Sketch and Sail

Sketch and Sail on the Lady of Avenel around the Inner Hebrides

Spend a week exploring the beauty of the Inner Hebridean Islands of Scotland under sail, whilst filling a sketchbook with colourful memories of this spectacular scenery.

We are two artists, Claudia and Jane, with different styles and experiences, and we are looking for people to join us on a sketching and sailing adventure. We hope that you will be part of it.

The 2023 Sketch and Sail voyage is taking place from Sunday the 24th of September to Saturday the 30th of September.

This is an opportunity to draw.

  • Perhaps you have always wanted to draw, but have never had the time… 
  • Perhaps you yearn to record your impressions using lines and colour, but don’t know how to start… 
  • Or maybe you already sketch a bit and would like to spend time sketching on a beautiful sailing boat, with no pressure and no rush… 
  • Or are you an experienced artist who seeks to add marine landscapes to their portfolio… 
  • Do you simply like the idea of spending time at sea, with time to think, doodle and reflect…

You will experience sailing amongst islands and inlets of the Inner Hebrides on the west coast of Scotland. You will be inspired by the spectacular scenery and wildlife: misty landscapes, lively skies, distant views, lighthouses, rocks, sea birds, and the stone-built cottages on the shore.

There will be opportunities to sketch the sea from the land and the land from the sea. The ship itself offers many vantage points that are interesting to sketch. You might want to capture impressions of the rigging, the sails, and of the crew working the ropes.

This is an opportunity to record what you see, amongst like-minded people. 

The focus of Sketch and Sail is on creating sketches rather than finished paintings. You could create the beginnings of a visual travel diary, full of nature observations, colours, notes, ideas and inspirations.

Sketching is a great way to enhance your appreciation of what you see, using all the senses to create lasting memories in a way that photos don’t quite manage. The act of drawing, even wobbly drawing, makes you slow down and look at what you see, enriching the experience.

Non-painting partners are very welcome of course, as are people who would like to record their impressions in other ways, through writing poems or prose, creating patterns or making collages.

Our Passage around the Inner Hebrides

Day 1

The ‘Lady of Avenel’ will await you at the North Pier in Oban. You will be welcomed on board and the crew will conduct a safety briefing. The programme for the week will be shared by your tutors Claudia and Jane and then we will set sail down the Sound of Mull to Loch Aline for our first evening and dinner onboard.

Day 2

We will take in the sights and sounds of the Scottish coast on our passage to Loch Sunart. The loch offers woodlands of birch and oak line and the beauty of sheltered inlets. There will be an explore the loch on foot where we will find opportunities to stop along the peninsula. Close by the island of Oronsay and we may see a Castle or two on route. 

Day 3

We will explore the Sound of Ulva which is dotted with islets, skerries, rocks, and beaches. There may be an opportunity to trek to Loch Ba which is nestled in a valley of oak woods and moorland slopes under the imposing Ben More mountain.

Day 4

The Isle of Staffa and awe-inspiring Fingal’s Cave and opportunity to take in the wonder of the island. From here, we raise the sails and make our way to Loch Scridain and stunning ancient volcanic features and the beauty of the vistas that surround us.

Lady of Avenel Logo

Day 5

The Island of Iona and St. Columba’s monastery. There will be time to experience and explore the island and the iconic human and natural landscapes.

Day 6

The Isle of Luing and Shuna island with opportunities for stops along the way. We journey by boat north to Ardentallan Bay where we spend our last evening.

Day 7

The Isle of Kerrera with its jewels and castle, an excellent finale to our tour. The Lady of Avenel moors at the North Pier in Oban where our trip concludes. 

This itinerary is indicative. The weather may have other plans for us. There is plenty to see and experience in the area: we will plan the day’s adventures as we go, based loosely on the ideas indicated above.

What is a typical day on Sketch and Sail?

After breakfast prepared by the ship’s cook, we clear the tables, wash up, and discuss the plan for the day. Some people might go outside to draw the shoreline before we move on. Others will opt to take part in a short workshop on a relevant topic – how to begin a sketch, how to mix the Scottish landscape colours, how to sketch on the move, how to paint sea and sky.

Then we’ll sail to a new location, an opportunity to sketch the changing landscape from the deck, help to sail the ship, or simply take in the view. On most days we will drop anchor in time to take a walk ashore, beachcomb for seaweed and feathers to add to our sketchbooks, or have a go at sketching the Lady of Avenel at anchor.

At the end of the day, as the sun dips over the yardarm, we’ll gather round and appreciate the wonderful mix of sketches we’ve all done, and share stories. Sketchbooks are all as individual as you are, and are always “work-in-progress”. There’s no pressure and no need to worry that others will be ‘better’ than you, or that your work is not as perfect as you’d like it to be. The beauty of sketching is that we all see the world in different ways, and we will all learn from each other. The important thing about sketching is to do it.

“The picture is inspired by the view. It is not a copy of the view.”

After supper prepared by the ship’s cook, there’s time to carry on sketching, write your postcards, read a book, watch the sunset, or enjoy a few traditional songs and tunes. There are always musicians on board a traditional sailing ship, and Claudia never travels without her harp.

About your tutors

Claudia Myatt is a well known marine illustrator, contributing regularly to sailing magazines including Classic Boat Magazine and Practical Boat Owner. She wrote and illustrated seven children’s books for the Royal Yachting Association.

Describing herself as a nautical hitchhiker, she spends as much time as possible at sea. She has travelled the oceans as art tutor on cruise ships, sailed with her sketchbooks on a range of traditional sailing ships as well as a converted trawler. In 2019 she spent two months on board a gaff ketch and sailed from Pacific to Atlantic around Cape Horn; in 2021 she returned to the Southern Ocean on board a Royal Navy icebreaker as Artist in Residence for Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute.

She runs art classes on zoom as well as from her studio in Suffolk, where she lives on a converted tug boat. She believes that drawing is like learning a language or a musical instrument, accessible to all with a bit of knowledge, practice and effort!

www.claudiamyatt.co.uk

Instagram: @myattclaudia

Jane Northcote is an urban sketcher and printmaker, who also draws boats and the sea. She first sailed on the Lady of Avenel on a swimming expedition, sketching in between the swims, often in the rain. She relishes the challenge of drawing on board a moving boat, and depicting the shapes of clouds, the patterns of waves and the mystery of islands. Her emphasis is on the process of looking, seeing and having fun with the art materials. She is often surprised by the result.

JaneSketching.com

Instagram: @janenorthcote

FAQs & booking Sketch and Sail on the Lady of Avenel

What experience do I need? 

None at all – either in sketching or sailing!  Lady of Avenel’s professional crew welcome help with sail handling but you can do as little or as much as you like – step back from the action and draw the figures pulling on ropes if you want a challenge. Or get involved, take a turn at the helm and learn the ropes, it’s up to you.

As far as sketching is concerned, complete beginners are very welcome as well as those with more experience. This voyage is an opportunity to draw, even if you’ve never tried it before.  There’s no wrong way to fill a sketch book, there’s only your way There will be plenty of practical support in the form of demonstrations or individual help, all optional.

What do I need to bring?

Bring whatever sketching materials you like to use. There is limited space on the boat, and it’s windy in Scotland, so sizes up to A4 are best. We’ll be sketching standing up on the deck in the wind, sitting on a bench on the poop deck as the crew adjust the rigging, leaning against a rock on the shore watching the waves, or seated in the boat’s saloon working on the table. Leave the easels and oil paints at home!  

We will be sketching ashore on islands, so a small folding stool or sitting pad may be useful if you prefer to sit down.

Suggested sketching equipment is: a small watercolour box, an A5 sketchbook, A5 watercolour paper, a few brushes, pens and pencils, all in a waterproof bag. If you would like help selecting equipment please ask and we will send a detailed list, or we can provide a kit for you to buy.

Other kit suggestions 

‘Stugeron’ just in case of seasickness, sun cream, a water bottle, a camera (binoculars are great if you have a pair), a small torch (headtorch is ideal). 

You may have other things want to bring like snorkelling gear, fishing gear or a musical instrument.

What is included?

You will need to bring your own art materials but there will be plenty of spare paper on board, and also pencils, pens and different media available on board for you to share. There will also be a selection of sketchbooks, pens and pencils available to buy.

All tuition, shore expeditions, all meals on board and snacks are included.

All bed linen and hand towels are provided but we also ask that you bring a sleeping bag and bath towels (see standard kit list below).

Not included: meals ashore and alcoholic drinks are not included. 

Accommodation on board: You will be in a cosy shared cabin space. There are bunk beds, two per cabin. When you pack, keep to the minimum as you will need to be easily mobile. Please bring mostly old clothes which could get grimy. 

The following list should include all you need whatever time of year you come. It is best to pack into a holdall or rucksack as your kit will need to be easily moved and squashed into limited spaces. 

Suitcases are NOT suitable! It is a good idea to trim your nails short before you come, when you are hauling canvas with wet hands you can easily tear a nail. 

Please advise us in advance of any dietary requirements and medical conditions.

Kit list

  • Please bring a light weight sleeping bag two to three season should be suitable for the cabins 
  • Towels and wash bag
  • Any personal medication needed for the trip
  • Robust boots for any walking and trainers for the ship (wellingtons ifs you have spare capacity in your bag)
  • Clothing – 2 or 3 long sleeved shirts. 2 or 3 T shirts/vests 2 or 3 jerseys or fleeces of various thickness  
  • Three pairs old trousers or tracksuit trousers 
  • Shorts Socks and underwear for 6 days
  • Warm hat and spare hat plus gloves. Fingerless gloves are a good idea for sketching outdoors.
  • Water and windproof trousers and jacket (mountain waterproofs will be OK for the trip and sailing
  • A swimming costume.

Travel – Getting to Oban

Glasgow to Oban by public transport

If you’re coming from the East coast, Edinburgh or the UK you will need to first travel through Glasgow. Once in here the best form of travel is via train, the easiest website to organise all of this is through www.thetrainline.com – booked in advance tickets can be very cheap. Regular trains travel to Oban that take just over 3 hours and costs approximately £40 for a return ticket. Information on train fares and timetables can be found at www.scotrail.co.uk.

Oban is also serviced by regular buses via www.citylink.co.uk. The bus stops right outside Oban train station, when you exit the train station, follow the water’s edge with the sea on your left for 400m and  you will see the ‘Lady of Avenel’ waiting in all her beauty at the quay.

Driving to Oban

By car from Glasgow take the A82 which skirts the west side of Loch Lomond. 

From here, you need to join the A85 at Tyndrum which takes you right to the centre of Oban. When the A85 reaches the coast, you will see the ‘Lady of Avenel’ moored on your right as you look to sea. Parking is available at Oban train station, but there is a daily fee of £3. 

Booking & more info for Sketch and Sail 2023

Dates for 2023: Sunday the 24th of September to Saturday the 30th of September.

Pricing for Sketch and Sail trip is £1200 pp including food for 2023. A 25% deposit of £300 is required to confirm a booking. Payment details will be confirmed once we have been in touch. The full balance is payable eight weeks before the start date of the voyage.

Please get in touch with any questions, to confirm your place or check availability: