Bowling basin sketching

Bowling basin sketching

Bowling basin is a great local plein air spot for us with its colourful boats and view of the Erskine bridge. Not to mention being surrounded by water and the big, ever-changing skies. 

When the days become cooler and sunlight sparser, it takes motivation to sketch outside. But today Stephen and I took advantage of the sunlight and headed down the Forth-Clyde canal with our sketchbooks to grab some artist time.


Artist day out | Pastel sketch of Seahorse at Bowling basin, West Dunbartonshire. By Emerald Dunne Glasgow artist | Stars and Stems

Today was a Sunday and the day before bonfire night. I love this time of year because everything is changing. Although the lovely long evenings are a distant memory, the summer heat is gone (yes, it’s too much for me, even here in Scotland).

I enjoy seeing the autumn and winter stars again as the earth circles the sun, the smell of burning leaves and the blazing fall sunsets. But it does get chilly, hence needing to work quickly.

Bowling harbour marks the start – or finish – of the Forth and Clyde canal which connects the two Scottish firths (estuaries). It’s a wonderful gift to have on my doorstep. Very soon it’ll be my daily commute as I’ll be working in the north-east of Glasgow. It’ll sure beat my cycle route from Brixton into the City which was regularly laced with danger (I was once knocked off my bike by a white van man). Though I’m not convinced I won’t skid into the canal on an icy day!

The canal itself takes in some beautiful scenery, picnic stops and sketching spots. The Kelpies are along this route. And beyond Bowling itself is Loch Lomond which is an artist’s paradise (and a swimmer’s if you fancy a New Year’s loony dook!).


Pastel sketch of Seahorse at Bowling basin, West Dunbartonshire. By Emerald Dunne Glasgow artist | Stars and Stems

Sketch by Stephen Scott Glasgow artist. At Bowling basin, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

Sketch by Stephen Scott

I’ve been using these Rembrandt Soft Pastels lately and they’re divine to sketch with. Rich, sumptuous colours, chunky wee sticks and easy to blend on paper. I only have a pack of fifteen. But since it looks like pastels are here to stay in my sketch bag, I’ve written Santa a wee note. Perhaps he’ll pop a slightly bigger box under the tree this year.

The red hull drew me like a magnet and today it really stood out against a bright blue sky. So it was a perfect place to drop anchor for the afternoon and get sketching (no pun intended). I liked the lines the ropes created, plus the angles of the boat and the bridge. I even had a visit from the man who stays in the boat next door!

Meanwhile, Stephen chose a building as is his preference. A lovely little pen and ink creation over which he added a subtle coloured wash.


Artist day out | Pastel sketch of Seahorse at Bowling basin, West Dunbartonshire. By Emerald Dunne Glasgow artist | Stars and Stems

It’s not the only time that I’ve been to Bowling lately. Here’s a snap from a few months ago when I jumped on my trusty steed and cycled along the canal. As you can see, it was spring time. I was midway through my radiotherapy treatment. And I was determined to keep as fit as possible, hence a twelve-mile round trip was in order.

It was an eventful day because I was now far enough through the treatment for it to have a physical effect. I stopped off at Dugs cafe at Bowling, ordering a bottled water and a scone. I bit into it – and couldn’t swallow it! Hot on the heels to go was my power of speech. My voice was reduced to a whisper – fancy that! Inconvenient for someone who kissed the blarney stone. 😮

It was during this time that the creative well all but evaporated. I conserved my energy for exercising as I wanted to maintain a healthy body and mind. And it was sketching that put me back in touch with the muse when I started to fill my sketchbooks again.

As did other artists. Take a look at the stunning pastel pieces Glasgow pal Lynn Howarth creates. Lynn’s work inspires me to up my game. And, along with many other artists, inspired me to get going again. 🙂

Is there somewhere you find stimulating? Leave me a comment below.

© Emerald Dunne Art 2018

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