Thursday, June 23, 2016

This time - SCOTLAND!!!

Time again for a big trip for me. For several years, I have been attending the artist retreats held by my friend Michael Chesley Johnson. In the past, it has been at several locations in the western US, but this year is was SCOTLAND!! This has been in the works for a couple years. Margaret and Malcolm Evans organize "paint aways" for artist groups and they did a great job for us! Malcolm was our trusty guide and driver.

There were a total of 12 people from the US on this trip, with five of us artists from my local plein air group. I had met everyone else from past retreats, except three people. We had a nice size group and had great fun together.

We arrived in Glasgow Scotland at 7am on Saturday from an overnight plane ride. I don't sleep well away from home, particularly in an airplane! Add to that a 5 hour time difference and we all were feeling the jet lag! We got rooms at the airport Holiday Inn for one night as that was the location for our pickup on Sunday by Malcolm. We took a taxi to visit the botanical gardens, and tried to carry on for the day to adjust by a visit at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery which has some very important paintings, but the fatigue got the best of us. We headed back to our hotel for a very early dinner and some shut-eye.

On Sunday morning, we all met up with the rest of the group in the lobby. Because our accommodations for the week would not be ready until mid-afternoon, Malcolm gave us a tour of the area and a stop for some tea and cake.

I'm finding it hard to remember which picture goes with what town, so will just give you this much - we toured much of the Highlands and visited the towns of Saint Fillans on Loch Earn, Stirling Castle in Stirling, the small towns of Aberfeldy and Dunkeld and others. Some took the ride over to Glen Coe on our last day (I stayed back to paint locally.)

This will probably end up being a very picture heavy post!

Our home base was the lovely Duchally Country Estate near Gleneagles golf course, home of the Ryder Cup! What a great place out in the countryside! This is a small time share complex, with lovely town-home style "lodges". We rented three of these side by side. Each had three bedrooms with bath, kitchen, living room and deck overlooking the lawn leading to the main building with the dining room, bar and our studio space.

The food was fabulous! Not what we expected in a package deal! Breakfast was traditional Scottish buffet with basted eggs, hot croissants, French press coffee, Haggis, Blood Sausage, bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, etc.... Dinner was truly gourmet, 3 course meals every evening! Wonderful appetizers, beautiful dinners, and spectacular desserts!! Not all these desserts were mine! I just had to take photos of all of them!

Here's some pics of the studio space and some of the art made:

Artists at work in the field:

 Below is me! We had rain every day which is difficult when you work in pastels. I did not create much artwork, but I was more interested in the whole experience. I created two pieces I am happy with and a few others.
Scenes from Stirling Castle. We had a tour guide, but she had a strong accent and standing in one place was tiresome, so I explored on my own, and am sad to say, I missed a lot of the castle, and somehow ended up at the bottom of the hill before I knew it. Not a big deal, had a lovely lunch in a pub with Marianne:

Lunch with Marianne in the pub down the hill from the castle:

A stop in one of the little towns for coffee, tea, and THE BEST SCONE EVER!:

Scenes and towns - lots of great reference photos for my future paintings!:

AND finally the whiskey tasting tour at Tullibardine Whiskey.

It was a fabulous trip and very easy for this first time international traveler! But it was pretty expensive, so I think I will save my pennies for exploring more of the US.