Ice Buzz – Christmas Water Sports

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A cold Christmas? It defiantly was for me; I feel the cold… unlike my three older brothers who seem to have built up an impressive immunity. Our holidays began with Christmas and Boxing day on the Isle of Bute at our Dads. With lots of relations on the island, we are really lucky to have access to boats, outdoor toys and equipment whenever we go over to stay! Despite the drizzle and dampening grey clouds (which would often put me off), we got going and had a great afternoon in Port Bannatyne Bay. Kit choice was slightly questionable – borrowed bits and pieces and with a wake board too small for anyones feet to fit in we improvised with one of Ewan’s surf boards.

IMG_3383IMG_3381IMG_0037IMG_0018If anyone fancies wake boarding (properly – unlike us) give Loch Lomond Wakeboard a visit, or alternatively the Glasgow Wake Park.

IMG_3157We then headed North West to Kishorn, beautifully caked in snow. This is my mums front garden, with breathtaking views over the Bealach na Bà and escaping sea views across to the Isle of Skye. It blows my mind every time I visit! My mum is very into wild swimming, whether its long distance, short distance or a speedy dip – she swears its beneficial physically and mentally; and I would not disagree. More often than not, it does take quite a bit of convincing to get me in the water, especially if I’m feeling a little run down. But I always come out the sea feeling fresh, awake and full of adrenalin. The best natural pain-killer!

IMG_3371Swimming proof!

 IMG_3373With new toys to be tested, and old toys to be used – we paddled round Kishorn Bay. Three kayaks, two paddle boards and a rowing boat (not pictured).

IMG_3370IMG_3210My birthday present shamefully getting used for the first time. I cannot recommend an inflatable SUP board more; Callum got this blue SUP (in my favourite colour) from Two Bare Feet for my birthday in October. I have always been keen to try SUP boarding, and I was also convinced I wanted a solid board that I could strap to the roof of my car. But I couldn’t be more pleased with the decision to get an inflatable – it performs as well as a solid board once inflated and is a million times easier for transportation.

IMG_3321New year, new wetsuit, same me?
New years day, we took the SUPboards (Ewan bought one as well, so thankfully there will be no soloSUPing) to Loch Lomond for a hangover cure paddle. I also got to try out my new super luminous Hurley wetty, which did a great job after I fell in attempting some SUPyoga. IMG_3384IMG_3357Hurley wetsuit from Surfdome

Thanks for reading, and if anyone fancies some SUP adventures let me know!

R x

Bothy Culture

First Bothy adventure of the year - UAGS

Unless approached by sea, Uags Bothy is at the end of an extremely boggy scramble from Toscaig (south of Applecross). We (Callum, Ewan and I) did plan to paddle there in sea kayaks – launching from my mums front garden in Kishorn and exploring the coast line until we reached Uags. Typically the weather came in, and the wind would’ve made it impossible for my wee arms to manage the 10 mile paddle – Ewan and Callum would’ve been fine, but they kindly joined me for the walk instead!

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We left Kishorn in Ewan’s new van, excitedly arriving at Toscaig at 4pm – we expected to be over the hill and at the bothy for sunset.. which we almost made; if only the path didn’t keep disappearing from under our feet!

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Arriving at Uags, we saw the very last of the sun dip behind the Cuillin mountains on Skye – which the bothy looks straight out to. January adventure meant darkness at 5pm, so we set up camp inside the Bothy and began prepping dinner – steak, rocket, peppers, broccoli, camembert cheese? Possibly THE poshest bothy dinner ever, but so delicious! The rest of the evening was spent huddled round the small fireplace, listening to the flames crackle, we chatted and told stories – and once the Jura was finished we hunkered down for sleep.

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I can’t say it was the best sleep I’ve ever had; Callum convinced me the Bothy was ghost infested and the creaking of the building warming up with our presence totally spooked me… I think i’ll sleep in a tent next time! In the morning Ewan went beach scavenging for fire wood (to restock what we had used the night before) as Callum and I swept, and tidied up the inside of the Bothy.

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We walked back to Toscaig – following the correct path this time, and headed home for a bowl of mums soup! Great adventure with the best people!

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Bothy Etiquette
  • Leave the Bothy in as good (if not better) condition as you found it
  • Take ALL rubbish home
  • Don’t leave food – this encourage mice and other hungry rodents
  • Double check all the windows and doors are closed tight before leaving
  • Bring some extras to leave behind – maybe a lighter, some candles, fire lighters etc
  • Collect fire wood for the next visitor – and stack indoors to allow it to dry – but don’t cut live wood!
  • Respect and welcome other people visiting the Bothy at the same time as you!
Kit List
  • Roll mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Torch
  • Candles + matches/lighter
  • Firewood + firelighters
  • Pan + spork + sharp knife
  • Bin bag
  • Hip flak/whole bottle
  • FOOD + water
  • Waterproofs + boots + socks (with spares) + LOTS more warm stuff
  • MAP!

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Thanks for reading!

R x

The World is Bigger Than Me [my favourite adventure films]

I’ve selected a few of my favourite outdoor adventure films to share with you, a mixture of low-budget pieces alongside some bigger productions. They present to us parts of the world most could only dream of visiting and the majority are shot in jaw dropping cinematic quality (which makes viewing even more enjoyable). Forget Love Island and I’m a Celeb, these babies will get you excited for life!

GIVEN Given Trailer (click to watch)
170216_052437_16744687F72F8370E55BDF7AB5GIVEN the movie is about the Goodwin Family, who are traveling around the world to discover new cultures and the beautiful mother nature. This family is on an adventure to find waves that have never been surfed before, and they’re journey is told in the most endearing way by their 6-year-old son Given. Scenes of Iceland, Ireland, Thailand, The States, Israel, Australia, Nepal, Morocco, South Africa, Peru, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Senegal and Fiji are captured in a way you’ve never seen before. This film is inspirational and sweet – Listening to Given’s story and voice brings back childhood memories where we had little limitations and freedom to roam.

DODO’S DELIGHT Dodo’s Delight Trailer (click to watch)
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Normal people, with small budgets, tackling big big climbs, and having a heap of fun along the way onboard the famous ‘Dodo’s Delight.’ Bob Shepton, the 81-year-old captain of the Dodo (who is actually from the west coast of Scotland) accompanies the madmen 400 miles across Baffin Bay in the search of un-accomplished rock climbs to tackle. The climbers and their intrepid captain relish their time together on the boat, singing and drinking and playing music. They also wrote a song, and its magnificent (it’ll be suck in your head for days) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-SLsUr8f4o!

AN EDUCATION: A FATHER/DAUGHTER TRIP OF DISCOVERY An Education: A father/daughter trip of discovery (click to watch film)
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Theres a heap of Mike Libecki films I could recommend, but this short 9min glimpse of a father/daughter adventure speaks a thousand words. Mike Libecki presents to us, an approach to parenting that is so refreshing and honest – he isn’t called ‘Rad Dad’ for nothing!
– sweetness of life
(watch some more Mike Libecki films, because they’re all awesome)

G.N.A.R G.N.A.R (click to watch film)
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Snow sports? This one is for you.
G.N.A.R – Gaffney’s Numerical Assessment of Radness
What started as a game conjured up by Shane McConkey for him and his friends to play in Squaw Valley, first became a chapter in a book by Rob Gaffney called Squallywood, and then, eventually, provided the inspiration for a feature film. The game is made up of various tasks to complete while on the slope – attempting tricks naked, calling yourself out to be the best skier on the mountain, phoning your mum to say hi while skiing down a steep piste – the list goes on. McConkey liked to poke fun at the pretentiousness seen on the mountain, and so the game of G.N.A.R gives everyone a good reason to rip it up a little.

VIEW FROM A BLUE MOON View From A Blue Moon Trailer (click to watch)
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There’s “surf porn” and then there’s this. Three years spent filming the worlds best waves, following John John Florence and his closest friends from his home on the North Shore of Oahu to his favorite surfing destinations around the globe. Kueny and Florence set out to make “the greatest surf film ever,” and that is what they did. Shot in the highest quality equipment, and produced to sheer beauty – my toes tingled on every turn. IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL! The next-level sound design and perfect pairing of the surfing with the music selection also makes for an amazing soundtrack to add to your Spotify beach playlist.
Enjoy!

Rona X 

Keep up with me here – @ronamcmillan

 

ART ON THE WALL

It has been 8 months since I graduated from art school; and after a bit of an art snooze I’ve finally started painting and drawing again. The one thing I struggled with at uni was being pushed to create work under briefs that I wasn’t necessarily inspired by. Of course, it did teach me to work out with my comfort zone – which is important, but I usually just bent the rules so far that my artwork would fit the brief. SO, without a doubt I am REALLY enjoying working within my own boundaries, and creating work with a more enjoyable process. A lot of the work I was making in art school became heavy and bogged with emotion that probably reflected from me not being very happy – a useful release at the time, however the more I made, the more I got stuck in the bog! The difference I see in what I am doing now, is that I’m making work inspired daily by different things; whether it’s the the ocean, surfing, swimming, people, conversation, plans, memories; its refreshing to change what I work on every day. With stacks of paintings piling up all over my flat I decided to get some of them framed, partially so I can hang some of my favourites around my flat… but also with an interest in selling some pieces. So, if anyone wants to chat about buying some of my work, please please please drop me an email (rona.mcmillan@gmail.com). Also, check out my artist instagram @ronamcmillanartist and give it a wee follow!

IMG_4278Turns out it’s really hard to photograph art that’s already framed and behind glass! Reflection everywhere! IMG_6668These are woodcut prints taken from this drawing ^IMG_4274IMG_4276Large scale finger painting portrait – this one has taken pride position on my living room wall!IMG_4275Nude life drawings – framed as a four, and currently hanging in my kitchen!IMG_9065IMG_6659IMG_6660IMG_5135IMG_4279Currently my favourite pieces – these drawings were developments from a project I named ‘Mother and Me’. It is a personal documentation of the incredible relationship I have with my mum – this turned into a huge project for me that I worked on for six months. The worked varied from sculpture, poetry, drawing, film making and installation.IMG_0692IMG_0693IMG_0704IMG_0705IMG_8471Worry Dolls – these tiny sculptures accompanied the drawings of my mum and I in development stages of my degree show. They were really sweet, and I managed to sell most of them framed singularly on a white background at my degree show!IMG_4280After a beautiful summer of Hebridean adventures last year, I started painting the silver sands that we spent so many nights camping on. IMG_3770IMG_3791IMG_4928– and from those – I went on making more abstract pieces still reflecting elements of the ocean, surfing and swimming.IMG_2582_Facetune_18-12-2017-14-01-31IMG_2580_Facetune_18-12-2017-14-00-31IMG_2579_Facetune_18-12-2017-13-59-58IMG_2583_Facetune_18-12-2017-14-02-04IMG_2585_Facetune_18-12-2017-14-03-21And finally, some sketchbook pages – just for a nosey!IMG_2619IMG_2620

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Thanks for reading!

R x

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Tips and tricks for keeping a sketchbook

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Why bother?

If your asking yourself, why bother? I feel ya! I often feel disengaged and don’t touch my sketchbooks for days because I feel my phone is easier to keep notes in. Often I’m ‘too busy’ to come up with interesting thoughts or ideas and to be honest, I’d much rather watch Netflix than sit doodling in a book. Eventually it comes full circle and once I get back into the habit of keeping a visual journal I really enjoy it. I should also mention ‘sketchbooks’ aren’t just for sketching, so don’t tap out quite yet if you don’t believe yourself to be much of an artist.

So, a few reasons why keeping a sketchbook could be beneficial to you…

  • It’s a really nice way to record your everyday, kind of like a diary – that you can then look back on in years to come.
  • Positive use of time – you can still be a couch potato, but be a couch potato doing something interesting!
  • Brain training – encouraging your mind to think and develop thoughts that are usually disposed of.
  • Being creative is an excellent tool – skills developed through creative thinking can be applied to all jobs and walks of life. Practicing creativity will encourage us to think outside the box and stand out from the crowd a little!
  • And most of all, it’s just a handy thing to carry around… especially when our phones run out of battery and we need to note something down!
10 Tips and Tricks
  1. Keep it portable – if its small enough to stick in your pocket or in your bag then your more likely to carry it around with you. The most uninspiring sketchbooks I have are ones I’ve bought and hardly touched because they’re too big or heavy to take around with me.
  2. Use it for everything – as I said, sketchbooks aren’t just for drawing – write in it, design in it, take notes. Wether your sketchbook contains nothing but shopping lists and silly poems or the next NASA rocket design it doesn’t matter –  just fill it up!
  3. Don’t be precious – accept mistakes and imperfection, sketchbooks can be what you want them to be, but they’re usually more interesting when they’re unedited and uncalculated.
  4. Keep it up – a sketchbook is really easy to start, but even easier to stop! Thankfully its a forgiving hobby in that there are no wrong answers and no time limits – but the more you make it a habit the easier and more enjoyable it becomes!
  5. Break the rules – not that there are any rules to break, but avoid being neat and tidy – use the pages differently from how you were taught in school – write from right to left, draw upside-down, be inventive!
  6. Jumpstart your pages  – sometimes a white page is daunting, so to avoid ‘fear of the blank’ I suggest prepping some of the pages before hand. Add a wash of paint, or a few random lines and scribbles so you worry less about making mistakes when you turn onto a new page.
  7. Cheat – by this I mean nicking ideas from other people – creativity often comes from inspiration (nicking ideas from other people) – so if you like the way something looks, or the way someone else has done something then try it for yourself – the art world calls this ‘appropriation’ and it’s totally encouraged!
  8. Play with medium and colour – monochrome is fine, if that’s your style. But don’t forget about colour! Also use mark making tools other than a pen from time to time,  I often use a twig and some ink to draw with, but it could be anything!
  9. Don’t try too hard – sketchbooks aren’t for masterpieces, they’re to help ideas develop and end up being a place for happy accidents to occur!
  10. Draw – try not to draw ‘things’ as you see them literally – in my opinion that’s what cameras are for. I find the most interesting drawings are those where the subject is the least important thing! If you find this hard, start with blind drawings (drawing without looking at the paper)!

If anyone is interested in the art I do, I have a separate artist Instagram – so take a look if you like! @ronamcmillanartist 

Ciao for now

Rona X @ronamcmillan

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Contemporary art; an introduction of some kind

Contemporary Art does not have to be pretentious and confusing, and although it often seems that way, it is down to you (the viewer) to make it relevant to yourself. So i’m here to provide you with the do(s) and don’t(s) of contemporary art; maybe a few gallery etiquette tips as well to help you through those prolonged moments of gaze in front of artwork making attempt to reason its existence.

Why though? (the benefits of art and creative thinking)

Just briefly I should explain why creativity is beneficial, and why I am on such a mission to break barriers of a common understanding that art is only for certain stereotypes. So… contemporary art reflects the society surrounding us; it is an exploration of issues that humans come in contact with every day; gender, politics, economics, environment, science, relationships, people. This means that no matter the subject, art can be influential to us all. A subject that addresses both social and cultural issues excels the development of informed, open-minded and innovative citizens. I really believe this is important for all ages not just throughout educational years, but into adulthood and beyond.

Confessions of an Art Student

After four years studying contemporary art, and after many many hours spent in art museums I feel my approach to art galleries should be fairly polished by now; but no. I still find myself questioning how much Marina Abramovic is getting paid to sit still in a chair, and worrying incase I am looking at the dehumidifier in the room thinking its a meaningful piece of artwork (my granddad did actually do this at an exhibition opening!) As long as we are mindful, and don’t say these things out loud, I recon we are safe – although the dehumidifier situation is a tricky one to get out of; I’m yet to find a solution for that.

The beauty of contemporary art is; there are no rules and nobody can tell you you’re wrong or don’t belong. The best piece of advise I can give, is to be open-minded – simples!

The Do(s) and The Don't(s)

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  • This is a biggy! Don’t suggest you or your 5-year-old could have made the artwork. Because your probably right, they probably could have. But, they didn’t. Some art appears unskillful, easy to make, childlike… but considering beyond the visual to a point where you are challenged to question why an artist has made it and put it there in front of you is the important part.
  • Do ask questions – art often needs to be solved, and the easiest way to understand is by asking yourself questions. As I said before, there are no wrong answers – so by asking, and answering your own queries, the work becomes relevant to you. This way, you’ll probably have a more worthy experience than if someone spoon fed you information about what the artist intended in the creation of their work.
  • Don’t assume art should be pretty – contemporary art is not decoration! Sometimes it is beautiful, because the beauty is relevant or the aesthetic of the work appeals to your taste – but sometimes not. It can be terrifying, or smell bad, it can leave you feeling uncomfortable or angry. It exists for a purpose, to convey a message, raise a question, make a statement, encourage the viewer to think. Try not to discard the work in the realisation that it won’t look very good on your living room wall!61rHswKFepL
  • Do accept defeat (sometimes) – its alright to walk away feeling a bit baffled. Not understanding right away creates opportunity for an epiphany a few days later – light bulb moment!
  • Don’t – describe work as ‘weird’ or ‘cool’ – this doesn’t mean an awful lot, why is it weird, why is it cool? Oh, and ‘its nice’ is probably the worst of the worst, no artist wants to hear their work is ‘nice.’
  • Do your own thing – feel free to ignore program sheets and writing about the art, pompous paradoxes and a plague of adverbs can be helpful if you have google handy to help you out; but if not, don’t stress… art encourages rebeliation after all!
Art Lingo Cheat Sheet

Its degree show season! Meaning many of us will be attending art school exhibitions with some fear of the unknown – with the help of a few safety phrases and after a few glasses of free wine, you’ll get through no problem.

  1. Conceptually strong – this is an ongoing joke within my family, so much so the term ‘conceptually strong’ is used when something is so bad we have to try to appreciate it for something other than its existence – for example, my new flat form trainers were 100% conceptually strong in the opinion of my brothers – it’s also been used to describe some of my Mums cooking (sorry mum!)
  2. This is very suggestive – you don’t need to state what the work is suggesting, but raising the question to others in confidence implies you already know the answer – effectively you are passing the baton to someone else to do the hard work.
  3. Negative space – this refers to the areas around and within the artwork that are absent of form, line, colour, sound; it is often deliberate, so highlighting the fact you’ve noticed it proves your attention to detail.
  4. I find this work challenging – is your get out of jail card, for when you really are stumped – saying your challenged is far more acceptable than saying ‘I don’t get it’ – the likeliness of the person stood next to you understanding it is also fairly slim, you should get away with it!

That’s all I’ve got for now, but since I mentioned Marina Abramovic earlier, I’ll leave you with this TED Talk. She discusses some of her best performance art; of which she is a true master.

 

Rona X

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