Tag Archives: Northumbrian

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

The Northumbrian town of Alnwick boasts a magnificent castle as well as stunning gardens. I’ve had the privilege of painting both. In 2003 I was commissioned to paint over a dozen Northumbrian Castles in watercolour for a leading North East company to grace the walls of their boardrooms and Alnwick Castle was one of them.

I had already decided that I would spread the paintings out over the course of a whole year so that I was capturing all of the seasons. After working out when the sun was most likely to be catching the ancient architecture, I felt that the last light of a summer evening was going to best for this particular scene.

It was painted on an expensive hand made watercolour paper, heavily textured, which was ideal for rendering both the stone and the foreground grasses. It also allowed me to make quite large, free brush strokes to indicate the low lying clouds reflected in the slow moving River Aln. The painting that was commissioned worked well for the client and I was so pleased with the result that I decided to do a slightly different interpratation of the same view which I later reproduced as a limited edition print. The original watercolour 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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The Needle’s Eye Painting

A few weeks ago I was asked by one of my clients to paint a specific view of the Needle’s Eye which is situated at the south part of the beach at Newbiggen by the Sea on the Northumbrian coast. He provided me with several photographs of the view he had in mind, however they were taken on a dull day and were not really suitable to paint from. In any case, I much prefer to paint on location and use my own photographs if necessary.

I went to find the spot that the client had in mind of the Needle’s Eye but I’d didn’t check the tides before setting off. It was high tide when I arrived, so it was not possible to paint from the view which the client had in mind. I decided to take advantage of the good weather and after exploring the area, I did a sketch book study from some rocks on the other side. I had to finish the study in my studio as waves were starting to land on my paint box!

Two days later, the weather was perfect, so after checking when low tide was, I arrived at 1:30 pm and found a suitable rock from which to paint from which gave me a great composition of the Needle’s Eye with foreground rocks and water. In typical fashion, I did two studies, one in my leather bound sketch book, the other on a 12″ x 9″ Arches watercolour block of rough paper.

The tide was starting to come in and the paint was taking too long to dry, so I had to finish the larger painting from the warmth of my studio, however I did manage to complete the sketch book study in situ. I showed the client the finished study and he was delighted. I’m going to frame it to match the other paintings he has purchased from me.

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