With the same immenseness as Caernarfon Castle, Conwy is going to be a good balance in the room. With the suspension bridge, modern meets historical – and was most tricky to paint!
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.
I recently took delivery of a new Dylusions art journal – the 8×5″ landscape format – and last night I took the opportunity to experiment with a 3×5″ Gelli plate and some DecoArt fluid acrylics. Bubble wrap of two sizes and a mosaic stencil added a bit of pattern, and then rubber stamping with acrylic paint added the highlights. Finally, some cut letters as masks and a sponged layer of acrylic paint finished off the page nicely.
I’ve previously made a ‘book’, to hold various ephemera, as a leaving present for the minister of my previous church. So when it came to putting together another bespoke binder for prayer flags, a photo book and collected digital photos, I built on my previous project and created a faux leather effect ‘book’.
The ‘book’ is just about the size of a sheet of A4 and about 1½” deep. Constructed from 2mm greyboard and 5mm foamcore board, the canvas cover is painted with a mix of rose madder and burnt sienna acrylic paints to resemble worn leather. The spine text is pressed in with an embossing tool to give an impression of embossed foiling, whilst the frontplate uses careful shading to achieve the same effect.