Busman’s holiday

Hello everyone,

This time I’m writing from very warm and sunny Sri Lanka, where I have to come to recheck accommodation and arrangements for my up and coming ‘Vistas’ Sketching Holidays.

Yes! The website is now written, made and live, and you can see it here: www.sketchingholidays.co.uk
I do hope to see some of you joining me on these fantastic trips soon. I’m so excited to finally have the site up and running and to begin this new chapter in my working life!

Since my last update I have continued to work at Highland Stoneware in Lochinver, a job I have thoroughly enjoyed, and which I will be continuing when I return to Scotland in February.

A few days ago I was in Madaba in Jordan, known as the ‘City of Mosaics’. I couldn’t resist checking out the ancient and new mosaic art there, as well as visiting one of the workshops, learning that they use a completely different technique than we have been using at Highland Stoneware. The style is also very different of course, with some works taking months and months of painstaking labour; every piece of stone is tiny and the overall surface very smooth and even. On returning to the Highlands I have a large mosaic project to complete in Ullapool, so I’m hoping that by February the weather will be suitable to get started on that…..using our own, somewhat quicker and quirkier methods!

While in Jordan I also noticed some very nice traditional silver jewellery. Not as easy to source as in Morocco (in Jordan as in much of the Middle East they tend to favour gold) and not always of the quality and type I look for, but what I did find was at a very attractive price. The rugs are also very beautiful; they are similar to Moroccan kilims although the patterns actually reminded me more of Mexican Oaxaca rugs which I am a big fan of. I did not purchase any rugs on this visit but if anyone has a genuine interest in either these or the silver jewellery from Jordan, give me a shout as I would be very happy for an excuse to visit that beautiful country again. In fact I am considering adding Wadi Rum to my Sketching Holiday portfolio although I would need to do a lot more research first. As always, please register your interest!

On my return I have 3 large pastel landscape commissions to do, then I will be painting a few stock items for the Lochinver Landscape gallery. After that I will be available for commission.

Meanwhile please enjoy looking at my new site www.sketchingholidays.co.uk and e-mail me all your queries!