Tag Archives: Dunstanburgh Castle

Christmas Exhibition 2013

Painting of Dunstanburgh Castle-Spring

Dunstanburgh Castle, Spring

Painting of Windmills, Amsterdam

Windmills, Amsterdam

Royal Opera House, Oman at night

Royal Opera House, Oman

Painting of Qantab fishermen, Oman

Qantab fishermen, Oman

Pantheon Rome

The Pantheon, Rome

Painting of Florence from San Miniato

Florence from San Miniato

My Christmas Exhibition Preview weekend started 29th November. The exhibition continues until 24th December and is a collection of recent original watercolour paintings.

Subjects include the Northumbrian coastline depicting famous landmarks like Dunstanburgh Castle.

Paintings inspired by a trip to Amsterdam can also be seen, in particular this new limited edition print of Windmills seen in early morning light.

Over the last few weeks I have been working on a couple of commissions for a client in Oman, so I also have on view an original watercolour of The Royal Opera House in Oman at night and a small study of fishermen in Qantab, Oman.

I’ve been unable to travel to Italy this year, however the last 2 places for our painting holiday scheduled for May 2014 were booked up over the weekend.

A number of paintings of Italy can be seen including The Pantheon, Rome and Florence from San Miniato.

The exhibition also features gifts for Christmas including Christmas Cards, Magnetic Bookmarks and hand made glass, along with my Sketchbook of Oman, all of which are being purchased. Please feel free to call in over the weekend for a glass of wine or coffee and a mince pie.

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Longsands Beach, Tynemouth

Watercolour of Longsands Beach, Tynemouth Sketch

Longsands Beach, Tynemouth Sketchbook Study 1

I recently heard from one of my clients that a North East artist has been spreading false rumours that I never paint on location. Here is a blog post to put that nonsense to rest. I often paint “en plein air” and have lots of sketchbooks filled with watercolours painted on the spot. Above is one of two sketchbook watercolour studies painted on location Longsands Beach at Tynemouth, Monday 3rd September.

On my website you can watch a video of me painting Dunstanburgh Castle on location. There is also a video on youtube of me painting the Launceston Place Restaurant on location too. Of course I do paint in my studio and will use my own reference material which will sometimes include photographs, but for over twenty years I have sold lots of watercolours which have been painted from start to finish “plein air”.


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Sketchbook Watercolour of Newton-by-the-Sea

Sketchbook Study of Newton-by-the-Sea

Yesterday I went to Holy Island with the family and visited the castle for the first time. The views towards Ross Sands and the rest of the island are stunning and are well worth the visit. We had to be off the island by 3pm to avoid being stranded by the incoming tide so we decided to go to another favourite place, Newton-by-the-Sea where you can get some great views of Dunstanburgh Castle.

I usually carry a small traveling box of watercolour paints and brush, so whilst the grandchildren and nephews were playing together I quickly captured the scene before me in my leather-bound sketchbook. Apart form being a lovely reminder of a delightful day, this sketch could well turn into a more finished painting to hang on someone’s living room wall.

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Painting of Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle Painting

Painting of Dunstanburgh Castle

I don’t need much of an excuse to paint Dunstanburgh Castle. Northumberland’s Castles are well photographed and painted by amateurs and professionals alike. I’ve often been commissioned to do paintings of castles and I have to say, it’s always a delight. One such project came in 2003 when I was commissioned to do around a dozen large watercolours of the regions castles for a major North East Company for their boardrooms. Dunstanburgh Castle was one of the chosen paintings and I decided to paint it on a summer evening just as the sun was beginning to dip below the horizon.

I recently went back to the reference I gathered on that evening to do a watercolour demonstration for a painting class. They asked me to show them how to tackle a seascape in watercolour. The painting above is the result. I’ve painted a similar version of the scene which is available as a limited edition print.

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Iona Painting

Iona Watercolour

Iona Original Watercolour

I was recently asked to do a watercolour demonstration for the Coquetdale Art Club in Rothbury. The theme for the day was seascapes, so I decided to take the students through two paintings, one of Dunstanburgh Castle, the other of a beach on Iona.

In 1999 Susan and I spent three very pleasant days on the Isle of Mull to build up my growing collection of paintings of Scotland. We decided to take the short ferry ride to Iona followed by the longer walk to the north of the island where I came across the view above which has been often painted, particularly by some of the Glasgow Boys. I couldn’t resist having a go myself, so sitting on the beach on Iona I began a small watercolour.

The day had threatened to rain and in typical Scottish fashion it did. By painting in between bursts of rain and turning the watercolour block upside down, I managed to keep most of the paper free from splashes of rain and captured the ominous sky, the white sand and turquoise waters. A few random splashes of rain hit the paper causing the paint to spread slightly but somehow they added to the effect. In fact it was so successful that the owners of the bed and breakfast where we were staying, decided to purchase it.

The painting of Iona above that I did as a demonstration can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.


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Dunstanburgh Castle, November afternoon

Dunstanburgh Castle, November Afternoon

Dunstanburgh Castle, November Afternoon

In November 2009 my birthday fell on our day off, a Monday, so Susan and I decided to celebrate by driving up the Northumbrian coast to Newton by the Sea to have lunch in The Ship Inn. After feasting on crab sandwiches and some local ale we walked along the beach towards Dunstanburgh Castle. I stopped to do a small sketchbook watercolour (yes even on my birthday) to capture the striking low light.

There was no wind and the sea was like a mill pond. I took some photographs and wasted little time in the studio to set about producing this watercolour which sold last year from a charity exhibition at the CastleGate in Newcastle in 2011. I did reproduce it as a limited edition print and sold another copy this afternoon to a couple purchasing it as a 40th birthday present for their daughter. There are only 25 copies in the edition which can be seen at my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.

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Dunstanburgh Castle


Dunstanburgh Castle

Sketchbook Study of Dunstanburgh Castle

I’ve made a couple of painting videos during my career as an artist which you can also see on YouTube. By following this link you can watch me paint Dunstanburgh Castle on location. The image above is the sketchbook watercolour which I painted on the video, together with a larger 14″ x 10″ watercolour. Both paintings can be seen at my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland and were painted with a size 20 Stratford and York synthetic brush.

Most of the background music was specially composed by my friend Stu Kennedy. Check out his website for more information.

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Independence Preview

Last night was the preview evening for the charity exhibition “INDEPENDENCE” to raise money for OWN IT. The evening was a great success with over 100 guests attending the CastleGate Centre (the home for City Church, Newcastle) to view the paintings and to take part in the charity auction.

There were some great prizes being auctioned on the night and several paintings were sold including the two original watercolours featured above of High Bridge Street in Newcastle and Dunstanburgh Castle, November afternoon.

The exhibition continues ever day this week, 10am-6pm, Tuesday to Friday and Saturday 10am-4pm. Please call 01661 871 800 or 0771 874 1546  for further details.

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Dunstanburgh Castle

Last summer I decided to have another video taken of me painting on location. I asked  a friend of mine, Gavin Dowd of  Word Out Productions to film me painting Dunstanburgh Castle.  I was hoping for a summer evening like the one captured in the painting which I reproduced as a limited edition print which you can see on my website. On that occasion,  the sun was setting, casting wonderful pink and orange colours onto the low passing clouds with waves crashing against the rocks. This time, the light was rather dull and flat and the tide was gently coming in.

I decided to tackle two watercolours, one in my sketchbook, the other on a 12″ x 9″ Arches Watercolour Block. To see the whole painting process, go to the Watch Alan Paint section on my website. Despite the fact that the scene was a little disappointing, it was still a worthwhile process and I’m looking forward to doing another video sometime in the spring.

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