Greyfriars and the Dear Green Place

Three days off; three train journeys; two places; countless colours.

My colour trip – a plan to wander guided by places with colour stories – was scuppered by the pandemic. But thanks to a suggestion by creative collaborator Narcis Sauleda, I'm reviving it in bits.

On a week off in Scotland whittled down to three days peppered with rail strikes and engineering works, I booked a triangular rail journey with sketchbook views and a stopover.

In Edinburgh, Greyfriars (not grey, since you ask) and Dovecot Studios, which I had learned about on a project with the Clothworkers' Company. I watched weavers working on tapestries of paintings, one monochrome, the other colour, each with a palette of yarn.

In Glasgow, green – the Botanical Gardens and a view of the River Kelvin that I had illustrated for 26 Habitats. But the other colour of that leafy west end was rich red sandstone. And in a mirror image of my RSA Student Bursary project researching the Wiener Werkstätte, I made time for the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a major influence on the Vienna Secession, learning along the way of the collaborative partnership in the work.

It’s easy to assume that creative professionals are only of value when we're working. But good creative work doesn't happen in a vacuum. Let us out for a bit and we get to restock our visual libraries, challenge our assumptions and go on voyages of discovery.

What will I do with all of this exploring? And what’s my next stop? More of that another time…