Tuesday, 7 June 2011


I had always wondered what it would be like to go on a “painting” holiday, and listening to others at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre talking of the meditation retreats they had been on I always wondered what that would be like too (this is why they call me The Wonder Boy). Last week I finally fulfilled both these things by going on a Painting and Meditation Retreat at one of the WBO’s centres in the Scottish Highlands at Dhanakosa on the shores of Loch Voil.

And I am cured. The boxes are ticked but never to be repeated.
On arrival, Friday evening, the first thing I was asked to do was put my name down for six (that’s right, 6) work activities ranging from breakfast prep and tidy away, food prep with the cook (vegetarian), dishes wash-up, kitchen cleaning, toilet cleaning, hoovering, etc. I agreed to do dishes wash-up on Saturday and Monday, morning noon and night. As luck would have it I actually only carried out one of those duties since two sisters, who arrived late, (both young, lively, and very beautiful) offered to take over all but one of my duties. Must have been my boyish charm! Sadly they then both left after a few days unable to stand it any longer, and I can’t blame them.
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects, however, I prefer to just tell you about the drawing and painting I did. Well, that’s what this blog is supposed to be about, ain’t it?
Day 1:
Saturday was the first full day of drawing activity starting with drawing flowers brought in from the garden. A pleasant enough activity and interesting to see everybody’s drawing capability but there were the seeds of my discontent right there: working alongside other people. I thought that I would like to do that kind of thing but when it came to it I was disconcerted. I couldn’t concentrate on the work for chatting - theirs, and mine!

Centaurea, pencil and watercolour on paper, A2

In the afternoon, even though it was quite wet we were allowed out to play and the task was to use charcoal and consider the landscape in tone:

 Value Study #1, charcoal on paper, A4.

 Value Study #2, charcoal on paper, A4.

 Value Study #3, charcoal on paper, A4.
The sky was alive with swallows and martins swooping and diving. It's a long way to come from Africa just to catch our midges, but good on them I say!

 Value Study #4, charcoal on paper, A4.

 Value Study #5, charcoal on paper, A4.
Beginning to feel the more abstract qualities already after just a few sketches.

 Value Study #6, charcoal on paper, A4.

 Value Study #7, charcoal on paper, A4.

Moving on from just using charcoal I began to introduce some lines in ink:

 Value Study #8, charcoal and ink on paper, A4.

Then, finally, I dispensed with the charcoal and just made these two ink drawings:

 Hill and Sky Study #9, ink in sketchbook, A6.

Mountain Stream Study #1, ink in sketchbook, A6.

The best thing about it all was being out again in the living landscape (after months in the studio) with mountain, loch and sky before me and a rucksac of art materials and a fold-away chair.
This is my kind of meditation.


my croft said...

Hell is other people.
But the sketches are wonderful -- full of lively life.
At the risk of sounding all-too-trite, I really love your flowers.

Sheila Vaughan said...

How hilarious. You could have come here. I could have allocated six similar tasks to you and I'm sure there are a few midges in Stalybridge. Plus I would not have talked much - just told you to get on with it. Hey, nice drawings though, I esp.like the ink ones.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

You said it Melanie...couldn't put it better myself!

But don't feel as though you are letting your standards slip by favoring my flooers. I am happy for you :o)

daviddrawsandpaints said...

If only you had asked beforehand, Sheila - I'm a dab hand with a feather duster!

And I like it when you talk - you and I would be blethering into the night.

Glad you like the drawings.

ps: still not getting email notification of comments...very frustrating.

jill said...

I love your work, it is inspirational and very free, I found your blog a few months ago when I was searching for an artist that did paintings of prisoners of war. I forget whet he was called now but my Dad knew him and was given 2 of his paintings. They were very depressing but I think I would appreciate them now, anyway I'm glad I found your blog, my dad was also called David and lived in Edinburgh

Melinda said...

It can be THE hardest thing to paint with others around. Takes lots of practice, after lots of chatting.

I'm so happy for you. You've had a grand time. Your work is excellent and your attitude is admirable!

Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey.

Zackery said...

Well, I do not really believe this will have success.
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