Showing posts from September, 2017

In Defense of Fantasy

This week something big happened in my little world. Someone I admire helped to share my artwork with more than 25,000 people. I suppose this particular piece is considered fan art but I never imagined what would happen when a community of my fellow Game of Thrones readers and watchers caught sight of it. With prompting by my genius husband, I originally made this for our two sons (and for us) to hang in their play room. I painted different elements from Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings and turned them into a decorative drop cap to go with deeply moving words about fantasy and the role that these stories play in our real lives. The words on my poster are from The Raven’s Scroll segment of the final Game of Thrones "Binge Mode" podcast of Season 7, and the 67th binge mode podcast for The Ringer Staff Writer, Jason Concepcion and Deputy Editor, Mallory Rubin. Below is the link to listen to the full podcast but for those who have not caught up, you can skip …

Harry Potter Theme Party

If you're planning a Harry Potter event, whether it's a theme night for adults or a child's birthday party, I've got a few things to share that will help add a magic touch. Awhile back, my husband and I worked together on a Harry Potter-themed birthday package for my now teenage nephew. My only regret was that this was a little too convincing and he seemed genuinely hopeful that he would in fact be attending Hogwart's the next school year. Although he seems to have recovered and still loves magic, perhaps this is best for a party rather than a surprise letter for a small child!

Our package included admission letters, train tickets, sorting hat cards, Bertie Bott's "Every Flavor" Beans, and two of the most amazing wands you have ever seen. Filled with Phoenix Tail Feathers, Dragon Heartstrings, and a whole lot of love from his aunt and uncle, this magical gift will truly delight! We even added extra train tickets for his wizard friends and a wand for …

Deoch and Doruis and Whiskey Galore

'Deoch an doruis' is the Scottish Gaelic phrase for a night cap or a drink before you leave. The literal definition is "a drink at the door." I first read this phrase in Compton Mackenzie's Whiskey Galore while traveling over the Atlantic on our way to Scotland.  It’s a fun read about a small town in the Hebrides that has been rationed out of whiskey during WWII only to have a cargo ship carrying 50,000 cases of the stuff wreck on their shores. Imagine the hilarity that ensues - “hide the whiskey!” as my 3 yr old now says after watching the 1949 movie version with us. This charming story inspired me to paint my own bottle and dram with my Grumbacher deluxe transparent watercolors on Canson watercolor paper.

My whimsical watercolor print combines the golden ambers of whiskey with the purple hues of the Scottish Highlands. A perfect gift for whiskey lovers and those whose heart is in the Highlands. Can be purchased in two sizes from my Etsy shop.

Over the Sea to Skye

This statue of Flora MacDonald at Inverness Castle rises above the River Ness like a guardian of the land. Flora is honored for famously aiding the escape of Prince Charles Stuart after the Jacobite cause was lost at Culloden Moor. History tells us that she disguised the Prince as her maid servant, Betty Burke. She and “Betty” were rowed to Skye by a crew of six boatmen. Once on Skye they boarded another boat from Portree to the island of Raasay. Bonnie Prince Charlie was then escorted back to France, never to return to Scotland again. 

As we traveled over the Skye Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh, my dear husband blasted the theme song to Outlander. Yes, folks, I love The Skye Boat Song. To be there, actually crossing to Skye after learning the history and hearing the stories, was an experience I’ll never forget. Our first stop was lunch at The Claymore Restaurant in Broadford for fresh seafood and local ale from Isle of Skye Brewing Co. From there we headed to Portree where we had booked…

Color your way to calm as 'Droughtlander' nears its end

The Droughtlander is nearly over as the premiere of Outlander Season 3, Voyager, approaches! I agree with Caitriona Balfe that drinking will ease your anticipation but I also have a slightly healthier alternative for balance (and of course you can do both!).

I've drawn a special coloring page for all of us Outlander fans!Spoiler alert: If you haven't read the books or seen any promotions about The Print Shop scene on social media and magazines then you might want to wait until about episode 6 for this.
Like many of you, I have not seen this moment on film and so I tried to include as many details as I could imagine from the print shop scene in Diana Gabaldon's 4th book of Claire and Jamie's love story.

I encourage you to share this link and spread the Outlander love. Please share your coloring work with me on twitter and instagram - my username is @kathrynholeman - I would love to see and share what you've created!


Inverness and Culloden

My husband and I began each morning of our 2-day stay in Inverness with the most exquisite Scottish breakfasts: eggs served with sauteed vegetables and black pudding, fresh strawberry muffins, fruit and yogurt, oatcakes, and local cheeses. Our gracious hosts at Highfield House, Margaret and Ken, provided amazing food and a lovely, well-lit, en suite room (my dear husband is always going on about clean, well-lit places, and this fits the bill).

We spent our first evening in Scotland fighting jet lag by wandering the city of Inverness, eating meat pies and fish and chips on Church Street, and imbibing in a few local ales and a dram or two. Did I mention there was no consideration of healthy eating on this trip? Our eating habits could only be described as haggis friendly!

On our first full day, we left Highfield House around 8:45 am and arrived at Culloden Battlefield when their doors opened at 9:00 am. I was thankful that these hallowed grounds were only fifteen minutes from our bed …