I was incredibly lucky and honoured to be asked to be the Official Artist for the Commonwealth Flotilla held in July of 2014. It was an event organised by the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) and took place up the River Clyde in Glasgow. 250 boats and 1,900 people took part and what a spectacle it was! Never has the Clyde seen anything so exciting! The event was officially from Friday 25th-Saturday 26th however it was unofficially a couple days longer as most boats started further up the Scottish coast. I was part of this initial journey which was just as well as I had never drawn a boat before in my life! I needed those extra couple of days to wrap my head round the linear qualities of all these boats. For someone who is used to drawing the human figure drawing boats is quite a jump!
Pen is something you really can’t go wrong with. Given that the boats were constantly moving I had to draw quickly. I’d never sketched anything in motion before so it was both frustrating and brilliant simultaneously. It was also one of the most calming and enjoyable experiences ever. I got to sit for four days with my sketch pads and water colours and just draw. Of course a lot of people came and looked over my shoulder which made me rather self-conscious, but I think people found it exciting to see somebody actively documenting the event through a media that was not digital.
A sample of the final works.
These were exhibited at the Glasgow Science Centre in September alongside the photographs and some video documentation of the event. I am so grateful to have had this fantastic opportunity, especially given the scale of the event. It is definitely something I will never forget!