Commission: Castle Series, no. 1, Caernarfon

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.

Caernarfon CastleMy first is that of Caernarfon Castle. It took me a couple of tries to get the tonal shades right – my first go didn’t have enough contrast between the grey and black.

I’ve used for this painting

  • Generic stretched canvas, 60x60cm
  • Liquitex Professional Spray Paint: Parchment / Brilliant Purple / Dioxazine Purple
  • Black and White Gesso
  • DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish

It’s the first time I’ve tried spray painting, and I must say it’s good fun – I can see where graffiti artists get their kick (aside from the fumes). I had a quick go at dabbing off the wet paint with crumpled paper, but not so sure that went well. The translucency of the Dioxazine Purple certainly made blending easier, and the Parchment takes the glare of the white away. I quite like the spatter from the Parchment spray nozzle in particular… sort of adds a star or two to the scene.

I stuck with gesso due to it’s relative opacity and inexpensiveness, and since I was going to be sealing with ultra matte varnish, it didn’t matter too much to use a quality paint. The room is very large, and light, so I didn’t want any sheen on the finished item. The varnish also accentuates the contrast, just enough to make the shadows stand out a little more.