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I have been meaning to write a few more words and share some (many) photos from the rest of my stay in Scotland at my creative art retreat. I planned things a little differently this time and am so glad it worked out this way. Last October I pretty much arrived as the students were arriving and left just after they did and I really felt that I needed more time both before and after to relax, take a few breaths and enjoy some time during which I could truly appreciate the place and time as I had done when I travelled there on my own last June. So I arrived  a day early (although I wished it had been more) and stayed on a couple of days afterwards. This time, of just ‘being’ and pausing for breath was so precious to me, in a different way from the wonderful moments that I shared there with the students. Both awesome in different ways.

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We had been spectacularly lucky with the weather all week with it being more like the summer months than the middle of Spring but after the students left on the Saturday I got a wee taste of the storm I had been hoping for all week. Not a patch on the storm from last Autumn but invigorating none the less. I ventured out on a walk to Crovie (pronounced Crivie) with my sketchbook in hand and just a few pencils and my camera and was treated to roaring waves, a wind that almost took me off my feet as I rounded the corner of the coastal path and a sky that changed with every moment.

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Nothing makes me feel more alive than being next to the sea and feeling the wind on my face. I dream of living one day where I can be a few moments from scenes like this and inspiration on my doorstep. I am hoping it will happen someday!

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Crovie is little more than a row of houses right on the edge of the ocean and the shutters on the windows facing the sea tell the story of many past storms, with cars washed away and these hardy cottages battered by crashing waves. There are carts dotted about that are used by the residents to carry heavy things to and fro as there is not enough room to get a car down the narrow path between the houses and the coastal wall. Most of these houses are holiday lets now but a few souls still live there. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could.

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It was windy alright (although of course my photos don’t do that justice – it just looks like a wonderfully sunny day here!)  but I was determined to make the most of the time to take lots of photos but mostly just to sketch and sketch as much as I could.

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I saw not a soul the whole four or five hours I was there, others probably taking heed of their senses and staying sheltered inside from the wind.

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Walking back as the sun was going down was one of the highlights of my week. My cheeks red from the cold wind, pages of sketches in my book and scenery like this with the most beautiful sea and sky is a moment that I shall never forget. This path is as if taken from a story book – smugglers perhaps in times gone by, hardy and brave, making the most of tragic circumstances. It is easy to let the imagination wander when faces with incredible beauty such as this.

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The light and shadows were incredible. The wind was still howling and the noise from the waves was so loud. I am pretty sure I was freezing by this point (I forgot to take my wind-proof to Scotland – rookie mistake) but I did not care a jot. I don’t get to be outside anywhere near as much as would like at home, so I was determined to make the most of every moment.

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This might be my favourite sketch from the whole week. All of these particular sketches (and many more) were made on this walk and one thing for me to remember is to not just wait for inspiration to turn up but to go out and find it. This is easier said than done when I don’t usually feel particularly inspired by what is outside my front door when back at home but perhaps I just need to look a little harder or get out and sketch regardless.

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I was so glad I made this venture out – just one of those moments in time that will stay with me.

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