The gorgeous heatwave that Scotland and the rest of the UK has been experiencing seems to be on its way out in Scotland. Saturday past, however, felt like I was somewhere other than Scotland with the temperature soaring and clearing clouds making way for strikingly blue skies. I took advantage of this weather by spending the afternoon outside watching Wimbledon followed by the World Cup third-place play-off. It was my second time in a week watching the football on the big screen in The Pear Tree pub's beer garden though the atmosphere was considerably less tense as there was not so much at stake. Less tension made the sun even more enjoyable and created a real summer vibe.

photo of tennis being shown on a big screen in a beer garden

photo of football showing on a big screen in a beer garden

photo of orange juice on a table in the sun with a yellow cap

As a creative, I couldn't let this unintentional colour-coordination go unphotgraphed...! 

After chilling - I mean melting - in the beer-garden, my friend and I grabbed some food before I headed to Holyrood Park for a wonderful painting session surrounded by nature. While sketching I reflected on the previous time I had been there last year; I had been in the midst of my postgraduate dissertation and it had provided me with great escapism. This time I could fully enjoy the setting without dissertation deadlines looming! The temperature was perfect for sketching, still really warm but not overly so, and with a refreshing breeze. I also managed to get a bench to sit on which is always a bonus when sketching outdoors.

I painted a view towards the east to give my face a break from being in the sun (wanted to avoid the "lobster-look") and, more importantly, so the details of the view I was sketching were fully illuminated by the sun. The warm sun cast a distinctly orange hue over the landscape almost as though a giant photo filter had been placed in the foreground.

image of Arthur's seat

As usual, I started by sketching out black, fine-liner outlines of the landscape. In this I focused on convey the general shapes of the incredible landscape and its various textures and patterns. 
sketch in black pen in a sketchbook

After I was satisfied with the appearance of the outline, I began adding light washes of watercolour paint to provide a base layer of the landscape. For the moment, I left the sky blank. That was to be the final part I painted.

painting in a sketchbook by HCRart, Helen C Redman

After adding the initial light washes, I gradually built up the depth by increasing the concentration of paint. This has the effect of boosting the painting's saturation which gives a much richer finish. Painting in the sun makes this deeper saturation easier to achieve as the heat ensures the paint dries quickly allowing for 'wet-on-dry' painting which always results in a more intense outcome.

While in my painting happy zone, a bunch of teenage boys decided that nearby the bench on which I was perched was the best place to hang. The peaceful sounds of nature were quickly replaced by grime and trap music and their chat! It didn't bother me much though as I can block out distraction when painting and when excerpts of their conversation were registered by my ears, it was interesting to hear what this, obviously unrepresentative sample, but sample nonetheless, of teenage boys spoke about.

I bet you wouldn't be able to guess, so I will just say it. Ready? Foxes and hedgehogs. No, not "the birds and the bees" (*cringes at that phrase*), but actual foxes and hedgehogs in the literal, not metaphorical in any way, sense.

Anyway, just as the prime of the evening sun was dissipating, I finished the painting, took my customary "end of painting" photo, and left to enjoy the hour or so walk back home in the last remaining moments of daylight.

silhouette of artist HCRart painting in the sun in summer

landscape painting by Helen C Redman aka HCRart

The bright natural lighting actually made for an annoying photo as it has washed out the colours spectacularly as well as giving it an overly yellow tone... Rather that due to a heatwave than a wash out with rain though! 

Thanks for reading!

photo of the artist Helen C Redman HCRart in Scotland

Read another post about me making the most of the heatwave up the east coast of Scotland here

To stay updated with my blogging, follow my social channels where I post regular links and share much more of my art:
Twitter: Personal - @HelenCRedman, Art: @HCRart | Instagram: @HCRart | Facebook @HCRart |

I also recently created a blog called Mental Health Intersections where I write articles about the intersections of a number of areas and mental health. One of the intersections I explore is Art and Mental Health, so check it out if you're interested.

First off, forgive the silly title; I can't resist a pun.

Last weekend I took a trip up the coast and did my first outdoor watercolour sketch of the year. On reflection, I should really be taking more advantage of the current, surreal heatwave conditions the UK is having but I have been out in it a lot, just not actually painting. I have a tan to prove it - an odd one where my hands are a few shades darker than the rest of my skin - but a tan nonetheless. 

The location of my outdoor painting was a small village on the east coast of Scotland called Inverbervie. It's south of Aberdeen and north of Dundee to give some general spatial idea of the geography. On setting off to Inverbervie it was really warm and sunny but not long after I arrived at the village's bay, fog started to arrive. Well, to be more accurate, a haar (sea fog), which was slowly drifting across the water and towards the coast. 

Things like that are one of the reasons I enjoy sketching outdoors so much - you never know what will happen. Weather is so interchangeable which can create lots of changes to lighting, visibility, and shadows etc. This affects how a scene is depicted in any art.

On this occasion, it made me sketch my fine-liner pen landscape image somewhat quicker than I'd intended. By the time I'd finished the haar's persistence lessened up a bit.

I then got going with adding the colour using one of my trusted travel sets of watercolour paints. I can't believe I hadn't painted in watercolour for so long before the weekend! Despite not having painted outdoors for ages, I drifted into a wonderful creative flow. It's definitely a sort of meditative state as even though I'm consciously moving my head up and down to switch between the landscape view and the view of my sketchbook, I'm fully focused on painting and nothing else around distracts me. It really helps the sense of being completely in the present moment, very mindful if you're into psychology like I am. 

The subject of my sketch was the unusually shaped hills approaching the cliff-bordered coastline. Due to the heatwave, much of the green in the landscape was more of an ochre. Landscapes really speak volumes about what's going on around them; another reason I love painting the natural world!

Notice I'm stood facing away from the camera so as to hide the awkward patch of sunburn on one of my legs...! My Scottish skin is clearly not used to the heatwave climate.

Here are some more photos from the trip:

Walking on a pebble beach is a great workout. It's like being on an unstructured cross trainer!

I want to go explore this another time. Another interest of mine is "urbex" which means urban exploration. The above structure looks like a great place for it! 

With the dissipating of the haar, the dense blue of the sky got ever richer.

Hope you enjoyed this wander along the beach, for more of my art, follow my mostly daily-updated Instagram account @HCRart. Not on IG? No problem. I also use Facebook and Twitter

This week I'll be taking part in Amira Rahim Art's Instagram challenge along with a community of artists around the world. Throughout this week you'll get to learn a bit more about me, my artistic process, my inspiration, and my creative journey. 

To find out more, check out my Instagram @HCRart and, to be sure of not missing anything, hit that 'follow' button on there! 

Image ©Amira Rahim Art 2018. 

It's more than halfway through the first month of 2018 now. It's gone really fast, right?! Anyway, with a new year, it's good to do something new. Some people make resolutions. Ok, a LOT of people do. And these are often to do with getting fit / eating healthier. Personally, I don't set resolutions but I think it's nice having ways to mark the new year like buying something new for your house. Anyone else feel like that? Wondering what to get? I may just have something that could help... Enter, my new online shop. I have added a selection of my Wavy Landscapes series of acrylic paintings, prints of watercolours from my sketching out and about, and, last but not least, cards with my Glencoe winter series on them. 

Have a browse and see what you think. I'll be adding more over the coming weeks and will be sharing each one on Instagram so follow me there if you want first dibs on a piece! 

Original paintings available from my Wavy landscapes series. Various sizes and prices available. I am also open for commissions and can create paintings in a custom palette / size if preferred.  

Prints of a selection of my watercolour sketches from out and about in Scotland.

Cards available for only £2.50 each. Left blank inside for your own message.

 >>>>> Visit shop: <<<<<

   Say Hi on Instagram: @HCRart
Tweet me on Twitter: @HCRart 
Check out some videos of me painting on Facebook

Having spent most of my life living by the coast and having more than one beach just 15/20 minutes walk from where I was staying, I've been missing this the past few weeks since moving back to Edinburgh. There is a beach here but it's either a bus ride away or over 1h walking. I'm happy to walk but with shorter days, somewhere nearer would be ideal. 

Today, I found it! There's a place not so far from where I live which has water with waves, some seaweed - for added seaside feels(!), a nice stretch to walk along, and great views. There may not be sand but it's still as close to a beach-like place as I can get and today it was simply stunning. 

The sun was shining glistening on the still waters first with silvery hues and gradually becoming golden as time passed and the sun began to set. 

At moments I felt as though I had been transported to a coastal city in the States or even the UAE! The incredibly cold wind brought be back to my Scottish reality however. This contributed to me not sketching while there but I will be sure to do some acrylic sunset paintings in my studio from the photos soon. I really want to capture those strong, fiery, scorching, shades of the setting sun. 

I always find looking out to water really relaxes and calms me. Scientific research also shows that there are multiple benefits of 'blue spaces' so it's certainly worth seeking out blue spaces wherever you live. 

Laying back, enjoying the views, and snacking on a tortilla wrap 😊

    Just look at that natural beauty *heart eyes* !! 

If you'd like to see how my paintings turn out, follow my Instagram account @HCRart where I post snaps from what I paint in my studio. I'm also on Facebook and you can find me at

Have a great day, and remember to embrace and enjoy the small things in life 

I went in search of snow and found... snow. I learned, also, the value of 'wider context'. You'll find out what I mean if you keep reading till the end. 

The first sketch I did had no trace of snow but when I liked the composition and initially started adding colour when the hills were looking particularly vibrant courtesy of low sun. By the time I'd finished, the sun had been hidden by clouds. 

Further along the road to Glenshee, blue skies and sun appeared again and the landscape got increasingly undulating. 

More sketching on the way. 

Does anyone else enjoy sun like this as much as me?! Low Autumn/winter sun casts such a warm, coppery light yet it is usually bitterly cold at the same time. Tones of photos can be really deceiving. Warm hues does not always translate to warm temperatures. Trust me! I really appreciated taking my ski jacket with me. 

Look at the colours, the textures *heart eyes*

Landscape loving on the drive through Glenshee. 

If you're wondering what that wooden post is with a little red mark at the top which is invading the bottom of my photo is, it is there to indicate where the edge of the road is in the event of heavy snow. There are a number of them at both sides of the road throughout the road. I've seen snow all the way up to the bottom of a road sign in this area before so they are definitely worthwhile. 

Keeping warm in my hat and ski jacket...

Here's the snow I promised. Look, so much. So like almost 1m squared in total. Haha. 

But wait, here's a bigger patch all together. 

... Oh, wait. That's just a trick photo. There's actually very little snow. See what I meant earlier, the wider context is very important! 

The snow may have been disappointing but the soup at the Glenshee Ski centre was on point, as usual. Warming and tasty. Perfect for getting some energy before the long trip home. 

Hope you enjoyed this post, if you'd like to see some of my art that has come from more snowy days in Glenshee then check out my portfolio.

For more of my art and studio shots, follow my Instagram account here

Not on Instagram? What's wrong with you?! Nah, just kidding. 
It's no problem, I'm on Twitter and Facebook too so you can follow me there. Say hi, and I'll check out your accounts too. Social media is supposed to be social after all! 

Bye for now, 

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