented. At Waterstones on Princes Street, I picked up a copy of Mairi Hedderwick's book An Eye on the Hebrides: An Illustrated Journey. Her fresh, lively drawings really capture the rugged remoteness of the islands.

Inspired, I was determined to do slightly less walking and more sketching the following day. The (nearly deserted) rooftop terrace of the National Museum of Scotland was a great setting from which to draw Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, UK

I certainly wasn't going to leave Scotland without sketching at least one bagpiper entertaning the tourists on the Mound:

Bagpiper, Edinburgh, UK

After a delicious vegetarian lunch at David Bann, M. took off to bike around Holyrood Park while I searched out Greyfriars Art Shop (to buy a DaVinci travel watercolor sable brush). I'd heard of the store from an article in Artists & Illustrators magazine about "traditional" art supply stores in the UK. The two Greyfriars outlets I visited in Edinburgh are certainly old school -- packed with merchandise, plus very helpful and friendly staff.

I hope they stay in business, since there are so many lovely things to paint in the city! The pitch of the streets meant that I could stand outside our hotel on the Royal Mile and look straight down to the water:

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, UK

And this was the view out of our fourth-floor window at the Radisson:

View over Edinburgh, UK

We barely scratched the surface before it was time to head back to London. On our next trip, we'll have to go to Glasgow. And the Highlands. And the Isle of Skye...

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