Shetland 2021 – Burrastow House

Here is Burrastow House near Walls on the West side of Shetland. It was built in 1759.

Burrastow House, from the garden. 20 July 2021. 10″ x 8 “

One of the delights of the house is that it has been adapted over the years. Here is a view from the vegetable garden. You see the different roof levels.

Burrastow House from the vegetable garden. 13th July 2021. 10″ x 8″

The white curved area on the left is a segment of the polytunnel. The grey circular item is the oil tank. Above that, the small circle is the satellite dish. I like the way you can see right through two windows, in the room on the top right of the picture.

Here is a view from the garden near the driveway.

Burrastow House, from the garden near the entrance. July 14th 2021

While I was drawing this, a Jaguar E-type throbbed up the drive. I put it in the picture. This was a misty day. I had to pause the work on the picture as the mist turned to rain, and then I resumed as the rain turned to mist again.

You see the front conservatory in the centre and the extension to the left. The extension dates from 1995, according to a small notice in the conservatory.

“This extension

was officially opened

by Canon Lewis Smith

Convener S.I.C

15th September 1995″

All these sketches are in PrintUrchin Sketchbook number 1, on Arches paper, 300gsm, Cold-pressed.

Here are pictures of work-in-progress:

I have sketched Burrastow House on previous visits:

Station Hotel, Aberdeen

The ferry from Shetland arrives in to Aberdeen at 7am. The air feels cool and chemical, like water from a cold tap. I carry my luggage on my back, and it’s heavy.

No, they won’t take my bag at the ferry Left Luggage. Only if I’m travelling on the evening ferry will they take in my luggage.  I am not travelling on the evening ferry. I have just arrived on the morning ferry. And I am going to the airport. But that is later. For now I have a heavy bag, and the whole of Aberdeen to explore.

Let’s try the train station.

It is Sunday.  Aberdeen is closed. The Union Square shopping centre is closed. So the route to the station is three sides of a rectangle, a circumnavigation of the Union Square, Jury’s Hotel and the Bus Station. Outside the Jury’s Hotel, a cluster of men with beer cans  part to let me through. My grim determination is reflected in their faces. Or perhaps it’s something else I’m seeing: their effort to stay vertical.

I spot the “Left Luggage” symbol at the Train station. The door has a dim window which frames a seated man. “I see the Left Luggage operative,” says my optimistic brain. The straps of my luggage are now making permanent furrows in the muscles of my shoulders. The door is locked. I rattle it. “It opens at nine,” comes a voice. It’s the seated man, who is behind me, reflected in the dirty glass. He is sitting on the sunlit steps, waiting.

From the table at “Patisserie Valerie” I can see that he is still there. He hasn’t moved at all. Those steps must be cold, granite. He must be fed up. But he didn’t seem fed up when I spoke to him. Perhaps he is sitting there for some other reason. Perhaps he does not require the services of the Aberdeen Station Left Luggage.

I do, though. I order breakfast at Patisserie Valerie. The glass and steel of the modern shopping centre cuts the view into bits. I can’t draw it all, so I draw a segment.

IMG_3419
A bit of the Station Hotel, Aberdeen, from the Union Square Shopping Centre, Patisserie Valerie.

That odd curl in the top right is the “e” of “Union Square” written on the outside in modern 3D lettering.

Here is work in progress.

Exactly one hour to draw, including eating breakfast. Patisserie Valerie opens at eight. The Aberdeen Station Left Luggage opened at nine.

When I went there, the seated man had gone.

Hôtel de France, Vaud

Last week I stayed with my friends at the Hôtel de France in Sainte-Croix.

fullsizeoutput_32ee

Here is a sketch I made of the hotel from across the road, sitting on a wall by the lay-by. It was really cold, 4 degrees C. One and a half hours, drawn and coloured on location.

A woman parks her car in my line of sight and blocks the view. She is one of a succession of people who parks their car in my line of sight and blocks the view. They all do so unapologetically. I might be just air, sitting there with my sketchbook.

They are collecting items from the hardware shop, which is called “Jaccard”. They all return quite quickly and drive off. So I have become used to the rhythm, and it no longer bothers me. I draw the chimneys, over the top of the car, and the distant mountain, which is called Covatannaz.

This particular woman, on returning to her car, called out “Hélène!”. Her car was empty. I assumed she was calling to someone round the corner. “Hélène,” she said again. I realised she was talking to me. None of my names is Hélène, although I quite like the name. I ran through the options in my head. Was “Hélène” a kind of French form of “Fore!”, which golfers shout? Was this a warning of some kind? No. She and I were looking at each other, she with an open face of greeting, me no doubt with a puzzled frown, which after a little while influenced her open greeting, and she frowned too.

“Bonjour!” I said brightly, hoping to lighten the mood.

“Ah,” she said, and her expression altered again. Perhaps my voice was wrong. Even with one word, my English accent must have been apparent. “Excusez-moi,” she continued,  “Je vous avez prise pour Hélène Jumeaux*.” She continued to look at me as though I might change my mind and confess to being Hélène Jumeaux, despite the accent. When I didn’t, she hid her confusion by examining my picture, which she genuinely seemed to like, and she complimented me.

Prosopagnosia, face blindness, affects maybe 1 in 50 people, according to “faceblind.org“. It is an inability to recognise faces, not an inability to remember names. That is also a problem, but a different one. I know this, because, as I’ve got older, face blindness has become more and more of a problem for me. I felt sympathy for the woman. Neither my limited mastery of French, nor the situation, enabled me to express this connection. But we managed. We smiled, and talked about the picture.

Forgive me if I pass you on the street without recognising you, even if we’ve seen each other only a few hours before. Please say hello. And say your name.  As I’ve got older I’ve realised that many mental and physical defects, such as deafness, visual impairment, prosopagnosia, encroaching memory loss, can all be interpreted, by people who are young and fully functional, as rudeness. It’s made me more forgiving of other people’s weaknesses, other people’s apparent rudeness.

Here is the line drawing, the same picture as above, before the colour went on.

IMG_1548

Here are a couple more drawings from the same trip, and a photo of this drawing on location, just after I finished it.

I have made pictures at the Hôtel de France before:

Sainte-Croix, Vaud, Switzerland

Sainte-Croix, Vaud

View from a Swiss Hotel

Some sketches of hotel tableware

Here is a gallery of archive sketches from Vaud and Sainte-Croix.

*names in this story have been changed