Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Castle Sinclair

Castle Sinclair
Watercolour
18 x 26 cm

There can't be many castles in Scotland with a more spectacular setting than Castle Sinclair Girnigoe. It seems almost to be part of the cliff that it's perched on. The strange name comes from the fact that it used to be thought that there were two castles. In fact it was just one with a moat and a separate gatehouse. Originally it was known as Girnigoe, but the name was changed in the Seventeenth Century to Castle Sinclair.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Painting Rainbows

Rainbow in the Strath
Watercolour
25 x 36 cm


Rainbows must be one of the hardest things to paint in watercolour, although it ought to be the ideal medium for them. The problem is that it's tempting to try to include all the colours and paint a full arc. The result, more often than not, looks like something from a Walt Disney creation.

The colours in a rainbow have an intangible quality, which needs to be painted with a soft and light touch. Here I dampened the area to be painted and used a wet-in-wet technique. I didn't attempt to paint all the colours I could see, but just used a few of the brighter colours on my palette to hint at them. I also faded out both ends into the background to suggest the fleeting nature of a rainbow.

I was painting this from a sketch and there was one thing that I forgot: If you look carefully, you will see that the sky is always slightly darker outside the curve of a rainbow than it is on the inside. It's only a small point though and I'm probably being too critical. In any case the painting has been sold, so I won't be tempted to fiddle with it!