The first seven days

The abandoned village of Stromeaneach
Stromeaneach is an abandoned village whichs just outside Lochcarron on the road to Ardaneaskan


2019 is a big year for me, with several major anniversaries coming up. I have now lived in the Scottish Highlands for more than half of my life, almost all my adult life, it will be 30 years this August since my husband and I came to live here. We stayed on the East coast for 9 years, for ten months in Shetland and then in 1999 we moved to Lochcarron, we’ll have been here twenty years on the 1st of March this year.

Scotland has shaped my adult life. It is here that I have loved and worked and raised my children. Scotland is part of me and I hope it will always be my home. Perhaps this is because I moved around a lot when I was a child, never staying anywhere for longer than a year or two. I have no friends from my childhood, no real connections from the time when I was young.  But in Scotland I have friends who I met in my first few months in the Highlands, people who helped me when I was a young mum with no family nearby, places where I always felt welcome and still do after all these years. It is here that I have put down roots, here that I have connections, so these anniversaries feel very special and I decided that I wanted to mark them, celebrate them in some special way.

Despite living here for so long, I know far too little about my home, I have painted the landscape as a semi-professional artist for six years, but I never really looked deeper, tried to find out more. Then I was offered an exhibition, this October (more about that soon) and I didn’t want to just do more landscapes, I wanted to look deeper. So just after Christmas I signed up for  The100DayProject


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It seemed to me that this project was perfect for me and my needs and this is the project proposal that I sent them:


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The project started on the 20th of January, but I haven’t really posted about it before as I had also signed up to the 30daysketchbookchallenge2019 and I didn’t want to confuse everyone (and myself) with all the different days! However, I have been working on it. I have sketched and thought and read and researched. I have borrowed a pile of books from the local library and bought several more. I will be posting about it as frequently as I can manage, sharing some History, stories, sketches and paintings. I’m not sure what will come out of this, but I think I’m going to enjoy the journey and I hope you’ll join me for at least some of it.


Some of the books, sketches and paintings that I am using for my project.

Twenty days of sketching and some researching



Twenty days of the sketchbook challenge
Twenty days of the sketchbook challenge


It was day twenty of the thirty day sketchbook challenge today and the first day that I used a photograph to sketch from. It was a Highland Coo, in case you are interested. The sketchbook challenge has been great for keeping me doing something every day, and my sketches have attracted quite a bit of interest, which has finally pushed me into doing something I should have done a long time ago: open an online shop.


To be completely accurate I’ve actually had a couple of online shops for several years, now, but have not used them for selling. One is an ebay account and the other an etsy shop. I swithered about uploading some art before Christmas, but I had such a busy year that I decided in the end to take a break and wait until the new year.  In the past I have sold locally and through Facebook, but that just doesn’t seem to be enough any more.


I had to do some research to find out whether to use etsy or ebay, and I’m still trying to decide which might be best to sell some smaller pieces of my art, but if anyone has experience of selling on either (or both) I’d appreciate any advice you might have.


In the meantime have a couple of projects planned and I’ll share more about them in the coming weeks and I’ll be opening a shop – either Etsy or Ebay on the 8th of February for a very special anniversary.

Busy being busy

It’s great to have something to keep me sketching, hence the fact that I signed up to the #30daysketchbookchallenge. I haven’t missed a day so far, but I’m cutting it fine to get something up tonight. I’ve been posting every day on my Instagram page, if you want to follow my progress.


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sketching for 30 days, TAE19 and a mini exhibition


However, I’ve also had several other deadlines this week, including wanting to drop off some art to the Twitter Art exhibition curator (TAE19), a meeting of the art group I belong to (we met to do some sketching and to hang a mini exhibition at a local venue) and an arty trip to Inverewe Gardens.


I also have two months left of the online certificated course that I am doing with the Botanical art department at Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. Great fun but really challenging and the deadlines are non-negotiable. I uploaded my latest assignment earlier this evening. I’ll post more images from this course and share a little more about it in the next few weeks.


Then there’s the The 100 Day Project  which isn’t starting yet, but which I’ll be working towards over the next couple of months.

More about that soon too.


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Botanic art and some local sketching



The 30 day challenge

January is such a difficult month. After the Christmas break it can be a real challenge to get back to work. Deadlines seem so very far away, so it doesn’t seem like to much of a problem if you leave things for a day or two, then, all of a sudden your deadline is just a month away (I’ve been in THAT situation more than once!). But this year I have a lot of deadlines – more about those in future blog posts, so I can’t allow myself to slip behind.


So to get me in the right frame of mind I signed up to the 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge via this group on FB. It’s been an interesting experience so far. Every day participants are given a new prompt, which you have to sketch.


I’ve found some prompts really fitted well with my own skills and I really enjoyed doing something, but other days I have found it much harder to do something based on the prompt. The group is full of glorious images, there is so much inspiring work and some much imagination. The particpating artists are from a wide range of genres and experience levels and they’re really supportive of each other. It’s also great at a time like this, when there is so much bad news and so many worrying things happening, to have a FB timeline that’s filled with wonderful images.


If you are interested in seeing more, check out the FB group (linked above) or look for the hashtags #30daysketchbook2019 and #30daysketchbookchallenge on Twitter, FB and Instagramor you could also have a look at #sketchjanuary on the same sites.


My first seven days images are below. Fingers crossed I can keep going for all 30 days

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today’s (7th January) sketch



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The first six days of the #30daychallenge2019



Another year over

some of my art in 2018


I can’t believe that it is the end of the year. That my last post was in May, that I’ve not managed to post regularly, because I’ve been so busy, painting.


When I first came back to art I set up a Facebook page and then a Twitter page. I shared my journey and met lots of new people. Got advice and support and offered it too.


Three years ago I opened a small gallery with two friends. We were just leasing the premises and, when the landlord decided to put the building up for sale, we decided that we would keep running our gallery until we ran out of stock and then close. It was great fun and I learned a lot, but it was also very tying too. I spent a lot of time in the shop, talking to visitors, sharing and selling and being inspired by art. But not nearly as much time painting as I would have liked


We closed the gallery in June, a bittersweet occaision. Then my friend Aileen and I worked towards an exhibition at the wee Bothy Gallery at Balmacara. I also exhibited in Inverness, Ullapool, Thurso, Skye and Nairn.


I’ve blogged a couple of times about being inspired by a course I did at Inverewe Gardens way back in March. The course was with Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and I loved every moment of it. So this Autumn I was delighted to be accepted on the certifcate course, once again with Edinburgh Botanics.  The course has taken me right back to basics and I’m still working through it.


I also have a couple of really exciting projects coming up this year, and I promise to try and update regularly and let you know more about my art adventures.


In the meantime, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who follows me on social media, all those who follow this blog and who has offered advice and support in 2018.


Thank you. And I’d like to wish you all a very happy 2019


Sketching Attadale

A few weeks ago I did a wonderful botanic art course at Inverewe gardens and came away feeling inspired to paint and draw more botanical subjects. I have quite a large garden myself, spring has come late this year and I had a limited choice of subjects.


So I asked Joanna MacPherson at Attadale Gardens if I could sketch at their gardens from time to time. Joanna was kind enough to say yes, so, my friend Lorna and I spent a wonderful afternoon walking and sketching amongst the Rhodedendrons and hosts of daffodils.

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Sketching botanicals outside is quite a different experience from working on one speciman. I’m learning loads though and feel very lucky that I have such a wonderful place to practice!


Cindie Reiter
Sketching in the greenhouse at Attadale Gardens, then tea at Carron Restaurant




Some sketches
Some of my sketches


Rhododendron at Attadale
A Rhododendron in full bloom at Attadale Gardens

Soooo busy

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It really has been a very, very busy couple of months and trying to balance painting and everyday life has been quite a challenge.

My last blog post was about the exhibition at the wonderful Skyeworks Gallery and since then, I’ve completed several paintings for a month-long exhibition at the GALE Centre in Gairloch.


I’ve also attended an amazing, inspiring three day botanical art course with two wonderful artists Jacqui Pestell and Sarah Rogers both of whom are tutors at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. It’s a totally new way of painting for me, and it was very much an introduction course, I have a LOT to learn. However, I did enjoy it, even if it is a pretty different way of painting from my usual work, a lot to think about.

I’ve also been working away in my garden, my new greenhouse has arrived and (just!) needs assembling. I’ve been sketching the changes in my garden for some time, I’ll share them in a future post. It’ll be interesting to see how different my new sketches might be from the ones I did last year before my alla prima oil course, and the recent watercolour course at Inverewe.

I’ll post more about it soon.

I have work to varnish and frame, for Carron Restaurant‘s oyster festival this weekend, oh, and they also all need a bit of ‘bling’ to finish them.

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Meanwhile, I’ve brought a wee Hellebore plant that I bought at Inverewe Gardens last weekend, along to Lochcarron Gallery with me, to keep me busy sketching this afternoon.




Fishy fabulousness at Skyeworks Gallery


It’s been a very busy few weeks, getting ready for several exhibitions. I was lucky enough to be invited to submit some work for the recent fish exhibition at the Skyeworks Gallery Now that I’m painting in oils so much of the time I have to prepare much earlier than I used to as oil paint take so much longer to dry.

I’m very lucky to live in a part of the world where I have access to the most wonderful fresh seafood and I couldn’t resist painting some of it for the exhibition. It was also great to be able to eat my subject when I had finished painting!


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At Skyeworks Gallery

I really enjoyed painting the sushi paintings, I loved the bright colours and patterns that this sort of seafood creates. I loved arranging and rearranging them until I was happy with the layout and adding crockery and chopsticks, both of which helped add strong elements to the compostions.

I also loved painting the mussels and the langoustine. One of my favourite objects to use in my still lifes is the old wooden chopping board, I love the shape of it, the colour and the colour of the wood. In this case I loved the way that it acted as a frame for the mussels and echoes the shape of the langoustine

I also couldn’t resist painting two decorative pieces, a fish tray and a cat chair, complete with a toy fish mouse



More about Britannia

Some of you may remember a blog post I wrote in January about the sketches and paintings I had done of the lovely sailing boat Britannia. It was quite a challenge for me, as it was a large painting and I wanted to convey how beautiful she was and convey a sense of optimism for the future.


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I did a lot of sketches first and then a final painting (which is below). They were exhibited with a number of other stunning images of the boat. Until the exhibition, the trust only had photos of the boat taken in the 1990s and earlier, which, though they provide a moving and evocative archive of Britannia’s history, none of them were of good enough quality to make reproductions from. The trust plan use the new images to produce a series of cards, Giclee prints and other items and sell them at various events to raise funds to help towards her restoration.


When she is restored the trust plan to use her to help raise awareness of the issues surrounding climate change, especially plastic pollution and the effect on the world’s oceans. Since David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 series highlighted the shocking effect of plastic waste in our seas a lot of people have become aware of what a serious problem it is, but the Britannia Trust have been trying to highlight this problem for several years.


They have also produced a lovely film which tells Britannia’s story in more depth. It’s deeply moving and well worth watching the film it’s almost an hour long, so settle down with a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy!

Meanwhile, my finished painting was very well received and will hopefully raise some money for this very worthy cause.


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An Exhibition at the Howard Doris Centre

The last few weeks have been madly busy and I have several things I want to blog about, but I just haven’t had the time. I’ve been painting nearly every day, mostly in alla prima oils. I’m taking part in an exhibition at the very wonderful Howard Doris Centre, here in my village and I wanted to have some new work ready for it. The exhibition’s on Monday and will be for three days, I probably going to put in ten or so pieces of work. A mixture of landscapes, interiors and maybe a still life or two.

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It’s still a new medium for me, but I’ve really fallen in love with oils, I love the richness of colour that oils give the artist, but it is still a different way of working and has it’s own challenges.

Oils take a long time to dry so I can’t just stack them against the wall, which is what I’ve always done with my acrylic paintings, so my easel and the photo shelves that I use were full of wet paintings for a week or two.

Then everything needs to be varnished. I don’t usually varnish my acrylics because I don’t like way it looks, but varnish seems to really enhance the colours when used with oils.

Luckily, it was a glorious day today and I varnished all my recent (dry) work, then brought it in to dry indoors.

When the varnish was dry I had to frame everything. I have a selection of DIY frames that I buy from various outlets. Sometimes they might sit in my studio for a while, but eventually, just the right painting will come along.

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This seascape really works well with this black frame which has been in my frame cupboard for a long time, but they seem made for eachother. This is one of the larger of the paintings that I’m submitting to the exhibition. The other is in a plain light wood frame.

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I managed to frame eight paintings today and have a few more left to do tomorrow

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I’m so delighted to have been asked to take part in this exhibition as the The Howard Doris Centre is a very special place. It provides services for adults include supported accommodation, medical, nursing, social facilities and day care. The staff are wonderful, kind and caring and passionate about what they do. So as well as my usual landscapes and some still-lifes, I wanted to do something especially for the centre, so I’ve done three interiors. Each of these paintings have a story, which I hope is suggested by the title of each painting

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Old friends

The Howard Doris Centre has a lovely lounge area, with bright, comfy chairs, which encourage people to sit and chat, make new friendships and strengthen others. There are large bright windows which overlook the loch outside, the views are beautiful, but people are often far more interested in what’s happening in the lounge than the view outside.

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Blue welcome

There is a welcoming lobby at the centre comfy chairs flank tables with white tablecloths and fresh flowers, somewhere to sit and read the paper, wait for a lift or watch the world go by.

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This was always her favourite chair

This one speaks for itself I hope, all of the visitors and residents at the centre are made welcome, some people spend most of their days here and they are truly missed when they are gone.

As this last painting has featured in several of the photos above, you can probably guess that it’s one of my favourites