The view from our studio.
I’ve just had the privilege of spending a week on the Scottish coast at a workshop led by Gillian Lee Smith, an incredible artist and teacher. The workshop was held in Gardenstown, an impossibly tiny and adorable village with one pub, one cafe, and no mobile phone reception.
A page from my sketchbook
We started the week with a lot of outdoor sketching. The Scottish weather was unusually good for this, and the Gardenstown scenery provided plenty of subject matter.
Gardenstown from the cemetery, mixed media on watercolor paper, ©2015 Julie Galante.
Every day in the studio Gillian did a demonstration of one of her techniques. We started with a mixed-media process which involved drawing into a clear oilbar base, which produced a lovely line quality.
Gillian’s glorious tray of soft pastels
Later in the week we moved onto pastels and then painting. It’s impressive how much we did in just five days in the studio.
Some quick faces
Gillian Lee Smith at work on one of her morning demos.
Gardenstown itself provided an idyllic setting for the workshop. Its smallness and relative isolation meant there were few distractions, allowing me to focus on artwork in a way I never quite manage at home. Most nights I was dreaming about drawing. The only road out of town is up an impossibly steep hill, although it is possible to walk to the next (even smaller) coastal town of Crovie along a path that runs along the shore. The locals were friendly and welcoming, and happy to chat with us on the beach or in the pub. Edinburgh feels like a booming metropolis in comparison.
Gardenstown houses, mixed media on watercolor paper, ©2015 Julie Galante.
Now that I’m back in my home studio, I hope to be able to hold on to the inspiration and artistic momentum that Gillian’s workshop provided. I’ve returned with hundreds of photos and dozens of sketches to work from.
Inside the Gardenstown heritage center
I’ll be exhibiting several of the pieces I made in Gardestown at the 3 Harbours Arts Festival which starts at the end of May.
Fishermen study, 18x28cm, acrylic and pencil on watercolor paper, ©2015 Julie Galante. [SOLD]
Gardenstown study, acrylic and pencil on watercolor paper, ©2015 Julie Galante.
Gardenstown’s beach on lunch break one day.
Crovie, the even tinier town next to Gardenstown.
A view of Gardenstown from the ruined church on the hill.
Gardenstown beach at low tide