Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Scotland by Rail - Dalry, Ayrshire. Station garden, Lynn Glen Walk

In 2017 I'll be getting to know North Ayrshire a bit better as I travel there to paint four large murals at Dalry railway station. Dalry Station Garden Group is an impressively active group of volunteers who are doing a great deal of work to bring colour and life (and wildlife) to a very utilitarian station. There are wildlife-friendly borders, meadows of grasses and wildflowers, young trees, bird and bat nest boxes, a bee hotel...

The next stage of their project is funded by the very competitive ScotRail Foundation Cultural and Arts grants programme and will see my murals brightening the sides of a concrete bridge that spans the tracks and platforms. I'll post updates here and on Facebook and Twitter once things get started.

For now, photos of the station garden Open Day last August, then a lovely local walk along wooded stream valley.

Station Garden Open Day:

Opening the garden. Note the lovely BeeWorld bee hotel, and grass left long for nature.
Your station or workplace or school or home can help too - make your own BeeWorld! -

station meadow

more meadow

Borders full of flowers for pollinating insects.

Project Funders:





Lynn Glen Walk

An approx two mile circle starting and ending in Dalry town centre. Remember to add probably fifteen minutes at each end to walk from station to town centre. More if you want time to admire the station, visit a baker... cafe... Co-op... pub...

Click this link for a .pdf map plus walk descriptions. I found I needed more than just this to easily find the start point so also take an Ordnance Survey if you aren't familiar with the area.

More info here - www.ayrshirepaths.org.uk/walkdalry.htm

And a good description on Walk Highlands - www.walkhighlands.co.uk/glasgow/lynn-glen.shtml

Tthe blue one, at the bottom.

Leave the town along the A737 then B714, fields on your left.

Turn right after Trinity Drive but before the old bridge crosses the Lugton Water.

Follow paths with the Lugton Water down on your left.

Rosebay Willowherb taking advantage of cleared land.
Interesting facts - www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/rosebay-willowherb 

On your right, farmland and distant hills.

Beautiful beeches, the best of trees.

River crossing.

Now walking downstream, river still on your left.

White or light spots and splatters on river rocks often mean dippers are around. Maybe we'll see one...

Flies on umbellifer. David - which species please?

A dipper!

A zombie one...?
Oh no, it's just a normal one, blinking. (Dippers have white eyelids.)

A dipper diary, with much better photos than mine - www.somersetwildlife.org/dippers.html

Lots of dipper clips - www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/White-throated_Dipper
Especially click right to watch the final clip, 'Dipping & Diving', underwater footage.

Calm above a waterfall. Beyond that rim is a four or five (ish) metre drop.

Meadow riverbank - knapweed & grasses & ragwort in the distance.

Spot the Skunk-cabbage.


How to get there

Trains to Dalry take half an hour from Glasgow Central and run half-hourly Mon-Sat, hourly on Sundays.

'Ayrshire, Inverclyde & Stranraer Timetable' and 'Buy Tickets' option on ScotRail website.

Many thanks to ScotRail for enabling my Scotland by Rail work.

Lynn Glen beeches, Dalry

Monday, 24 October 2016

Exhibition - Postcards from the Line. Linlithgow, 29 Oct - 22 Nov

Loch Arklet, New Year's Eve 2013, watercolour & pencil, 15x21cm

Every year my hometown gallery - the first gallery I ever exhibited with - runs Postcards from The Line. Postcards is an exhibition of 250+ artworks, all A5 size or under, all £100 or under, all unframed, from artists across Scotland & UK & overseas.

The exhibition runs at:

The Line Gallery
238 High Street, Linlithgow, EH49 7EF

29th October - 22nd November
Tues - Fri 10 - 5
Sat 9 - 5
Sun 1 - 4

The opening event is Saturday 29th October, 2 - 4pm. Lots of the participating artists will be there.

If you're interested in buying any of my postcards shown here you can also contact Gail and Elizabet at the Line by emailing all@thelineonline.co.uk or phoning +44 (0)1506 670 268.

razorbill studies, pencil, 14.5x21cm

razorbill, watercolour, 21x15cm

Silbury Hill, watercolour, 15x21cm 

Bennachie, watercolour, 19x14cm

fieldmarks, watercolour & ink, 19x13.5cm

guillemots & razorbill, pencil, 14.5x21cm

ink study, ink, 20x14.5cm

mist on the Forth, ink & gouache, 14.5x20cm

the Binn Pond, watercolour & pencil, 14.5x21cm

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Scotland by Rail - Burntisland to Ladybank - Kirsty Lorenz's studio. Also Kirkcaldy Galleries - Kate Downie's Forth Bridges.

Ladybank station, Kirsty's studio & Off the Rails Arthouse

Burntisland to Ladybank by train to visit artist Kirsty Lorenz's studio

I'm taking on the disused platform building at Burntisland station, turning it into my studio and a now-and-again space for workshops and for welcoming visitors. To help decide how to lay out the space out I'm visiting other station studios, of which Fife has quite a lot. This post is a trip to Ladybank to visit Kirsty Lorenz's studio.

train sketches

train sketches

Meadow brown on valerian in Burntisland station wildlife-friendly flower beds. Thanks to Floral Action Burntisland

hoverflies on ivy at Burntisland station. Ivy is one of the very best of winter food sources for insects - don't cut yours down!

Burntisland station, wildlife-friendly. Thank you Floral Action Burntisland (FAB)!

Inchkeith island, Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags. From train Burntisland to Kinghorn


If the connection at Kirkcaldy works, Burntisland to Ladybank takes less than 40 minutes. If it doesn't you can spend the spare time visiting Kirkcaldy Galleries, which I've blogged about previously here. It didn't, I did. Kirkcaldy Galleries is only a two minute walk from the station. LINK.. At the moment Kate Downie's Forth Bridges drawings and paintings and monoprints are on display, part of a family-friendly exhibition exploring the first, second and third Forth Bridges. Kate has been artist in residence during the Forth Replacement Crossing and here shows a whole room of her works, large and small.

SPAN - A Tale of Three Bridges runs until 26th February 2017. Check opening times on Kirkcaldy Galleries website.

Kirkcaldy Galleries photographed from Kirkcaldy station


From Kirkcaldy it's a ten minute train journey to Ladybank. If you're coming from Edinburgh you won't need to change at Kirkcaldy, your train goes directly to Ladybank. Kirsty's studio is seen as soon as you get off the train on platform 2. Three bold floral paintings brighten three original sash and case windows.

We had coffee while we chatted art, funding, selling work, opening studios to visitors, trips to Orkney. Kirsty has recently returned from the far north where she was photographing and filming native Scottish wild flowers as part of her ongoing 'Votive Offerings' series. The work is intricate and intriguing. A piece from the project is included in the Scottish Society of Artists (SSA) Exquisite Corpse exhibition, at St Andrews Museum until November 19th 2016.

You can visit Kirsty's studio, and other venues along the Fife railway line, during The Artline's Open Doors weekend. My studio probably won't be ready for the 2017 Open Doors but hopefully will be in time for the 2018 one!

Kirsty Lorenz, Votive Offering No.52, oil on linen, 70x50cm


Intermission - Bollywood in Edinburgh
I had no time to properly explore Ladybank as was due in Edinburgh mid-afternoon for Bollywood dancing. Not me dancing but Jennifer and friends performing at Fettes College to entertain walkers starting out on Maggie's Centre's Culture Crawl in aid of cancer care.

spot Jennifer


Ladybank again

I did manage a twenty minute circle of the streets before leaving. House martins swirled around the railway buildings, surely any day now departing for Africa. Off the Rails Arthouse is behind and above Kirsty's studio and is a venue for regular art classes and tutoring. On the other side of the station a wide border of wildflowers was glowing all along the station car park, covered in bees, hoverflies, wasps.

Various woodland walks and country road cycles are accessible from the village so I hope to go back for a proper explore.

wild flower meadow all along Ladybank station car park. Packed with bees, butterflies, hoverflies

Ladybank station

Off the Rails Arthouse

outside the station

Ladybank, Auchtermuchty, Falkland circle cycle

field and forest, Ladybank


How to get there

Trains to Ladybank take 50 minutes from Edinburgh Waverley, and run at least hourly on weekdays, sometimes half hourly.

From Dundee it takes half an hour and weekday trains are hourly.

Timetables and Buy Tickets option on ScotRail website.

Many thanks to ScotRail for enabling my Scotland by Rail work.