It feels strange yet appropriate that I am conducting my first Skype interview with Kate Downie.

The artist, normally based in Edinburgh, is talking to me from her well-appointed apartment in FeijiaCun, an artists’ village to the north of Beijing, where she is currently on a residency until the end of the year.

Webcam at the ready, the ever-energetic Downie gives me a laptop tour around her kitchen cum studio, even though it’s nearly 10pm and she’s had a long day, which saw her painting on the walls of the Where Where Art Space in Caochangdi Village that morning. She has ink drawings in progress which she is keen for me to see. As she tells me about them, a white cat makes an unscheduled appearance. I introduce it to my black dog. So far, so immediate.

Downie’s trademark is the immediacy of her work. Such is the deftness of her touch, you can feel and smell the air around her source material, be it in a Norwegian side road overlooking a fjord or on a street in Cupar. Lately, she has been mostly standing at a table in a teeming street in Beijing, jammed between a hutong and a high-rise. Drawing with all her might.

Downie’s excitement at having spent the last few weeks creating ink paintings on the streets of Beijing, in the traditional Chinese way of working on a felt table, is palpable. The photographs she shows me speak for themselves. In one picture, a tiny Chinese girl stands beside her in a yellow anorak, staring in wonder as Downie works. Beside the girl, drawing students sketch in tandem, while at the other end of the table, a mother parks her pram to have a better look while her woolly-hatted baby wonders what all the fuss is about.

Downie first visited Beijing and Shanghai to study contemporary and traditional ink painting last year with assistance from the Royal Scottish Academy’s William Gillies Bequest Fund. While there, she forged links with the Red Gate Gallery in Beigao, Beijing and returned on an eight-week international artist’s residency with them earlier this month.

In the time she has been in China, Downie has created in-situ work for a group exhibition with 15 fellow artist village residents, as well as making preparatory drawings for an exhibition she arranged not long after arriving in the city at the end of October. This exhibition, The Concrete Hour, is based on her similar live drawing performance, Matchmaker, last month at the Cupar Arts Festival. It has been curated by Iona Whittaker, who studied art history in Edinburgh before moving to Beijing. She has factored into the exhibition two live drawing events which took place this week.

“I have been doing the biggest, bravest drawings of my life,” says Downie. “The idea is that two large-scale drawings with opposing content are created live on the walls of the gallery. A series of my street drawings and the film we made in Cupar will also be on show. Think of me spending five days covering a whole white box gallery with a giant 3D ink drawing, and you get the picture.”

As she talks, it is clear Beijing has gnawed its way into Downie’s psyche. “There is just so much crammed into a small space that it’s hard not to be drawn in. You go from one extreme to another very quickly – the vast skyscrapers on one hand and the cramped hutongs where people live and work on the other. The pace of life is breakneck.”

As with all of Downie’s art, she has invested in this new body of work an excitement born out of the moment it was created. Watch out for these gems from the east heading west to Downie’s native turf. It will be worth the wait.

The Concrete Hour by Kate Downie RSA is at Where Where Art Space, Caochangdi Village, Beijing from today,