Here’s the last of my six castle paintings – the half-finished Beaumaris Castle. That’s the castle, not the painting that’s half finished… And, of course, the last was the trickiest! There is something to be said for having a good artist’s sketchbook, having the time and patience to use it and then apply what has been learnt onto the canvas. I don’t ‘do art’ quite like that…
When I used to holiday near Porthmadog, I joined Cadw – the Welsh Heritage organisation. I then proceeded to overdose on visiting castles – I think the record was 9 in three days. I don’t really know where the fascination started, but it was certainly early in childhood. The bigger, the better in my book… But, as a subject for a painting, Dolwyddelan Castle is pretty much up there, despite being the smallest castle in the series.
I’ve been painting again today – after I’d potted on my leeks… This time, I’ve gone for Raglan Castle, in Monmouthshire. You might note, in comparison to my painting of Caernarfon Castle yesterday, that the light is coming from the opposite direction. There is method in this madness – the paintings are to hang opposite each other on either side of the room. Thus, the light, and the shadows, will look as if they are from the same direction.
Ok, ok, it was a happy accident that I noticed the above before I started hanging the paintings. Now I will go back to my reference materials and check that the remaining four of the series are split 50/50 in light direction. It was one of those ‘oh no’ moments that turned into ‘well, of course, I meant to do that’ when no one was looking…
I’m having fun in the Studio, actually playing with paints and canvases for a change. It’s also been a little while since I have had any commissions. This is the first in a series of six canvases, each requested to feature a Welsh castle. The main colour of the room is grey, and the accent colour is purple.
I’ve loved the ‘purple twilight’ type photo treatment, and there’s nothing more striking (I think) than a castle’s silhouette. It gives a much more solid appearance, and given most castle’s prominence on the horizon, a real immenseness.
It’s taken some time, but I’ve finished the journal I handmade last year and finally got round to taking and editing the photos of the finished article. I intended to journal each day before going to bed, but got a little behind whilst in New York as our room was so small that there was actually nowhere to work on a flat surface, and there was no communal area I could use either. Consequently, by the time I got to Boston, and there was space to work, I was already five days behind. Then life on the road for the final few days also meant I was doing other things at the end of each day. So it meant finishing off the work once I got home, but that brought back good memories of a lovely, and much needed, holiday.
As a format, the piano hinge worked very well – I was able to slide out each of the sticks in turn to work on the pages individually, which was far easier. The fold out sections added a little more space, and the wallets somewhere to put the various bits of ephemera that I collected along the way. With techniques from collage to napkin decoupage, hand drawn typography to watercolour illustrations, it was fun to put together. I would have liked to do more urban drawing, but for speed, mini-photos had to suffice.
Sit back, with a cuppa of your choice, and holiday vicariously as you work through the journal 🙂